Monthly Archives: February 2012

My *Sweet* Sixteen

It is *that* time again, folks.  Time to cross another item from my list of goals!  I must admit it is *so* exciting to cross things off that list – it really becomes a motivator all in itself.  I often find myself thinking, “What item on my list of goals am I closest to meeting?  How can I push a little harder to meet it ASAP?”

Yesterday I was out and about with my mother.  We ended up at Wal-Mart to pick up some books I had ordered online (I will be sharing those with you in another post, by the way).  While I was there I decided I was going to try on a pair of pants.  A size 16.  Why, you ask?  Do you remember last month when I posted about *finally* fitting into a size 18 again?  Well, those pants are baggy now.  Not “falling down” baggy, but loose none-the-less.  So loose, in fact, I can fit an arm in the side of them while wearing them (just about half-way up my forearm).

I truly thought that would be impossible, considering I *just* bought those 18’s a month ago…almost exactly.  Well, it was not impossible, folks.  I *totally* fit into those 16’s!!!  Excitement overwhelmed me, and I actually got a little teary-eyed over the whole thing.  I stood staring at myself in the mirror in complete shock and wonderment.

How could this be?  How could I be in a size 28 just about seven months ago?!  How could I possibly be standing here in a size 16 now?  The time seems to be slipping away so quickly and I am changing/shrinking just as quickly.  It is beyond my ability to completely comprehend it all, honestly.

As I am lost inside my own head trying to wrap my head around this whole situation, my mother breaks into my thoughts with, “Well…are you going to let me see?!”  My celebratory mode went down several notches at that moment.  See, you must understand that my mother began this journey with me 33 weeks ago.  The difference is that she has not been quite as successful as I have (and that is putting it mildly).  At times I feel as though I am just “rubbing it in” because I can see the pained look on her face as I celebrate another milestone in my journey.  She does not intend to do it, I do not think, but I can see it.  I can hear it in her tone of voice.  And it shows now that she rarely (if ever) travels to the gym with me.  On the rare occasions she does go with me, she often sits on the sidelines observing me trying new things, challenging myself, and sometimes making a complete fool of myself.  I find it hard to be genuinely excited about my “transformation” in her presence for fear of hurting her feelings or even making her feel as though I think I am better than her.

At any rate…I did not purchase the jeans.  In case you were wondering.  The 18’s are baggy/loose on me, but I figure I can wear them a little longer without any trouble.  I would hate to keep purchasing new clothes every single month until I am finished losing.  Maybe some people have that kind of cash lying around, but I certainly do not.  🙂  So, for now I will stay in my baggy 18’s, and maybe I will try on a pair of 14’s next month…

Do you have anyone in your life that feigns support and happiness for you, but you can tell it is forced?  If so, how do you deal with that?


Weigh Day (week thirty-three)

This past week has been pretty interesting…in the best possible ways this time (thank goodness).

I found out my meniscus is definitely *not* torn (woo hoo!) and that all my tendons and ligaments are completely in tact (another woo hoo!).  So, what is up with this knee???  Severe patellofemoral arthritis syndrome.  What that means (for those of you who have no idea – which was me just earlier this week) is pretty much my entire knee joint is flared up and irritated giving me arthritis symptoms.  However, it is not true arthritis because I can correct it with the proper exercises and stretches (and rarely this requires surgical intervention).  This is “best case scenario” as far as all of the things that could have been wrong with my knee.  It means, though, that I am not allowed to run, jump, skip, hop, lunge, squat, or do leg presses until I correct this knee…which could take some time.  So, my “jump rope successfully” goal has to be put on hold…for now.

*How* I ended up with patellofemoral arthritis syndrome in the first place…
Well, my left side is a little wonky.  By “wonky” I mean my whole left leg does not “track” correctly.  I cannot do a proper leg lift with my left foot pointed forward (like I can with my right).  Because of this malalignment, I walk awkwardly.  Now, you would not notice it unless you were *really* looking at my left leg as I stroll…but my left foot turns out a little and causes my knee to bend sideways (slightly) instead of completely straight.  This, of course, causes my knee cap to temporarily dislocate every single time I bend my knee.  It has always been this way, but now that I am *WAY* more active than I have ever been in my whole life these symptoms have surfaced.  With all of the running, jumping, lunging, and squatting I have been doing, I have put significant pressure on my knee as the cap dislocates.  This, of course, causes inflammation in all the soft tissue behind the knee cap.  It is really fun stuff…really.

