Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another Fresh Start

Boy, it has been a while! Let me explain. In the last few weeks, my dad had to have emergency surgery to remove a flesh-eating virus and the tissue it managed to destroy in the time it was in his body. I've also moved home and changed jobs. My life is completely different from what it was last month. It's been a bit hard to adjust to, not going home to the same bed, not seeing my boyfriend every day, living in a different city, seeing different faces at work (in a high-volume store where there isn't as much time to get to know your co-workers), and having a completely different work schedule (opposite of my boyfriend's). I would have been blogging about the whole thing, but I left my charger at my apartment, so I haven't really been on the computer at all until now.

I've been through a lot of changes this past month, but I'm going to restart my weight loss journey and keep the changes coming. Now I'm going to start making a work-out schedule for myself. Not just an "oh, I'll work out when I have time" kind of schedule. I real schedule. The days I work a later shift (until 5, 6, or 7) I will work out at 8 am, either taking a walk/run or doing some lifting exercises. On the days I work in the morning and get off between 2 and 4, I'll work out after I get home and eat a healthy dinner.

It's weird, because I'm not just shopping for myself, now. When I go to the grocery store, I will have a list for my mom, too. But I am thinking about trying to cook some meals in advance and keep them refrigerated for us. Homemade soups, pasta with shrimp or chicken, some healthy beef and pork dishes... At least for dinner. A lot of days when I work, I have only a 15 minute break, so a full meal is hard to get in. But I think if I spend a morning cooking up some meals for the week, it will help me avoid buying something quick and fatty.

So I've got a plan for exercising, a plan for working out, and now I just need a plan for remembering to take all of my medication and vitamins so I can start feeling healthy and being healthy. I'm on two prescription medications for my PCOS, and I take a multivitamin, but I think I might start taking Acai again. We'll see.

I'm enjoying moving around my room and finally making it a place I can call MY room. I used to live in the basement in my house, but I didn't have the whole floor to myself. One half is our laundry and storage room, and half of my half was the computer room. So I really only had a small corner of the downstairs. Now, I've got the whole top level, which used to be my sister's room before she got married. Part of the remodeling we'll be doing is moving all of the exercise equipment into one room where we can all exercise whenever we want to. (The original plan was to leave it in my room, which would be inconvenient for everyone.)

Right now, my mom and I are trying to get ready for my dad to come home from the hospital, and it's helping us get a lot more done than we usually would. My boyfriend and I mowed the lawn and cleaned off our patio yesterday, and I think I'm going to try to make everything perfect in the patio area, so we can possibly have some people over in the future. We've never been a party-hosting family. I can't remember the last time we had company. Hopefully, we can change that.

Well, I'm going to leave it at that for now. I am anxious to go visit my boyfriend. I am happy to be back at the blog. I hope you're happy to have me back.

Help me rename my posts. I don't think I should start over with Day 1, but I don't think I should keep up the count. What do you think?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 60 - Rough Rapids

I'm going to take a break from the normal format, because I haven't been doing well on my diet. My life has been quite stressful lately, and I haven't even stepped on the scale for fear of the imminent disappointment.

First off, I wasn't getting the hours I needed at work, which I think I mentioned in my last post, so I started looking for a store to transfer to in the city I'm moving back to for school. Fortunately, I found a store that can give me the hours I'm looking for. Unfortunately, they need me right away, so my first day is June 13th. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'm going to love it. It's just that this has been my favorite job that I've ever had. I'm transferring to another store within the same company, so I'll at least get to stay in the wonderful company culture that I've become such a part of, but I am going to really miss my bosses. This is the first job I've had where I was only working with one person at a time pretty much every day, and I feel like I've gotten really close with them and really improved as a person as a result. When I got off the phone with my will-be-boss and realized how soon I'd be leaving my current job, I got a little teary-eyed. I will really miss working with the amazing ladies at my job.

