Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 25 - BMI's and Rainy Days

Diet tip of the day: When you're setting a goal weight, check your BMI (Body Mass Index) and check what a healthy BMI for your height would be. You might be closer to a healthy weight than you thought, or you might have a long way to go. Either way, you'll figure out exactly what to aim for and be able to mentally prepare yourself for the battle ahead.

When I set my goal weight, I checked my current BMI. It was NOT pretty. I am definitely in the obese category, which was not a shock to me. I know I am overweight. I'm not someone who has had weight gain sneak up on her. It has taken me years to put on this weight, and I've been well aware of it the entire time. What I WAS surprised to see is that the goal I set for myself is still in the overweight category for BMI. As you all remember, my goal is 175 pounds. For my height, that is a BMI of 26.7, but a healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. But what does all that mean? Basically, a healthy weight for someone my height is between 122 and 163 pounds. I thought about it a lot and almost set my goal weight at 160. I might end up getting to that weight someday. It depends on how hard it is to get to 175, but I am still going to aim for my original goal. I will be more than ecstatic when I hit that weight. Anything beyond that will be (sugar free) icing on the cake.

I'd like to encourage you guys to send me those healthy recipes. My sister must have read my mind, because she sent me a recipe for Avocado Chicken Wraps, which I am really looking forward to trying out, right before I published my post yesterday. If I get a bunch of recipes, I might make a printable healthy eating recipe book for you guys to try out yourself! So if you've got something tasty and healthy in your recipe card box, send it to me at

This morning, after my only class of the day, I decided to try out the first Couch to 5K workout for a third time. I'm still on Week One Day One, which reminds me more and more that I can never let myself get this out-of-shape again. I almost made it through the half hour walk-jog/walk-walk work-out without cheating, but two of the jogging spurts I substituted with walking, so by this next time I do it I should be able to check it off the list and move on. I don't expect to reach 5K status, but I like how much it pushes me. The sirens go off and tell me to "Run Now" and I feel like I've got something to prove. I'm lucky I worked out this morning, even though it was hot and muggy (as hot and muggy as it can be in Wisconsin in April). You see, as I type up this post, it is pouring outside, and the thunder is rattling the windows a bit. I'm glad I exercised earlier, because I would have been out of luck if I'd waiting until now.

I also burned quite a few calories by pushing myself to do most of the work-out, and I stayed on track today with my diet, so I've got plenty of freedom for dinner tonight. It's the night I go out with my boyfriend's family, and I couldn't be more excited. However, I'm going to still aim for something healthy, because I want to make the most of my exercise. I need to remember that my goal isn't to eat the fewest calories or to give myself the most calories with my exercise. My goal is to burn the most calories on my original calorie budget. My goal is to eat healthy and work out to get even healthier. My goal is to BE a healthy person.

For an exercise tip, how about something to get you guys outside? All of my exercises have been indoor exercises, as if we have to be ashamed that we're dieting. I struggled today before I went out to run, because I wondered what people would think if they saw me, a 264.4 pound woman, running outside. Then I realized, the worst they could think is, "Wow! SHE'S exercising?" YES. I am exercising. I am aware of my current state and that is exactly why I am exercising. It's not like I'm going out and filling up my plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I'm doing something GOOD for my health. I encourage you all to get outside and make people react. Make people notice that you're doing something good for yourself. Take a walk around the block. Take a walk around your yard even! Get outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. Be proud that you're doing something for your health and for your happiness!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 24 - Burgers and Recipe Cards

Diet tip of the day: Make sure you're checking the Nutritional Info on the packages you pick out at the store. Just because it says low fat or low calorie doesn't guarantee it's good for you. Super lean ground beef and ground turkey can have almost identical nutritional value, so you might not have to sacrifice the things you love for the sake of your health.

The weather is beautiful! And what goes better with beautiful weather than cooking out? I think I have a special gift for picking up the smell of burgers on the grill from miles away. Needless to say, I've been having quite the craving for burgers lately, so last night was the night to finally cook some up. I looked online at a couple of websites to find a healthy recipe, and I ended up picking an Italian-inspired burger. We didn't end up topping them with marinara sauce, just to cut down on calories, but we did stuff them with shredded mozzarella and basil. It was really easy, too. Instead of dividing the pound of beef into 4 patties, we divided it into 8 mini patties, then put some mozzarella and chopped basil in the center of one patty and put another patty on top, sealing the edges. They only took a few minutes in the frying pan (I know, that's not really grilling out, but it was a little late to grill out by the time we finished grocery shopping), and they were delicious!

