Monday, January 30, 2012

Jury Duty

I had jury duty today. This presented quite a challenge, as I had to plan my food and exercise around it, and Monday is my long day as it is.

My first problem was that I had to report for jury duty at 7:45am, which pretty much ruled out my going to the gym. I can get up early enough to go to the gym by 6:30am, which, while I'm certain that I have terrified several innocent people on my way to the gym given my general state at that hour,  will ensure that I finish my workout with enough time to get to work a little early and find parking. Unfortunately, I have a really difficult time motivating myself to get up much earlier than 5:30am.  Knowing this about myself, I went to my backup plan: I still woke up early, but instead of going to the gym, which would have made me late, I did my Wii Zumba workout for 1/2 an hour. It was not super high impact work-out nor was it a huge calorie burn. That said, it was fun, it was a good start to my day, and I got a respectable amount of exercise for 1/2 an hour.  Most importantly, it ensured that if my day went south and I didn't have time later, at least I'd done some exercise.

My second problem was how to plan my food for the day.  In my experience, days like this, where I know I'm going to be really busy and I'm not entirely certain how the day will be scheduled, lend themselves to a very high calorie intake. The courthouse is downtown, a very short walk from a number of restaurants, there are vending machines in the jury lobby, there is a Starbuck's right next door, and there can be a lot of free time to snack on these things. I had to make sure that I packed a reasonable lunch and I needed to make sure I packed something on which to snack. The challenge here was compounded by the fact that I couldn't really take a frozen entree to jury duty in my purse / briefcase, because (a) I wasn't sure if there would be a microwave in the jury lounge and (b) if there was a microwave, didn't want to tie it up for five minutes for just my lunch when there were probably a couple of hundred jurors on lunch break, at least some of whom likely needed to use the microwave as well.  I solved this problem by taking three blueberry yogurt muffins (see recipe on recipes page) with me in a plastic Tupperware container so as not to squish them in my bag. I also took two sliced Fuji apples, a low-calorie protein bar and a cup of plain cheerios (yep, I'm five, I was snacking on cheerios during jury duty). This worked beautifully. I had two muffins for lunch, and I snacked on the apples and cheerios. I didn't eat the protein bar or the third muffin because I wasn't hungry - but if I had been, I would have been prepared and I would not have had to run to the vending machine.

I came home at the end of the day to my husband's fabulous minestrone soup, yum!

There you have how I planned my Jury Duty Day. What kinds of portable, low calorie snacks could you use on a difficult "Jury Duty Day?"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Next Step...

I'm a little nervous because my husband and I have been gradually adding "real food" into our diet over the past couple of months. We started on a medically supervised diet with just shakes and the food that was provided through our program. Then, we added fruits and veggies, and finally, frozen entrees (from Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine...). All of this was pretty easy. The fruits and veggies don't have a lot of calories and the entrees are pre-prepared and portion controlled. So, like I said, it was really easy.

A couple of months ago, we started to prepare our own meals for dinner.  It takes a little getting used to because we have to figure out the calories in everything we are making, and, as usual, we have to be honest about it. I do not ever trust the calories listed on the recipes...I have had occasions where I have run something through my calorie counter and it was twice the calories per serving the recipe claimed it was.  Once we are done obsessing over the calories, and we get the recipe down and the proportions correct though - it works nicely - and we add new recipes into the rotation and have a little tasty variety.  I'll try to post more of our recipes on this blog as we go.

So far, it has been working really well, both of us have continued to lose weight, and we are adding a couple more dishes this weekend (maybe).  Our goal is to get off of all the frozen, pre-prepared food and just be able to prepare our own meals.  This is not the way that everyone does it, I know there are a lot of people who rely heavily on frozen entrees, but like I've said before, this is a lifestyle change and you have to find something that you can maintain as your lifestyle, indefinitely. My husband and I like to cook (well, my husband in particular likes to cook), so figuring out how to cook in a healthy, low-calorie way is something we have to do. It is diet, not a diet.

I'm no health expert, I'm kind of learning as I go along, so don't be surprised if I change my mind and / or correct myself as I go. That said, I don't think that eating those frozen entrees all the time is good for us. Honestly, we will probably continue to have them in the house, because eating a Weight Watchers or a Lean Cuisine entree on a night when there is no time to cook is certainly more healthy than going out to dinner and the entrees are very convenient to take to work for lunch.  There is a time and place for the frozen entrees, but it's not every day for every meal.