This job relocation also means that I will be moving back to my hometown 2 months earlier than originally expected... two months that I will be apart from my boyfriend during. I know we will visit each other at least once a week, but that will be a drastic change from the past year and a half or so. I met my boyfriend at college, and we started dating only a few days after meeting at our dorm orientation. He lived on the same floor of my dorm as I did. The building was an "L" shape with boys in one wing and girls in the other, and he was in the last room to the left and I was in the last room to the right. We lived only yards away from each other for those 8 or so months, then I got my current job at the end of the school year, and I ended up moving in with his family because my apartment fell through. This past year, we ended up in apartments on the same city block, so I haven't been away from him much at all since we started dating. We've been kind of inseparable, especially since summer started, and we only spend our working, sleeping, and his coaching hours apart. The might sound weird, but we're definitely best friends, and I love hanging out with him. It doesn't get old. So, this will definitely be quite the adjustment.

On top of all the changes, my dad went into the emergency room yesterday with a severe infection and an unknown virus. I'm not going to go into detail for the sake of his privacy, but it's looking pretty serious. He was admitted to the hospital last night, and it looks like he might have to stay there for several days. I'm trying not to worry about him, but anything that keeps you hospitalized definitely deserves some concern. If you all could send up some prayers, I would really appreciate it.

So, needless to say, I'm going through a lot at the moment, and I'm letting it distract me a lot from my weight loss. I've got so much to do, so much to figure out, so much to plan out, and it all pushes my dieting and exercising out of the way. So I hope you guys will excuse me for my lack of dedication the past week. I really need to kick my butt again. I don't want my little bit of success to just be a flash in the pan and nothing more. I want to keep the fire lit so I can keep losing. Maybe being home and only working will help me. I'll be so bored that I'll want to exercise? But I'm not going to wait for that. I keep saying this or that will motivate me and waiting to see if it does. I'm done with that. I need to get motivated NOW. I hope you guys will be patient with me and help me through this stressful time.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 55 - Life Expectancy and Life Changes

Diet tip of the day: Take inspiration from the good and the bad things around you. Let the success of others push you forward, and take it seriously when someone else suffers from a health situation.

This past weekend, I called my mom to check in and see how everyone was doing. She informed me that one of her friends from our old church passed away, possibly from diabetes related complications. It is tough to deal with a friend dying, but it's even worse when you share some of the same health struggles as they did. Several of my family members either have or are at risk of having diabetes, and my mom is no exception. It makes me worry. I don't know how close in age my mom and her friend were, but it doesn't really matter. She passed away years before she needed to, and it made my mom and I have a serious talk about getting in shape. I told her she had the choice to live 10 more years, 20 more years, or 30 more years. It's up to her, but I want her around. And before I go any further, this was not a reprimand. She is not ignorant to the fact that she needs to get healthy. We share the ability to make excuses though. I can list 10 reasons why I can't lose weight, but I'm not going to accept them anymore.

My mom and I essentially made a pact to kick each other's butts into shape when I move back. I need encouragement and so does she, so I think me moving back will be very beneficial for both of us.

Speaking of moving home, I might be doing that sooner rather than later. I've been losing hours at work, and there is an immediate need at a store in my hometown, so it might be best for me to transfer to that store mid-June rather than mid-August. It will be hard for my boyfriend and I, mainly because we haven't been apart for even a week since we started dating, but then he'll be moving into an apartment there for the next two years of school. This also isn't the summer I was expecting, but I will do what I have to in order to make enough money for tuition next year.

I'm going to try to get better at updating this blog. Instead of being too busy to write, I've really been doing nothing worth writing about. Hopefully that will all start to change soon with the new old living arrangement, new job, and new school. Hopefully, I'll be able to add new healthy body to that list. (Check out the new pictures I'm posting on the left side of the blog. Hopefully you'll start seeing a noticeable change in the next few months.)

Thanks so much for the grilling suggestions. What about healthy dessert for a hot summer night? S'mores are great, but not too great for you. Maybe some fruit popsicles or smoothie recipes.

For exercise, try being a little adventurous. Try something new or go somewhere you've never been and do some exploring.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 49 - Week One of the Summer Program

Diet tip of the day: If a diet isn't working for you, change it up. Just because you had success with it once, doesn't mean you will again. And just because something didn't work for you before doesn't mean it won't this time with your current situation.