I'm not sure if anybody else has had this experience, but my boyfriend's smoke alarm HATES him. Everyone else in his apartment can go about their business, leave the oven open, fry chicken in a pan, put a burning tray of fries directly under the smoke alarm (okay maybe not) and not even a peep. My boyfriend starts to turn the dial to preheat the oven and the alarm is blaring. So, last night, we had quite the symphony of smoke alarm sirens and South Park being turned up more and more in the background to accompany our cooking experience. In the end, my boyfriend threw a towel at the smoke alarm and it finally gave up the fight, but even in the midst of all that commotion, we had a great time making that meal.

I'd like to ask you all to do me a favor. Send me your best healthy recipe, whether it's beef, chicken, breakfast, dinner, or dessert, I want to hear what your favorite healthy recipe is and exactly how to make it. So, e-mail your recipe to and I'll try them out and post about my experiences making and eating your suggestions. Please please please send me your recipes, because I would absolutely love to add to my options.

Now, as far as my diet goes, this is where it stops being easy. Note, I didn't say it's getting hard, I'm just not going to be losing 7-8 pounds a week. I don't expect that, especially because of how hard I would have to work in order to keep up that kind of weight loss. So I need to accept the fact that I will be seeing lower numbers (or I guess higher numbers than I expect to see...) from here on out. It's not going to come to me as easily, and I'm going to have to really use dieting and exercising to my advantage, not just one or the other. I've found that, for me, having a relaxed diet and exercising more helps me maintain my weight, but not lose weight. On the other hand, a really strict diet and no exercise is more successful for me, but can only work for a short period of time. I'm going to try to exercise like I'm not dieting and diet like I'm not exercising. We'll see how that works out for me when I weigh in next week. I still have a weigh in tomorrow, and I'm expecting to have lost about 3 pounds, 4 at the most.

For an exercise today, try doing some forward lunges to strengthen your leg muscles. If you want to make it an arm work-out, too, grab some light weights and lift them straight out to your sides as you go down into your lunge, or just leave them straight down to add some extra weight to your lunge.

Remember to send me your recipes!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 22 - Chinese Takeout and Lady Gaga

Diet tip of the day: Break away from your daily or weekly routine. If you always have chicken one day or beef on another, try something different. If you're really busy on Wednesday and tend to get fast food, make your meal a night or two before and stick it in the freezer until you're ready to heat it up. You'll thank yourself later when you are skinnier and your wallet is fatter.

Every Thursday night starting in the Fall of 2008, my boyfriend, one of our friends, and I would order Chinese food from the same take-out place and watch Survivor and The Office. I wasn't a fan of Survivor, and my boyfriend didn't like The Office at first, but now we both enjoy the tradition. We'd almost always get the exact same thing. I would get Orange Chicken or Sesame Chicken with fried rice, my boyfriend would get either Orange Chicken or Beef Tips, and our friend (the spicy food champ) would always get General Tso's Chicken. After a while, we'd add crab rangoon (one of my big favorites). Then it was sweet rolls for dessert. Soon enough, our bill was $13 a person, if not more some nights. Every single week... that adds up.

With the start of this diet, we cut out Thursday night Chinese (though our Survivor/Office tradition has remained), and we are noticing a big difference. On top of just cutting out Chinese food, we've been eating a lot less and making our food budget go a lot further for us. With all the money we've saved the past month or so, my boyfriend informed me he made a big purchase that he couldn't have made if we weren't dieting. He bought us Lady Gaga tickets! And not just any tickets. These tickets are for a show in my hometown on the night of our two year anniversary! I can't describe how excited I am.

It just goes to show how much money you really do save from cutting out all the excess junk in your life and in your diet. You can enjoy your traditions without sacrificing your healthy eating. This week, I'm going to try to make some Chinese-inspired cuisine for Thursday night's dinner. Maybe some real orange infused chicken instead of sticky, gooey fake orange slop. We'll have to see what ends up on the menu.

The results of the dieting poll are in! A lot of you said that carbs are what pull you off your diet track, which salty foods coming in a close second. Salt and carbs often go hand in hand. A lot of starches are salted for flavor. I'm not much of a sweet-tooth myself (I've got more of a taste for everything than I should...), so I too fall victim to carbs the most often. No matter what your vice, find something to substitute. Try soy chips instead of potato chips, sugar free candy instead of a chocolate bar (though we all know the dangers of going overboard on sugar free candies). Find a healthier alternative and stay on track! :)

And for an exercise, try increasing your walking speed a bit while you're on your way to class, work, your house, or some other destination. Even while you're grocery shopping you could pick up the pace. It will give you more time to do what you need to get done and burn a few more calories if you get your heart pumping a little more.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 21 - Peruvian and Parking Spaces

Diet tip of the day: Dress the body you have today, not the body you had 3 months ago. I fall into the category of wearing clothes that fit me last year but don't now. Of course you'll feel bad about your body if you're not being realistic. Waiting until you lose the weight to buy clothes that fit you will leave you frustrated day in and day out. Instead of being a motivator, your skinny jeans end up making you even more upset.