So we are introducing more recipes and "real food" into our diets, and it is trial and error. Thus, it makes me nervous - because I'm certain that I'm going to miscalculate and gain back each and every pound that I have worked so hard to lose - tomorrow.  Okay, so clearly that is not going to happen, but I cannot help but to worry about it...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Note About My Last Post

It occurred to me yesterday after I posted about fitting my exercise into my schedule that part of the reason I started this blog was because people would ask me for advice on weight loss, so I thought it would be helpful just to talk about how I am doing it.

That said, if I had read my post from yesterday 7 months ago, before I started my weight loss, I would have been overwhelmed. I wouldn't have thought I could do it.  So let me just say that I started my weight loss by simply walking for 45 minutes a day, every day. I would either walk for 45 minutes at the end of the day, or I would divide it into a couple of smaller walks. I then increased my walk time over the first few weeks and months. I have added the activities I talked about in my last post over time because I needed to find activities I enjoyed to keep up my weight loss. But, I did start out slow, with something that was comfortable and manageable and then I gradually expanded and pushed myself to do more and to try other things. This is all totally doable.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fitting in my Exercise

I just got to work after my water aerobics class this morning. I try to do something in the morning several days a week, particularly on days when it looks like I am going to be fairly busy. This way, if my plans go south, I have at least done something. I don't necessarily do anything too high impact, I go to water aerobics on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I do Nia on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. (Nia is kind of a combination of tai-chi, dance, and yoga). If I do not drag myself out of bed on time to make it to the gym by 6:30am (this happens frequently), I will do 1/2 an hour of my Zumba Wii game or Wii Fit at home (not terrific exercise - but it gets my blood flowing).  I really enjoy each of these activities, so it is easy to motivate myself to do them.

At lunch, I go for a walk for 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour. I find that the walk is really beneficial not only for my physical health, but for my mental / emotional well-being. My job can be stressful, and it is refreshing to get away from the office and walk around the beautiful area where I work for a while. I work on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country (seriously, it's listed in the Princeton review as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country). My walk gives me a chance to be inside my head for a while and regroup in the middle of the day. As a bonus, it helps me to burn a few calories.  So, with my morning work out and my lunch walk, I've burned around 300-500 calories before I'm even home from work.

After work, I go on a nice long walk at the beach or the bay with my hubby or we go the gym and get a nice cardio workout in or I do my Zumba class.

This probably sounds like overkill, and to be honest, I do not always do all of this activity every day - but it is good to have all of these tools at my disposal. I'm still in the process of figuring this all out because, ultimately, it is a lifestyle change. Because of that, I need to find activities that I really enjoy and I need to, by trial and error, figure out how to fit those activities into my daily schedule. Having a bunch of different options will help me when my schedule inevitably changes due to any number of possible events that will change my ability to adhere to any routine that I ultimately establish.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nothing Tastes as Good: The Benefits of Weight Loss: #3 The New Wardrobe

Yesterday I got rid of all my "fat" clothes, and it was oddly stressful. I hear all the time how almost no one keeps weight off and, frankly, it terrifies me. But I had to get rid of the fat clothes, and with them any permission, however subtle, to gain back my weight.  So they are all gone and now my closet is pretty empty. I think I have three pairs of pants and a skirt that fit me at the moment, and two of those are getting too loose.

It's a great feeling to be constantly shrinking out of my clothes, but it is expensive. I told myself that I would buy a new wardrobe when I was half way to my goal (which was about 15 pounds ago) and then when I reach my goal. But, I have to say, it is getting really difficult not to go nuts when I go shopping - even if the clothes are only going to fit me for a couple of months.

I used to hate shopping, and I thought that I always would. I was never the type of person that would go into a store and try on a bunch of clothes to find just the right thing. I quite preferred to shop online. I would know exactly what I wanted and what size to get - and I would order 12 of that thing in different colors. There. Done shopping for the season. Now, much to my husband's chagrin, I love to shop. It is exciting to actually be able to fit into "normal" sizes and to shop at "normal" stores. Maybe its weird to be so completely thrilled with this development, but I love that I don't have to shop for baggy clothes that are oddly tailored to hide my body anymore. I love that when I see something I like, chances are good that I can go find it an it will fit me.

