Join Me on My Weight Loss Journey
We the people....
According to the Centers for Disease Control (n.d.), over one-third of Americans are obese. I am one of them. After a childhood trauma, I turned to food for comfort, causing a large weight gain in my teens. I lost 80 pounds at the age of 18 when I wrecked my car and didn't have the money for a new one. I was forced to walk where I wanted and needed to go.
Twenty years and four children later, I need to lose the weight again. Although I now have a car, I also have motivation. It's much easier to lose weight if you have the knowledge and social support you need, and this hub can be the beginning of a brand new you, as it will be for a brand new me.
Water is Essential for Weight Loss
Good to Know......
According to Yuri Alkaim, fitness expert and health coach who writes for US News (2013), we need approximately half of our weight in pounds converted to ounces to figure our average daily water requirement without vigorous exercise. In other words, if we weigh 200 pounds, we need approximately 100 ounces of water a day if we don't work out. Even a 5% dehydration can cause fatigue, and by the time we become thirsty, we are already dehydrated.
Water also aids weight loss. Drinking a large glass of water before each meal will help us eat less and aid digestion. Furthermore, some research shows that drinking cold water increases metabolism, but by how much is questionable. Either way, my teenaged cousin lost almost thirty pounds drinking a large glass of water before each meal.
Another thing that is good to know is your Basal Metabolic Rate, aka, minimum caloric requirement. This is the amount of calories your body needs to function well. This does not include calories burned exercising, therefore, the minimum caloric requirement is often the best caloric goal to meet most current physical and weight loss needs. This will vary depending on height, weight, sex, and age. You can quickly and easily find an estimate of your BMR at http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/. This site will also help you to estimate the calories you burn through various physical activities.
The Best Way To Measure Progress.
Losing the Scale....
I bought a scale. It lied. I threw it in the garbage. I feel no need to buy another one. I will weigh myself when I visit my mother every few months or whenever I come across one. I refuse to panic or celebrate every few pounds. I gain wait one week every month. I lose weight one week every month. I plan to exercise and muscle weighs more than fat. My weight will fluctuate.
I have taken measurements, though, of my arms, thigh, hips, and waist. I will compare them maybe once a month. I will measure my progress on my level of improvement in exercise, the fit of my clothes, how well I sleep, and how I feel. My goal is not only to lose weight, but to improve my health and well-being.
Keeping it Fun.....
Let's face it; we will lose more weight if we keep it fun. I am such a versatile person with such a versatile personality, that what will work for me one week may not work with me the next. To me, this journey will be a challenge, and I enjoy challenges. They build character.
I grocery shop about every two weeks. Before shopping, I will plan meals with more vegetables and less carbohydrates, and I will find a few new healthier menu items to try. Variety is the spice of life.
On weeks that I am feeling sociable, I will spend time on my page at http://www.weightlossbuddy.com/index.aspx. There are times that I really enjoy this site, checking the new videos, reading the new tips, surfing the groups, and visiting my buddys' pages. Weight Loss Buddy is a free social media site for people trying to lose weight and offers an incredible amount of support. They also have a smartphone app.
Another useful tool I found is also a smartphone app. Google Play Store offers a lot of free apps to aid weight loss that you may find useful. My favorite is the Calories Burned Calculator. It tells me how many calories I burn spending a specific amount of time on a certain activity based on my sex and weight. It's a tool I already use. If you don't have a smartphone, the internet is full of similar sites.
My biggest hurdle to overcome will be keeping exercise fun. I would love to try new activities, but there isn't much to do around here. I like to bowl but the nearest bowling alley is almost an hour away. I like to sled, even at my age, but it doesn't snow here. I used to enjoy racquetball, but that isn't offered in this town either. I'm not cruel enough to get on a horse, although some day I would love to learn to ride. I wouldn't mind bicycling, but there aren't many sidewalks here. The local parks and recreations department does not offer adult sports and there really isn't much to do here but hike and canoe in warm weather.