I didn't post yesterday, and I know you all are wondering why. I had such a crazy day! I woke up and started my day with the first Couch to 5K workout. It's a 5 minute warm-up, followed by 20 minutes of 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking alternating, and then 5 minutes of cool-down. I am sooooo out of shape. I kept up with it for the first half, but then I just power-walked the rest of it. So, I'm still on Week One Day One, but it will take some time to get in shape, so I'm not too worried.

Then, I worked from 10:30 to 7. I'm not complaining about how long it was because I had the day off on Friday and only worked half my shift on Saturday before being sent home early. But if I'm being honest, that's a hard shift when you're standing and ringing people up. On my lunch break, my boyfriend told me to call him when I got off work, go home, and put on a nice outfit because he had a surprise for me. About 40 minutes before my shift ended, he came in to buy some candy for his girls soccer team, and he told me that we had reservations at 8. He said it sounded like I wasn't having a great weekend, so he wanted to make it better.

Needless to say, I was excited. On my last break, I bought this cute dress I'd been waiting to buy. It finally went on sale, and I was really excited to see that I could buy it in a smaller size than I would have if I had bought it when it was full price. That's a victory in two ways! When I got home, I couldn't wait to run upstairs and change into my new dress and go out to wherever my boyfriend was taking me. I opened the garage door under my apartment, and somebody was in my spot. My spot! Number 9, the the number on the sticker on MY car. I wrote down their license plate number and called the apartment company, but it was a Sunday, so they were closed. I wrote a short note to the person parked in my spot, which contained no profanity, and called my boyfriend. He parked my car on the street while I got ready to go.

We started driving and arrived only minutes later at a beautiful Peruvian restaurant. We had an appetizer of tilapia ceviche, which was quite spicy, but delicious, and I had a dish with beef tenderloin, a raw onion salad, a bean and potato mixture, an egg, and a fried plantain. Luckily, that workout and the extra calories I burned working that morning made me break even on my calorie count for the day. Sometimes it's okay to indulge, as long as it's a special occasion. That restaurant is one of my favorites, and we don't get to go there often because of the price, so if I get a chance to go there, I won't go crazy, but I will order something I will enjoy. And now, my boyfriend and I are going to go for a long walk to burn off some extra calories today to make up for yesterday.

Now, for a work-out tip... Don't do this at the top of the stairs, but this is a good one to do on the stair above a landing or the first step up from the bottom. I told you how to do calf raises while you're doing the dishes. This is another calf work-out. Step up onto the stair with the back halves of your feet hanging off the edge. Make sure you steady yourself and have something to hold on to. Lower your body weight so that your heels dip lower than your toes. Raise yourself up so your heels are even with your toes again, and repeat 10-15 times. You can step down and do some calf-raises to mix it up. Enjoy your beautifully sculpted calves!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 19 - Broken Windows and Crazylegs

Diet tip of the day: The next time you're tempted to stop at a fast food place for something quick to eat, stop at a grocery store instead. Most places have pre-made deli sandwiches that are a lot healthier than anything you'd get at a drive-thru. Skip the soda and grab a personal skim milk, apple juice, or water. It might take you a few extra minutes, but it will save your body in the long run.

I drive a Saturn that was made in the late 90's. It's a good car, or at least it hasn't broken down on me, yet. There's only one problem: the driver's side door. The inside panel is missing, and the window is extremely problematic. It will go down 1/3 of the way, then make a terrible racket like you're putting a pen into a pencil sharpener, then you have to push it down by hand, and it will go down another third of the way and do the same thing. I'm always too afraid that it will stay down and I'll be caught in the rain with my window wide open. It's a little inconvenient, but I can't tell you how many times it has saved me from going through the drive-thru to get food. I really can't remember a time where it hasn't stopped me. And then, I have to reevaluate... do I want to go in, spend money, even though my back hurts from working all day? Or do I want to go home and make something in my jeans? I always end up picking the latter, sometimes not because it's healthier, but just because I'd rather wear jeans than my work pants and relax on the couch while I eat my dinner.

There's a race going on outside my apartment. It's called the Crazylegs race, and it happens every year around our campus. It seems like it rains every single year on the day of the Crazylegs race, and this year is no exception. I always feel so bad for those people, walking for miles on the cold, wet streets of what is usually a quite beautiful city. But today, as I was driving home from work (earlier than I expected), I thought to myself, "Why should I feel sorry for them?" They looked happy. They looked healthy. And they looked like they were having a really great time sharing a great experience with their friends and family. I should be feeling sorry for myself, not in the melodramatic, mopey kind of way, but in the sense that I know I couldn't do what they're doing.