So, there you are, another benefit. I knew this one was coming, but I didn't realize until I could actually shop for normal clothes how great it would feel.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Yesterday was one of those days where I just could NOT get full. I kept feeling the need to shovel stuff into my mouth all day long. This usually happens on days when I am sitting around all day, whether it is because I have to work on a project or because I'm watching T.V. or reading. Yesterday morning was kind of dreary, I'm just getting over a cold, so I did not feel great, and I had to work on Saturday - so that all added up to my sitting around the house all day. I was productive, I got a couple of projects done that I have been putting off for a while. But boy did I snack! All day. When we started our weight loss program, my husband and I got rid of all the junk food in the house. It really paid off yesterday. I snacked a lot yesterday, but it was on apples, grapes, some plain cheerios, and veggies. Not potato chips, cookies, or ice cream. As a result, even though I was snacking, I ended up netting under 1200 calories after I got my daily exercise. Not bad for a day that would have been a disaster a little over six months ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Elliptical, the Food Network, and Me

I really did not feel like going to the gym yesterday (honestly, this happens a lot). But I dragged myself in to get my workout anyway. Forty-five minutes on the elliptical can be excruciatingly boring. I can't read on the elliptical, because I am not quite coordinated enough to pull off that particular feat. If I attempt to read a traditional paper magazine or book, I'm certain it would result in my falling off the exercise equipment in spectacular fashion. Me and the book would end up on sprawled on the floor and / or caught in the machine  in what I'm sure would be a horribly embarrassing gym mishap that would emotionally scar me and everyone around me for life. If I tried to read from my Ipad, the same thing would happen, only it would be far more expensive. I would listen to my Ipod, but I fear that I would drop it or spill my water on it. That leaves the convenient little televisions that my gym has installed on all of the exercise equipment. Perfect.

My husband and I do not have cable, we stream everything on Roku or Netflix; and there is some programming that we do not get at home. So, when it is difficult to motivate myself to go to the gym, I will time it to coincide with programming that I cannot watch at home. Oddly, what I have settled on is Food Network programming. I love Chopped, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Restaurant Impossible...and I can sit through (or rather, exercise through) a Cupcake Wars or two. Now I know that this sounds like a weird form of self torture, but it's really not so bad. The shows are entertaining and they really do not make me hungry nor do they make me particularly want to eat the food featured on the show. Hey, it works, I get my work outs, and I feel MUCH better after I work out...even on days when I absolutely do not feel like working out (maybe especially on those days).

Okay, so not everyone will be enamored with the Food Network - what do you do to motivate yourself to work out when you really do not feel like it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finding a Partner

Changing my lifestyle was not easy and would have been even more difficult had it not been for my husband. He decided to support me and do this with me. Granted, we both needed to lose weight, but I think that the fact that we did it together has made all the difference in the world.

Having a partner in this gave me someone to talk to when I was frustrated, it gave me a work out partner, it gave me someone who would encourage me every day (though I think he would have done that anyway), and it gave me someone with whom I could compete. I think that since we have done this together, it will make maintaining our weight loss a bit easier as well. 

We have noticed that we are getting so much more out of life. We both have more energy, we are less stressed, and we live in San Diego. We often talk about what a waste it was that we had not been truly enjoying and taking advantage of the area in which we live all these years. We are now. 

As of this morning, my husband is approaching a 100 pound weight loss (he has lost just over 94 pounds) and I have lost just over 84 .... so I'm catching him :-) 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

Unfortunately, I did not make it to Torrey Pines to hike yesterday. It was overcast and rainy in San Diego and I am a weather wimp. This is why my husband and I have a gym membership. While I prefer doing active stuff outdoors, there are those days when there is not enough time to do a long walk or a hike or where the weather does not permit it. Yesterday was one of those days.

I had a long day yesterday, we had a lot of errands to run and I do a legal clinic on Monday nights that I knew was going to take up a substantial part of my late afternoon / evening, so my husband and I went to the gym to do our cardio work out first thing in the morning. Planning is one area in which I have had to develop my skills. I used to be terrible at it - but I've learned that it really pays off. I have one plan and then I have an alternate for days like yesterday so that I make sure that I get my exercise in and so that I make sure to eat enough.