HOWEVER, I have kids and a frisbee. I also have a dog to walk. I've just acquired a new indoor ski machine type thing to play with. I have a yard I can work in and a garden I can grow. I've already started volunteering a couple of hours a week filling boxes at the food pantry. I plan to buy a weighted hula hoop in a week or two. I heard they provide an excellent workout. In the spring I plan to buy a full sized trampoline. That should be entertaining for a while. Maybe eventually I will teach myself yoga, kickboxing or something; anything that strikes my fancy at the time to make exercise interesting.
The Plan.....for now.
So, for now, I will drink water before each meal. I will eat fewer white carbohydrates and more vegetables. I will exercise five to six days a week. I will try to incorporate weight training in my exercise regimen. I will try new low fat and low carb food several times a week. I will visit my Weight Loss Buddy site at least twice a week. I will learn a new activity every week. I will check back to and update this hub as needed.
If you are one of the over 33% of Americans who are obese, you want to lose a few pounds, or you just want to get in shape, there's no need to feel alone or do it alone. Join me on my weight loss journey for a healthier you tomorrow.
For Additional Support, Check Out Weight Loss Buddies
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
Elkaim, Y. (2013, Sept. 13). The truth about how much water you should really drink. US News. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/09/13/the-truth-about-how-much-water-you-should-really-drink
One Week Later....
Obstacles everywhere! I had to take a road trip out of state, which kept me off my exercise routine. I tried this new exercise equipment I got for Christmas and felt it in my calves for days. It was SO boring. I will need to do something to make it a little more entertaining.
The good news is that I don't eat much when I travel, so I kept my calories down. And, at my weight, driving burns over 220 calories for an hour. According to my calories burned calculator, I burned over 3,600 calories in the 16 hours I drove over three days! Yeehaw!
I've lost a lot of sleep, and am too tired to exercise today. But, I'll catch up on my sleep today and tonight and will start back on an exercise routine tomorrow. The weather has been great and I've found a local spot with hiking trails. I plan to check it out Monday.
I am running into roadblocks everywhere!
I'm trying to do the carb cycling program I got from Chris Powell (Extreme Weight Loss). But, something happened. Low carb days turned into "not enough calories" days and I am feeling drained. Even on days that I do eat carbs, I'm not getting much more than 1000 calories, too low for me. Something happened to my appetite. It's been a very stressful week and it seems like I've been on the go most of the time, and it's killing my appetite. Some people would see this as a good thing, but eating too few calories lowers the metabolism and I'm doing the carb cycling to rev it up. The good thing is that it should only be temporary, because I have no energy today and it's only 7:30 in the morning. When I counted my calories up last night, I found that I had consumed only about 700, not enough for carb cycling to really work.
Another barrier is exercise, or lack of. It's too cold to go to the track. I can't afford a gym membership. In the larger town where I'm from, I could gym hop right now, take advantage of free introductory days, and sometimes weeks, that the large gyms offer new visitors, but the two gyms here don't have the competition to need to offer free trials. I have an exercise thingy in my dining room, but I don't exercise around other people unless they are exercising too, and I haven't had the house to myself to use it, until last night when I was just to drained to do anything.
Another problem is my lack of sleep. These kids keep me up late and I get up early to study while the house is still quiet.
So, as for these roadblocks......
I'm going shopping Tuesday and will by more low carb grab and go foods and low carb favorites like cottage cheese and whole grain tortillas to make wraps.
I'll start working on the yard today, since it will warm up a little, and exercise in spurts when I know I have ten minutes alone. I'll get some extra cleaning done around the house, with upbeat music. I'll walk the dogs a couple of times today.
And I'll eat carbs for a couple of days to get my metabolism back up..
About five weeks in......having some success
I keep having to suspend my carb-cycle marathon due to lack of low-carb food. My kids keep eating it all! My son will eat a pound of lean meat in a sitting while my daughter will consume half of a large carton of cottage cheese. I would say that I have planned my menu poorly. I was also consuming a lot of meatballs in sauce with cottage cheese and melted provolone. I'm meatballed out. It's not easy for me to come up with new ideas that don't include a lot of fat or cholesterol, especially for breakfast. I'm not consuming a whole lot of calories, but Increasing my protein and reducing my carbs for two days, and then eating what I want on day three, has given my metabolism a huge boost. Although I have only done five cycles that kept getting broken up (a total of 6 days low card, two at a time but spread out), I've lost ten pounds.
