Friday, January 29, 2010

Before at 417 and now at 378

The picture above is me at my heaviest - 417 pounds in the summer of 2008. I first started to work on my weight in January of 2009 and lost 30 pounds, getting down to 387 pounds before gaining 15 back by the end of the year. The picture below represents me at my current weight, 378 (well, actually this pic shows me a few days ago at 380). I still have a long way to go, but as the picture shows, I'm well on my way!

Feeling good as I go into week 4

Today was my third weigh-in, and while I only lost four pounds in the past week I'm not discouraged because I'm losing the weight at a healthy pace. And there are other measures to this diet than just the weight. I'm noticing my clothes are fitting better (except for my jeans, which I can't seem to keep up!), and I'm feeling a lot better, less winded when doing regular daily tasks.

In fact, this morning in the shower I noticed how much easier it was to twist to wash my back and bend (without having to hold on to the wall) to wash my feet. And while I used to take breaks between vacuuming and washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry, now I just go from one task to the next and get things done in half the time.

This week my goal is to increase my exercise. I plan from this point forward is to get at least 20 minutes of exercise four times per week. And by exercise, I don't mean walking the dogs...I mean biking or working out at the gym. Plus, I plan on adding more lifestyle exercise into the mix.

I've taken a part time job waiting tables, which is something that made me sweat in my 20s. So I expect this to really heighten the effects of my healthier diet. I just hope I can manage to organize the regular eating times required by the Nutrisystem diet around my new working schedule. And of course serving all of that tempting food is going to be a bit of a challenge.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What I hate about me

I'm sitting here on a lazy Sunday afternoon, enjoying my afternoon snack (Nutrisystem almond biscotti and a cup of coffee), while watching What I Hate About Me on the Style Network. The show has an interesting concept. They ask a woman to list 10 things she hates about herself and then they enlist 10 different experts to help her address each one. While I can't afford the expert advice, and even though I kind of feel that listing things you hate about yourself is a bit of a negative exercise, I thought I'd jot down my own "10 things" list here to serve as a jumping off point to begin thinking about ways I can change them.

1. I hate that I gained more than 150 pounds without caring enough about myself to notice.
2. I hate that even though I'm losing weight I've most likely caused permanent damage to my skin as a result of having gained so much weight.
3. I hate the deep crease in the middle of my forehead.
4. I hate that I've been progressively losing my hair since my mid 20s.
5. I hate that my head is too big to fit off-the-rack sunglasses and hats.
6. I hate the fact that I've never held a single job for more than about a year and a half.
7. I hate that I can't seem to meld all of my career interests into one long-term steady way to support myself.
8. I hate the fact that realizing the dream I've held the longest - that of living and studying in Paris - eludes me.
9. I hate that I've never really felt close to my own family.
10. I hate that I'm so afraid that to be diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor (or something worse) that I put off going to the doctor for regular checkups.

Okay, that wasn't so painful. But I guess that's because I don't think anyone will ever be reading this. It's nice to put these things out there, though, and now I can start to work on some of them as I continue on with my weight loss journey.

Friday, January 22, 2010

20 pounds and counting

Today marks the end of my second week on Nutrisystem. I didn't lose as much as my first week, but I'm happy to report that I've lost a full 20 pounds!

To be honest, I'm shocked at how easy it has been to stay on this diet. It's pretty simple to follow, just eat one of their pre-packaged items and then eat tons of vegetables and a few fruits throughout the day. I think what makes it easy for me is that they also provide three snack options a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

The morning snack is a dairy/protein, like yogurt, cottage cheese or an egg. And the afternoon and evening snacks are pre-packaged and are either sweet or salty. Sweet options include stuff like a fudge brownie, chocolate cake or a cookie, and salty options are things like pretzels, herb flavored snack mix or soy crisps. This makes me happy!

BUT, and yes, there's a but, I'm a bit annoyed that during week one I lost almost double what I lost week two. Friends and fellow dieters are telling me I should shock my system with a cheat day, but that seems counterproductive to me. The Nutrisystem people say I just need to stick to it, and that slower weight loss is healthier weight loss. Tell that to the contestants on the Biggest Loser!

Okay, that wasn't a fair shot, because honestly I'm not putting in the effort to exercise the way those people do. Maybe that's what I should focus on this week, not giving in to a cheat day but kicking it up a notch and focusing on fitness. This is the dilemma I'm weighing right now, at 4 p.m. on a Friday. The cheating is tempting...wonder what I'll do.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 1 Weigh In - lost 13.4 pounds

I'm feeling pretty good today. I've lost nearly 14 pounds during my first week (weighed in at 388.6 pounds), but I know that kind of loss won't continue unless I start to pick up the amount of exercise I do. I've slowly increased my duration and level of exercise to about a half hour of low-key to moderate of activity.

This week my goal is to get on my bike more and really ride it for at least a half hour. I live three miles from the Hollywood beachfront, so ultimately I'd like to regularly do the 6 miles round trip and maybe even do a mile or two extra along the broadwalk once I get there.