I'd like to change that, and I am changing that! I'm down 15 pounds, and I'm on a mission. I know I can get in shape and walk a Crazylegs race of my own. Even though I won't be in this city next year, I'm sure I can find a race to participate in. I think it would be a great way to celebrate my weight loss when I've reached my goal. So I'm going to plan on participating in a charity walk next spring. There's always a walk for breast cancer in my hometown and it's a big enough city to even start up a walk. What if I could get enough people together to have a walk to prevent childhood obesity or even just to raise awareness about obesity in America. I'll have to look into it and see if something like that already exists, but I think it would be a great project to work on. Think of all the groups that could get involved! Weight Watchers groups, the Diabetes associations, the American Heart Association... obesity causes so many health problems. I'm sure a lot of groups would want to get involved.

But how about an exercise for today? You know how much I hate my underarm jiggle. Here's another exercise for that. Get down on your hands and knees. Put a small weight (1, 2, or 3 pounds depending on what you feel comfortable with) in your right hand. Support yourself with your left hand and your legs, and pull your right arm to your side so that it forms a right angle, with your upper arm horizontal and your forearm vertical. Extended your arm backwards, straightening it out so that your whole arm is parallel to the ground. Let it down slowly, then repeat. Do this 10-15 times, then switch to the left arm. That should work the backs of your arms, and you can alternate with the couch exercise and the behind the head exercise I added in a previous comment. Good luck! Make sure you give me your feedback about my more recent posts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 18 - Early Mornings and Days Off

Diet tip of the day: Instead of putting your turkey sandwich in a giant roll, wrap it up in a spinach, herb, or sun-dried tomato/basil wrap. You'll cut down on the bulk and the calories.

This morning, I woke up and showered and decided to curl my hair. My hair is naturally wavy, but sometimes I really like to go all out. About half-way through, I realized how much time I was spending to get these lovely locks that I was just going to wash away in the shower tomorrow. Instead of spending an hour on looking good for a day, I should spend 20 minutes running to make myself look better every day. Think of the weight I could lose if I exercised half the time I spend on my hair and make-up and clothes...

I think I'm going to start getting up 10 minutes earlier, going for a short run, showering, and doing minimal make-up. It's not that I couldn't go without make-up, I just enjoy putting it on. So if I cut out any time I usually spend on my hair and half the time I spend on my make-up, I should start dropping the pounds really quickly.

Speaking of which, I figured out the scale situation, I think. I weighed myself this morning when I woke up, which is what I've been suggesting all along. It turns out I've lost more weight than I thought! I weighed myself throughout the rest of the morning, and it seemed pretty consistent. So I'm going to start using the new scale I bought for my official weekly weigh-in. And I'm changing my weight for this week to 267 lbs. Which means I've lost 15 pounds in two and a half weeks! This is a great start to me diet, and I'm really excited to keep this up.

Today, my boss called me and told me they were really slow. She asked if I'd like the day off, and I'm working Saturday and Sunday, so I gladly accepted the offer. I'm going to surprise my boyfriend, who gets off work at 3, and then hopefully we'll take a nice long walk around his neighborhood before dinner with his family.

For exercise, instead of waking up and spending an hour on your hair, go for a quick walk or do some stretches in your living room. Stretching in the morning will wake you up and get all the kinks out before you start your day. It will also relax your muscles and give you a pleasant morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 17 - Clearance Items and Poptarts

Diet tip of the day: Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time each time you do it. If you weigh in one week at 3pm and one day right after your lunch, it will really throw off your numbers. Also, don't step on the scale every day. Your weight can fluctuate a lot over the course of the week, so just pick 1 day for your official weigh in. If you want to check your progress, do it mid-week, not the day before. If you haven't lost weight for most of the week, you'll end up obsessing all day about it.

I bought a new scale yesterday. I've been using the one at work, and that complicates my weighing in times. I try to weigh myself right before my shift starts, but some days I eat lunch at work and sometimes I eat before work. So I decided to go buy a scale. Luckily, I work at a store that has such things, so I headed over to the fitness area and found the endcap with bathroom scales. I picked one out, turned around to leave, then noticed there was a clearance endcap with scales. I thought I'd lucked out and bought a really nice glass surface with lithium batteries and a blue and green design. When I weighed myself, it registered 276.4. I was upset to say the least. Have I really weighed more than I thought in the first place? But when I stepped off, it registered "4.8" on the screen. I thought it was funny, so I tried it again. Same result and same "4.8" when I stepped off. I subtracted 4.8 from 276.4 and wouldn't ya know it, it was 271.6... exactly what I weighed in as at work. I'm thinking it was on clearance because you can't zero out the weight of the 4.8 pound glass surface. So I guess I'll have to subtract 4.8 from each of my weigh-ins from now on. Oh well. I can handle a little mental math if it means more accurate results.