It's easier for me to stick to this diet because I know that if I crave something high in carbs, I can have it in a day or two. I don't stay low-carb long enough to feel the effects of traditional low-carb diets, dry mouth and constipation.I have become more aware of my eating patterns and now eat small meals throughout the day. I've finally found something that works for me.
As for exercise.....I've decided to use that exercise thingy my mother gave me for Christmas. The problem is, I don't like to exercise around people who aren't exercising and THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE HERE! That leaves the track. Although my ankle isn't healed enough for the jogging part of my old routine, I can walk a couple of miles. If it ever stops raining. I joined a health plan that offers a free gym membership. Maybe one nearby will participate. The plan also includes free weight watchers meetings. I might check that out in the near future.
All considering, I don't think ten pounds in five weeks is all that bad considering I didn't do all that much "dieting". But something is working for me.
I tried the Atkins meals and was really impressed. They weren't very filling, so I add a side of cottage cheese to mine. They are really tasty and low in carbs and calories.I welcome comments and ideas, especially about low-carb meals. The Atkins are expensive.
Still at it.....
And still losing.
But, there are road blocks. This diet can be very limiting and EXPENSIVE! I'm trying to keep my fat and salt content down, and the selection of inexpensive low-carb food is limited. The food prices are outrageous here. And I'm a picky eater. The only seafood I eat is tuna from a can. I won't eat dark meat chicken, duck, lamb, rabbit or anything that may have been related to Bambi. I like cheese but it's high in salt and fat. I eat low fat and fat free cottage cheese. For dinner I'll throw some cottage cheese on some meatballs and ( very little ) spaghetti sauce, close my eyes and pretend like it's lasagna. I've also been eating quite a few bunless cheeseburgers made from lean ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. I don't like a lot of vegetables and eat mostly salads and broccoli. I'm getting so tired of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I'm avoiding ham to keep down fat and salt and white meat pork loin off the bone is expensive, and that's the only way I can eat it. My menu is very limited.
If it wasn't for the Atkins meals, I would have given up on low carb weeks ago. I was so tired of eating the same thing. I really enjoy the Atkins dinners and treats, but the selection is very limited in this small town, and the meals and treats are expensive.
Unfortunately, financial constraints have caused me to go off this diet almost as much as I am on it. That's why I haven't noted how much weight I have lost or how long it took me. For, the record, I've lost fifteen pounds. I lose half to a pound a day carb cycling. For those people who are not such picky eaters, I highly recommend it.
So, I'll stick with the Atkins for another couple of weeks, and then eat strictly low fat for a while, or at least I weak or two. I'm in need of some variety.
The weight loss that I mentioned above did not include an exercise program. I injured my ankle pretty badly and it's only just recently healed enough for me to get back into a regular exercise routine, which I have yet to do. Last week, I started using that exercise thing my mother gave me. My husband and I plan to walk two miles at the track this afternoon. I'm going to try to get the kid to come with and play frisbee with me. I also have some seedlings to put in the garden and a little yard work to do today. So even though I am not working out at the same time on the same days, I haven't been sedentary.
Down 22 Pounds
It's been a difficult road. It turns out I have Diverticular Disease and must have fiber and whole grains to keep from getting a painful (and sometimes life threatening) infection called Diverticulitis. I found this out the hard way, nine days in the hospital.
But I haven't given up. My ankle is finally healed and I now go to the track every other day. After the first month of doing so, before I hurt my ankle, I found myself enjoying it. I hated track when I was in school, but now the only one pushing me is myself. And I feel SO GOOD when I am done and get so much accomplished during the day on days I do go to the track. A half our of mostly walking with quick spurts of jogging does me a world of good.
I'm finding myself missing the carb-cycling, though. I lost so much weight so quickly, and have kept it off. I can have whole grains on low carb, but need to keep my net carbs low. Net carbs are figured by subtracting the fiber from the total carbs in a food. This week, I'll explore the internet and diet books and find foods I should eat while keeping my net carbs low. Vegetables are good. What few carbs I will eat must contain high amounts of whole grain, like whole grain bread. I need to find enough acceptable foods so I can stick with carb cycling and still get enough fiber. It won't be easy, but it can be done I'm sure.