As you can see, I’ve been slacking off here on ye olde blog yet again, but for good reason this time. I’ve been making some pretty major changes and embarking on a long ass haul to lose weight. Some years ago, I went through some therapy to deal with a newly diagnosed anxiety disorder and it helped. Part of that therapy was choosing some problem areas that I myself identified and fixing them. The first of those problem areas? Smoking. I smoked a pack a day easily, so I tackled that first. That was a year and a half ago, so I’d say I definitely won that fight. I feel pretty great because of it! The problem with it though….I replaced the smoking when I felt nervous, agitated, etc….with food. So…a year and a half later, I found myself at 351 pounds and miserable again.
Here we arrive at change number two decided in those therapy sessions a few years back; it’s time to drop the weight. Around three and a half months ago now, I started exercising in the mornings and cutting out some of the bad stuff from my diet and it worked for the most part. It wasn’t on anything too strict or detailed diet wise though. Around a month after I started making some minor changes, we received a general bulletin at work that our in house clinic was starting a new weight loss program called F.U.S.E. and they were taking applications and surprising even myself…I didn’t hesitate. I applied on the spot and around a month later; I was in.
Once our group sessions started, I was assigned a weekly group meeting, a health coach for one on one session and regular nurse and dr. visits throughout the 10 week program to track progress and such. At first it was a bit intimidating, but I stuck with it. It was also a bit shocking at first too as when I met with my health coach the first time, the first thing she told me was, “I’m not going to give you a diet.” The catch is…this program wasn’t just a weight watchers clone or something like that. This program I found myself in was in fact much like therapy all over again. Their goals are to teach you how to deal with things like emotional eating, how to overcome barriers and set reasonable goals to keep yourself motivated. Once a realized that this was in fact what the F.U.S.E. program was aiming to do, it clicked for me and off I went.
Now, I’m down 33lbs so far and feeling pretty great. I still have a long way to go, like a bit over a hundred pounds to go as a matter of fact. But that’s okay. It’s a long haul and I’m getting my head on straight to be able to prepare for it. It’s still not easy, but I’m staying positive and I still have my health coach to turn to when staying positive starts to break down. Just yesterday, I found myself starting to worry over small stuff such as my calorie intake (I’m eating around 1800-1900 calories a day as opposed to the 2230 my tracker tells me I should eat) thinking that maybe I was eating too little and possibly hurting myself. Staying after group to talk to my coach for a bit cleared that right up. She simply said you’re eating enough, its working and you feel fine; stop over thinking it. Just like that, I had confirmation that I wasn’t hurting myself, so I was able to pull my head out of the fog of reading to much into every health blog I find and now I’m set to just keep on trucking as I’ve been doing!
So now, back to focusing on the positive stuff. As you can see in the picture above, I noticed getting dressed this morning that my belt has four distinct notches in it. That’s four times now I’ve had to tighten my belt! I’m starting to learn that sometimes when you don’t see the numbers drop on the scale, they’re starting to drop elsewhere, so don’t panic! This week, I had my mid-program checkup; I’ve dropped 3.5″ on all of my measurements (.5″ on my neck) and my BMI dropped by 3.5. Pretty shocking! So between the help of a coach and seeing positive trends like that, I feel like I can get back to normal life a bit such as my writing, reading and podcasting. The whole weight loss thing had kind of taken over my life and distracted me from these other things but now that I see that I was in fact over thinking it; I can just stick to the routine that I’ve built up because those 33 lbs are proof that it’s doign just fine.
In light of all this, I’ve had a number of people ask me how I’m doing it, so I’m happy to share. My writing’s been stagnant, but I’m kind of getting into a groove here, so blogging about this weight stuff is a good help to great the gears so to speak. Yah? Yah.
Anyways, I’ve upped my exercise significantly. I started out with cardio only, but as of last week, I started incorporating some weights as well. I’m pushing 40 and was living the life of a lazy nerd, so I’m not pushing a whole lot of weight. I make lifting those 15lb dumbbells sound like an Olympic event though! So now, the typical day looks like;
Roll out of bed! around 5:15am
Eat breakfast! This consists of two pieces of toast, two servings of egg beaters and cereal.
