Still Struggling, Still Persevering

It’s been 4 months since my last…confession? HaHa. No just a blog post. I guess this is like a confessional. It’s a means to expunge my brain of its constant chatter.

In keeping up with my weight loss progress, I am still struggling yet still persevering. It has taken these past four months to lose 10 pounds. I now weigh 208 pounds and have 32 more pounds to reach my 200 pound weight loss goal.

The past month had a 4 pound gain. I was devastated. I actually broke down and cried at the weight loss center and then had a nice little panic attack.Hyperventilating and all. This was a week ago. I managed to pull myself together and went back to the weight loss center to strategize the best way to get the downward trend going again. I have lost 1 pound this past week. Not really cartwheel inducing, but hey it’s something.

My body has decided it likes itself the way it is. I am not satisfied, so we are at odds with each other. I no longer see the difference in my body from when I started, except my boobs are smaller. Those were the best things I had going before. My nice plump D cups are now tennis ball in sock B’s. Thank the stars for push up bras. I know my clothing sizes have gone down considerably. Yet I see the bulges that I still have and want gone.

I will not give up and I will continue with proper nutrition and exercise.

I am going back to my running. I really felt like that had more positive impact on my body shape than any of the other exercising I have been doing. That viewpoint may not be the most popular in the current exercise trend of strength training versus aerobic exercise. So once again, I am not part of the popular crowd. I am more comfortable that way anyhow. Introverts Unite.

Enough of my indulgence in talking about myself. There are more important things going on in this world.

Like this ridiculous 2016 presidential election.

We havea female candidate who maybe a criminal married to an adulterer who publically humiliated her in the most public house of this country. Insteadof progressing women’s lib by leaving him and standing on herown twofeet. She stayed with him for the political gain.

Then we have a male candidate that is a misogynist pig who will say anything that comes to his mind and not accept any responsibility for his actions nor accept criticism, constructive or otherwise. He is the biggest bully in the world, not even the most infamous dictators compare…maybe Hitler does. He is married to a woman that announced she plans to fight bullying as her first lady platform. I am sure someone told her to say that, after all she has been nothing but a talking parrot including a plagiarized speech from the current FLOTUS.

Will any future elections be better? Will there ever be candidates who are decent human beings? Either Left Wing or Right Wing, Conservative or Liberal we deserve worthwhile candidates to represent our country to the world and set a leadership role for our government.

As a member of Generation X, I hate to say this but just maybe the Millennials can get it right. They seem to have a handle on playing fair. Everyone gets a trophy.

I do not have any trophies and I certainly don’t have a choice when it comes to voting for President in 2016. Maybe I will write in Claire Fraser with her running mate of James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.

From my heart

Vanessa

 

 

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More than just a number on a scale? Maybe…

I haven’t written in a while because of sheer frustration. In February I published my one year status of having lost 132#. Initially I started my life change with the intention of losing 150 pounds. I finally met this goal in May. 150 lost May 12

I didn’t write becauseI had writer’s block. I had struggled with a slow down and plateaus of scale movement.I am smiling in the picture, but it was almost a forced happiness. Yes, I met that huge goal. I am really proud, but I had upped my goalto lose another 50 pounds.

This is really becoming a struggle: A true challenge.Its been 8 weeks and I have only lost another 8 pounds. 42 more to go. Will I ever get there? Yes, of course. Right? Should I try? I don’t know.

Yes, I should keep up my healthier lifestyle. Eating balanced meals, not denying myself small treats, and not binging or using food to compensate for good or bad emotions. I also have to keep up with exercise and balance cardio and strength training.

Exercise can be my downfall right now, because of the muscle mass gain that counteracts the weight loss. Its hard to set a goal of a particular waist size. The strength training can sculpt the body shape, but how do you define that to yourself or friends and family?

An article I read not long ago, really made me feel bad about myself for relying on the numbers of the scale to define my level of happiness. It was an article with a positive message. Women should be happy with themselves no matter their shape or size. They should eat well and exercise for a healthy life for themselves and not for someone else’s definition of the perfect body. But even with its positive message, I felt a negative.

The scale number does not define me as person, but it is a number that is a tangible goal that can be defined. Having always been biggerthan the average personmy entire life, the number IS very imporant. They don’t ask you for your fat mass percentage on your drivers license or other indentification papers. For better or worse, society uses the scale weight to define and identify you.

