Thursday, December 31, 2009

What I've gained in 2009

It's almost 2010, which means I have been at this weight loss thing for almost a year! As the year comes to a close, I wanted to do a list of what I've gained in 2009.  On (or maybe the day after) my birthday, which is when I officially began this journey last year, I think I'm going to look at the goals I set for myself, what I achieved, and what the next year has in store for me.

In 2009 I:

  • Lost 40 pounds.  Okay, it's not my goal of 52 (which I technically still have a week left to complete), but it's still pretty darn fantastic.  I have lost a total of 50 pounds!

  • Discovered I love to exercise.  When I began this journey, I never expected to enjoy my daily trips to the gym, dance floor, or grassy hiking hill.  I thought exercise is what skinny people did, and I sure as heck don't come from a skinny family - so that sure couldn't be me!  Yet, I really like my early morning routine of dancing on the elliptical.  It's relaxing, helps me focus my day's intentions, and gives me more energy during the day.

  • Learned how to balance carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients, and learned what a 400 calorie meal looks like.  This is by far the hardest part of this year.  Eating correctly is a huge challenge for me.  My family lives for food, and I definitely appreciate all things unhealthy.  But I've muddled through it by using my calorie counters and trying to make good choices.  It's not going to taste as good as being thin feels.

  • Was inspired.  I am so grateful to have friends on the road with me who inspire me.  Many are also on this weight loss journey, and they have helped and supported me through this all.  And they're all so amazing!

  • Lowered my resting heart rate.  This is simply something I've noticed while on the elliptical - my heart rate has been slowly lowering despite increasingly intense workouts.  I am happy to say my weight loss journey is making me healthier all the way around!

  • Can now shop in "normal" sized stores.  This was a BIG one for me.  I am now the largest size they have, but it doesn't matter!  I am learning to be stylish and appreciate my new shape.  I can't wait to be able to shop at the various San Francisco boutiques!

  • Dropped from a size 21 to size 14.  As the fat has melted away, my curves have become more curvy.  I am now able to shop at the stores, and feel great about my strong body.  I look forward to it being stronger and looking even better.

  • I have collar bones and other hidden features.  Who knew that I was missing parts of my body?  From calves to cheek bones, it's amazing what is coming into focus as I lose weight.  Including a smaller belly button!

  • I feel healthier.  I didn't know that you weren't supposed to have a stomach ache after each meal - I thought that's how your stomach told you that your body was full!  I am learning my body's needs and limits through this process, and it makes me appreciate my flexibility, stamina, strength, balance, and digestion much more than I ever have before.  I simply feel  better and healthier!
I'm off to Michigan for a week to visit family!  Thankfully, I am going to get a week-long pass to the gym, and I hope to maintain my 175 pounds during the week.  I'll try to check in, but no promises.  I will be busy and happy with the family.

Happy new year!

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    My 400 calorie lunch

    My 400 calorie lunch includes:

    Turkey sandwich
    1.5 ounces of turkey (2 slices)
    1/5 of an avocado
    1/2 tablespoon of fancy delicious oil
    1 Orowheat Sandwich Thins
    Calories: 255

    1 bag of Bolthouse Farms pre-packaged baby carrots
    Calories: 25

    Sweet potato
    1/2 of sweet potato I cooked last night and heated
    Calories: 125
    (Calories are approximate for the yam; no one has calorie info for an actual yam not cut up)


    That's pretty darn good for 3 different things on my plate.  I am loving the Orowheat Thins.  They taste good and provide for my bread fixation.  And darn that yam was good.  Such a delicious, low-calories, and healthy dessert!

    The plate is super big.  It was a hearty lunch, just a large plate diminishes it's size.  I swear! 

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Oh holidays, oh holidays

    I have been thinking about family dinners, holiday parties, and being home, just like everyone else who is trying to lose weight.  My (terrible) plan for eating this holiday season: not have one.

    It's not a very healthy plan, and it's not the best, but I've given myself a rest... month.  I simply don't know how to count calories and stay motivated while not maintaining my routine.  It's terrible, I know.  I just feel like I just need a rest, though.

    I am excited to start up again after I return from Michigan in early January.  I can't wait to have my cooking, working, and exercise routine back.  This is similar to those who start their plans on January 1, but at least I know the steps now.

    Hope you all are enjoying this holiday season. 