Anyway, moving on…  My shoulder is feeling much better this week.  Still a teeny bit of discomfort doing certain things, but overall *tons* better than before the cortizone shot the Dr. gave me.

Yesterday was my birthday…my 30th birthday.  It was a mellow day…much more mellow than I hoped for, but whatever.  No surprises.  No party.  No family (other than my mother, whom I see nearly every day).  Only one friend (my bestie, Leslie).  I even had to plan dinner for myself.  Go figure.  At any rate, I spent the dinner with my chicklets and came home for a movie…and slept late this morning.  All in all, I guess it could have been much worse.

This morning I was doing a little happy dance after stepping off the scale.  That nice little fella showed me 230.2 this morning!  Of course I am going to be happy with a 4.2 pound loss from last week, right?!  It might have something to do with that 6-mile run I did on the Neil Armstrong machine Friday night…which is okay to do even with my knee because it does not put the high impact pressure on my knee joints (just in case you were wondering).

With a loss like this, my “I’m going to be under 200 by June 1st” goal is looking great:

13 weeks; 5 days
30.4 pounds

Was your week as good as mine?!


Let’s Talk Food

The number one question I am asked when discussing my weight loss is, “What are you eating…or *not* eating?”

First of all, let me say that often people are astounded to find out I am losing weight “the hard way” (IE. no magic pills or trendy/fad diets…and no surgical intervention).  I have actually had people say something to this effect, “Really?  *That* works?!”  They have genuine shock and surprise in their voices.  How interesting.

In a society that is dominated by the quicker/faster/better option, people often overlook the best/healthiest route.  I mean, who wants to actually *work* toward something when you get snipped and tucked…one “quick and easy” procedure cures all your physical woes.  Right?  Wrong.  I have never been an advocate for weight loss surgery…ever.  Even at my heaviest when my doctor offered me a referral to the “weight loss clinic” (IE fat-removing surgeon), I turned him down.  I was not willing to risk my life when there was a *much* safer alternative – exercise and healthy eating.

Anyway…stepping off my soap box…

I have been wanting to share some of my “staple” foods that have helped me in my journey.  Not all of these choices would be right for everyone, of course, based on your own dietary needs and tastes.  So, this is not intended to be any kind of sound nutritional advice, folks.  Just what I like and what works for me.  I have posted previously about my food choices, if you are interested.

My first new discovery was Bolthouse Farms.  They have many products, but I am in love with their yogurt-based ranch dressing.  I love veggies…raw and crunchy veggies…but dipping them in ranch makes them even better (in my opinion).  I always limit myself to no more than one serving (2 Tbsp) and that is quite often *way* more than enough anyway.  Bolthouse Farms makes many other dressings and vinaigrettes, so if ranch dressing does not toot your horn, they probably have something else that will.

I have also switched to stevia as a sweetener instead of traditional granulated sugar.  I rarely used sugar anyway, but when I do I am now grabbing stevia.  Personally, I can taste a small difference between the two (maybe that is just me), but the difference does not bother me.  Sweet is sweet, right?

My next “big” find was Kashi (thanks to the nutritionist).  I was browsing the aisles of whole/natural/organic foods in my grocery store when I stumbled upon: Kashi TLC Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy Granola Bars (what a mouth-full).  These things are *amazingly* delicious…really.  My daughters have been having them as their mid-morning snack for days now.  They come packaged in pairs, which is perfect for each of my daughters to have one bar (85 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 saturated fat, and 3 g protein).  Those of you watching carb intake might be less excited about these bars, though.  They weigh in at 25g of carbs per pack (two bars), so that may not be ideal for everyone.

Cooking oils are abundant these days.  Previously, I always had vegetable oil in my pantry.  Then I switched to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO).  Then canola oil.  Recently, my friend switched to coconut oil because of all the hype it was receiving.  That, of course, led me to purchase some and start using it.  When I spent some time earlier this month with the nutritionist, I asked about all the different oils.  Ultimately, she recommended using canola oil for high-temperature cooking and EVOO for low-temperature cooking and dressings.  Although there are benefits to using coconut oil, the high (and I mean *very* high) saturated fat content make it a bad contender for regular use.  What kind of oil(s) do you use for cooking/baking?