With the scale, I bought some Special K strawberry Fruit Crisps. They taste like a thinner, crispier version of a Poptart. I have to say, I am a big fan, and I'm really glad I'm finding more healthy options for my daytime snacking. I've also up'd my daily snacks from 1 snack bar and a protein water to 2 snack bars. The protein waters make me feel more full, but I don't know that they should be enjoyed as a snack.

I just want to thank everyone for responding to my posts. I really appreciate it a whole lot, and I love reading your comments. Please keep inviting people to check out my blog and keep commenting. Just a quick note, I know I've made a Facebook group for inviting people to my blog using my own personal profile, but I'm still trying to keep this anonymous. Even though my family and friends know this is me, there's a lot of weight discrimination out there, and I'm trying to be careful that this can't be traced back to me. Even though I'm not an advocate of being overweight, in fact, I'm trying to lose weight. However, it's really important to me right now to keep my anonymity so that I can be as candid as I am with you guys. I really appreciate it.

And for today's workout tip, if you're shopping, find a parking spot farther away from the door than you usually do. The few extra steps are good for you, and someone else might need the closer spot more than you do. You don't have to park at the back of the lot, just don't pick the first spot you see. Good luck! Remember to answer the question about ab work-outs from my last post. I'm still looking for tips from you all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 16 - One Tenth

Diet tip of the day: If you feel frustrated with a diet, change it up. If you try to force yourself to eat something day in and day out, you're more likely to break your diet completely than if you give yourself a little leniency from time to time. Allow yourself to have that really fatty thing you want, but have it as a side, not the main event of your meal. Plus, 1 cup of lettuce is only 10 calories, and you'll end up more satisfied with a plate full of salad than the tiny sliver of 5 cheese lasagna you'd get for the same amount of calories.

I am going through the moment I dreaded: the time that I realize I cannot and will not eat cereal for 14 of my 21 meals a week. It's funny this should happen exactly 2 weeks after we started the diet, and that they recommend you only do it for 2 weeks. Do you think they planned it that way? "Let's see how long we can get people to eat our cereal for the majority of their meals and then build a diet around it!" Well, I am certainly not complaining. My looser fitting jeans are a testament to how well the program works.

But I know how frustrating diets can be, especially when they are strict or monotonous. I think I was a senior in high school when my family tried Nutrisystem. My mom, my dad, and I would get our huge box of food for the month or two months or whatever it was, and every day we would pick out our meals from those boxes. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert/snack. This wouldn't have been a problem if they hadn't kept on running out of my favorites. I'd go to my box and dig for macaroni and cheese. (You saw my last post. It's my weakness.) And what did I find? Let's see... stir fry, stir fry, stir fry, dehydrated burger, dehydrated burger, rubbery chicken, rubbery chicken, stir fry, stir fry, black bean thing that explodes in the microwave every single time, stir fry. By the way, I hate peppers, so stir fry is my enemy.

At the time, I was also taking a medication for my PCOS that causes a lot of nausea. One night, I sat down in front of my box, trying to muster the strength to pick something, and I remember reaching for things, then pulling my arm back, knowing I couldn't do it. I felt absolutely sick to my stomach to even think about eating one of those meals for dinner. I was gaining weight from all the sodium in those prepackaged meals, and I was worse off than where I started. I just started crying right there on the living room floor.

When you feel defeated by a diet, it's the worst feeling. You wonder why you're torturing yourself and not getting results. It breaks you down psychologically when you can't achieve even the smallest of goals. I know what it's like, which is why this time I am refusing to let my confidence by shaken or to be deterred from my weightloss path.

And now for the weigh in. I don't know if I said this in an earlier post, but I was definitely thinking that I didn't lose any weight this week. So, I admit it, I prayed when I stepped on the scale today. Even after eating my big meal of the day (a salad w/ 1/2 slice of turkey, 6 whole wheat crackers, 1 Tbs thous. island dressing, and an apple), I lost weight.

My current weight: 271.6 lbs
Weight lost this week: 2.6 lbs
Weight loss total: 10.4 lbs
Pounds to lose: 96.6 lbs

As one of my roommates pointed out, I'm about one tenth of the way to my goal. I'm really pleased with my weight loss this week. I noticed today that I wasn't hungry when my break came around at work (I actually forgot about it and ended up having to take it 30 min before my shift was up!) and I didn't feel sore or tired after work at all.

My boyfriend and I are going to go for a walk tonight, either once around the block and eat cereal for dinner or a long walk to the center of campus to eat something healthy there.

