Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Along With The Good

Well this is one of those posts I hate to write, but I have to in order to be honest with myself.  This week I have to report a gain, boo.  Not a bad one, and certainly one I will overcome, but still gains have a tendency to get me down.  Last week at our WW meeting, we discussed how the number on the scale can influence us.  I brought up the fact that, as people greet each other at the meetings, I notice everyone responds with their weigh-in results.

"Hey, how are you doing this morning?"
"Terrible, I gained half a pound."

"Hi, are you having a great day so far?"
"Yes, I lost two pounds this week!"

No one ever just says, yeah it's beautiful weather outside and it's the weekend so I'm feeling fantastic!  The lady beside me said that in the past, if she came in and had a gain, she was so disheartened she wouldn't stay for the meetings, she would slink back home.  But she said she realized, those are the most important days to stay for the meetings, and she was not going to let the scale chase her away again. I admit, I've done that before.  Because I also track my weight at home, I know before I even get to the meeting if I've gained or not.  In the past, I would find an excuse not to go to the meeting, because I didn't want to see that weigh-in with the plus sign on it.  Silly, right? Just because I skipped the meeting, doesn't mean I did not have that gain!!

So this will probably be one of those weeks.  Monday morning while I was cleaning up some things in the closet, I leaned over too far to pick up something, and pulled my back.  I have been in agonizing pain ever since, and so stiff and tight I can hardly move.  I've done everything in my power to get through this- Motrin and muscle relaxers, pain patches, heating pad, stretching.  I forced myself to get on the treadmill both Monday and Tuesday, but I could only go at a snail's pace.  Monday I barely got through one mile, and yesterday a little more.  But I was walking so slow, I'm not sure it even registered on my ActiveLink. Needless to say, today I'm showing a three pound gain this week.  I truly haven't eaten very much- intense pain sort of dulls my appetite- so I know it's because I haven't been able to get in my four miles each day.

I've got to get better soon.  In a few minutes I'm going to head to the treadmill, and at this point just leaning over to get my socks and sneakers on is the biggest hurdle.  More than that, I'm trying to get us ready to leave on Friday for our New Orleans trip.  I have lots of chores around the house that I'm behind on because I can't even bend over to pick up one of the cats, much less push a vacuum cleaner.  And tomorrow I have errands in town that I can't put off any longer.  If I wake up on Thursday feeling like this again, I'm not sure what I will do.  My WW meetings are at 8am on Fridays, so as slow as I'm moving, this might be one of those weeks where I have to find my backbone and face the scale anyhow, knowing that it may be a gain.  Or I may just have to cut myself some slack and say, my body just needs to rest this week in order to heal, so don't have a guilt trip if I stay at home on Friday and miss a meeting.

This week I finished my 12-week challenge on my ActiveLink, and the very next day I started a new one.  I had several options to choose from, and I picked the same challenge again, where the ActiveLink will spend the next three months slowly increasing my activity level.  The first challenge, I started off earning 5 points a day and by the time the 12 weeks was up, I was at 7 points a day.  This new challenge will gradually take me from 7 to 9 points by the time it's over.  That will be right around the start of the holiday festivities, so I should be able to sail right through November and December.  That's the plan anyhow!

Here are some of my stats for the first 12-week challenge:

Activity PointPlus® values

Total so far: 499-
This is about the same as walking 3 and a half times the distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Days in the zones
  • 6+    41 Days
  • 4-6   30 Days
  • 2-4   18 Days
  • 0-2   4 Days
  • 3 Days   Base Line
Average goal achievement per day 95%
Highest goal achievement 153% July 22, 2013

Activity increase 30%

Pretty cool!  Can't wait to see the stats for my new challenge!


(It's calling my name, I'd better go and answer...)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Made It!

Above is my Pandora bracelet, one I started several years ago.  But I haven't worn it in a very long time, and that's been a self-imposed decision.

The story of my bracelet was to recognize and celebrate my weight loss.  I started the bracelet back when I was 245.  For every five pounds I lost, I got a new charm.  Yes, it's a pricey reward, but dammit I'm worth it!  And I'd always wanted a Pandora bracelet, so it just seemed like a winner-winner all around.  Whenever I was getting close to another five pounds gone, I would go ahead and order my charm- I have a small bulletin board in my closet and I would tack the charm, still in its little wrapper, on the board where I would see it every day.  Just a reminder to work a little harder to reach the next goal.  I wouldn't allow myself to put the new charm on the bracelet until I actually lost the weight.  And the opposite was true- if I gained a few pounds back, I took off the most recent charm from the bracelet until I could "earn" it back.

When I was down to 215 a few years ago, I went ahead and ordered the next two charms- for 210 and 200.  But both hung there sadly on my board, for a very long time.  And one by one, the charms were getting removed from my bracelet until I only had three left on it.  At that time I put the bracelet away- back up in the 230's, what was the point?  I wanted to wear my bracelet, but I wouldn't allow myself the luxury.  I had lost those privileges- the bracelet was to proudly show off the lost pounds, and the weight loss it symbolized was no more.  I put all the beads back on there, and added the two newest ones.  To wear this bracelet again, would signify me attaining my biggest goal- getting down to 200 pounds.  I hid it away in my jewelry cabinet, and I would not put it back on under any circumstances other than hitting 200.

