This week I celebrated losing 100 pounds. I didn’t do this by taking pills or following a fad diet. I’ve eaten chocolate, pizza, drank wine & beer, and have completely skipped exercising. How is that possible?

1)  Give it time. I started this journey the first week of June 2009. It’s been two years, ten months. I spent most of 2010 gaining and losing the same 10 pounds–and a lot of the reason behind that is because I was getting comfortable with my first 70 pounds of weight loss.

2) Be honest with yourself. If you really want to lose weight you’ll have to commit to this. Do you want to lose weight, or do you want that Venti Frappuccino? Keep track of what and how much you eat. It’s important you be aware of your daily consumption of food–whether you’re tracking calories, fat or Weight Watchers points. It’s because you haven’t been honest with your eating habits that you’re fat.

3) Feed your family what you eat. Do you have a family that you think you need to feed pizza, fried chicken and gravy to? Do you really need to feed them this, or is it easier for you to give them this food? If you change the habits of how you cook, you and your family will be better off. And, you won’t be tempted to finish off a slice of uneaten pizza as you’re cleaning up.

4) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve increased my fruits and vegetable intake these last few months–which has made it easier to lose weight. Apples, oranges and bananas are daily staples. Cauliflower, bell peppers and carrots also show up with great frequency. If you don’t like most vegetables find ones you do like. If you like celery, but don’t like eggplant, try other crunchy vegetables like jicama.

5). Exercise. This is important. Even if you can’t do much more right now than walk to your car, try walking to the corner. If your knees bother you, try crunches or arm circles. It’s true that just moving more can make a difference, especially at the beginning, when it seems like 100 or more pounds is insurmountable.

6) Support. There are plenty of people out there who have lost 200, 300, even 400 pounds. They gave it time, and I wager they had people who supported them. If you live alone, join Weight Watchers. Use weight loss forums, or start following people like me on Twitter. I guarantee there are people out there in the “Fitfluential” world who have lost weight or are losing weight, and want to help you reach your goals, too!

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Drumroll….!

I hit 100 pounds lost on Friday night.

I hate to say it, but I’m sure I bounced up a bit after too much Easter candy, tortillas, etc.

My next goal is to make sure I get back to that 100 pounds lost, and lose 7 more.

Why seven more pounds? Because at 160 I’ll be in the “Normal Weight” BMI zone. At that point I’ll get my fat tested with skin calipers to determine how much more fat I need to lose, and I’ll decide what I want my goal weight to be.

I started out saying I wanted to lose 120 pounds. That may not be the case now. I might lose 120 pounds of fat, but gain muscle. If I’m a lean 157, that’s great. Then again, if I need to get down to 145 to be healthy, I’ll keep at it.

 

 

I’m taking a nutrition class at the local community college, and I’m really shocked at the foods that people say they eat. Not only is fast food a large component of their weekly menus, but so is over-processed, refined, sugary crap. In addition to that, most people get fewer than 10 grams of fiber in their daily diet. It’s really hard to eat such little fiber–at least I thought.

Since it appears I’m wrong, here are:

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake

1) Don’t peel it. Eat your apple, peach and potato peels. You’ll double your fiber intake this way.

2) Go brown. Stay away from white food. No white rice, bread, or pasta. Instead, have brown rice, whole grain bread–look for whole wheat!–, and whole wheat pasta. Look at the amount of fiber on the nutritional panels to make sure you’re getting a decent amount of fiber per serving, more than three grams. If not, see if you can find another brand.

3) Have beans or lentils every other day.  That’s a simple way to increase your fiber intake!

4) Sprinkle flax seeds on it. Try sprinkling “nature’s broom” into your cereal, on top of soup, into pasta, in stir fries. They are crunchy and have a mild flavor, and are a nutritious form of fiber. Do know they are *not* fat free!

5) Have high-fiber cereal in the morning. Don’t like it? Try swapping out a quarter of your cereal for high-fiber cereal for a few days, then increase it to a third of your cereal, etc.

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Drumroll, please!

Pounds lost: 95
Body Fat: 33.1%
BMI: 26.9

Pounds lost since December 22: 3
Body Fat change: -0.2%  (total since starting with Trainer Paul: 4.1%)

Small losses add up. I’m just hoping these small losses start coming a bit faster!

For this week’s What Would Sydney Eat (WWSE), I offer you a protein-packed Berry Smoothie. Yes, I’m probably the only 41-year old woman who has never had a yogurt-based fruit shake. That is, until today.

This smoothie pairs protein with carbs for a nutritious, tasty kick-start for your day. It’s great for people who like to start the day with something on the sweeter side.

Berry Smoothie

4 oz orange juice
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Add the ingredients to your blender in the order listed; blend for five minutes to incorporate air and blend out chunks. Enjoy!

