Friday, December 20, 2013

Weight Loss Update

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Since I've shared my weight loss journey, I thought I would share my most recent photo collage of my progress.

To date I've lost a total of 147 lbs.  Yay!!!  I can't tell you how much more energy I have and how much better I feel.  I'm thoroughly enjoying being more active with my kids, and that little grandson of mine.

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy, Holiday.
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama

In my last two posts I explained why and how I started my journey toward better health, which by necessity included weight loss.  Now I'd like to share what I've been doing for the last 10 months.

Trim Healthy Mama was written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, two of Nancy Campbell's (Above Rubies magazine) daughters. It was written over the course of about 5 years by these two amazingly dedicated ladies.  They've been through many eating lifestyles themselves and developed this approach, which is basically a controlled glycemic way of eating, when the others failed to keep them and their families in really good health.  Some of the things they've done in the past are vegetarianism, veganism, low fat, and raw food.  They've spent years learning how the body processes food and now we get the benefit of all their hard work.  The book is a little pricey (about $35.00), but it's been self published so that's to be expected and it's well worth the price. 
Simply put, they advocate eating fats and carbs separately since the body uses both as fuel, but won't use the fat if the carbs are present.  Unlike many other "diet" plans, they do not exclude entire food groups, citing biblical examples for the inclusion of these foods.  Personally, I like that their plan is balanced and looks toward God's word in support of their choices.  Though it is a bit of a lengthy read, about a third of the book is dedicated to recipes.  I will have to say that though I've tried many of the recipes, what was even more important was that by learning the plan and reading through many of the recipes, I was able to learn how to adapt family favorites to make them plan approved.  Also, in addition to the book, they have a website, forum, and facebook group that all help you along.  The forum is good for getting questions answered, but the facebook group will also address questions and offers up way more recipe options as the ladies on the group are constantly sharing new things they've tried. 

I've lost 89 lbs. since starting THM last December (bringing my total to date to 139 lbs.) and I can honestly say that I can, and do expect to eat this way for the rest of my life.   With all the delicious options I rarely feel tempted to eat something that wouldn't be plan approved, and if I decide to, it's not really that I've "fallen off the wagon", I've just decided to eat what they call a crossover (a meal that includes fat and carbs) and can switch back to a single fuel at my next meal. 

The only thing that I do a bit differently is that I do not eat very many E meals (energizing meals - they contain carbs), and when I do, they don't usually have anywhere near the allowable limit for an E meal.  Because of a three hour glucose test I've had, I know that I produce a lot of insulin in response to sugar in my blood stream so I take that into account and try to restrict my carbs a bit more.  I do listen to my body though and when I'm feeling tired or unable to concentrate as well, I know it's time to eat a few more carbs.  And since I do allow myself some non-plan approved food on occasion, I feel it probably all works out. 

The book doesn't just stop at explaining the plan and sharing recipes, they go on to explain the most beneficial exercise routines and they have an entire section on hormones, their function and what may be going on with your body if they're out of whack. 

To help me along the way, I've also started compiling an entire repertoire of recipes that I've hunted around for, and found online.  Many are low carb, gluten free (but only the type of gluten free that doesn't include rice flour), sugar free recipes.  I do not use Splenda, but I will adapt a recipe that calls for Splenda by using a plan approved sweetener.  I also use many Paleo recipes, adapting them as necessary to make them plan approved. 

As you can tell, I heartily endorse trying out the book and plan, but I do plan on having future posts dedicated to sharing plan approved, and family taste-tested and approved recipes.  I just won't share recipes in the book as they are copyrighted (but you really should try the Special Agent Brownie Cake - pg. 382).  And for the record, no, I received nothing in return for endorsing the book.

I will add a final note here that the plan can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you do get the book and decide to give it a go, just take it slowly.  Change one meal at a time instead of plunging in head first and trying to change everything you do and eat all at once.  It's a change in your lifestyle that will bring about good health, not a quick fix to get you "bikini ready" in 6 weeks.  Those things don't give you the lifetime changes that will keep you trim and healthy anyway, but changing to a healthier lifestyle will. 

What do you have to lose?  I had about 190 lbs. to lose, and I'm very nearly 3/4ths of the way there.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

So, how did I lose 130 lbs in 14 months?

Well, as I said in my last post, it wasn't by magic, pills, powders or any other trick.  There was no weird grapefruit, tuna, cottage cheese, kale chips, or drink all your food diet plan.  There also wasn't an enormous amount of exercising, though there certainly was some. 

We'll start with how I changed my eating.  When I started, it was just by watching my quantities, drinking a large glass of water with every meal and trying to cut down on "easy" carbs - white potatoes, white bread, pasta, and rice.  That is all I did for the first two weeks.  Then I started looking into calorie content, hidden calories, and which foods offered up the best nutrition for the calories I was eating.  Thankfully, I don't count calories anymore, though I did do a bit of that in the beginning.  I'll get into what I do now, and have done since last Dec. later, but I did want to be honest about the process.