If you've read my blog for awhile, you know my greatest goal for right now has been to get down below 200.  I managed to get right to 200 in 2009 when we first moved here, but I kept that off for a few seconds at the most.  (That would be when the photo that's at the top of my blog was taken.)  It's been since 2005, before I got married, that my weight started with a ONE.  So to get below 200 has been the goal I've been pushing at for so long now.  I actually hit the goal last week at 199, but I didn't want to get too excited and post about it.  I wanted to make certain it wasn't just a fluke for one day.  I am delighted to say that it seems like that goal is going to stick!  This morning I was 197.6 and I finally feel as though I might actually make it all the way to the finish line this time.

I still credit Weight Watchers, and even though I haven't been tracking points this time, I've been sticking to the Core plan instead- lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains.  And of course always the ActiveLink and its challenge, pushing me along to up my exercise and activity level every day.  At this point I am still having to do at least 4 miles a day to make my goal.  Lots of water too, I can't remember the last time I bought even a diet soda at the grocery store.  Lunch for me has lately been a fruit, veggie, and cheese plate.  Snacks are always fresh pineapple or watermelon.  I have completely lost the taste for fatty processed foods, so I actually enjoy the fruit and look forward to it.  This past weekend, I was craving a milkshake so I got one, and it made me sick and made me think, well I don't want another one of those again.

And above all else, I credit my super supportive hubby, because he continues to work hard outside the home so I can be here to work hard on my health.  Without that support, I know I couldn't take on this journey.  I am pretty sure he doesn't read my blog anymore- he doesn't need to because he's living it!!- so I can say all of this about him without worries of making him blush.  But if it weren't for having him in my life, I wouldn't care enough about anything to want to do this.  245, 200?  Just numbers, what would it matter?  But it does matter to me, because I matter to him.

The new bead below, is the one I just ordered today, and it will go on my bracelet as soon as I get down to 195.  It takes about two weeks for the bead to come in the mail, and I just might reach my goal well before I even receive it.  But I have a long wish list saved online, so I've already got the bead for 190 picked out and can order it with one click.

Carrying on.......!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

ActiveLink Update

No weight loss this week, but no gain either.  Maintenance is a beautiful thing folks, don't knock it.  Even if I maintain for the next few weeks, I won't complain.  To reverse the old saying- No Gain Is NO Pain!

Even though Weight Watchers frowns on members weighing at home, I still weigh every day, and keep up the calendar I started back here.  It's really been very instrumental for me.  I don't obsess over the number, so I'm not worried that weighing every day will make me go crazy or do something silly.  I know that if I skipped exercising and had pizza for dinner or I walked a few miles and had roasted veggies, I will probably see it the next day on the scale.  It goes up and down a little every day, and I am not freaking out about the ups because eventually the "ups" are lower and lower numbers.  That equals success to me.  And yes, I'm still staying focused on that big goal of 199 and hoping to reach it by the end of this month.

I still credit my ActiveLink as well.  I am on Week Ten of the twelve week challenge, where the device raises my activity level little by little.  Right now, I pretty much have to do at least 3.5 miles on the treadmill every day to even get to 50%, and the other 50% will come from my everyday duties in life- vacuuming, yard work, laundry, grocery shopping, going up and down two flights of stairs repeatedly.  By the end of the challenge I suspect I will have to commit to 4 miles a day on the treadmill to get to my 100% every day.  Some days I don't quite make it- yesterday I was down in my back and only had 83% and only 1.5 miles on the treadmill.  But I did what I could, and no one is keeping track of the ActiveLink but me so there will be no finger-wagging.

I do have plenty of other food-related challenges coming up.  We are making plans to spend three full days in New Orleans for the long Labor Day weekend.  Last time we were there, we walked everywhere we went, so I don't think exercise will be a problem.  But boy, there are some really great eats in the Crescent City, and I don't think anyone loves fried seafood as much as I do.  However, I can't eat that way for three meals a day the entire trip, and I won't.  I will have to make sensible choices concerning portions and cooking methods (grilled fish anyone?), just like I did on our Canada vacation. We're going to pack in lots of walking with planned visits to the aquarium, the zoo, the flea market, and of course, up and down the beautiful streets of the Vieux Carre.

We also just booked our annual cruise, this year pushing it back to mid-November.  We've been on enough cruises now that we feel pretty savvy as far as onboard eating is concerned.  We long ago learned that the buffet is nothing but quantity, and very little quality.  We turned our backs on the midnight buffets a few cruises ago, and not much would convince us to return. Instead we go to the dining room for dinners- yes you have to get dressed up, but (A) it's fun to get all spruced up with your significant other and be served by charming gentlemen in uniform and (B) the portions are on the smallish side plus the options are SO much healthier.  For breakfast, on our last cruise we adopted our normal hotel rule- James goes to the buffet, returning to the room and bringing me one small plate (normally a bagel with cream cheese, or a muffin) and that's all I eat.  There is no reason whatsoever to stuff myself at breakfast and start off the day in a carb-coma.

