Good Morning Everyone! I'm beginning this post in the morning. We'll see what time I actually upload it.
Warning: This post contains not one single word about knitting and is entirely about the kick-off of my personal Weight Loss Challenge.
I'll begin with a bit of history.
My weight loss journey began so long ago - possibly when I was in about 9th grade? I was about 15 lbs over weight at the time. I had always carried myself with strange posture and looked heavier than I really was throughout elementary school. Kids at school tried to mimic my posture - I stood with my belly sticking out and my back curved dramatically. I haven't got the slightest idea why I stood that way but it wasn't attractive and got some negative attention. We all agreed (my friends and I) that I wasn't as heavy as I looked because of my posture. My mom bugged me without END about my posture. I couldn't even physically achieve the posture she wanted me to have - whatever would look a little more normal. And I did always have an ample butt. ha I have overall better posture now but I do slide back to the sway-back posture when I'm tired.
So I remember knowing that I needed to lose a little weight. About 15 pounds. And I did that over the summer with my mom's guidance. By the start of 10th grade I was feeling good about myself and could wear size 11 jeans. That was pretty major for me. But in general I had a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Schools require kids to be a lot more active these days than when I was in school. And there's more general awareness about fitness and health today too. I was on the swim team for a few years in high school which helped keep my weight down but quit in my senior year because I was engaged to be married and I felt like I needed to limit my distractions if I wanted my grades to be presentable by graduation time. They barely were anyway, in my estimation.
Marrying shortly after graduation was the ticket to packing on 30-35 lbs in a very short time period and I was up to about 180. Whew. I'd like to see 180 again soon but looking back it was awful for me at the time. That was 1985.
Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon.... must inevitably come to pass!
- Paul J. Meyer, Founder of SMI, Inc.
I never dieted seriously until 1989. At the time I was working as a secretary in Waco at Success Motivation Institute. Their business name has changed a tiny bit but it's still the same company. Surrounded by attractive successful people who are very goal driven, it was no surprise that we had a little diet contest. Each participant was supposed to contribute $10 and whoever lost 10 lbs first won the money. This was about as successful as a group of friends doing a Fantasy Football deal.... not many of the people paid their money up front so we didn't collect much.
I had no idea HOW to diet but I was determined not to be embarrassed by doing poorly in this contest. When I was at the grocery store I picked up a little 99cent Calorie Counter booklet at the checkout and used it as my guide. I also picked up a booklet called "Foods That Burn Fat". Inside the booket it gave some basic facts about calories and weight loss as well as a list of foods that are low in fat and calories and high in fiber and nutrients. I used the two booklets to calculate my daily calorie limits and began keeping a food diary religiously, including some of the foods listed in the FBF (Foods That Burn Fat) booklet. I also walked 2 miles after work every weekday evening. Eventually the contest fizzled out and everyone lost interest, but I continued with the diet I was following and lost about 15 pounds. By the end of 1989 I felt and looked a lot better. My clothes fit better but I didn't lose enough to get a whole new wardrobe or anything. I was about 165 but still wished to be around 135-140 at the time. In December that year we moved to the St. Louis area where my ex went to college.
Over a few months I quickly gained back the 15 lbs I had lost when I was at SMI. While working in St. Louis I made new friends - and who doesn't know people that are constantly dieting and setting weight loss goals? It was easy to continue my motivation to be in better physical condition. I joined a water aerobics class at the downtown Y and stayed after class to swim laps since that was the only way I could get in some extra swimming exercise as a non-member. I joined Weight Watchers and faithfully kept my food diary. I worked out with a Jane Fonda tape at home and over time I lost that 15 lbs again. My boss and friends noticed a difference and that was pretty nice. I was about 165 when I got pregnant with Benny and gained only 24 lbs during the pregnancy.
In the 16 years since then I have dieted a few different times. Lost weight without trying other times due to lifestyle changes (getting divorced and being a waitress can really take the pounds off). Those efforts were temporary. I usually have watched my weight and food intake as a general rule but my average weight has continued to go up. I'm still not as heavy as my heaviest weight ever but that's really okay. ha
It's time to make some changes. I need to do the following things:
- Get to a healthy comfortable weight.
- Increase my fitness level.
This is how I plan to do it:
- Exercise at the Y at least three times per week. This might increase and might become more structured as time goes on. Right now I just need to BE THERE.
- Modify my eating habits using the Calorie Counter and FBF booklets as a starting point and consulting various other health and fitness resources as a guide.
- Keep a food diary.
