Archive for the ‘weight watchers’ Category

Climbing Back On The Wagon After A Hard Fall

littleredwagonWhen I wrote my blog post on Wednesday, I wrote that I was struggling with staying on track food-wise. I somehow managed to stay in control until that evening when I came home to pizza and scarfed two pieces without even thinking about it. I will admit, even though I felt a little guilty later, it felt GOOD to eat with abandon. So good, in fact, that it sent me on a downward spiral for the next four days. By day four, however, it didn’t feel so good anymore.

Thursday there was seafood bisque in a bread bowl and delicious chocolate truffles. Friday it was an overload on english muffins with butter and cinnamon sugar (a favorite treat but I always stop at one. Mind you, these are the high-fiber, low-cal multigrain english muffins and I used light butter, but still. Did I really need two of them?

Saturday, ah what can I say about Saturday. If it didn’t try to run away from me, I ate it. Candy, more pizza, whoopie pies (have you ever had those?) ice cream….the list goes on. Food shopping was a dangerous thing to do on Saturday.

And yesterday, while I started to regain some control, I still ate some of the wrong things.

During this, I did still try to make some healthy choices, as though that would somehow magically make the madness stop. It didn’t. And I exercised and drank my water…same reasoning, same results.

By last night though, I felt out of control and a little nervous that I’d screwed up big-time and wouldn’t be able to pull it back. And my stomach hurt.

I think I’d been heading toward this for awhile, and that may have a lot to do with my stalled weight loss. Little tastes here and there that I wasn’t tracking, a slightly larger than measured portion, an extra treat.

Last night, through a twitter conversation with @patbarone, I realized that I had put myself on vacation mentality, and I was also feeling overwhelmed by stuff I have to get done at home over the next few days. Procrastination by food.

This morning, though, on the 3-mile run that I really didn’t feel like tackling (this is why I sign up for races), I realized that instead of being proud of myself, I’ve been beating myself up again. Instaed of focusing on how far I’ve come, I’ve been frustrated with how slow the weight loss is going and that I’d like to be further along in my tri training.

While I was running this morning, I reversed that. How far have I come, for goodness sake? What can I do now that I couldn’t a year ago? What positive changes have I made that stuck? I’m running. In the beginning, I was barely walking. I’m a size 12. I was a size 20. I drink lots of water and very little soda. I eat so much healthier than I did. I even eat vegetables and lean protein and whole grains.

So many things have changed for the better for me since I started this journey. So “fat girl” managed to creep back in for a couple of days. “Fit girl” is stronger and today she has pushed “fat girl” to the back corner again.

I don’t doubt that “fat girl” will show up from time to time. She’s been a part of me a lot longer than “fit girl,” and man, does she love her chocolate!  But I know I’m strong enough now to regain my healthy self even after a hard fall off the wagon.

As @patbarone said, “it’s not about what feels good now. It’s about what feels good later.” Today is later, my resolve is back, and I feel great!

Lifting The Limits – Why I Started Losing Weight

When I see people I haven’t seen in a long time, I am usually met with surprise at the changes I’ve made. After the “You look great!” comments, which of course I love, the questions start. “How’d you do this?” “What motivated you?”

Answering the how is easy: Eating healthier and exercise.

Answering the why is a lot harder. What was my motivation? Why did it work this time when it hadn’t in the past? That’s the $6 million dollar question.

I’ve always told people that I was turning 50 and I didn’t want to feel old. And that’s what I told myself too. But I knew that wasn’t the whole reason. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. After all, the age factor didn’t help when I was turning 30 or even 40.

I’ve thought about this often during the journey. Why, this time, is it easier to control what I eat? What makes me get out of bed at 5:45 and go swim or run or get on a bike? Why am I going to the gym this week to pay them more money so I can start Pilates and Yoga classes? What makes me believe that this is the time these changes will stick?

The answer came to me when I was writing yesterday’s post about swimming in the ocean after a long time away.

I had gotten to a point where I was allowing my weight and my fitness level to impose limits on what I could and couldn’t do.

Of course, we all have limits. I’ll never be an olympic gymnast, for example, and I can’t play golf to save my life.  I wouldn’t have aspired to those sports when I was 14 either. But I used to love swimming in the ocean. And I had stopped because I was out of shape and afraid that I couldn’t do that anymore.

At 48, I tore two rotator cuff tendons, a bicep tendon, and developed bursitis and arthritis in my left shoulder. Don’t ask me how. I’m not really sure. But it hurt to move my arm so I didn’t. And my shoulder froze and for four painful months, I couldn’t move my arm. Physical therapy and time helped me get my range of motion back. I didn’t need surgery, thank goodness. But I will never be completely pain-free in that shoulder. Had I been in better physical condition, maybe I wouldn’t have damaged my shoulder. Or even if I had, maybe my recovery would have been easier.