When it looked like all the food changes wasn't going to kill me, and in fact, I felt like I was doing pretty well, I decided to add in a bit of exercise - and I do mean a bit.  I literally spent about 5 minutes doing any move that wasn't something I would ordinarily do.  Nothing much; raising up on my tip-toes 10 times, 10 knee lifts, alternating knees, 10 arm raises, also alternating arms for about 5 minutes.  That's all it took when I first started, but, I didn't stop there.  I gradually increased the time, occasionally adding in an additional moves, like a Charleston type move, until I was consistently doing some kind of additional movement for 20 minutes every day.  I took about a month to get to 20 minutes a day of exercise.  While I was working on that I also purposed to increase my incidental moving during the course of each day.  I would go get something myself instead of asking a kid. I would go get the mail or find reasons to go upstairs.  I also starting parking further away from stores or other businesses.  I found ways to make myself get up and move often throughout the day.  Believe it or not, these incidental movements are very important to overall health.  Lots of little bouts of moving throughout the day can be just as important as a regular workout in keeping your metabolism up.

All of the preceding changes took place over a 6 week period from mid-July to the end of August, 2012.  Up to that point, I had not bothered stepping on a scale, mostly because I didn't want to discourage myself if my weight loss was slow.  I had gotten on a scale shortly before Ri's wedding, so I knew about what I weighed, and I had measured my hips when I was making my dress for her wedding, so I also had at least that measurement to go off of.  By the first Monday in Sept, 2012 I felt I was doing well enough to start keeping track of my weight loss.  I had so much weight to lose I had already decided to break the total amount up into smaller, mini-goals so that I wouldn't be overwhelmed by how much I had to lose altogether.  As I stepped on the scale I was telling myself that my first goal would be to reach 330 lbs., because I had not been that weight consistently since T. had been born.  I was ecstatic when I looked down and the scale already read 330 lbs.  I was instantly motivated to up the ante with regard to my exercise routine and eating habits.  I was less inclined to "cheat" since I was already doing so well, and I began strictly limiting the easy carbs and anything with sugar.

I lost weight pretty quickly for awhile, but part of that was because I was so overweight that I was literally burning calories at twice the rate of a "normal" size person for every single thing I did.  It was faster than Dr's. suggest, but I was eating well, and not strenuously exercising so I wasn't really worried.  It seemed logical that I would lose quickly at that point.  I did track my food intake and exercise for a little while with My Fitness Pal, but thankfully, that's not what I'm doing now.

Although I was happy with with the weight I was losing, I felt that there had to be more to it all, and there had to be an explanation for why I would sometimes see a good amount of weight loss when I felt as though I had not been eating as well, and there would be no weight loss at times that I felt I was being "good" with my eating.   So I started reading more and more about health, and how our bodies utilize nutrients.  About that time one of the ladies at church brought in a copy of the book, Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene Allison, and Pearl Barrett.  After browsing through it, I decided to purchase my own copy.   I got it in November, 2012, and by December, 2012, I was ready to start implementing the Trim Healthy Mama style of eating.  In addition, I also got a copy of the book, Why We Get Fat, and What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes.  While I don't completely agree with his "diet", I found the information in it helpful in further explaining how our bodies process foods and in my opinion, it went along well with the Trim Healthy Mama eating style.

I had lost 50 lbs. from mid-July to November of 2012, and have lost more than 80 lbs. since starting Trim Healthy Mama in December, 2012.  I'll go a bit more into Trim Healthy Mama, and the tweaks I've personally made in my next post.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Health and Fitness

For the last year or so I haven't spent much time reading blogs, or posting for that matter, but I did see a post today from a lady questioning whether or not it was important to try and share information about health and fitness, even if you don't see much interest from others.  Her post is what prompted my post today.  I am sorry for neglecting the blog, but I hope to remedy that by sharing what's been going on around here for the last year that has taken up so much of our time.

While I would love to blame all my distractedness on my adorable little grandson (and I have spent as much time as possible on and with him), that wouldn't really be the truth.  For the last 14 months I have been on a mission of sorts; first to change my own health, and second to change that of my family's.  We are seeing some great results, so I'm ready to share our journey.  I hope to start being a bit more regular with the blog posts in order to continue sharing how we are transforming our lives.