Yesterday I celebrated losing 95 pounds at my Weight Watchers weigh-in. The road has been long, filled with sweat and cravings, false modesty and humiliation, pizza and pudding. The group cheered, which I thought was very sweet–there were lots of celebrations yesterday, including a 20 and 30-pound loss. Afterwards a few women asked me a battery of questions, which I thought I’d share.

1. How long has it taken you? I started Weight Watchers in June 2009, so it’s been two years, nine months.

2. Why has it taken so long? Yes, someone asked this. In these days of Biggest Loser rapid weight loss and stomach stapling, people want instant transformation. It’s taken me this long because I’m not just losing weight, I’m changing who I am. I’m no longer the fat woman who scoffs at people who exercise, I am a person who exercises. I used to love to watch cooking shows and whip up big dinners filled with butter, oil, cheese and meat. No more.

3. How many pounds per week did you lose? According to my Weight Watchers e-Tools chart, I’ve lost an average of .7 pounds per week. But really, there’s nothing average about my weight loss. Some weeks I had big losses. There were periods in the first year when I’d have three big losses and then a gain, then three healthy losses and a gain, etc.  You’ll see in my weight loss chart that in 2011 from May 2010 to June 2011 I “Mastered the Art of Maintaining”. That means, over that year, I had a net loss of 2.8 pounds. But I kept going to meetings–I didn’t want to gain the weight back.

Weight Loss Chart

4. Do you exercise? I didn’t when I started. At 267 pounds I was just too out of shape physically and mentally to do much. I remember trying to learn swing dancing with my husband, but I was so out of shape that I gave up.  So what was the turning point? I got a pedometer and beginning walking CD by Debbie Rocker. 20 minutes of this optimistic woman in my ears. The first day that I tried it it was 85 degrees in August 2009 and when I was done I collapsed on the couch, thinking I would never be able to get into shape. But I kept at it, walking more after Debbie was done, adding weights, walk/jogging, and by Thanksgiving 2009 I completed my first 5k.

Now I try to get to the gym five times a week where I do cardio and weight training, with a goal of becoming a strong, fit woman. And I love how my body feels as I get stronger.

5. Is your family fat? Your husband? My husband is overweight right now. I pulled him down the unhealthy path–when we met years ago he ran daily (and I scoffed at him). But he’s on his own journey and I think he’ll be celebrating being fit and healthy by the end of 2012. My kids are in the normal weight zone, as are my parents. Family history and long-term effects of childhood issues are a different post altogether.

6. What do you eat daily? Can you send me your meal plan? I won’t send you a meal plan, because I don’t have one. These days I’m trying to eat six small meals a day, pairing protein with carbohydrates. A sample day might be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
10am: Handful of carrots and 10 almonds
1pm: Beef & barley soup
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Salad: 3 oz Skinless chicken breast, LOTS of spinach & arugula salad mix, 1/2 C brown rice, 1/2 bell pepper–sliced,  1 tomato quartered, 1/2 C steamed brocolli, handful of baby carrots, sliced purple onion. Dressing: fresh lemon juice & 1 tsp olive oil. I might have a little heel of bread with this to soak up the dressing.
9:30pm: 1/2 Cup dark chocolate pudding from Fresh & Easy

But, a sample day could also easily be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Four slices of pizza plus the piece my four-year old handed me, saying, “Here Mommy, can you finish this please?”
8pm: a bowl of ice cream, a candy cane, a handful of chocolate chips, and a stale cookie

7. Do you have special tools that you use? No. Yes. Sort of.

E-Tools. When I signed up for Weight Watchers’ E-Tools in July 2009 I geeked out on tracking, and it really helped. That first year I was a tracking fool. I used the recipe builder and activity tracker and participated on the 100+ Pounds to Lose message board a lot. Now I do my best to track daily, but if I’m honest, I’m at about a 30% success rate.

Polar heart rate monitor watch. This helps me track my activity, calories burned, and if I’m getting my heart rate in the zone I want it.

Good running shoes & an Enell sport bra.If you’re large-busted, the Enell sport bra is a god-send!

Trainer. Okay, Trainer Paul isn’t a *thing* but definitely joining the gym and signing up for a trainer has helped a lot.

Food scale. My $20 food scale was one of my best purchases. Weighing my food keeps me honest.

Other gadgets: I’ve tried all sorts of gadgets on my phone. The PointsPlus calculator from Weight Watchers is good. I have an Android so most of the other WW apps don’t work well on it. I’ve downloaded Loseit! but it’s just a tracking app so I decided to stick with e-Tools. Trainer Paul showed me the 6 Pack Abs Promise so I’ve downloaded it and will try it out today.

Books: Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean series really jump-started me out of maintenance in June 2011.

