Weight Loss Journey -Starting Over Again…Again

Well a lot has happened since my last post in 2017. First, I would like to apologize for the long hiatus. I’ll explain in detail why I took such a long break. I’ll also provide an update on my weight loss journey and reveal a new plan to reach my goals. Spoiler alert, I did not come close to reaching my goal from 2017 until now. Here’s why…

2017

2017 was a rough year. My grandmother, who helped raise me in a lot of ways and who lived within one mile of us for over a decade, began to experience some serious health issues. My mother was the sole caretaker for her for years and things took a turn for the worst in the early part of 2017. Complications from diabetes, along with many other ailments ended my grandmother’s life journey on Memorial Day that year. I still get teary eyed as I think about it. She was 86 years young and we all miss her very much. We look forward to seeing her again in Paradise (Luke 23:43) when Jesus calls her name in the resurrection (John 5:28,29, Revelation 21:3,4). Until then, I find comfort in this time for her to rest peacefully with no pain.

This loss was extremely hard for my mother to deal with and I had to be a strong support for her as she grieved and worked through her anxiety and depression. Needless to say, all of that grief threw my weight loss plans to the side. I ate whatever I needed to be comforted as I worked through my own grief with God’s help (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) .

2018

I thought 2018 would be the fresh new start I needed to get back on track. However, that year was worse than 2017. It was as if the Devil was trying to take me out with one thing after another. First, in January of 2018 my brother dislocated both of his knees (don’t ask how that happened) and I had to take several weeks off of work to take care of him. I honestly tried to keep exercising but I just didn’t have it in me. My brother was in so much pain and discomfort after the surgery on both knees that I got a workout just trying to get him to the bathroom. It was quite an ordeal physically and emotionally and it took a lot of prayer to get through it (1 Peter 5:7). I was also monitoring him to ensure he didn’t get addicted to the opioids that were prescribed. Thankfully, he was able to deal with the pain so he only took them as needed. As he began to heal he took them less and less and finally stopped them all together.

me-when-i-thought-nothing-else-could-go-wrong-just-47592040

 

The next ordeal was taking care of my husband. I noticed in February/March he started vomiting after every meal, even sometimes after drinking a soda or water. He didn’t have any fever, trauma or any other symptoms. After begging him to go to the doctor, I finally found a specialist and scheduled the appointment myself. It turns out he had a mild form of Achalasia which is a rare disorder of the Esophogus. Basically, a pocket formed in his Esophogus that made eating food feel like it was draining slowly into his stomach instead of going down normally. This pocket would expand as he ate and force food to come up. He had to have a Heller Myotomy. This surgical procedure is designed to improve this condition but it includes several side effects and is not a guaranteed cure as there currently is no permanent cure for this condition. After 6 hours of surgery my husband came out okay thank Jehovah.

Blender

His recovery required a liquid diet for 2 weeks and soft foods for another week or two. After a month he was allowed to eat normally. My husband was already thin and stuck to a vegan diet. After those 2 weeks of liquids (soups and smoothies) he lost 20 pounds and some muscle mass. Since then, he’s gained some back but not much and he still vomits here and there. I’m still monitoring him but I’m just grateful he’s alive and functioning well. You would think that I would have lost some weight during this time. However, the stress of his surgery, his mother coming to visit to help me take care of him and preparing liquid meals while still working full-time caused me to eat more and exercise was non-existent to say the least.

study

Work was absolutely crazy at this time and I was studying diligently to acquire a certification that was hard for many people to attain. Some coworkers were studying for years to take this test and were too scared to schedule their exam. I was studying for 3 months and took the plunge. With everything going on I failed the exam by 1 point the first time. I was determined to get this certification by the end of the year so I took some time to regroup and prepare to try again.  The exam stipulates that if you fail you have to wait 3 months to retest. I studied day and night for the entire 3 months. Thankfully, I past the exam the second time around. In addition to this exam I had to recertify as a Notary Public and this requires taking a test as well. I was able to study in a shorter amount of time and passed that exam too.

Happy

 

My family mostly lives in Florida and Hurricane Maria was about to hit their area. Several family member evacuated and came to stay with us for a while. My mother and mother-in-law both evacuated to a shelter. Their homes had very little damage and they got through it ok but I was so worried.

During my studying for my exams, I got some more bad news. My other grandmother (my father’s mother) was in hospice and she didn’t have much time left. I did whatever I could to support that side of the family. However, I also received a letter from our landlord stating that he wanted to renovate the home we were renting and we had 60 days to relocate. I was shocked!!! Shock

I’m sure many of you would agree that moving is one of the hardest most frustrating tasks to complete. Trying to find a place that’s suitable, affordable and in a good location often brought me to tears. I was so stressed out during the later part of 2018 and prayed often for God’s help to manage everything going on. However, I knew that Jehovah God never allows you to be tempted beyond what you can bear and always makes a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) so I took things one day at a time. I created what I call a “Stress Schedule”. I decided when and on what days I would stress about something. It sounds crazy, but it works. Putting your stressors down in writing along with timelines tricked my mind into obeying that schedule. If I was supposed to stress about finding a place to live from 5pm-8pm that day then that’s when I worried about it. After 8pm, I moved on to the next thing I had to do. If you try it let me know how it works for you.