Ride the exercise bike! I stretch for five minutes first, then I do 25 minutes every morning and the bike is firmly planted directly in front of my computer monitor! Netflix is now my bestest early morning friend ever! So far, I’ve watched the second season of Supernatural, the first season of Breaking Bad, the first season of Sons of Anarchy, The first season of Star Trek Voyager, all of the second season of Game of Thrones so far and right now, I’m on the second season of Sons of Anarchy!
Shower/Get Dressed! I sweat like a mofo! It’s also cool cause I’m finding I can wear close stashed at the back of the closet again!
Eat some more! Before heading out for the day, I eat a Clif Bar to help recover from the bike while having another cup of coffee. I’ve always drank my coffee black, so I didn’t have to change anything there!
Grab my lunch and go! Here’s a big key moment, at least for me. I take my lunch, cause it’s easier to stick to the diet. The catch is; I pack it and log it the night before. I log all of my food at MyFitnessPal. This is highly important! It makes you accountable and it’s the only way you can be sure of your calorie intake! There are other sites for this too, they’re all handy so pick your fave. So, since I eat the same thing for breakfast every day and my lunch is already logged, I don’t even think about counting calories until I get home and get ready for dinner. So….doesn’t feel so much like a diet!
Snack time!I eat frequently. If I had a big workout the night before, I get hungry by the time I get to work. Discounting that, I always get hungry again around 10:30am or so. So, I eat! I’m big on Apples and Banannas right now, so that’s generally my snack. Sometimes one of each, sometimes just one. They’re fruit, so it’s all good! They *do* have calories, but I’ve already logged it, so who care? (See how that works?)
Lunch time!Lunch is generally good sized. Today, I have a turkey sandwich with light mayo, some Special K Sea Salt Cracker Chips (30 of those bad boys in one serving!), yogurt, cottage cheese and a ‘Nanner. Some days I eat this every day of the week, some days it gets switched up. I like cherry tomatoes a lot so sometimes those are in there. If I cook chicken for dinner the night before, I throw a couple extra on the grill for lunch instead of a ‘sammich. Once in the swing of this, this leaves me pretty stuffed.
Snack time! Again!I get a rumbly in my tumbly about 3-3:30ish. So, back to the crack fruit….er Apples! Sometimes, I crave something salty, so I go to the Smart Pop microwave popcorn. It’s aiight, though it’s no movie flavor butter. A full back is only ~200 calories though, so it’s cool. Due to the salt though, this isn’t an everyday thing.
Dinner!Dinner is a tossup. It’s almost always a meat and a veggie, sometimes pasta. It’s also almost always 400-450 calories too. Thankfully, Colleen is an awesome cook, so this is generally pretty tasty too!
More Exercise!if it’s not a weight day, I do extra cardio. It’s either another 25 minutes on the exercise bike or a three mile walk. It all depends on the weather and my own whimsy. I’m a fickle beast, what can I say!
8pm Cutoff!With my coaches urgings, I do my best to not eat after 8pm. If I’m hungry again post workout or something, I eat a light snack, usually an apple or bananna again, sometimes popcorn. As my coach and program teaches me, it’s best not to eat after 8pm but if you’re hungry…eat. Just eat right! And don’t beat yourself up over it, it’s not the end of the world.
So…that’s what I do. I’ve added in weights on Monday (arms) Tuesday (legs) and Friday (chest). On these days, I generally only do one cardio. In another post, I’ll detail what the weight routine looks like but if you’re curious, come join me on Fitocracy! (It’s fun, you get achievements for working out!) Generally, my calories break down to 550-600 for breakfast, 500-550 for lunch and 4-450 for dinner. The rest is snacks. The biggest thing I’ve learned and the coach had me share with the group yesterday is that shopping right is key! As you can see….I eat a lot! It’s just low calorie!
Again, I’m not fitness guru by any means. This is just showing what I’m doing that works. It’s also a way to break the ice and get my lazy arse writing again! I plan on blogging some more of the process here as it helps me to feel accountable and less likely to slack off. The positive reinforcement helps a ton too! For now, I’ve rambled on long enough, so enjoy and feel free to comment!
Until next time, if you touch my apple, I’ll break your fingers.
Also, I can’t spell banana.