8. What big changes have you made? Since June 2009 I’ve made a few changes, including:

I don’t stop at Burger King for breakfast.
I have black coffee instead of a venti non-fat, no-whip caramel mocha.
I bring my lunch about 90% of the time and when I don’t, I look for the healthy options on the menu.
When I go to parties, I *do* bring something healthy that I’d like to eat.
I’ve really cut back on drinking.
I exercise. Sometimes I hate it, but most of the time once I start doing it I enjoy it.
I don’t shop in the fat womens’ stores anymore. No more Macy Women. No more Lane Bryant. I went from a 24 to a 14. At a 38C, Victoria’s Secret can sell me bras again.
I do still get french fries, but a small instead of a large, and I balance out the rest of the day.

I don’t beat myself up for days where the fat girl comes back, and doesn’t exercise and eats everything in her path. Instead, I try to figure out why I’m sabotaging my efforts.

How did I lose 95 pounds?

I joined Weight Watchers
I started exercising
I kept at it.

I look pretty good. In clothes, that is.

And as long as I don’t jump up and down, I usually feel good about my body, too.

The other day, I was playing a jumping game with my four-year old.

My husband stopped what he was doing and got a funny look on his face, “What’s that sound?”

I didn’t know whether to burst out laughing or to be mortified. It was my stomach flapping against me, slapping and clapping. Oh, the embarrassment!

Today I was changing and realized I still have a good long way to go. “Sigh.” I said. My husband said, “You look good. You’re not done, but you look good.”

After I laughed, he said, “When the only things that jiggle are your butt and your boobs, you’ll be done.”

Injured again!

It happened about a month ago, actually. I was reaching down for my purse in a restaurant and “ZIPPPP! Pingggg!”

It felt like someone was pulling hard on a long hair on the back of my upper arm. And it kept happening–this funny electrical buzz in my arm. Sharp. Insistent.

It was intermittent, this pain. I didn’t know when it would happen or what would cause it. But it hurt to run or jump or move my arm in just about any direction.

And then my fingers started going numb, so I went to the doctor.

Diagnosis? Tendinitis.

Wear an elbow brace. Ice it. Take ibuprofen. No upper body work for at least 7 days, and when you start, start slow.

As I said, it’s been a month, and it’s just starting to feel better. I’ve worked out a few times with my arms, and I’d love to start going heavier, but I’m scared of further injury. Am I injury prone, or doing something wrong?

It seems like right about now–six weeks into the year or so–we hear from lots of people that they’re cheating on their diet. How they did really badly this week. They might as well not bother, since they gained. Why waste money on Weight Watchers, since they’re not doing it any more? Why go to the gym, since they’re off their diet? And then, ultimately, they failed.

And they lament how well they did at the beginning. “I did everything right!” I tracked everything. I prepared all my meals on Sunday. I  worked out every day. I never used any of my extra Weight Watchers PointsPlus (my Weeklies, my Activity Points). I didn’t eat anything “bad.”

And then, Weight Watchers stopped working.

But of course it didn’t.

Life got real.

Losing weight is like marriage. First you have the honeymoon, where everything is exciting and new and fun. You track. You measure. You log your activity points. And you’re excited to see the big weight losses.

Eventually, as time wears on, there’s a familiarity that sets in. You get comfy in your sweats more often. You don’t feel the need to go out together all the time. You fall asleep before you can say goodnight.

Same goes for the weight loss journey. You take the tracking, measuring and activity for granted. And when the weight loss slows down, or reverses, many people don’t work through it to get back on track, but give up.

Don’t give up this time. So what if it takes a year, or two, or in my case, three to get to your goal? When you get there, you’ll have changed a lot of habits, and you’ll be much more likely to maintain–and live happily ever after.

Last week my husband and I met a woman who I found to be quite attractive. Later that night when we were home I mentioned how pretty she was.

My husband looked at me like I was crazy. “Her? She’s not pretty. Why would you say that?”

I didn’t understand why he didn’t think she was pretty. She was youthful, thin, and was good looking. Wasn’t she?

No, she wasn’t, he told me. She wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t good looking. She was an average woman, neither pretty nor exotic, nor ugly or homely. A Plain Jane.

I didn’t understand it. How could she find her to be average? She was probably a size four. She’ s a runner. Of course she’s attractive.

It was only when I was driving home today, still musing over how wrong he was, that I finally understood the truth: I have been equating body size/shape with beauty.

She’s thin, therefore she’s beautiful.

I’m fat, therefore I’m ugly.

Only recently have I started to feel good looking even though I’m still very much officially fat. Only recently have I accepted compliments of “Wow, you look great” with a reply of “Thank you, that’s nice of you to say” instead of negating it. Only recently have I started to accept something completely new:

I’m strong, therefore I’m awesome.