I have mentioned previously that I have given up all white/bleached/enriched flour products (IE white bread and regular pastas).  An interesting bit of information I learned from the nutritionist, though, was that I had been eating them this whole time – unknowingly.  I *assumed* that if a product simply said “wheat flour” it meant the flour was not bleached/enriched.  However, that apparently is not necessarily the case.  The same goes for durum flour and semolina.  If the ingredient label does not include the word *whole* in front of those terms, chances are the flour *was* bleached/enriched and the manufacturer is just not putting that explicitly on the label.  This, in my opinion, is one more step to intentionally deceive consumers.  Letting us believe we are eating better food when, in fact, we are not.  I was not happy to find this out, of course.  So, I will be even more careful when selecting products that contain flour (in any form) to ensure I am not eating those bleached/enriched flours.

Some of my other blogger friends have recently discussed eating healthy and making better choices about consumption.  To see what they have to say visit with Andie and Colline.

Do you read the nutrition labels and ingredient lists when grocery shopping?  If so, what criteria must a food meet in order to land a spot in your cart?

Have you ever tried a fad diet in hopes of losing a great deal of weight quickly?  If so, which one(s) have you tried, and what was your experience with it?


Weigh Day (week thirty-two)

Yes, this post is a day late…sorry about that.  My Internet connection has been acting up (I have already had a few “go rounds” with Cincinnati Bell, who is extremely unhelpful), so I could not seem to get this posted yesterday.  Ick.

Anyway…last week was really something.  Negativity flowed to me in (seemingly) every direction.  I hate weeks like that.  A long-time friend of mine passed away over last weekend, and his funeral was Thursday night.  He was only 36 and leaves behind a wife and four small children.  It was heart-breaking – truly.  So, my mind was not completely focused throughout the week – making it hard to compensate for my knee and shoulder.

Monday means physical therapy and little time for a “full” workout.  Tuesday there was no time for the gym.  Wednesday seemed to look better as I began working out with Denise…until my mother showed up and needed me to leave immediately with her.  That meant all of five minutes with Denise and only 12 minutes on the Neil Armstrong machine for warm up.  Thursday was the funeral, but I snuck in about 45 minutes at the gym before.  That was a decent workout, I suppose.  Friday brought a visit with my doctor…

He suspects I have tendonitis in my left rotator cuff (received a cortizone shot) and a torn meniscus in my left knee.  I have an MRI scheduled tomorrow afternoon to see for sure what is going on with this knee.  In the meantime, of course, I was told, “No running, jumping, hopping, or skipping…nothing with high impact on that knee.”  As if that was not bad enough (for someone determined to jump rope successfully…), I was also instructed to “take it easy on the shoulder – no lifting heavy weights or raising it above your head…for at least a few days.”

So, after physical therapy on Friday, I was at a loss as far as working out.  Luckily, I ran into one of the other trainers who said he would help me (since he had absolutely nothing to do anyway).  I ended up working out, with Dorsey’s help, for about 30 minutes.  Although I must admit, after I got home I felt like I barely did anything.  Sigh.

Sunday is my “Denise Day” – and I always look forward to them!  However, some how I was scheduled for noon instead of my normal noon-thirty.  That, of course, means I showed up for my appointment late and Denise had other clients.  Boo!  Just one more thing that felt like it was not going my way.  I worked out anyway…again, though, feeling like I was not doing very much.  Despite the knee, I hopped on the Neil Armstrong machine and did just over two miles.  It felt *great* to sweat…it felt less than great to limp off the machine and down the stairs, though.

Right now I am in this “everything stinks” funk, which will not last long.  Once I process the information thoroughly (meaning that I have to know what is up with this knee) and develop a plan, I will be fine.  Regardless of the outcome, though, I will continue going to the gym…surgery or not.  I trust my trainer completely…and the rest of the staff at Fitworks…to help me continue to work toward my weight loss goals – even if we have to work around a few complications.  Thank goodness for a great support system, right?!

So, about weighing in…

Yesterday I weighed in at 234.4.  That is 1.8 pounds down from last week.  This is pretty exciting because it brings me to a total of 80.6 pounds lost!!!  Excellent!