I’m getting older. There is no stopping the clock. And I’m ok with that. As long as I don’t let my age get in the way of the things I want to do in my life.  I realized as I approached 50 that it wasn’t my age so much as my fitness level that was limiting me. Getting winded going up stairs, being uncomfortable in a plane seat or walking on a beach, worrying that I was going to break a horse I was riding on vacation when I was only 20 pounds below the weight limit (that’s a whole different story!).

And it was more than that. When I bought my car in 2007, the seat was a little too small to be really comfortable. My knees hurt always and I couldn’t crouch down. Going up and down stairs to do laundry…ugh. I would get so winded. Walking anywhere carrying stuff would hurt my back. Activities I always enjoyed, I avoided.

I could have just continued to contribute my limitations to getting older. I know people who do that. But I also knew that wasn’t really the case. When I started Weight Watchers in July of 2008, I knew I had to do something. Did I think Weight Watchers was the thing? Not really. I figured I’d start and stop the way I always had before. And then something wonderful happened. I lost a few pounds and started walking again. And I felt better. And there was more energy. And I felt younger again and the whole thing just clicked.

I think then, even though I may not have consciously realized it until Saturday, subconsciously, I knew that my age wasn’t setting the limits. My fitness level was. From there, I’ve gone on to lose 60 pounds and participate in triathlons. And I’m planning to run a half marathon next year too. Why? Because I can. Because I’m redefining my limits.

I’m realistic as to how long it may take to reach these goals, but I’m not going to let my weight and fitness level stop me anymore from trying. Enough limits are placed on us from forces we can’t necessarily control. But I’m done limiting myself with unhealthy habits and a body that I’d forgotten had so much strength.

What’s limiting you and what can you do to change it?

Weight Watchers Relationship Update

So after much soul searching yesterday and a long conversation with my Weight Watchers online point tracker last night….we cried, we laughed, we reminisced about the good times and tried to figure out where things started going wrong…I decided that, overall, the relationship has been good for me and deserves another chance. Besides, just once, I’d like to get to lifetime member at Weight Watchers. That would be cool.

However, I am taking a little vacation. We need some time away from each other to sort out the issues and recommit to the long-term goals. I’ve gotten too caught up in the day-to-day details and it’s making things difficult.

So after weighing in this morning— I lost the same .8 pounds I gained last week so I’m back to my weight of two weeks ago— I’m not weighing in again for two weeks. The home scale is going in the closet (or I may have hubby hide it where I can’t find it) and I’m not checking my weight until August 27 at Weight Watchers.

I’m also taking a break from points again. I’ll continue to track my food, but I’m going to focus more on the quality of the food I eat (I’ve gotten much better about this in the past month or so) than on the points.

Still, however, when I have two points left and it’s a choice between a WW chocolate chip cookie or a yogurt, the cookie always wins. When I take the points away, I’ll eat the yogurt because that’s what I really want and I know I can have the cookie if I want it later. Then I don’t always even eat the cookie. It’s surprising to me that even though I know this, I slip back into this behavior all the time. And that’s the thing that I really need to change.

So we’re on hiatus, me and Weight Watchers. Just for two weeks to see how it goes. I know on my part, there’ll be lots of yearning (to track those points and step on that scale), but for Weight Watchers, well it has so many others to tend to, I’m sure I won’t be missed too much.

These next two weeks, I’ll be focusing on my triathlon training, feeling good about how far I’ve come, finding some balance and being happy with me again as I am right now. I’ve let the struggles with the scale get in the way of that. I may even finally get to that Pilates class.

After all, when I started this journey this time, I promised myself it wasn’t going to be about the numbers. It was about getting healthy. I’ve accomplished that and that needs to remain the focus.

Thank you to all my twitter and blogging friends for your input and insight. It really helped so much!

Is It Time To Break Up With Weight Watchers?

Lately, I’m feeling obsessed with food and the scale. My weight loss, while moving again, is still very slow and frustrating. And as I get closer to my weigh-in each week (on Thursdays), I step on the scale every day and get frustrated when it goes up instead of down when I’m eating right. On days like yesterday, sometimes the weight fluctuations (even though rationally I know they are from water weight, hormones or whatever else) throw me into a funk, which can ultimately lead to poor eating behaviors, as in “Oh hell, nothing is working anyway so why not eat that row of Oreo cookies?”

