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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