For my exercise tip, I'm throwing you guys a question. My stomach is a problem area. I have a big ol' saggy belly and a big ol' droopy gut. How do I make sure I target my upper and lower abs? What is your best or favorite ab workout? How do you keep you prevent a tubby tummy?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 15 - Mongolian and Macaroni

Diet tip of the day: When you want to go out for dinner, go somewhere where you can build your own meal. I'm not talking about an all-you-can-eat buffet, but instead a Mongolian BBQ style place. Flattop Grill and BD's Mongolian are two great places to go. They have low-calorie sauces, and you choose exactly what you put on your plate. You can have chicken or steak, shrimp or calamari, even tofu, then load up on veggies. Most of these places have low calorie sauce options (like my favorite at BD's, Mongolian Ginger) and even some options for people with food allergies. Just try to remember what you put in your bowl.

Can you guess where I went for lunch yesterday? BD's Mongolian! I had a 15% off coupon from my work, so my boyfriend and I went to enjoy a healthy and filling meal. That was the first time I've had red meat since I started this diet, which I don't think is technically cheating, but I got a little over exited about the NY Strip. I like to make a sauce using their Mongolian Ginger, Lemon, and Sweet Orange Peel sauces and add a little ginger and cayenne pepper from their spice selection. I am almost positive those other two sauces aren't low calorie, so I'm gonna have to work off those calories this week.

I also broke my diet last night, which I am not proud of. It was homemade macaroni and cheese night at my boyfriend's house. Can you blame me? Well, yes, you can. That's why I'm telling you... so I'll actually do the exercise to work it off. I didn't have a whole plateful. I actually filled up my plate with salad and light Thousand Island dressing. But I'm sure the little bit of Mac n Cheese I ate will have me on the treadmill or exercise bike when I step on the scale tomorrow.

That's my main thought today. I don't think I've lost anything this week. I haven't been as strict with my diet this week as I was the first week. I don't expect to lose 8 pounds every week. I know I have to be realistic and know that any diet change would cause me to lose the weight I did last week. My parents remind me about the whole water weight concept, and that I might just fall into a rut right away again. So this exercise plan needs to kick into high gear sooner rather than later.

I was looking at the poll about cheating on your diet. I voted that I cheat on my diet with carbs. Why am I surprised that I gave in to the temptation to eat pasta? :)

I'm so glad that more people are becoming followers. Keep on spreading the word! And thanks so much for commenting. I took the advice of one of my followers and made a Facebook group with the same title as the blog so you can invite your friends to check out the blog.

Finally, an exercise tip. If you don't want to walk around the block (whether it's because of a bad neighborhood or unfriendly neighbors), try walking up and down your stairs. When you go upstairs, walk back down and up again. You don't need to buy a Stairmaster to master the stairs in your house.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 14 - Celebrities and Diet Plans

Diet tip of the day: Keep track of your nibbling. A cracker here, 3 M&M's there, licking peanut butter off the knife, 2 potato chips... it all adds up. Make your nibbling count. If you want that little lick of peanut butter, pair it with 3 celery stalks. You'll remember to keep track of your snack and won't need to nibble later.

There are a lot of diet plans that use celebrities in their commercials. Nutrisystem has used Tori Spelling and Dan Marino. Jenny Craig has had Queen Latifa, Kirstie Alley, and Valerie Bertinelli. Weight Watchers has used Jenny McCarthy, Jennifer Hudson, and Fergie (the Dutchess of York, not the singer). Slim Fast has had Kathy Lee Gifford and Whoopi Goldberg. All of these celebrities, for the most part, have had weight loss success. But they are celebrities. They have assistants who can control what they eat and when they eat it. They have personal trainers to whom they pay tremendous amounts of money to keep them on track.

But we are real people with real priorities and real bills to pay. We can't pay someone to manage our weight loss plan. We have to do it ourselves. So we need to stop looking at those celebrities and saying, "I'm on the same plan, why am I not having the same success?" We can't compare ourselves to celebrities. We tell young girls not to compare themselves to models in magazines, why do we compare ourselves to these celebrities and think that we are no more delusional than they are? Let's be realistic with our goals. Do any of those trend diets work for working people? Instead of looking for a quick fix, we need to make smarter choices. Every day. Long term. We need a change in lifestyle.

The reason I started with a tip about nibbling is because that is one of my biggest dieting problems. But nibbling doesn't have to bad thing, as long as you structure your nibbling into something you can keep track of. Last night, dinner at my boyfriend's parents' house was a spread of meats and cheeses with bread. I made a sandwich with one piece of bread, a slice of turkey and a slice of ham and 3 pickles. My nibbling consisted of a few small pieces of brie, white cheddar, and Stilton. My calorie count was under budget, though most of dinner was an approximation. Feel free to nibble, but don't nibble freely.