I’m on Weight Watchers and for the past year, it has worked for me. I’ve stayed accountable because I have to get on that scale every week. But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. And lately the scale doesn’t want to tell any story at all while my body adjusts to its new smaller, fitter size. I would still like to lose 20 pounds but I’ve lost 60 in the past year and that’s a pretty big adjustment.

On Weight Watchers, too, my mindset about food hasn’t so much changed as shifted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s shifted in a good way, but I still spend way too much time thinking about food. When I was fat, I’d think about my next snack, meal, binge… all day long. I’d have peace while eating, and then afterward, I’d spend time feeling guilty for overdoing it at the meal, snack, binge.

Now that I’ve lost weight, guess what I think about? Right. My next meal, snack….not so much binge anymore since I have to get on the scale on Thursdays at weigh in. But I do obsess about my food still. If I have a snack in my drawer set for 11:00, I’m thinking about it by 10:00 and by 11:00, I’m ripping into whatever it is, whether I’m hungry or not. If I choose not to eat something because I have to weigh in on Thursday, I spend time wanting it and feeling deprived, often only to be disappointed at the Thursday weigh-in when the scale doesn’t  move much anyway.

And guess what I do after my Thursday weigh-in each week? C’mon you know the answer to this if you ever read this blog. Or if you’ve ever been a weight watcher. I eat. Usually, the wrong things in too-high quantities. And trust me, free-for-all food Thursday is worse when that scale doesn’t budge.

When I decided to lose weight  a year ago, what I really wanted was to be healthy and to have a healthy relationship with food. I definitely have a better relationship with food in that I’ve re-introduced fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains and limit the bad stuff, but I still think about food all the time. I’d like to be more like my naturally thin friends who eat when they are hungry. What a concept. No schedule, no obsessing. Just I’m hungry. Time to eat. I’m full. Time to stop.

Weight Watchers has incorporated the hunger assessment idea into the program, but for me it’s been about the food schedule and “when can I eat next?” What can I have today?” What can’t  I have today?” “It’s Thursday! Free-for-all Food day!”

I’m so happy with the changes I’ve made and I really do have Weight Watchers to thank for a lot of it. But I’m wondering, if I ever want to get to the next level, of simply eating for sustenance, is it time to shift my focus away from the number on the scale and more to the way I feel each day?

Do I break up with my scale and with Weight Watchers for a while and focus on other things like triathlon training? Obviously I would still need to plan and journal so I don’t slide back into bad behaviors. Or do I stick to what I’m currently doing and just try to reset my mind around the number frustration I’m feeling? It’s scary to think of walking away from Weight Watchers as it has become such an integral part of my routine this past year. At the same time, it’s not working as well anymore, so maybe it’s time to make a change. Thoughts?

The Tricky Thing About Weight Watchers Points

I am happy to report I was down 1.6 pounds at my Weight Watchers weigh-in this morning. I’m back on a losing track, which feels much better than the plateau that I was stuck on for three months. I’ve got about 19 pounds to go to get to goal. I can’t even remember the last time I only had 19 pounds to lose. And from my very heaviest weight, about 15 years ago, I’m down 98 pounds. I had lost and gained many times over the years, and had managed to keep about 30 pounds off from that highest number.

This time though will be the last time I lose weight because I’m not gaining it back. I’m down 61 pounds and feel better than I’ve felt in decades.

Anyway, about points. Today’s loss puts me in the  next bracket points-wise. I now get 20 points a day. I exercise a lot so I can always supplement and there’s always the 35 weekly points, but for me, there has been a psychological block about going over my daily allotted points.

A few weeks ago, I decided to pay more attention to what my body wanted to eat rather than staying in my points range. This is hard for me. I’m working on it, but I always want to cut myself off when I’m tracking and the screen tells me I’ve used all my points. I’ve resisted that. And at WW this morning, when I mentioned to the leader that I now lose a point, she told me not to do that. Stay with what I’m doing because it’s working.

So what is it that I’m doing? I actually allow myself a few more points. Not a gazillion or anything like that and not every day. But if  I have a hard workout or I’m just hungry, I eat. And I eat until I’m satisfied. I’ve been concentrating on making healthier choices too. Cocoa-roasted almonds rather than WW candy for instance for a sweet treat. Yogurt and strawberries rather than ice cream. Tomato slices or string beans with sea salt rather than pretzels.

Don’t get me wrong. I still leave room for treats like ice cream or cookies once or twice a day. I’m  trying to limit this a bit more and make sure my food counts. Its tough getting out of the mindset of points, points, points. But I had definitely gotten myself into a point rut, which really slowed things down. And I wasn’t eating enough food to sustain the exercising I was doing.