This week should be another interesting week with creative workouts.  I meet with Denise tonight (thank goodness she had an available time), so I am bound to feel better after that!

14 weeks; 4 days
34.6 pounds


Weigh Day (week thirty-one)

I am pretty sure I have good news here, folks.  If I was experiencing a plateau over the course of the last couple weeks, I am pretty sure that is no longer the case!

With the help and wisdom of my trainer, Denise, encouraging me to cut back on weight lifting, eating more veggies, and spending more time with the Neil Armstrong machine…this is what I read on the scale:


That is *two* pounds (exactly) down from last week!  I will certainly take that with a happy smile upon my face!  As I mentioned last week, I have come to realize my birthday goal of 225 on 2/25 will not happen.  To be honest, I am slightly bummed about that, but really I cannot be upset when I will be *considerably* healthier when my 30th rolls around in a couple weeks.  This will be the healthiest/thinnest I have been for a birthday since…maybe 21…maybe.  The last birthday I know *for sure* I was lighter/thinner than this would have been 18.  Insanity.

I do find myself getting increasingly excited to get below the 200 mark, which is crazy just to be thinking I am even close enough to get excited about it…  This is *definitely* going to be the year, though.  Definitely.  I *will* be under 200 pounds in 2012.  So, I think I am going to set up a new goal tracker counting down to both summer (swimsuit time) and “one”derland.  I want to be *under* 200 pounds by June 1, 2012.

15 weeks; 5 days
36.4 pounds

I chose 36.4 pounds as the goal amount because that would put me right at 199.8.  That averages out to be 2.3 pounds each week…which is possible to do.  I have high hopes for this goal, folks…*really* high hopes!

So, later today I will be meeting with Denise.  I do believe she has some HIIT (high intensity interval training) planned out for me, which should be interesting.  I am also going to attempt to do a Zumba class after I finish with Denise.  That, of course, depends on just how badly she kicks my booty, though.  We shall see…

I have some posts in the works for you all, so hopefully I will get to those within the next day or so.  I will be busy rehearsing/re-working lines for my commercial (my own lines…not scripted…just still working on cramming all the wonderful things I have to say in 15 seconds or less), dying my hair, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  Oh – by the way – I picked up two workout shirts yesterday…real ones, not just plain T-shirts (which is what I have been wearing this whole time).  I think *technically* they are too big for me because they are supposed to really “hug” your body, but I am just not ready for all that clingy clothing with all my squishy underneath.  🙂  Maybe sometime soon, though.


Exciting Things…

So, although I have a list (literally) of things I intend to blog about within the upcoming week…this post is completely random.  Hope you do not mind.

First, let me tell you all how very excited I am about the Neil Armstrong machine at my gym.  (Okay, it really is not called the Neil Armstrong machine, but I have *no* idea what it is actually called.  And, I feel like I am walking/running on the moon when I am on it…hence the Neil Armstrong title I have given it)  Anyway, I have been hopping up on this machine all week and have progressively stayed on longer.  Monday I did 15 minutes with my girlfriend.  Tuesday I did 20 minutes (again with the girlfriend).  Wednesday I managed 40 minutes (alone), which was 3.26 miles!  Tonight I did 45 minutes, which was 3.61 miles!  This is such a big deal to me because I tried to do that machine about 50 or 60 pounds ago and simply could *not* pull it off.  I just did not have the strength and stamina to do it even for five minutes.  Excellent progress that is!

Second I went to a boutique today in search of a new hoister…er…sorry, bra.  Anyway, I walked in wearing a 38J and thinking I would probably need somewhere in the ballpark of a 36J, maybe even a K.  Guess what?!  The girl took one look at what I was wearing and said, “I’ll be back with a 34J for you to try.”  I looked at that girl like her head just flew off.  A 34?!  Are you kidding me?  So, she did…and you know what…it fit…on the tightest row of hooks!  Then the girl looks and says, “Oh, I guess you actually need a 32.  I’ll be back.”  Again – total shock and disbelief.  That one fit, too…on the loosest row of hooks, but none-the-less.  My body actually fit in a 32J.  Craziness, that is, folks.  Absolute madness!