Maybe it’s wrong for me to focus so much on the scale. Losing 1 pound at a time is a small victory and gaining that 1 pound back every few weeks is a tragedy. For now the dynamics of the scale defines me. Its the measuring stick I live by until I get to that specific number. No, it doesn’t set the value of my self worth. It sets that finishing line to completing the biggest challenge I have set for myself. It gives the starting point to maintaining a healthy life.

So for today, the scale says I weigh 218 pounds. I will kiss that scale when it says 176 pounds.

From my heart,

Vanessa

One Year ago….

It was one year ago that I began to change my life. I began a weight loss journey that has to date relieved me of 132 pounds of fat. I was a behemoth at 376 pounds on my 5foot6inch skeleton.

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Before February 23, 2016

I have come a long way baby…

1 Year anniversary February 23, 2016
1 Year anniversary February 23, 2016

 

My life is completely changed and I have no desire to go back to my old ways and look forward to continuing what I have started.

I eat healthy and exercise. Exactly what the experts have been saying for years, but I had to hit “rock bottom” by over tipping the scales to pick myself up and do the right things.

My journey continues on with a goal of another 68 pounds for a total of 200.I don’t know what my body will look like at 176 pounds, but I know I will feel even more fabulous, energetic and happy than I do now which is a 1000% better than a year ago.

For anyone struggling to find the motivation to change your life, please feel free to read my previous posts. I had outlined my motivations and reasons for wanting to make these changes. For example, the little things in life matter, like wanting to be able to fly on a plane for vacation and not buy two seats.

Whatever your motivation, find it! Whatever your goals, set them! Reach them and do more!

From my heart, Vanessa

 

One Century Down…more to go… “Je Suis Prest”

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signing the 100# board at the “center”

I said I would face the music at the scale on Monday and I did. After the great vacation and enjoying more carbs than really I should, the hiking paid off. I actually lost one-half pound…I know right, impressive, wink wink. The more important fact is I officially have lost 100# since the end of February.

So this is my own pat on the back. I have more weight to lose…“Je Suis Prest” (I am ready).

Back to the grind

My wonderful vacation with my perfect husband is over. We re-connected emotionally and physically. He travels a lot on business and most weeks I only see him on weekends. So to spend a full nine days together was phenomenal. Alas, it must come to an end. Back to work and more importantly back to working on my weight loss goals.

Our vacation was in the area of Ashville, North Carolina. Great city and attractions and lots of good restaurants. I did my best to make wise food decisions when eating out. However, I did take on a vacation attitude. I enjoyed cocktails and drank wine. I did stay away from the desert menu, so yea for me.

In my opinion, restaurants could do more to help with the obesity issue in the US. Restaurants love to load their menus with carbs. Bread is given to each table. For what reason? I have no idea. Every entr矇e is usually broken down into meat with two sides. The sides available are starches and vegetables. I try toask for my sides to all be from the vegetable list. When I do get a starch, usually some form of a potato, restaurants are very heavy-handed with those servings. The vegetable servings are usually very meek. I know they do this because potatoes are much cheaper than asparagus. SoI do my best to choose wisely and ask for substitutions when possible and graciously pay extra if that is what is needed to get a meal I can be happy to eat.

As for exercise on vacation, I got plenty of that. We went for hikes in the woods and saw lovely waterfalls.

Triple Falls
Triple Falls

Being in the smoky mountains, most of the trails went up in elevation. This definitely got the heart rate up. I don’t know how many miles we actually hiked. I need to get me a pedometer or some sort of fitness app on my mobile. I’ll be prepared next time. We also toured the lovely Biltmore Estate. Lots of walking through the house, upstairs and downstairs, through the gardens and winery. My feet and legs hurt terribly the second and third days. That discomfort was worth it. On day four we climbed a “bald”. This is a mountain that is void 0f trees. They were taken down for timber and only grasses have been replanted for grazing. This bald is at elevation 4,629 feet and has a 360 degree view of the smoky mountains and beautiful view of the sunset. We chose the short 1 mile path straight up the hill. Trust me I stopped for many breaks to gulp in air.

3/4 of the way up the Short trail at Max Patch Bald
3/4 of the way up the Short trail at Max Patch Bald

Eight months ago, I could never have gone on those hikes and live to tell about it. I certainly still need to work on my physical shape, so I can tackle those hikes without lots of rest. But at least I did them and feel even more motivated to excel and go further with my exercise program.

I am afraid to face the scale tomorrow at the diet center. In the past, Iwould roll my eyes at any woman who obsessed over the scale. Now I am one. I guess when something becomes so important, you can’t help but obsess. Hopefully with all the exercise, some of the extra carbs I consumed will have burned off.