Well, it's been a very long week since I posted. I wanted to clear my head and get away from the work of the diet for a while before getting back to the blog and getting down to business. That is not to say I've been taking the week off. I've been getting used to my new schedule, with a lot of free time, and trying to work in a lot of fun exercise. I went to a state park with my boyfriend last Thursday, and we burned over 600 calories hiking for an hour. We had a great time, saw a waterfall and some amazing rock formations, and got a great work out. I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I consider that a little bit of a work out, though I'm not going to for the rest of the summer. I'm going to try to get in a work out before work, because I always feel more energized when I do. Yesterday, we were looking for an apartment for him for the Fall, and before we drove back, we stopped at the zoo and walked around for over 2 hours. That was a great work out because we were enjoying ourselves and sweating quite a bit from the weather. I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life, and I'm still not used to the change over from mid-40's to mid-90's in 3 weeks.

I suggested to my boyfriend that we try doing the Special K challenge again for another two weeks. It worked really well for us the first time, and we've had a long enough break from it. It's time to push our weight loss over the edge. I haven't been weighing myself, because I think I gained a little weight back during exam week. However, I'm not worried about gaining any more, because we are completely cutting out going out to eat and we will be exercising every day. We can't afford to eat out if we want to afford our individual living expenses and tuition costs for next year. I am really excited to lose this weight. I lost almost 20 pounds in 3 weeks last time. My goal is to lose 30 pounds this summer. I think it is very attainable. I need some support, though. I need some encouragement and I need some ideas for cooking out. Grilling can be one of the healthiest ways to cook. The fat drips right off of any meat, and steamed veggies need no added butter.

As far as e-mailing recipes, someone mentioned that it might be better if you could send the recipes anonymously. Can I just say, I understand why that would make sense, but I don't see how I can do that. I already know some of the people who read this, so they have no reason to keep their identities a secret. As for the others who read this, if I don't know who you are, I won't know who you are when you e-mail me. If it makes you feel better, you can always just leave a comment with the recipe. Just know, I'm only after your recipes. Nothing else. :)

As for exercise, plan a fun event that requires walking for your weekend. Go to the zoo, the lake, the park, and make sure your legs get a work out. Enjoy yourself, don't punish yourself!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 41 - Burning Off the Badger Body

Diet tip of the day: When you can't sit down for a full meal, make sure you're filling up on healthy snacks and not convenient, fatty, salty, sugary things that leave you hungry an hour later anyway.

I am DONE with my semester. It feels so amazing. When I submitted my last exam (it was my only class that had its exams online) I actually hopped out of my seat and did a little dance. I cannot express how happy I am that it is summer. It is very slowly setting in that I don't have any studying to do, no exams, no assignments, no papers, and not even so much as a class to go to. I can focus completely on working so I can earn money for school and really enjoying and building on my relationship with my boyfriend.

Last summer could have been very difficult for us, but I think it shaped us into the people we are right now (literally and figuratively). After he tore his ACL and meniscus, it could have put a big strain on our relationship. But it didn't. It brought us really close together. It gave me an opportunity to show him how much I cared about him, how much I was willing to do for him (all while sporting a smile). It also gave him the opportunity to deal with situations that he needed my help for. It put us into an unfamiliar dynamic, and we became really close as a result.

However, this summer, I am really excited to just enjoy each other, with no constraints on where we can go and what we can do. On Tuesday or Thursday, we're going to go to a park that has a waterfall, which I'm really excited about. I've never been to a waterfall before, so I think it will be a lot of fun. We're trying to plan day trips and outings that will include lots of casual walking, so we get in a lot of activity without really feeling it. That's our goal for the summer. We're going to try to get in shape by alternating our work-outs between hard work and lots of fun. We'll get to go swimming, unlike last summer (pools and doctors both hate when partially open wounds go into chlorine). We'll be able to run and play soccer. Can you tell how excited I am to get active and have fun?