On an even better note (in that same vein), they carry sports bras for those with “tiny” band sizes (her words, not mine) and great, big…well, you know.  Unfortunately, they were out of my band size, but they should have a shipment in later this week or early next week.  So, I am going to have an actual sports bra…and that is very exciting.  I might even be able to do an actual jumping jack (without having to hold on to my “friends” while jumping).  Awesome!

My testimonial taping is happening within the next week or so…and I am nervous!  So very nervous!  I have already ironed out what I am doing with my hair…vibrant blue in the back with streaks of yellow and lime green in the front.  I know I am going to wear all black (which I have yet to shop for a shirt that actually fits me like a shirt should, and not so much like a night shirt).  Now, I just have to iron out what in the world I am going to say!  They told me I should strive for about 15 seconds.  Well, how in the world can I say *all* I need to say about my fabulous gym and phenomenal trainer in *only* 15 seconds?!  I was rehearsing in my kitchen yesterday morning and whittled it down to about a minute and a half.  Not kidding.  I just do not feel like I can really quantify my experience in 15 seconds.  Any suggestions on that one?!

Last I want to mention that the scale was kind to me this morning.  I was down 0.8 from yesterday…so far 1 pound down for the week.  Hopefully that means with less weight lifting (per instructions from Denise – best trainer in the world) and more cardio (thank you Neil Armstrong machine)…combined with an increase in raw foods…my “plateau” is no longer.  We shall see in the morning.  I will likely keep my fingers crossed…even while sleeping.  🙂

Do you have any exciting news to share?


Keeping An EYE On Things

Portion control is out of control in our society.  This photo shows what portion sizes *used* to look like, and what they look like today.  There is clearly a very large difference.  This explains many things about our growing obesity epidemic.  People simply do not understand what a *real* portion looks like because they are used to being served two or three times a normal serving.  So, when a doctor asks, “Do you eat a lot?”  Their answer, of course, is no.

I used to fall into that category.  I did not think I ate all that much.  The problem was that my portion sizes were seriously inflated.  I was consuming far too many calories in each sitting.  Despite the fact I was not eating fast food, I was still morbidly obese.  I was always a little confused because I ate  healthy foods.  I cooked my meals at home using very little convenience or pre-packaged foods.  Fruits and vegetables were always a big part of my daily diet.  Yet, the fat was still there (and often times increasing).

Once I realized that it was not so much *what* I was eating as much as the *quantity* things started to improve.  I started purchasing smaller things…fruits especially…to help curb the portion sizes.  I started preparing meals as if I were feeding three people instead of five.  This reduced everyone’s portion sizes and also reduced the amount of leftovers lurking in my fridge.  The interesting thing?  Even though I began cooking less food at each meal, we were all still satisfied and nourished.  Go figure.

I am much more conscious of how much I am eating these days.  Part of that is due to practice, and the other part is due to journaling.  Keeping a food journal helps to keep me accountable.  It prevents me from “letting things slide” and getting carried away with eating.  As an addict, this is very important for me.  In that same vein, as an addict, this was one of the harder things I had to implement.  I was resistant to logging every little thing that entered my mouth.  It is an invaluable tool to my success, though.  I highly recommend everyone keep a food journal.  If you have never kept one, you might be (unpleasantly) surprised at the amount of food you actually consume in a day.

Here is a chart I found while roaming the blogging world.  It is a good visual reference for those looking to control portion sizes without stopping to measure every single thing before eating it (which I find frustrating, by the way).

Looking over this chart, you can probably see portion distortion with many products.  Bagels are a big one.  I cannot remember the last time I saw a bagel in a bakery that was smaller than my palm…can you?  Of course, I have bagels in the house that are about that size, but they are considered “mini” bagels.  The full size bagels are easily double that size.

Do you control your portion sizes using this visual method or some other method?  Are there any foods you still have difficulty with when creating a portion (cheese is my portion weakness)?


Weigh Day (week thirty)

Thirty weeks.  Seven months (only 5 days shy).  What a journey this has been so far.  I have come so far already…and, yet, I feel like I have so much further to go.  Although, as fast as these 30 weeks have gone, I have no doubt the next 30 will fly by in seemingly no time at all.  I am very excited to see what milestones and accomplishments I will have to speak of by that point.