My weight loss motivation

I want to be able to ride rollercoasters again, feel more comfortable in airplane seats, be able to sit in those tiny chairs on the patios of cafes, not cause the tires in my tiny compact car to wear unevenly, start my 40s in a year and a half with the same healthful optimism with which I started my 20s, let my parents grow older without having to worry about my health, be able to shop for clothes at the mall again, rollerblade without pain again, and dance the night away again without having to sit the next one out!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feeling full after first day on NS food

Yesterday was my first day on NutriSystem and I have to say it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. I consumed 2,000 calories and didn't feel hungry all day. In fact, I felt pretty full. The pre-packaged food was tasty enough, and preparing the fruits and veggies to go with it was pretty easy, too. The main problem I'm having so far is that I don't usually eat so early in the morning, and on this plan you have to eat nearly a third of the day's calories at breakfast. I also find that my stomach is not used to processing all of this healthy stuff. I've had a slight stomach ache off an on since I started. I'm hoping this will eventually pass as my body becomes accustomed to all the roughage.

The thing I love best about NS is the website. I love logging my exercise, food consumption and weight (first weigh in is next Friday!). It is so helpful being able to track my calorie, fiber, fat, carb, and protein intake with just a few mouse clicks. Chatting with other people going through the same process is also pretty cool. And it's nice to know that there is 24/7 counseling available by phone

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The food's arrived - I start in the morning

Well, the food has come, and now I'm off to the market to get the extra fruit and veggies and such that will give life to this boring box of pre-packaged foods (I hope). I'm so anxious about starting this new regime, but I've got to do it, and stick to it, if I'm ever going to have any hope of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Here goes!

Back on the wagon - this time with NutriSystem

It's been a year since I've written anything for this blog. After losing about 30 pounds last year I gave up my fantastic new diet and went back to living life in the fast food fast lane. I didn't mean to. It's not like the food is what lured me back. It's the convenience. I live alone, and cooking every day just seemed like a waste of time. Not to mention, it was a waste of food! I never got the hang of buying just the right amount of salads and fixin's so that I could eat it all before it spoiled in my fridge. And where was the flexibility? Sometimes I'd hit the road for a few days, and what then? I'd try making healthy choices while eating out, but it just seemed so unsatisfying, and before I knew it I was back to my old tricks again. "I'll take a number 10 with a large orange drink and a double cheeseburger, please".

Ultimately, I decided to quit my diet, and I figured I'd just abandon this blog forever. So why didn't I just delete all the previous entries? Good question. I guess it's because I didn't want the dream to end. "I'm not just going to flounder here at 400 pounds until disease and heart problems begin start to set in", I thought. "I'm not just going to die alone, choking on a ham sandwich, am I?"

Well, I can't predict the future, but I can certainly say that for the moment it is not my plan to give up like that. My methods were well thought out and based on some really good ideas, but executing said methods and ideas was just, well, not easy enough for me to follow through.

Now, nearly a year since my last entry, I'm ready to move on from my past. I'm not trying to delete it, but rather learn from it. I need something easier. And since I can't afford a person chef, I've chosen the next best thing. I've ordered my first month's supply of pre-packaged foods from NutriSystem. Marie Osmond did can I! LOL. Seriously, though, I did a lot of research into all the different diet plans out there and believe that this one is the right one for me. Here's why:


1. PRICE. It's nearly half of what Jenny Craig would have cost me, and while I understood where I'd be starting with that program, it seemed so vague as to where I'd end up...and how much it would cost me along the way. NutriSystem is costing me $329 per month for their food (and I still have to figure out the additional cost of fruits, veggies, eggs, etc.). For the first two months I get five weeks of food for the price of four. And after two months the price goes down by five percent.

2. NUTRITION. The person I trust most for issues like this - my friend Angela, who's a nurse practitioner here in South Florida - says that if she were to go on any of these pre-packaged plans it would be NutriSystem. The diet is based on the glycemic index, and while I'm not totally sure what that means I do know that it's geared to keep me from having hunger spikes thoughout the day so I can avoid feelings of hunger and the urge to binge.

3. EASE OF USE. Pre-packaged food is sent to you in the beginning of the month and all you have to do is pop the stuff into the microwave and prepare small portions of fresh fruits and vegetables you've bought at the market to go along with the hot meal. You don't even have to freeze the foods. They're all prepared in some sort of way that you can just stick them in your pantry or whatever. (I'll have more on this later, once I've checked out the foods for myself.)

4. SUPPORT. NutriSystem has an awesome website where you can keep a journal of foods you eat, feelings you're having about the diet, your daily exercise, etc. It's not for the public but for you. You can log all the pertinent information about your body as you lose the weight and track your progress. They also have chat rooms and discussion boards so you can talk with other people going through the process. I've already chatted with some amazing people who are so encouraging and also give you tips on choosing what food is good and what food is, well, not worth trying. And you can select your food, changing your order each month if you want to, right on the web.

5. MARIE OSMOND. How can you say no to this woman? I mean, Valerie Bertinelli is cool and all, but Marie is a little bit country and I'm a little bit rock n' roll! Okay, that's lame, but seriously, when I saw her on the commercial the other night I just got the feeling that if she could do it then I could too. And secretly, I've had a crush on her since I was a kid. Who knows, maybe I'll get to meet her one day after I've lost 150 pounds or something and NutriSystem decides to put me in one of their ads or have me go on Regis and Kelly for a weight loss fashion show or something. Hmmm. A boy can dream, can't he? (By the way, does anyone have Wynona Judd's number? I'd love to start this weight loss journey with her!)