I'm really excited to lose all the weight I've gained since coming to college. I'm calling it my Badger Body, because our school mascot is a badger. At my annual check-up before starting my freshman year, I weighed 217 pounds. That means I gained 65 pounds in about 20 months. That is terrible. Absolutely terrible. I'm actually angry at pre-April of 2010 me. I'm not mad at myself, because I know I'm changing and doing what's right and good for me. I am really mad at the old me who let it all happen, and I think that is okay. I think that I need to be upset with that part of me so that I don't let it happen again. I refuse to let the lazy me change my body like that again.

I am happy when I see 263 pounds registering on the scale, something I never expected. I remember when I moved into the 260's. I was really upset, because I had seen my doctor not long before, and she had given me a big lecture about gaining 34 pounds in my freshman year. I don't respond well to lectures. It's not that I tried to rebel against her, I just feel defeated when I get told I'm doing a bad job. So, it's really weird now, having been 282 pounds, 263 pounds looks good on the way back down the scale. But I'm looking forward to the day where I can't believe I was ever 282 pounds, 263 pounds, or even 200 pounds. I know I can do this, because I'm determined like never before.

I still haven't gotten any healthy recipes from anyone. Now that it's summer, I am going to be cooking a lot more. So, I need your help and your recipes. Send your best healthy grilling or not-grilling recipes to so I can try them out!

And for exercise, what's your best belly/gut or thigh exercise?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 36 - Cravings and Olfactory Hallucinations

Diet tip of the day: Know when your cravings are justified. If you have a persistent craving, try to figure out why. Your body might be telling you it's missing something important.

I've been feeling slightly anemic lately for several reasons, the least of which are exam stress and the fact that I haven't really eaten much red meat since the beginning of my diet. I've been taking a multivitamin every day, but realized that it does not have iron in it. So, no wonder I was craving burgers. My body wasn't getting enough iron. My senior year I took a class in Child Development, and we learned that most of the cravings pregnant women get have to do with the fact that they are not getting all the nutrients they need. It's not just pregnant women, though. I'm not going to say I'm in-tune with my body and its needs, I'm just saying that sometimes my cravings make sense. And I'm 100% not pregnant, so don't take that away from this post. :)

Last year in my Intro to Psychology class, we learned about the different kinds of hallucinations that people can experience. Yes, we were talking about mental disorders, but "normal" people can experience them too. I experienced two "Olfactory Hallucinations" today, which are scents you perceive that aren't there. I was reading a book, which prompted one of them. I suddenly smelled the scent of Crayola paint that we used in grade school, the kind that came in a 2 gallon jug. It was strange, because I can't even remember the last time I used that kind of paint, but it has a distinct chalky smell to it. I found it really strange that I could remember something like that, but scents are actually our strongest links to memories. So it's no surprise that the next scent hallucination cheered me up quite a bit. Again, I don't know why, but I suddenly smelled the scent of my mixer at home, that metallic, electric, smell paired with vanilla, flour, and sugar in a mixing bowl. I can't even tell you how badly I want to make cookies, now. I just found it funny that I would experience such strong scent-triggered memories so close in succession.

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post. Exam week is a terrible, terrible time at my school. It's 1pm on a Tuesday and I had trouble finding a seat in the biggest library on campus. However, I finally finished writing my two 4-page history essays. I had a bit of a melt-down during my second one, but my boyfriend pulled me out of it. It's hard when so much of your grade depends on one piece of writing. I am a pro at writing English papers. I am not a fast writer, because I obsess a little on every sentence before I can move on. If my sentence isn't making the best statement it could, I am stuck, frozen, until I can fix it. I also really enjoy adding bits of alliteration into my papers, and I've found that English TA's usually enjoy them, too. So little things can get me really stuck. Imagine how stuck I was when I couldn't come up with one cut and dry answer to why the U.S. got involved in every war it's fought since the Civil War. That's a really broad question. One of two essays I had to cram into 4 pages each. Oh well! I'm done with it. It's in the hands of the TA and the professor.

I hope to keep up with my posting from here on out, or at least not take a 3-day break again. Keep up the feedback. I'm still waiting for healthy recipes!

