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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weight Loss

I just love April - and not because it's my birthday month (as my husband says!). It's such a time of renewal and flowers, lots of flowers!


It was mostly a good week last week. Started celebrating my birthday on Thursday with a lunch and ended it Saturday night with dinner - cheesecake every day! I brought cake bites from My Sweet Tooth Fairy to work on Friday and ended up eating quite a few of those too. This is so abnormal for me but I didn't feel too guilty. :)

Sadness hit Saturday morning when I had to put hubby on a plane to go back to work in Saudi Arabia. It will be a long five months since there are no plans for him to return until September. It's a good thing I have a full schedule of racing, otherwise I might be sitting home feeling sorry for myself.

I wanted to talk a little about weight loss. I have had several people recently ask me again about how I have done it. Let me start by saying that I am not a nutritionist and everything I say is just based on my experience - you should always check with your health professional before trying anything too out of your normal.

In the 30 years of my 20's, 30's & 40's, I tried everything to lose weight. I've been trying to remember everything that's been out there. Jennie Craig, Nutrisystems, Weight Watchers, illegal drugs, HCG, cabbage diet, diet pills, crash diets, starvation diets. This list goes on and on. I have lost weight on some of these diets but it never stayed off. I don't recommend any of them except maybe Weight Watchers because it goes on the principle of writing things down. For as long as I remember, it has been recommended that one keep a food diary. Write everything that goes in your mouth down regardless of what it is. I'll come back to that in a minute.

When I first met with Neil Anderson (GPP Fitness), six plus years ago, I remember very clearly telling him that I didn't care about losing weight and that I just wanted to be healthy. I said this because of my lack of success in oh so many years. He didn't laugh at me but I'm sure he was thinking I was crazy. I needed to lose weight. I was just over the 200 pound mark and I am 5' 7".  So for the first few months, I did not alter my eating at all but I started working out at gym for the first time in my life. A chain reaction started because as I started feeling better about my physical "fitness", I wanted to start eating better. As I started eating better, I was able to do more on the "fitness" side.

This went on for several months and slowly, very slowly about 20 pounds came off just from the small changes I was making. When I made it to 180#, I figured that was it, I was never going to break that barrier. Never have, never would. GPP started a challenge on becoming healthier so I decided to jump on board. This meant some strict eating for 6 weeks, which I extended for 12. And lots more of working out! I made the commitment to myself and on the website and I was able to stick to it. 5 more pounds came off. Woo hoo! I weighed less than I ever had in my adult life. The greatest thing about this was I kept it off for a couple of years. I had begun my life in the racing world, running half marathons and competing in triathlons (i.e., shoving myself in a tri suit!).

Last year, after I had registered for a half ironman, I decided that I needed to get into a better place in order to help me get to the finish line. I met with a nutritionist (thanks, Breanne) and through several meetings, I figured out where my deficiencies were. Back to writing everything down - I know this is a tried and true method but I'm the worst at it. I was introduced to myfitnesspal.com and started recording everything that went in my mouth. The great thing about mfp is the database is huge and you don't have to calculate the values. I also found out that I was starving myself on my heavy training days but that's a whole other blog!

I had set a goal to lose 10 more pounds but to my surprise I was able to drop 20 in about 4 months. I attribute these to "being aware". Being aware of what I was eating and when I was eating. The other thing that I believe helped me was adding probiotics and prebiotics to my daily routine. This may be a little gross to some but If you're not recycling the food you're eating, it's not healthy! That's all I will say on that subject.

After all the rambling, I'll get to my point of today. If you want to lose weight the healthy way, you need to record all that you are eating. My suggestion to anyone who wants to start, is to sign on to myfitnesspal.com and just record everything for two weeks. Don't worry about changing anything during these weeks. You've got to have a starting point. Once this is established, just start cutting out 10-15% of those calories each week. If you are able, add a little exercise as well. Walking 15-30 minutes 5 days a week will help. The biggest thing you do not want to do is make a huge change all at once. It can become overwhelming and won't be sustainable. Also, if you have a day where you can't stick to it, don't give up. Tomorrow is always a new day!