Weight Watchers is a great program and I owe a lot to the accountability and tools I have gained from it to make better food choices, the inspiration to get off my butt and move, the motivation I get from the leader, meetings and online stuff.

At some point though, we do have to trust ourselves if this is going to be a lifelong commitment. And while it may have seemed counter-intuitive to eat more to lose weight, for me, that seems to be working as long as I make good food choices most of the time. It took me a couple of months to get to this point because I was so worried about going over points. But I have more food freedom now, and by making sure I eat healthy rather than staying in points, the weight has started to come off again. I still track my food every day, but I pay more attention to the buttons that focus on getting the daily requirements.

On a race-training note, I rode 7 miles this morning—last workout before the big race on Saturday. I get to rest tomorrow. That will be nice. Keep your fingers crossed for me for less humidity.

What I’ve Learned After A Year At Weight Watchers

I’ve been a Weight Watcher for a year as of this week (tomorrow officially). I weighed in this morning and I was down .4 for a total of 59.4 pounds lost this past year. After last week’s 3.6 pound loss, I was very happy with .4 lbs.

I was thinking this morning on my way home from weigh in about all the changes I’ve made this past year. Not only do I eat sooo much healthier 95% of the time, I finally understand all the hype about regular exercise. It’s still tough to get going some days, but the feeling during and after are well worth getting off my butt for!

They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and create a new one. If you are on a getting fit journey, you’ll know that it can take 21 seconds and a piece of chocolate cake to undo that new habit.

I’ve been at this for a year, and I know that to continue to my goal weight and maintain my new healthier body, I will be at it for a lifetime. It may take 21 days to create a new habit, but the reason for the habit is always lurking in the background, ready to undo all the hard work at a moment’s notice.

I’ve learned so much this year and I can even go as far as to say I am grateful that last July  I weighed 230 pounds. If I wasn’t so overweight where it was starting to affect my health and ability to do the things I like to do, I would never have started on the journey in earnest. I know that because I’d stopped and started so many times before.

Before I started Weight Watchers last  July, I wasn’t suffering from body image issues. I didn’t hate my body or the way I looked at 230 pounds. I’d come to terms with that many years ago. I didn’t feel inadequate because I was carrying extra weight. I had a lot to offer and I concentrated on those things.

I’ve learned more about myself in this past year than I thought imaginable at 50 years old. I’ve pushed my body well beyond it’s limits and it has done very well. I’ve really looked inside to try to understand how I got to this point in the first place and have surprised myself with the answers.

I started on this journey because I didn’t want to turn 50 feeling unhealthy and limited. What surprised me is how much I was missing because I was heavy. More than the smaller clothing sizes and compliments, I’m thrilled with my fitness progress. I don’t get winded going up stairs. I can run. I’m swimming again. I have energy. I sleep better. I have better concentration most days. I get outside every chance I get. Racing is fun. I’m happier. I feel balanced.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience these changes if I hadn’t been 230 lbs. last July or found my way to this point. And for that I’m grateful.

What’s Holding You Back?

Every time I’ve decided to get healthy, as I’m getting started, I think of a bunch of reasons why maybe I shouldn’t. Let’s face it, change is daunting.

I know all the reasons I should be fit. Every fat person knows why they should start eating healthy and exercising more. To avoid health problems, to live longer, to have more energy, to look better and feel good about ourselves. The list goes on.

But then come the excuses that lead to stopping before we start or very shortly after we get started. If we can identify those things we use to hold ourselves back and push them aside, then maybe we have a chance. At least, that’s what I told myself this time as they crept in when I was starting.

So I made a list. Why shouldn’t  I lose weight and keep it off? Here are my top ten and how they’ve played out so far:

10. Money is tight. How will I buy new clothes?

Well, the weight doesn’t fall off overnight so new clothes are not a problem right away. And really, how many new things do you need to get through the week? Guess what, when I needed new clothes I found the money to buy them. Oh, and it’s fun to buy smaller sizes.

9. I’ll get bored. How can I eat the same thing day in and day out?

Eating healthy can get boring. So can unhealthy eating habits. The difference is you don’t feel like crap after eating a healthy boring meal. I make sure I have options for my meals. Nothing overly exciting mind you, but enough so that I’m not completely sick of turkey, lettuce and tomato at the end of each week.

8. I’m too busy. I don’t have the time to plan, cook and exercise.

Bah. I exercise for a half an hour to an hour each day. So I miss a little TV. Actually I get up early so it’s done with before my day starts. And if your day is really that busy, fit in little 10-minute walks three times a day. I hear that works just as well.