Since I haven't posted many pictures that showed much of myself on here, I should start by telling everyone that I was extremely overweight and had been for years.  I was actually skinny as a child, but I started gaining weight shortly after hitting puberty, and by the time I graduated high school was 40-50 lbs overweight.  After high school I gained a bit more over the next three years because I had desk jobs and wasn't particularly active anymore.  Then came marriage and children.  Although I never gained much weight during any of my pregnancies, I certainly gained quite a lot between them, eventually exceeding 340 lbs.  I don't know for sure what my highest weight may have been, but the highest I ever saw on a scale was 344 lbs.  I suspect I was a bit larger than that at one point, but I (understandably) avoided scales like the plague when I was that large.  I maintained that weight for 11 years after the birth of my last child. 

Many people have asked if it was issues with my own health prompted the change I ultimately undertook, but it wasn't really that.  Although I was (I would say extremely,) morbidly obese, the few times my blood pressure had been checked during those 11 years, it was always in the normal range, and I wasn't diabetic.  In fact, I was generally pretty healthy (for someone that overweight), rarely even getting sick.  But, I was sadly out of shape; I couldn't even walk up my driveway without getting out of breath and my size impacted most everything I did.  I managed to accomplish the everyday activities that were necessary, but there wasn't a lot of additional activities I would get involved with that required much extra effort.

Last July, just a month after Ri's marriage, I was sitting in on one of my hubby's doctors appointments when I felt God was impressing on me the fact that I needed to improve my health in order to better care for my husband.  I may have mentioned it before on this blog, but my hubby is an incomplete quadriplegic with several health issues.  Shortly after the appointment I was still thinking on the issue of my weight/health with regard to my ability to aid in his future care when it occurred to me that I had been shortchanging my younger children because I had never been as active with them as I had been with the older two when they were younger.  My entire family had been suffering the results of my weight and would continue to do so if I didn't do something about it.  It was time to change.  Arguably past time, but we can't go back now can we?

I will share the process over the next few posts, but for now we'll just skip ahead to where we are currently.  Using the highest weight I'd ever seen on scale as my starting point, to date I've lost 134 lbs.  That's right.  In the last 14 months I've lost over 130 lbs.  I won't even begin to go over all the measurement changes right now, but suffice it to say that I've lost more than three feet of myself.  In addition, some of my children have also lost some weight (though most of them weren't all that much over "ideal"), and the family is gaining better health overall. 

Although I will share details of what I have and haven't done, and why I made the choices I did in subsequent posts, I will reassure you that there is no magic trick, or pill, or powder, or miracle diet that has brought about the changes, even though they are exceptional.  There is some science behind it, and I will certainly share that later, but it really does boil down to eating well (truly well and not just our current version of "healthy") and getting your backside off the sofa a little more often.

So come back on occasion to check out future posts about how I've managed to improve my health so drastically over the last year, and I'll do my best to keep these posts coming a bit more regularly.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

General Happenings

Whew!!  This year has absolutely flow by.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything that's been going on, and quite frankly, have felt as though I've not been particularly productive, even though I've been busier than ever.

The garden was a little neglected this year.  It shouldn't have been because the weather has been unseasonably cool, making it much easier to work in,  but partly due to all the rain, which meant we didn't have to water, we just haven't been out there very much.  We harvested a good deal of sweet peas, a fair amount of green beans, quite a few cucumbers, and a lot of zucchini earlier on, but other things didn't not perform particularly well.  The garlic and onions did not do well at all because of the cold winter, and very cool, wet spring and early summer.  Because it has never gotten very hot, having had very few days that even reached 90 this summer, and extremely wet, our peppers have been limping along, not producing very well.  Our melons have also done badly.  On the upside, though we've not had a bumper crop of tomatoes, we are getting a fair amount of them on a regular basis.  Every year there are successes and failures in the garden, and every year we manage to eat from it, so it all works out.

I've not done much in the sewing room since I finished all the baby sewing in the spring, but I did get back in there and make myself a new purse last week so I'm now inspired to start (or finish) a few projects.

The younger girls and I have already started back with school, albeit slowly.  We have a lot to cover this year, so we'll need the extra time.  I hope to be a bit more diligent than I was last year.  Some things I had wanted to do last year just didn't get done and I don't want to repeat that this year, so I think the schedule will be a bit more rigid.  I don't think they'll like it all that much, but they will certainly survive. :)

We haven't done nearly as much food preserving this year, but we've been busy in the kitchen with other things.  I plan to tell you more about it in a future post, but suffice it to say that we're trying to improve our health and that has required a big change in the food we eat.  We are currently working on changing many of our family favorites in order to make them better for us.  We hope to share some of our new recipes in the future.

Of course, the new grandbaby has been a delightful distraction around here.  We are really enjoying every moment we have with him.  He gets passed around quite a bit between me and his aunts.  I'm pretty sure most days he enjoys all the attention.  Here's a contented little man, with a full belly.  He looks like this a lot. :D, but we still enjoy just holding him.

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