So Monday, I will go face the scale. Face the music and get back to the grind, working on chipping down the mountain and obtain my ultimate goals.

I promise to report the news, good or bad.

From my heart,

Vanessa

Its Hard to Stay Positive

Truthfully, it is hard to be your own cheerleader and stay positive.My diet counselors give me positive reinforcement. Part of me doesn’tlike theattention. I like being in the background of life. It is easier to be there. When you put yourself front and center, then your open to criticism or even worse,being ignored. Then again if you do something well or praise worthy then there are greater expectations to accomplish even more…(Charles Dickens wrote a pretty good book about that, wink wink)

I need to be the one telling myself that I am doing a god job. The point of this journal is really a way for me to keep reminding myself of my accomplishment and keep going. I constantly write in my own posts or comments to others, that their or my accomplishments WILL be achieved. No doubt whatsoever. To say you hopeor you will try to reach a goal, is the easy road. Committing yourself to doing it means you have to put in the work to make it happen. Giving up would be so much easier. But there is no reason to give up.

Maybe having patience is the hard work. If only my goals were instantly accomplished then keeping up the positive attitude- the real hard work – wouldn’t be necessary.

From my heart,

Vanessa

Why does the pain feel good?

So why am I doing this? I asked myself this when my husband and I were talking on the phone this morning. I had not taken time to eat breakfast before leaving the house for work. I had my breakfast with me, the usual plain non fat greek yogurt with berry flavored protein powder and an apple. I said to my husband, “I want some pancakes”. Every once in awhile, I say those things out loud even though I have made the commitment to not eat those kind of carbs and sugar. My husband stayed silent. He knows that I have to just let it out into the universe and then move on with thinking about food the right way. To me its a good pain, to know I am human and have cravings but be able to trample them like a bug.

I am also a bit sore this morning from my simple exercise of the other night. That is definitely a good pain. It is a reminder that I am on the right path to meeting my goals and will be fitter and stronger in the future.

So I thought this morning, that I needed to remind myself of my goals as I ate my yummy yogurt. Why do I want to lose another 100 pounds on top of the 100 already lost?

Losing the weight will help me:

  • fit into airplane seats – and not havethe embarrassment of buying a second seat
  • be able tofit the seat belt on an airplane
  • when shopping for a RV or travel trailer not have to factor in the size of the bathroom shower and whether I will fit
  • not have lower back pain when standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes or at the stove cooking
  • have more stamina in bed with my husband, after all there needs to be some reciprocation to all his hard work
  • have the energy to walk around a zoo, museum, botanical garden, Victorian home walking tour.. you know site see in general
  • be able to walk between tables and diners at a restaurant when the hostess takes the most winding path
  • be able to sit in a booth atcasual restaurants – they are usually more cushioned than the chairs at tables
  • be able to go to the beach and not have someone yell for SeaWorld to come rescue the stranded whale – people really are cruel
  • be able to wear knee high boots, leggings and cute little wrap dress

Finally the ultimate triumph will be going to some exotic location and taking a zip line tour through the tree tops. At this point there is no way I could fit into one of those harnesses but I will absolutely be able to next year.

{I realize as I re-read my list that I really want to travel – yeah definitely more of that needed}

From my heart,

Vanessa

Back in the Saddle

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Red Faced and Sweaty

Well I have made a new commitment to workout. I joined the local gym and walked for over 30 minutes on the treadmill. I know that’s really impressive…right?

All through college, I used the student center gym. I was an engineering student (like Brianna for you Outlander fans)at the Speed Scientific School with the University of Louisville…Go CARDINALS!!! I played racquetball, used the free weights and circuit machines. Of course, I walked all over campus and was in pretty good physical strength shape even if I was not toned and over weight.

I was a civil engineering student with an emphasis in structures. My thesis involved making a lot of batches of concrete. This required shoveling endless piles of stone aggregate and sand. Then carrying bags of Portland cement and lifting them to shoulder height into the batch mixer. I did all this with enthusiasm to prove to all the guys that I was equal. After all, I was one of two females in my graduating class of 25 structural engineering students. OK, I would getone of the guys to help me with those bags of cement – they weigh like 90 pounds.