Exercise tip of the day: Do something relaxing. If you're stressed at work or school, it's not always best to hit a punching bag. Do something that calms you, like doing stretching to soothing music.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 33 - To Burger or Not To Burger?

Diet tip of the day: Pick a diet buddy who will tell you "NO" when you need to hear it. You'll hate them for the moment when they tell you know, but you'll thank them later when you still fit in your jeans.

I'm still in the middle of my exam week, writing two 4-page essays for my History exam. One is about the Cold war and social reform, and the other is about why the U.S. has fought so many wars. Needless to say, they are difficult questions to answer in 4 pages. I worked on my first essay from 10 am to 6 pm with minimal breaks. After that, I felt kind of brain dead, so my boyfriend and I went out to dinner. I spent quite a long time on the drive to the restaurant, while we were waiting to be seated, and while we were waiting to order debating whether or not I should get the burger I was craving. In the past 33 days I have only had beef 4 times. I am a HUGE fan of red meat, so it has been a huge adjustment to mainly eat only fish, chicken, and sliced turkey.

As I sat there, mulling over my options, I asked my boyfriend for permission to break my diet due to the severity of my craving for red meat. He said it would be okay, but each item I asked him about (ribs, sirloin, burger, bacon burger, BBQ burger) he said no. I got frustrated with him and finally ordered a Southwest grilled chicken salad. It took about a second to get over it and go back to being a happy couple, and at the end of the meal, I was happy and satisfied. I am glad I listened to him, because we're going to make some burgers tomorrow for lunch. We have some raw patties in the freezer at his apartment still from the last time we made mozzarella/basil filled burgers, so it will be even easier this time.

I was looking at my Facebook profile picture today. It's a picture of my boyfriend and I when we went to Kentucky last January. It's the first time I've really looked at it since we started dieting, and I can see how much weight he's lost just in his face. I never noticed as he put on the weight with me, but it's so much easier to see on the way back down the scales. I know we'll never look like that again. Just one month of dieting and we've lost a considerable amount of weight. I can't wait to see where we are at the end of summer. I notice my belly getting smaller and my pants fitting better, but I haven't noticed it in my face as much, maybe just because I haven't been too concerned with my face/make-up lately because of all the studying I've been doing. I'm sure I'll start to notice it when I get back into my normal routine.

I was doing some research today during one of my writing breaks, looking up some information for the doctor's appointment I'm going to schedule for the week after school ends. I'm trying to figure out what medications I should ask about for my PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for anyone who hasn't read my older posts), and I read a statistic I hadn't seen before. I was reading about stress and depression as a symptom of PCOS, and the article said that it was unknown whether the depression is caused by biological factors or as a psychological/emotional reaction to other factors. Some of the side effects of PCOS are obesity, acne, and sometimes infertility. But this was the scary part. The article then said that a lot of PCOS patients suffer from depression because of miscarriages they have experienced, and that the miscarriage rate is 45% higher in women with PCOS. I'm not worrying right now, because I'm at least 5 years away from having children. However, it is a scary statistic. But instead of getting upset about it, I'm going to use it as motivation.

My boyfriend and I both love kids and if it is God's will, we will try to have kids about 3 years after getting married, as soon as it is financially possible. If I want to increase my potential to have children, I need to lose weight. One thing my doctor has told me time after time is that losing weight often helps all the symptoms of PCOS, especially fertility. It's not a fix-all, but it will help considerably. So beyond just helping me live a happier, healthier life, losing this weight will give me much better odds of having the family I hope to someday have.

Sorry about all the personal/medical stuff. This was more just something I needed to get off my chest. Plus, it never hurts to be informed, especially considering it's estimated that 1 in 10 women in the U.S. have PCOS.

For exercise, here's one that targets a lot of muscles. Lay on the ground and lift your legs off the ground,keeping them parallel to the ground, but a few inches off it. Lift one knee, keeping the other leg elevated above the ground, then pull your other knee up while simultaneously returning your other leg to hovering position. It will be something like a bicycle, but less circular and without propping your back side up. Repeat 10-20 times, then rest for a minute, and repeat. Try to do it three times. Good luck! Send me your recipes!