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    At the gym

    For years I avoided the gym.  I was afraid that people would judge me, and I was afraid that everyone else would be beautiful and fit.  The first day I went to the gym last year, I was surprised that more than half of the gym was filled with other lumpy people.

    Every morning I train alongside other beautiful swishy people, many of whom are losing weight or somehow improving their bodies, rather than maintaining fitness they already have.

    In some ways, the gym is a great support community for fellow lumpy people, which seriously surprised me.  I had always thought of the gym as somewhere only fit people go.

    I work out in the Financial District of San Francisco every  morning.  Recently, while house sitting, I went to the Marina gym and (personal) awkwardness ensued.

    First, there were mirrors everywhere.  I don't want to stare at myself for 30 minutes at a time normally, and especially not while I'm sweaty and gross. 

    Second, I felt completely out of my league. 

    The Marina gym had a bunch of body builders, fit stay-at-home moms, and others who had nice arms, small asses, and matching track suits.  Thankfully after a year of being at a gym, I felt like I belonged here too.  I did not feel self conscious as I climbed on the elliptical in my stained wife beater, roughed up gym pants, and unshaven legs (hey, it's winter!), and then - of course - started dancing to all the good songs.

    Despite my lack of shame at going to the Marina, I really prefer my Financial District gym.  I like the homey feeling with my fellow lumpy people.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Oh goodness

    Did I really just down 4 chocolate chip cookies?  I don't even like chocolate!  I'm so frustrated with myself.  I see myself spiraling into the waiting mode.  I simply know I'll be back to my routine in just a few weeks, and somehow that justifies getting out of my routine now.  It's very frustrating.

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Fried onions

    I don't know about you, but fried onions are not my friend. 

    I had a terrible eating day, culminating with drinks and terrible-ness with the co-workers at end of day.  While my lunch didn't break the calorie bank, those fried onions sure did.  I really need to learn moderation. 

    I am afraid to weigh myself in the morning, but I feel I should.  I really need to get a better handle on my eating during this holiday season. 

    Another day

    You know what's great about today?  It's a new day!

    I was thinking about overeating yesterday (and, I'll admit it, the day before), and considering not only what I could have done differently, but why it happened.  Most importantly, I think I needed to use my resources and connections.  I should have called S, a friend who has lost 25 pounds in 6 months!  She would have given me a chance to voice my feelings toward food and life, and then talk me out of eating that last soft pretzel.  I also need to be more intentional about food (and life in general).  If I had noticed I was feeling lonely, and that's why I was eating, I would have been able to stop that thought process IN PROCESS, rather than recognizing it during reflection later.  I feel proud that I figured out what caused overeating yesterday, even if it was after the food was consumed.  Recognizing my triggers helps me stop them.  And I haven't had a really fat day in a while.

    A Fat Day for me isn't feeling fat, but acting fat.  I sacrificed my body for my emotions yesterday.  I ate until I felt ill (and spent a bitof money doing it) because I felt lonely.  Acting fat is emotional eating mixed with bad food choices, and unhealthy decisions.

    Ironically, I didn't need to feel lonely.  I had a support system in place for this exact situation, I just forgot about it and didn't use it.  By being intentional about what I do and think, I hopefully will be able to similar situations.  I am lucky to know who I know, have what I have, and live this great life.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Fat and lonely

    Had a fat day today.  I was about to say unprompted by any emotional trigger, but I realize now I was feeling lonely.  Still not worth the calories, or - more precisely - the feeling of I'm About To Throw Up that excess eating caused. 

    I look forward to tomorrow being another day, where I get to make new choices.

    For now, I'm just feeling sick and I'm going to bed.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009


    I had a really fun time last night, staying out until 3 a.m.  And I had to be at my best friend's family house at 11 a.m. this morning to help decorate the tree.  (As a Hanukkah celebrator, I sadly had no tree to decorate myself, so I steal his traditions.)  I ended up only getting a little more than 5 hours of sleep.

    I haven't been sleep deprived like this since I was in college.  And there was a reason I was 226 pounds in college.  When I am in need of sleep I am constantly hungry, and will eat everything in sight.  (Okay, that's not the only reason I was 226 pounds in college, but it probably didn't help.)