And now for your suggested exercise. Everyone hates underarm jiggle. To get rid of those built-in punching bags, sit down on the couch and scoot forward to the edge. Plant your hands on the edge of the couch as you inch your way off the couch, then lower yourself down so that your arms form a right angle. Lift yourself, then lower yourself down 5 to 10 times. This is an easy one to do during commercial breaks. Try to do it twice during each break. If you have very little upper body strength like me, you can start by just supporting your weight with stiff arms and work your way into the 90 degree angle.

Good luck! Thanks so much for the comment, Anonymous. Don't be afraid to make a name for me to remember you by. I'd like to keep track of your progress and advice just like you can keep track of mine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 13 - Planning Ahead

Diet tip of the day: If you need or even just want to go out to eat, look online before you go to see what your healthy options are. A salad can be worse than a burger if it has bacon, cheese, tortilla chip crumbles, and loads of dressing. You might have more options than you think.

Yesterday, I went to dinner at Chipotle with a good friend. I ordered a vegetarian burrito bowl with very little toppings. That's basically black beans with cilantro lime rice and pico de gallo, which I know I could make at home quite easily, but it was nice to go on a walk to enjoy the weather and catch up with someone I haven't seen in a while. I burned the extra calories on the walk there, so I don't feel guilty about it.
I looked up the information on my Restaurant Nutrition app on my iPod touch. They have information for fast food places as well as nicer sit-down restaurants, and it helps to know ahead of time how much exercise to plan on doing later in the day. I also recommend picking out a few things you can have rather than setting your heart on one thing. If it's only offered at lunch time or during a particular season, you're out of luck.

I ended up with 1,290 calories yesterday, but I burned 200 calories walking and doing some stretching exercises. I think I'm going to stop trying to compensate for my food choices with exercise and start eating like I'm not exercising so that my exercise pushes my weight loss into high gear. Now that it's nice out, I should have a much easier time going outside and getting active.

Tonight, I am eating dinner with my boyfriend's family. They'll be getting back from the soccer tournament around dinner time, so I'm not sure if we're going out to eat or having the usually Sunday night roast. Either way, I'll have to be very aware of everything I'm putting on my plate.

I'm hoping more people start to follow me on my journey. I'm a little disappointed that I don't have more feedback about it. I don't expect 10 comments a day and an extreme amount of followers, but I thought I would have a little more support by now. If you have a comment, please leave it. I would really appreciate feedback in any capacity.

As for exercise, when you're doing the dishes or making dinner, do some calf raises. It's as simple as going up on your toes 5-10 times in a row, taking a 30 second break, and doing a few more repetitions. If you want, you can alternate with a 10 second squat. (If you're just starting out, use the counter for balance.)
Good luck, and remember to give me your feedback.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 12 - Workin' 9 to 5

Diet tip of the day:
Pamper yourself, especially your face. It's easier to love your body when your skin is soft and your smile is bright.

In my Intro Psychology class my freshman year of college, we learned that you can actually make yourself happy by smiling. Even if you're faking it, you trick your body into feeling better. I think my face has a natural frown to it (especially when I'm driving), so I have to remember to smile throughout the day to lift my spirits. Try it! I mean it. Try it right now and see if you feel better.

Today, I'm working 9 to 5, standing the whole time (with the exception of my break). This usually leaves my lower back pretty sore. One of my goals in this weight loss journey is to improve how my body feels after simple tasks. I'm only 20, and I have back problems. That should definitely not be the case. I've heard that for every pound you lose, you take 10 pounds of pressure off of your knees. Who wouldn't want that?

I totaled up my calories on the Lose It! app yesterday, and it said I hit 1,348 before subtracting my exercises, so I think I'm going to post my meal diaries at the end of the day instead of the beginning, just to keep it consistent.

I must be off. Work starts soon. Remember to keep smiling. Seriously! Smile again, right now! :) Enjoy your day.

And for an exercise tip, I found an app called Couch to 5K. It's a 9-week workout plan that starts out easy and gets you up to being able to run a 5K. I'm going to try it this summer. I'd be interested to hear what you guys think of it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 11 - On My Own

Diet Tip of the day:
Don't forget to satisfy the chocolate addict inside you.

This is mainly aimed at the ladies out there, but I think it applies to everyone. For several years, I had a bad reaction whenever I ate chocolate on an empty stomach. I would get terrible migraines and couldn't function for the rest of the day. Years later, I still don't know what it is about chocolate that gives me problems, but I've figured out how to satisfy my chocolate cravings without the backlash.

This morning, I ate a bowl of Special K Chocolate Delight cereal. The chocolate pieces aren't overwhelmingly rich, and a bowl is only 160 calories (with 1/2 cup of skim milk). It's a perfect chocolate fix, especially while dieting.