Planning to eat enough isn't generally something that comes to mind when one is contemplating losing weight, at least it wasn't for me. I was more concerned about how to avoid eating too much. However, I've found that if I don't plan and eat enough, I will get hungry and eat whatever I can find, usually something greasy, cheesy, or sugary, calorie packed and unhealthy. It is better to have enough fruit or low-calorie snacks on hand to curb the hunger before it becomes an emergency. As an aside, I try to opt for fruit and veggies rather than other "low calorie snacks" because (a) fruit and veggies are more nutritious and (b) "low calorie snacks" carry with them the temptation to pig out because they are "low calorie,"  the calories still add up if I eat a lot of them, which is far too easy to do. They do, however, have their useful place. (read on...)

Planning is one thing that has taken some practice, but now that I have it down, it's pretty easy.  Generally, the weekdays are easy because they are all the same. For example: Mondays are my long days, and I know that I won't have time for the gym or for a good walk or hike after work, so I have a water aerobics class that I take in the morning before work, then I make sure that I get my 1/2 hour walk in at lunch. This is not a ton of exercise, but it does the trick - I burn maybe just over 400 calories with these two activities. I also know on Mondays that I will need some extra snacks, given my long day, so I take a bunch of extra fruit and veggies (like apples, grapes, oranges, carrot sticks / baby carrots, celery...) with me and I try to go home for about an hour between work and my clinic to eat an early dinner so that I am not eating after 7 at night.

Finally, there is always the possibility that all my planning will be for naught because something will come up that will throw everything into disarray. For this reason, I try to have little non-perishable low calorie snacks in my car and at work, just in case I am running late or have forgotten my fruit, or am having one of those days when I cannot seem to get full. I also have a few rules of thumb that I use when I find myself in a situation where I'm going out to eat or I'm at a conference where lunch is served. I'll write about those later.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nothing Tastes as Good: Benefits of Weight Loss: #2 - Migraines (or the Lack thereof)

I used to get horrible migraines, and a lot of them. At one point, about a year ago, I was getting about five migraines a month. Some would last for days. It was awful. Anyone who has had a migraine knows that they can be debilitating. When I wasn't missing work, I couldn't focus, I missed out on time with my family, and I had some really miserable days trying to cope with these hideous things.  My doctor told me that all he could do was to treat the symptoms, and he prescribed me a medication that I hated taking because it turned me into a woozy, spaced-out airhead, but it did help.

I still get headaches, and sometimes I will have headaches for a few days in a row; and I still get migraines on occasion. I do not, however, get the unmanageable, intense, and frequent migraines I used to experience.

Honestly, I don't know if this is because of my weight loss, because I am not eating something that I used to eat, because I'm getting more exercise, or because I'm less stressed. It may be a combination of these factors.  All I know is that as I lose weight and get healthier, my migraines are getting less and less intense and less and less frequent.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Active Weekends

I mentioned in my initial post that I had to change my lifestyle to lose weight. My husband did this with me, which made the whole thing SO much easier, I'll talk about that in a later post. One change that we made was to plan really active weekends.

Our weekends used to consist of going to the movies, eating out, reading or watching movies at home and grocery shopping. Sure we had season passes to Sea World and the Zoo, and we would go on occasion and do a lap or two, but nothing substantial...despite what we thought at the time. Then, we would always go out to eat after our walks.  We were getting some exercise, and that was good, and it's not like we would pig out when we went out to eat, but this all needed to change for us to make any real progress.

Now, we plan to be active for a substantial part of our weekend. Take, for example, this weekend: Today, we went and walked around Disneyland for about 5 hours, tomorrow we will go and walk around the zoo and Balboa park for a good part of the day, Monday, we are going hiking at Torrey Pines.  While a lot of what we do is walking, hiking, or biking, we are planning to try other things to keep it interesting. For example, we are planning to try kayaking when it gets warmer. I have flabby arms and I need to find a way to work them, I HATE lifting weights and kayaking seems like it would be a fun alternative that would do the trick.  I'll blog about it if I survive without drowning, getting eaten by a shark, or getting taken out by a flying whale.