    So I made myself wait until a respectable dinner hour (5 p.m.) to eat.  I have been hungry for dinner since 3 p.m.  But I ate lunch at 1 p.m.  I see an early bedtime in my future so I don't eat all the food in the house.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Working it

    I work out to lose weight.  I do what they tell you not to, and exercise on the same machine (the elliptical) every morning.  I know I should shake it up and work different muscles every week, but I like dancing on the elliptical to some great music on my iPod.  I figure that I don't need to change it up until either my muscles start to feel sore or I reach my goal weight (and want to build muscle). 

    For every five pounds I lose, I try to change the settings on the elliptical.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes it's still too difficult.  I know that I need to increase my activity and decrease my caloric intake to compensate for my lower weight.  So, without trying to, I have increased my fitness level.

    I started on the elliptical at a Level 8 incline and Level 6 resistance.  I am now at a 9 incline and 11 resistance.  And I am burning about the same amount of calories as I was 50 pounds ago - in the same amount of time - which is incredible!  It feels great to be more fit and healthy all the way around!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Goal weight

    One of the big reasons I love losing weigh is all the clothes I now can fit into. There is still more to come (e.g. boutiques which offer clothes only in smaller sizes), but it's been an exciting process. I also have loved how much healthier I look and feel.

    With all these small goals and changes in my life - daily exercise, shopping at "normal" shops, eating healthier - I haven't devoted too much thought to what my final goal weight. As someone who has never been thin in my life, I have no idea what I will look like at 160 pounds, much less 140. I have never tried on a size 12 dress, nor have I ever fit in a medium shirt.

    I have arbitrarily picked 135 as my goal weight. It's somewhere between the low (114) and high (154) of the healthy part of my BMI chart. I don't necessarily have a desire to be a size 2 (and I don't think I could sustain that), but I want to be far enough from the high end of the BMI chart to have some breathing room. Maybe I'll be really happy at 150, or it might be 120. I simply have no clue and I can't wait to find out in the coming year.

    Kristen over at Low Fat Dressing talked about this some on her Monday post. This is the first time I've felt that I have a choice in what my body looks like. I have all these options, and I can't wait to "try" them on. I look forward to being in Kristen's shoes, where I actively like my body, not just accept and love its functions. I want to be able to know what my preferred shape looks like, instead of simply having an idea in my head. What an exciting journey!

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Redefining goals

    50 pounds gone! Of that, I lost 40 pounds since the beginning of this year.

    With only a few weeks left until my birthday, I've realized that I won't be able to meet my goal of 52 pounds in 52 weeks, which is okay. This year has been a huge learning experience for me, and it took me some time to understand the tools at my disposal and properly use them. I will feel like a superstar if I'm 175 on my birthday, which I'm less than a pound from right now.

    I've been trying to decide what I will do with my next year. Will I continue the pound a week challenge until I hit my goal weight (around 135), or should I continue to try to lose 1.5-2 pounds a week? I am so eager to be on the "healthy" spectrum on the BMI chart, I can barely wait. A little more than 20 pounds to go!

    Friday, December 4, 2009


    To best track my food and save money, I bring lunch to work every day. I try to make a homemade meal a week. Lately I've been tracking my spending and have been exasperated on how much I spend on food. Buying a frozen bag of noodles and sauce at Trader Joe's - which lasts me 3 days - is much cheaper than a lot of the casseroles, burgers, soups, and sandwiches I make myself. The sodium counts on these processed foods is high, and my body does not react kindly to it. I've been trying balance cost with nutrition, and have been falling short. Healthy options are often expensive!

    I've been buying a lot of frozen vegetables lately, pictured above. These too are expensive, but less so than their fresh versions (that are not currently in season). It comes out to approximately $1 per serving, because I generally eat two servings at a time of my veggies, which is a good price for a snack or meal side.

    I make quite a few cheap meals, but none of which can be easily brought and kept at work. My favorite transportable meal thus far has been chicken kabobs. I have been eating significantly more meat since I began this journey, and I feel guilty for eating meat every day. But it's a nice low-calorie protein source that feels me up.

    Any suggestions?

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009


    Consistently, I eat great during the day and then bust out the calories during the evening. I don't know why I can't keep track during dinner, but I keep eating even after I finish the meal I've planned for myself. In my mind it's something small, but I shouldn't overeat by even 100 calories.

    I need to plan my dinners better. When I don't plan my meals, I don't eat well. Which is what makes the holiday season so hard. Or, you know, life.