And now for today. It is Friday! Usually, on Fridays I eat dinner with my boyfriend's family, but this weekend they are going to Iowa for the girl's soccer tournament his team is competing in. So I'm on my own tonight for dinner. Normally, I would eat my daily meal for lunch because it gives me the energy I need to get through my day; but on Fridays I have a meal bar at work instead. Tonight I'm going to make myself some tilapia with rice and veggies.

So here's my plan for the day:
For breakfast, Special K Chocolate Delight cereal [(3/4 c) 120 cal] with skim milk [(1/2 c) 40 cal].
Snack #1 is a Special K Chocolate Peanut snack bar [110 cal].
For lunch, a Special K Chocolate Chip meal bar [170 cal] with a banana [90 cal].
Snack #2 is a Special K Iced Tea protein water mix [30 cal]. These things don't taste like dieting drinks and they keep you full. They have 5g of fiber and 5g of protein and are easy to drink while I'm working.
For dinner, some Tilapia [(3.5 oz) 100 cal] seasoned lightly with black pepper and lemon juice, cooked in olive oil [(1 Tbs.) 120 cal] with white rice [(1 cup) 260 cal], 4 carrots [50 cal], and 1 cup of blackberries [60 cal].
And finally dessert. A Yoplait Boston Creme Pie yogurt [100 cal].

That brings my daily total to 1250 calories. But look at how much I get to eat!

I'm hoping to go for a nice walk after dinner to make sure that I don't eat my big meal and then let it sit for the rest of the night. The forecast says low 60's, so maybe a walk around campus would be nice. I'll aim for 30-45 min. I read a tip that said you should make a playlist on your iPod to walk to, making every third song a faster pace so that you get your heart pumping without wearing it out in one short burst.

Your feedback is very welcome. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Journey Begins

Well this is it. This is the time when I realize just what I've done to myself. Let me start by explaining just what brings me to this point in my life.

I have struggled with weight my whole life. As a friend of mine jokes, "I've been on a diet since grade school." For me, it started on the last day of 4th grade. I told my parents we needed to diet that summer because I was sick of being made fun of. That next Saturday, we started Weight Watchers. I weighed in as a 144-pound 10 year-old and spent the next two years losing over 20 pounds, reaching my goal weight of 120 pounds just before starting 7th grade, having grown about 5 inches. I felt and looked healthy, but when I returned to school in Fall, the boys still teased me. They called me "Man Cow" and moo'd at me whenever I entered a room. I was devastated, and gained back every last pound by the time I went to high school.

This is where my weight gain kicked into high gear. By my sophomore year, I was up to 160 pounds, despite being an active member of my high school show choir. My junior year I hit 180 pounds, and was soon diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a reproductive disorder that can either cause or be caused by obesity. My senior year, I researched PCOS to find that there are serious reproductive and health consequences involved with this disease, including a high risk of diabetes. People with PCOS also have a harder time losing weight. A specialist I saw put it this way: "A person with PCOS can eat half the amount of food as a normal person and not lose a pound." I lost control of my weight at that point, reaching 215 pounds by graduation. My freshman year of college I reached 250 pounds, and promised myself to take my dieting seriously over the summer. Unfortunately, my boyfriend tore his ACL and needed to have surgery, putting him out of commission for the whole summer and making it a chore just to get him outside. My summer was spent indoors, either working or watching movies with him. Not only did I not lose any weight, I kept gaining steadily, and on April 5th, 2010 during my sophomore year of college, I reached my highest weight, just over 280 pounds.

Here is what changed everything. I went home for Easter the weekend before, and my sister suggested that I try the Special K diet, saying that she had lost 6 pounds in one week. I needed a jump start, and I needed something so structured that I couldn't cheat. I talked to my boyfriend, who agreed we should start it as soon as we could go grocery shopping. One week into the diet, I am down 8 pounds, currently at 274 pounds. We plan on continuing with the Special K plan for a month (twice the recommended 2 weeks) or until we run out of all the cereal we bought at the beginning.

Once classes are over, we are going to continue on a more relaxed form of the diet, substituting cereal for dinner a few times a week instead of every day. We will also add regular exercise into the mix.

My goal is to lose over 100 pounds. My ideal weight is 175 pounds, and I hope to meet that goal within a year and a half. This goal is lofty, but I need to aim high to push myself.

I will be posting my weight 1 to 2 times a week, because if I learned anything from Weight Watchers, it's that you will drive yourself crazy if you're on the scale every two hours. I will also post my daily food diary with nutritional information provided by the Lose It! app for iPod Touch.

Please leave comments, join my diet plan, suggest exercises or recipes, and join my support system. I am dedicated to kicking this over-eating habit and changing my life around.