I would like to say I am bubbling over with happiness and excitement today, but I am not.  Actually, I am feeling a blue this evening.  I had a great workout with Denise today, and I did some new things with her (which challenged me in new ways).  I did my first “real” pushup today (not the girlie ones on my knees)…it was *not* pretty, but I did it…and then many more after it.  I did burpees, actually, which require pushups as part of the move.  I also jumped rope…okay, more like skipped rope, but I did it.  Again, it was not pretty, and I still need *so* much more practice to be “successful.”

Despite that, my weigh in this morning has me a little bent out of shape.  The scale was all over the place this morning.  Okay, so something strange…I weigh myself (a minimum of) three times every time I do it.  Why?  Well, because depending on where you stand on the scale, you get different readings…or at least I usually do.  So, what I do is step on the scale and then again, and then again.  If the number matches all three times, that is my weight.  If the number does not match, I weigh myself until I get three identical readings.  Usually, the numbers are so close (like within 0.4 pounds)…not this morning.  I had weights from as little 235.X all the way up to 239.0.  I was so frustrated and wanted desperately to curse the stupid thing out.  Instead, I took a deep breath and keep stepping on.  Eventually, I got my three identical readings…


That is *one* pound down from last week.  O-N-E.  That is two weeks in a row that I have only dropped *one* pound.  I am beginning to feel frustrated with that.  I know I probably should not get that caught up in the numbers, but I do.  The numbers, after all, is what is primarily driving me these days because I still have that ridiculous *disconnect* clouding my perception of progress when I look at myself.  If I could *see* the changes as clearly as everyone else, maybe I would not be so hung up on the numbers.  Maybe.  It is still a loss, though, so I guess I cannot dwell on it too terribly long.  Sigh.

Denise measured me today at the gym.  Here is how it went:

Neck = 14″ / 14″
Shoulders = 54″ / 45.2″
Arms = 19″ (L) and 19″ (R) / 16.5″ (L) and 16.5″ (R)
Bust = 54.5″ / 48.2″
Waist = 48″ (N) and 52″ (B) /  35.5″ (N) and 40″ (B)
Hips = 58.75″ / 51″
Thighs = 37″ (L) and 37.5″ (R) / 27.7″ (L) and 28″ (R)
Calves = 20.5 (L) and 21″ (R) / 17.2″ (L) and 18.2″ (R)
original measurement / current measurement

That is a total of 77.25 inches and 76.8 pounds lost in 30 weeks.  That is not too shabby, right?  So, what is up with me not feeling happy about that?!  Maybe I am in some sort of emotional funk today…who knows.

Here is another thing…
My BMI when I began (at 315 lbs.) was 49.33.
Today my BMI was 37.3.

I am thinking that I need to switch up something on the food front.  I have no idea what I am going to do exactly because I do not have a “quick fix” in that arena.  (Meaning, I do not drink soda – even diet. I do not eat sweets – ever. I do not drink alcohol. I do not eat chips or anything “snacky” like that.)  So, I apparently have some research ahead of me to try and figure out how I can shake things up in my diet to see if I can get the scale moving again.  Any thoughts or ideas on that?

20 days
13.2 pounds
(I think it’s safe to call this one unattainable at this point.)


Magic Weight Loss Pill

So, there is such a thing…go figure.  🙂


Click the picture to be taken to the site where I found this cool photo.

Six Weeks For Change

One of my blogger friends, Karen, has posted a “challenge” to use the remaining six weeks of winter to implement change in your life.  She lists quite a bit of possible ideas you could use to kick start your life in the direction you are looking for.  I decided to use a couple of her suggestions (because they were relevant to me) and add one more for good measure.

Here are my six-week changes:

1. Go to at least one Zumba class (preferrably more because hopefully I will love it)
2. Try new recipes (and, of course, share with you all).  To make this more specific…I intend to try at least six new recipes over the next six weeks.
3. Improve my balance.  I will work on this in a number of ways, the first being physical therapy (twice weekly).  They are constantly working on my balance (especially in that right ankle).  I also intend to work on this using yoga (twice weekly) and other methods.
4. Jump rope (successfully).  If I make myself jump rope at least four times a week (every day I am at the gym) for even five minutes, it would stand to reason I would improve greatly over six weeks…right?

I invite you to visit Karen’s blog and take on the task of implementing changes (big or small) in your life over the next six weeks.  These weeks will just fly by and you will be glad you challenged yourself to make them really count.