My food diary is currently a 100pg spiral. I will be on this diet probably a minimum of 7 months so I'll probably use at least one more book before I'm done with the daily record keeping. I'm setting a loose goal of losing 10 pounds per month. That might be adjusted once I get a little further on.
Hopefully I'm not the only PackRat out there - I do still have both booklets and even bought a second copy of FBF in later years when the price had increased to $1.49. The cover photo is different but the text is exactly the same.
My Calorie Counter booklet has a very basic outline about how to calculate your daily calorie intake. From the booklet:
It takes about 15 calories per pound per day to maintain a given weight. For example: Someone weighing 150 pounds needs to consume 150 x 15 or 2250 calories daily to stay at 150 pounds. By cutting down 500 calories a day, about one pounds can be lost per week. Since a 2 pound per week weight loss is about right for most people, cutting out 1000 calories per day should reach that goal. A simple formula would work like this: Present weight x 15 - 1000 = The number of calories not to be exceeded each day to lose 2 pounds per week.
So I did my calculations on a little bit of paper. When I'm eating healthy food and cutting out the majority of desserts and fatty foods I don't know how I could possibly consume enough food to maintain my present weight so I set my calculations for a 3lb per week weight loss. I might adjust this total if I'm feeling hungry or whatever but this is my starting point. My weight is 220 and daily calorie limit is 1800.
I've also calculated that I want no more than 20% of my total calories coming from fat and I would like to find a reliable source telling how much protein I should try to keep in my diet. At the moment I have it set at 40g of protein but that might be adjusted after doing some reading.
I got up this morning at 5:30, arrived at the Y at 5:45 and really enjoyed my time working out. I spent about 15 minutes walking with a pack of rabid walkers. I think my legs must be short because I was nearly RUNNING to keep from being trampled. I spent 20 minutes on the exercise bike and 5 minutes on a glider thingy that burned almost as many calories in 5 minutes as I did on the bike. WHEW! When I left I could tell that I had most definitely been working out.
The food diary was begun this morning. At the top of the page each day I write the date, my daily intake limits on calories and fat and my target for protein grams. I might also add fiber to that after doing more research.
I have an appointment for my yearly physical and to get my blood pressure prescriptions renewed on January 15th. I'll be telling my doctor about the diet then and will also ask him about a few other things which will probably be adressed with routine blood tests that he'll be doing anyway.
I'm really excited about my Weight Loss Challenge this year. I'm motivated by a lot of things like a new year, just turning 40, not being happy about how I look in my clothes, etc. But my only sister is getting married for the first and hopefully only time, in June. That's usually a major motivator for people (bride, family, other guests) to diet but I probably won't be at my goal by then. I want to lose 70 pounds and be at 150 when it's all over and done. Maybe I'll get to 155 or 160 and think it feels comfortable and that it's time to begin a maintenance plan. We'll see how it goes. Getting there will be a major Challenge which is why I'm not changing the name of this category of blog posts. Weight Loss is a Challenge to anyone that wants to do it, whether you're losing 70 pounds or 7 pounds. I'm looking forward to seeing what the scale says for my effort next Monday morning! :)
Getting to a lower weight by June, no matter what it is, will be a great thing for my self confidence when meeting new people. My sister and her fiance are hard at work making it not only a special day to celebrate their marriage but a beautiful event and experience for their guests. It will be a very special occasion. There could be some special knitting in the near future! (okay, I lied - there's the knitting content for ya)
I'm going to conclude here by sharing the first of 12 foods that are featured in my FBF booklet and will share one per week for 12 weeks giving excerpts from the book explaining why it's a fat burning food. I really like reading through this booklet and find the information very sensible and motivating! The list is in alphabetical order so it begins with the obvious choice of Apples but you'll probably be surprised at some of the other foods included as the weeks progress!
Apples: These marvels of nature truly do deserve their reputation for keeping the doctor away when you eat one a day. And now, it seems, they help you melt the fat away too.
First of all, they elevate your blood glucose (sugar) levels in a safe and gentle manner, but keep them up longer than most foods. The practical effect of this is to leave you feeling fuller longer, say researchers.
Secondly, they are one of the richest sources of soluble fiber in the supermarket. This type of fiber prevents hunger pangs by guarding against dangerous swings or drops in your blood sugar level, says Dr. James Anderson at Kentucky's School of Medicine.
An average-sized apple provides only 81 calories, has no sodium, saturated fat, or cholesterol. You'll also get the added health benefit of lowering the level of cholesterol already in your blood as well as your blood pressure.
Everyone take care of every little thing and I'll see you back tomorrow with my "A" post for the ABC-along! XOXOXOXOX