But once I graduated and began my career, I quit being physical. I am a “design” engineer. I sit at a desk and use a computer, pencil, paper and calculator to figure out the right amount and configuration of steel to make a building stand up. There is very little need for me to go out to the job sites. So not being physical throughout the day and sitting at a desk contributed to me packing on the pounds. I had moved to a new city when graduating and not knowing anyone, I didn’t do any extra activities after work. After a few years, I did start a new weight loss plan and joined a gym. I began dating a police officer and he really didn’t encourage me to keep working out. Being a silly female and thinking it was love, I wanted to please him and gave up the gym since it was inconvenient for his schedule. Thank my stars that relationship ended, but unfortunately the bad habit of not exercising stuck.

As I described in my post “Your Body is a Temple”, once I met my husband to be there was no reason to exercise, right? Obviously, NO. Lesson learned. I will not be “dieting” for the rest of my life. I will however eat better and stay physically active for the rest of my life.

From my heart,

Vanessa

Eye Candy

I don’t know why I can’t stop myself from watching these food competitions on TV. At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I couldn’t watch. It was quite gut wrenching painful to watch these types of shows. Now I have overcome those issues. The Great British Baking Show is my favorite of all. Paul Hollywood and Mary are great judges. Their criticisms are so polite and constructive. Other shows and judges seem like they are purposefully trying to tear down the competitors.

I digressed a little. Watching these shows are my new indulgence. I simply fantasize about eating these foods instead of actually eating them. Perhaps when I have completed my weight loss and have been able to maintain the results, I will be able to have a little petit four. In the past I would have eaten a quarter of a cheesecake in one sitting. Those days are gone for good.

For now I will keep my eyes on the prize and leave the eye candy for my dreams.

From my heart,

Vanessa

Good Food

Before and After 97 pounds
Before and After 97 pounds

Most people love food. Taste and smell are powerful senses. For some reason, my brain was convinced it needed my body to have creamy and sweet foods. There is no physiological need. Just wanted it. Were those foods fulfilling some sort of need? Not really. Did I think they were comforting me when I had a bad day? Yes, but they were really making things worse. Obviously, the more I ate the more weight I gained. This created more bad days. Days of disliking my body and the limitations created.

I decided to try yet another diet program. I had heard advertisements on local radio for a “center” that guaranteed results. Money back if it didn’t work. So why not. I was determined and more importantly, my brain was ready. That is really the key. You have got to be mentally motivated to change your life. I was ready to change my perception of food.

Food is necessary only to fuel your body and keep your internal organs functioning. That food should still taste good. And I still want those sweet creamy foods. I just don’t give in to the urges anymore. I gave up the following things in my diet: PROCESSED or BOXED foods. They are full of sodium, nitrates and all sorts of chemicals. I now shop the grocery around the perimeter. I keep to the produce, meat and dairy sections. My diet is very low carbohydrate and high protein. I am following a ketogenic type diet. The goal is to keep your body in ketosis – fat burning mode. I eat the right proportion of protein and carbohydrate to keep the body functioning. These proportions are the correct combination to prevent any access carbohydrate being stored for fat. I am not a bear, I don’t need to hibernate. I am not a whale that needs fat insulation to survive the cold ocean.

Tolosethe fat on my body, I use protein powders in water to boostmy metabolism andburn the access fat that I have been carrying around. I do take supplementsthat helpboostmetabolism and balance hormones. I also takequality vitamins and mineral supplements.

Speaking of water – drink lots of it. Clear water flushes the dissolving fat from the body and staying hydrated is especially necessary for your kidneys to handle the high protein intake.

DIET sodas are evil. The artificial sweeteners are worse for your blood sugar than real sugar. I completely gave up an addiction to Diet Coke and feel a thousand times better.

What are the good foods? All of them.

  • Lean meats like chicken, fish and beef.
  • Cheese, eggsand nuts.
  • Practically all vegetables and fruit.
  • Starchy vegetables likes beans and peas are good, just a little bit more limited in proportions.
  • White rice, not so good.
  • Brown Rice and quinoa – good when limited
  • Even fats like olive oil, unsalted butterand uncured bacon are good foods – again just limited amounts.

I do avoid sugar and white flour, but I don’t feel deprived. I don’t really have cravings and if I am feeling a need for something sweet after dinner – sugar free Jello – yum.

All this together means I average a 3 pound weight loss each week.

From my first post, I set my original goal at 150#. That’s 53 more pounds away. That’s another 18 weeks. But my goals are extending. I am not sure of the final number yet. I’ll keep you posted.

From my heart,

Vanessa

PS -a funny note about the picture above. I took off my glasses thinking I would look better without them. HA!HA! Losing the 97 pounds is definitely better. The glassesare part of my personality, so they will remain from now on.