Finally, we stopped going out to eat all the time. In addition to being a healthy change for our weight and our bodies, it was a healthy change for our bank account. I did not realize just how much we were eating out until we stopped. We still do go out on occasion, but not very frequently. When we do go out to eat, we are careful to be honest with ourselves about how many calories we are taking in and we balance it with by increasing our exercise over the next day (or the next few days). And we still watch movies, but we will generally do that at night at home unless there is something really worthwhile in theaters (Batman).

What do you do to stay active? Do you have any suggestions about things to try that would keep our active weekends interesting? Feel free to comment. Thanks!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I'm a little bummed because I am probably going to miss my Zumba class tonight. (I have a lot to do, I'll still get my hour, it'll just be on the boring elliptical...blah)

I love Zumba. I guess that is another upside to the weight loss (and, hopefully, eventually, weight maintaining) habits I have had to develop. I would never have tried Zumba, but for the fact that I needed some more intense exercise to burn calories and I noticed one night at the gym that in this particular class, they turn the lights off.  It is awesome fun!  As I lose weight, I need to do more to burn the same calories. And, it's fun to try new things, and find new interests that contribute to a healthier lifestyle (wow, I sound like a walking cliche). It does help though, I'd get bored just doing walks all the time.

So I do Zumba twice a week, and I suck at it. I flail around like a mortally wounded chicken the entire time, I've almost fallen on my face at least twice. Once, I wore a hair band to keep my hair out of my eyes, it fell out without my noticing and I kept slipping on it, until finally I got so annoyed with whoever left their stupid towel in the middle of the floor for me to slip on and break my neck that I looked for the offending towel and found my hair band. oops. The other time(s) my shoes don't move like they are supposed to (no, not my feet, they always do what they are supposed to, my SHOES are the culprits here) and I nearly go sprawling across the floor to Beyonce's Run the World (Girls). But, as one of my favorite Bloggers on this subject says (see I get points for trying. And if I'm having fun and working and burning calories - that is what is important. I'll just have to make sure I don't bust something doing it.

The Down Side of Traveling

I have been out of town on business since yesterday. These days are really challenging, and even though I think I have done okay, I am a little worried because I have my "official" weigh in tonight. So, even though I am excited to be able to comfortably fly, traveling is a challenge, particularly traveling for business.

 Here is what I have done so far this trip (well yesterday anyway) I made sure to eat a low calorie breakfast before I left for the airport yesterday, breakfast was about 250 calories....I should have added a piece of fruit, but did not have time (note to self, either eat fruit or take a piece along next time). On my flight up I got hungry because I didn't eat enough for breakfast, so I ate the nuts on the plane, which I usually do not do - 140 calories, 70 a bag...for those tiny little bags of nuts they give you on the plane Gah! ...and that is the reason I need to remember the fruit, the nuts were NOT filling at all.

I got to the conference, had lunch that was provided, small portions, stayed away from cream based dishes and anything lunch went okay. After about five hours of meetings, we had a break for an hour before dinner, which was at a nice seafood restaurant. So, I did what I have learned to do before I go out to a restaurant, during the hour break, I looked it up online and I looked at the menu and decided which of the lower calorie dishes to order. When we arrived at the restaurant, I found out that the organization convening the meetings was generously picking up the tab for everyone and there were small menus on the table with two options for each much for my careful planning. I've learned to roll with these things, so I ordered the lower calorie option (i.e. NOT the pasta) I stayed away from the bread, ordered the salad rather than the clam chowder and asked for the vinaigrette salad dressing on the side, then skipped the decadent chocolate cake for dessert. (As an aside, vinaigrettes are a good option for salad dressing, but I have learned to be really careful with them because they contain oil, which is 100 calories per Tablespoon and can add up really fast). I ended up right around 700 calories for dinner, so, okay...given the situation. When I got back to the hotel, it was about 9:30pm and I still had not gotten my exercise for the day - so I went down to the work out room at the hotel and got in 1/2 an hour on the elliptical (I generally like to get more exercise, but in a pinch, this will do).