As for food planning, I’m not a planner. And I tend to eat on the run. With all of the choices out there now, this is no excuse. How long does it take to microwave a Lean Cuisine? It’s faster than waiting in line at McDonald’s. And  anything tastes good on a high-fiber, low cal english muffin. Make sure your pantry and fridge are stocked with on-the-go good choices like fruit, eggs and high-fiber snacks, and you won’t need to plan too much.

7. I can’t afford to eat healthy.

Yes you can. Twinkies and Entenmann’s cakes are expensive too. When you stop buying those and trade for healthier choices, the food bill stays about the same. It might go up a bit in the beginning as you are finding your rhythm, but it goes back down.

Oh and when you unload some of those prescriptions and over the counter medicines from the ailments that the weight is causing (like Zantac for heartburn), you can spend more on food.

6. My family, friends, whoever won’t like me anymore if I lose weight.

Anyone who begrudges you finding your way to a healthy lifestyle is not someone you want in your life. If they love you now, your friends (even your fat ones who are envious because they wish they were doing what you are doing), family and whoever will still love you. And they will be proud of you too. You, after all, are accomplishing something spectacular.

5. I might be heavy but I’m in proportion. If I lose weight, I might lose unevenly and end up with a small top and big butt (or skinny legs and big belly…take your pick).

Whatever your body shape is, that’s what it will be when you lose weight. I really worried about this. Guess what, I’m the same proportion, just smaller and tighter. And if you don’t like your body shape, this is your chance to shift it. Exercise! Cardio is a must but also find targeted exercises that work those trouble spots.

4. I can’t afford a gym membership.

I couldn’t. Not in the beginning. But I could afford cheap sneakers and I was able to walk around my neighborhood. Start now while it’s light out in the morning and late into the evening and you’ll be exercising for free before you know it. And you can’t tell me you don’t know how to do a crunch or even a pushup. Those don’t cost anything either. And now, lots of gyms are running great specials to get you to join (they figure we’ll never go anyway). Take advantage if you really want to join a gym.

3. My boobs will shrink down to nothing.

Ok, this one happens. But again, it’s in proportion to your body size so it’s really not that bad. I never had a large bust until after I had children and was 100 pounds overweight. The boobs were the first thing to go as I started to lose weight. They are smaller now, but they actually look so much better on my frame, and my fear of losing the girls was somewhat irrational. They are still there, and while smaller, since my tummy is smaller too, they actually look so much better! I will say though that I’d be lost without underwire!

2. My personality will change.

You know it just might. But do you really think it will be for the worse? My personality hasn’t changed so much as shifted some. I’m still the same person with the same insecurities (I still feel fat a lot of the time even) and same inclinations. What has changed though is I think about me once in a while now. I do things for me. I smile more. I have more confidence. I take a few more risks. I have met goals and accomplished more in this past year than I thought possible. And if I can do this, I can do anything, can’t I? And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you are a nice person, you will still be a nice person. The only difference is you might just be nicer to you. Getting fit is liberating. Enjoy it.

1. Saggy Skin!

We’ve all seen the plastic surgery commercials. The gastric bypass patients who’ve lost 100 pounds in six months. Look at all that skin! I’d rather be fat! No, you wouldn’t.

I really worried about saggy skin. I even figured when I started getting fit this time if it got bad, I would stop wherever it was that was comfortable. I’d rather be a little overweight than have loose skin. News flash. If you lose weight slowly, 1-2 pounds a week, and you exercise and drink water, saggy skin isn’t so much of a problem. I’m 60 pounds into an 80-pound weight loss, and I can tell you that the sagging skin isn’t nearly what I imagined it to be. Yes, I do have some, but I had it before too. And the only one who ever even notices it is me. All of the other changes in my body, like a waist and legs that like to run are well worth it.

Those were my top 10 reasons for not getting fit. And I have a bunch more. The reasons to get fit though so far outweighed them that I chose to ignore them this time.

Try to focus on the things that may be stopping you and write them down. Since they are usually only whispers in the back of your mind, they can be difficult to hear but they are there and they are insidious.

Then write down an equal number of reasons to get fit. There are more of these than there are excuses. Consider how you will feel when you’ve conquered your fears and misgivings and have started to meet your goals.

There are good days and bad days when you are getting fit. I was having a tough day today. And I needed to revisit why sometimes it is so easy to get off track. By checking in periodically with how far I’ve come and identifying the reasons I try to sabotage myself, I take the power away from my fears and excuses. I have the power, and with that power, I win.