So even with these two vacations planned, (and let's not forget the holidays that will be here before you know it), I am setting my end of the year goal for 2013 at 180.  I'm not sure I can do it, that's a little over 20 pounds in five months.  But I've lost over 20 since April, so I have to believe in myself, and believe that I can stay on the course and get there.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Staying On Program Is A Full Time Job!

(In Windsor Ontario, on the Detroit River.)

This morning in our Weight Watchers meeting we talked about slip-ups, and how we respond to them.  Do we "act" or "react"?  Everyone in the room raised their hands when our leader Marci asked if we had ever slipped up while on Weight Watchers.  I would find it hard to believe if anyone has not.  I know I have, many times.  And in the past, I would allow my slip-ups to multiple into landslides, until I was in such a bad place mentally that I would simply abandon WW and the whole weight loss process.  I would give up.  I would let one or two instances completely derail me and I would throw in the towel.  But not anymore.  That was reacting, and in a horrible way.  This time, I am all about action and moving forward, no matter what.

One of the ladies in the meeting admitted that on weekends, she just continues with her bad habits and choices, and then works extra hard during the week to lose before Friday morning.  Then her cycle started all over again as soon as weigh-in was "over".  Another lady said that on her weigh-in day, she thought of that as a "freebie" day and ate whatever she wanted the rest of that day.  Lots of folks nodded, including me.  But that was how I used to behave.  It was always about meeting and beating the number at the scale every week, and like those ladies I manipulated my diet and exercise on certain days, depending on how closely the day was to weigh-in (or how close it was to being the day after).  I basically stayed on the program part time.

Sure, this morning after my meeting I would have loved to stop at McDonald's for a breakfast combo and large Coke.  In the old days, I would have, I would tell myself okay I lost a pound at weigh-in so I can eat this and I have all week before I weigh again.  But I didn't even consider making that choice, and I came home and had my whole wheat toast, and I don't feel unhappy or cheated one bit for doing that.  

It used to be that one fast food breakfast on a Friday morning would turn into a weekend of nonstop noshing, with me telling myself I had "time" to get back on track by Monday.  But as the lady at the meeting said, by doing that, she just had to work harder during the week to lose what she gained over the weekend.  I would do that, I would lose a pound at my weigh-in on Friday, then gain 2-3 pounds over the weekend, which meant come Monday I would act crazy trying to lose 5 pounds just so I could continue to see small losses at the meetings.  Sounds stupid when you put it that way, doesn't it?

So now, come Fridays after my meetings, come the weekend, my diet and exercise plans do not change.  The day of the week should have nothing to do with me getting on the treadmill or eating a big salad for dinner.  And so far it's worked.  This week, coming back from vacation, I had a two pound loss.  After vacation.  In the past it would have taken an extra month to lose what I would have gained on a week long trip.  In the past I would have said, it's vacation, I can "take a break" from my weight loss efforts.  But I did not do that on this trip, and I'm proud and excited that it paid off.  I am proud that I can say, I LOST weight while on vacation!  Yes, James and I ate out three meals a day in restaurants (no fast food), and we had snacks too.  But first and foremost, I continued to exercise on this trip, and if we didn't get in enough walking during our sightseeing excursions, then in the evenings I put my sneakers back on and headed out for another walk along the river.

I made very deliberate choices about my meals on this vacation, especially at breakfast.  Not once did I order any kind of combo or platter.  I always ordered from the "sides" menu.  Normally I just had toast in the morning.  At lunch, if the sandwiches were monster portions, I just ate half, and again I didn't order combos- no fries or chips.  At one lunch, James and I even shared an entree and I still didn't finish my half.  At dinner, I also watched my portions.  I would only eat half, or eat a large salad, and one night I even ordered an appetizer as my entree.  I did not feel deprived for one single moment at any restaurant.  In fact, one of the best dinners I had on the entire trip was a big salad at a Max & Erma's, and we ate many great meals.

I let James snap a photo of me (above) on the trip, and normally I don't like to have my picture taken because of my weight.  But this photo really made me notice how baggy my clothes are on me now.  Even with the 25 pound weight loss, I'm still wearing the same size, and I am starting to realize that by wearing overly large clothes, it's actually making me look heavier than I am right now.  It's a good feeling to have, instead of tugging at shirts that are too snug and clinging to every lump and bump.  I'm not quite ready to get out of the plus size section at the stores, but I know if I keep this up, I will be strolling out of there very soon.  

I did not give up my substantial income to stay at home and half-ass this.  If I don't lose the weight this time, I know I never ever will.  I will be 50 in a little over three years.  I spent most of my 20's, all of my 30's and my 40's very overweight and tired and frumpy.

It has to be NOW!!!  Yeah!!