So my calorie budget every day is 1200 and at the end of the day, I netted just over 1500 calories for the day. I'm okay with this for a day, given the circumstances, but I am a bit nervous that this was the day before I weigh in... I guess I will see the result tonight - but even if I'm up, I'm not going to stress too much about it, I'm doing pretty well, and I'll be back on my routine tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Step One: I had to Face Reality and Be Honest with Myself

The first thing I had to do to be successful at my weight loss was to be honest with myself and face reality. I found reality to be a pain in the butt, it is unfair and irritating and, quite frankly, I would have liked to tell reality to suck it - but that would have done me no good, so here are some realities I had to face (again, I'm not a physician, but these seem to apply to me):
  1. Some people, particularly people who have had weight issues in the past, i.e. ME, seem to gain weight more easily than others. Not fair, but true.
  2. "You can eat as much as you want (or whatever you want) if you exercise" is a myth. There really are not enough hours in the day for me to exercise enough to burn off everything if I do this. Not fun, but true. 
  3. As much as I may hate it, I need to write down EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth. Everything. Every Day. And I need to be Honest about it, see Honesty below. 
  4. I have to exercise, regularly (I try to get at least an hour in every day), no matter how much I want to sit and read and no matter how busy I am at work or at home. 
  5. Vegetables, sans the butter and cream, are actually good for me and actually help me to lose weight. 
  6. No "diet" will never work. I needed to face the fact that I would have to change my lifestyle entirely if I wanted to be successful. That is huge. It is a discouraging and daunting task. When people ask me for weight loss advice, I hate to tell them this, because it sounds awful and impossible and I don't want to discourage them. But, it is not impossible. I took it one day at a time, I set little goals every day. It's cliche, but I took baby steps. 
  7. I will have setbacks and that is okay, as long as I get back on track. 
Now I will talk about honesty. Honesty is a wonderful and lovely trait when it is applied to others. It is fairly easy for me to be honest with others, being honest with myself was incredibly difficult. But, it was the most important step that I took in losing weight.

I found that I needed not only to write down everything I eat, but to be honest with myself about how many calories were in these things. If I am not entirely certain about the calorie content of a particular item, I will ballpark it (there are any number of data bases online that can help with that) and then round UP. As an aside, I have used a number of different apps / websites to track my calories / food/ exercise and the my favorite by far is

I also need to be honest with myself about how much exercise I am getting. I lost my first 45 pounds simply by walking. My husband and I would go on long walks. Worked beautifully. However, as I lost weight, I had to exercise more to keep losing weight. As you lose weight, you burn fewer calories doing the same activity. I needed to keep that in mind.  Again, if I'm unsure of how many calories I have burned, I ballpark it (again, using online databases and a chart I have from my first weight loss program) and use the lower number.

I could tell myself that the huge piece of pizza I ate was only 300 calories, but my body will not be fooled, it will know I just consumed around 600 calories and it will react accordingly. (Again, as an aside a good rule of thumb for estimating pizza calories is 100 calories for each finger you can fit on the crust) Likewise, I could tell myself that my 1/2 hour walk burned 400 calories, but my body will know that it was only like 150 and again, react accordingly.

So, there you have it, my little speech about honesty and reality - two of the most important components to my weight loss. 

Nothing Tastes as Good: Benefits of Weight Loss: #1 - I Can Fly! (comfortably)

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels..." This is such a cliche, and I HATED it when I heard it. Yes, of course I knew this on some level, but I still hated the stupid cliche. That said, it has been around long enough to become a cliche because it is very true. One of the things I will do here is to make note of the ways in which I am finding this to be true.  I'll talk about not only health benefits of my weight loss, but also the social, emotional and other benefits as I notice them.

I'm sitting in Oakland, in about an hour I have to be at meetings for work. I flew up here this morning, and realized how much easier the whole process has become.

I love to travel. Well, I love to travel for leisure, and I hate being away from my own warm cozy bed and my husband, but other than that I don't mind traveling for work, which I do quite often.

The problem used to be that flying was incredibly uncomfortable.  When I flew, I was always nervous that I would cross that threshold and Southwest would boot me off the flight ala Kevin Smith or try to charge me for two seats. It never happened, but that didn't stop the flight attendants from checking to make sure that I was fitting in the seat. Embarrassing. Then, even though I fit in the seat (barely) I would have to endure a very uncomfortable flight - especially if, god forbid, someone sat next to me. That would result in my trying to scrunch myself into my seat so as to make sure I didn't crowd the person next to me - very, very uncomfortable. Because of this, traveling became very stressful. I had to be at the airport early and, because I fly Southwest for business quite often and they do not assign seats, I had to stress about getting an aisle seat (not a window seat, b/c if someone sits in the middle I would be totally squashed against the window and definitely NOT a middle seat). I had to squeeze down the aisle bumping people as I walked. Awful. Then before and after my flight, I would get winded running around with my luggage...I was way more out of shape than I ever realized. I notice all the time now how I'm not out of breath when I expect to be, because I used to be. Now, I'm like Wonder Woman (and I even have the boots for it...but that's another post).

Today, I was at the end of the first boarding group, breezed down the aisle, got a window seat (LOVE the window seat and haven't been able to sit at the window for years), and even when someone sat in the middle seat - I had a comfortable flight all the way. I was not crowded or squished at all, even got some sleep.  Probably kind of a weird thing over which to get excited, but I am totally excited about this development.

Anyway, so benefit number one (not the most important benefit, just the one I noticed today) - Flying is oh SO much more comfortable and easy. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

About Me and Why I am Adding to the Billion Blogs on Weight Loss

I decided to start this blog because there are so many people struggling with the same issues I am. In today’s society, where junk food is readily available and myths like “you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise” are so pervasive, I thought I would add my two cents to the myriad of blogs out there on this subject. If I can help someone else through this in some way, it will be worth the trouble. 

I am in the process of losing weight, but that is just the beginning, anyone can lose weight. My worry at this point is that once I lose it, I need to keep my habits in place to keep it off. The keeping it off is the difficult part, apparently. So I’m going to be candid here about what it takes and how it feels –successes and failures - the good and the bad – the funny and the sad (did I really just rhyme? That was NOT intentional, don’t worry, there will be no more of that cheesiness here.)

I am 38 years old, and weighed nearly 300 pounds six months ago. It was unhealthy, it was horribly embarrassing and, quite frankly, depressing. I am a fairly successful person. I have a graduate degree, I have a great career, and I am very happily married to a wonderful, handsome, and caring man (I really do have the best husband on the planet). I can achieve anything I put my mind to; especially if someone tells me I can't….well, almost anything. Until about 6 months ago, my weight was my big failing. I just couldn’t lose it. Physically, I was miserable. I had terrible migraines, I had all kinds of aches and pains, I felt huge. I got winded walking up stairs; I couldn't lie on my back because I felt like it would go out when I stood up. My cholesterol was dangerously high, I didn't realize it then, but I had absolutely no energy, and I felt worse then I knew I did (I’ll talk about this in a later post). 

Being fat affected me in more ways than just the physical. I was depressed, and embarrassed to be seen in public. I felt like people were judging me, not by who I am or by all of my successes, but by my one failure. I am not lazy, really. I worked my butt off in school and now at work…but I was still fat. I hated shopping for clothes or getting my picture taken. I have always been very outgoing and extroverted, but I found myself becoming more and more withdrawn as I got bigger, and my confidence was completely gone. I would shrink back into the corner in nearly all social situations (including meetings at work). To anyone who has never really struggled with their weight, these things may sound absurd, and not everyone reacts the same way to being overweight – but this is how it impacted me. I felt like I was trapped inside myself and it was awful. 

As of this morning (Jan. 10, 2012), I have lost 83 pounds. My confidence is returning, I love to shop for clothes (which is a bit of a problem), I have much more energy, I feel like my head is more clear, and my aches and pains are disappearing. While I still get migraines, they are not nearly as intense as they used to be. I am a happier person and I don't feel stressed as easily as I used to. I notice benefits all the time that I never considered when I embarked upon my weight loss journey. 

It is important to note that I started my weight loss on a medically supervised weight loss program. Because of that, I lost weight really fast when I started.  I lost 45 pounds medically supervised in 12 weeks, note that losing weight so rapidly is generally not considered healthy, hence the medical supervision. The rest I've lost on my own. One last important thing: If you need to lose weight, talk to your doctor before you attempt a diet of any kind to make sure you won't hurt yourself or make yourself sick.

This blog is just my experience. Everyone is different and different things may work for different people, this is what is working (or not, in some cases) for me.  While I try to be as healthy as I can, I am not a doctor, so do not take my advice as medical advice.