We eventually found a place, moved in November 1st and met our 60 day deadline with a few weeks to spare. My other grandmother was laid to rest shortly before.

2019

So that’s everything I’ve been dealing with. We are now nearing the end of 2019 and as I reflect on this year I’m so grateful I was able to get through all of that. My mind has calmed down from all of the previous activity and I’m focused on my weight loss journey again. I actually gained 5 pounds between 2017 to now which brings me to 170 pounds. I would like to lose 20-25 pounds in the next 6 months. I no longer have the goal of looking like a body builder. I don’t want to be super skinny. I just want to be toned, strong, and healthy.

My Plan

I will be working out at least 5 days a week. This will include the following:

  1. 30 minutes of cardio each day
  2. 30 minutes of strength training 3 days a week
  3. 10 minute intensive ab workouts 2 days a week
  4. At least one HIIT workout a week. Maybe 2 if I can find the strength

I still have my Shaun T and Body Beast videos which are all apart of the BeachBody family. I’ll do those sparingly so as not to hurt myself like I’ve done in the past.

My strength training will include work with strength bands instead of free weights. I’ve hurt myself too many times by picking up or putting down weights incorrectly.

My cardio will be a mixture of my trusty spin bike, jumping rope and running/walking. It all depends on the weather and my level of motivation for the day.

I’m striving to set small goals each month and mini goals each week all of which I’ll share with all of you. My triumphs, failures and frustrations will all be recorded and I hope it can motivate and encourage at least one person.

Until next time.

A Weight Loss Journey – Starting Over Again

After failing miserably last year, I’m starting this journey anew for 2017. A new approach, a renewed drive and more determination than last year. I promised myself that I would be in the best shape of my life by the time I turned 30 years old. Well… 30 has come and is almost gone and I’m staring 31 in the face. This time around I’m making sure I have everything I need to succeed. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.

I keep trying to think about why I’m doing this. I read that its important to know your main motivator so you can reflect on it periodically, especially when you’re tired and discouraged. Do I want to look better than my peers? Do I want to just be healthy? Or am I trying to keep looking good so my husband’s eyes don’t wander? To be honest, I think I’m doing this because I’ve always been told that being overweight is inevitable for me. Big women run in my family, so I was always told that one day soon I won’t fall too far from the family tree. The very thought of that scares me to death and I’m trying to stop bad habits now before my health forces me to do so later. I also want to look good, feel good, and keep my husband’s eyes from wandering.

Methods

My biggest change for this year is that I’m going to be vegan. At least for 30 days. This will jump start my healthy eating journey and allow me to learn new recipes and new ways of cooking old favorites. I’ll be sure to post some of these new creations, once I perfect them. If I perfect them.

For exercise, I’ve purchased a spin bike. This will allow me to do some low impact cardio which will destroy the fat around my mid-section…hopefully. I’ll do an online spin class for 45 minutes 5 days a week.

I will also incorporate weight lifting, alternating between upper body and lower body five days a week. On the weekends, I’ll do a high intensity workout on Saturdays and stretching and Pilates on Sundays. I want to make sure I’m doing something EVERYDAY but varying in intensity so my body doesn’t digress.

I’ll post my progress once a week. Happy exercising and healthy eating!

 

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 8

The word of the day… PROGRESS

I’m happy to say that I’ve successfully worked through the dreaded, uncomfortable, everything on my body hurts, I don’t want to do this anymore phase. It usually lasts a full seven days. Now I’m able to focus on doing each move of my workout with perfect form while striving to increase my endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness. This is actually the fun part. If you can get past the achy and sore muscles, you’ll arrive at this wonderful world I like to call “The Zone”. Now I’m not saying that once you’re in “The Zone” you’ll be able to do a triathlon. I still have to take breaks during my cardio workouts and rest during my strength training, and I don’t do every move perfectly or as fast as they do on the DVD. However, I’m more in tune with my body’s needs and can modify and make adjustments that will benefit my overall fitness. Believe me, you’re not thinking about any of that during your first week when you’re sore from head to toe.

Just think of “The Zone” as your first milestone, a reward, if you will, for being consistent in your routine. The next milestone is being able to run a mile, or complete a workout without stopping, or whatever your next goal will be.

I remember reading somewhere that setting small goals will help you stay consistent. Telling yourself that “I’m going to finish my workout in its entirety”, or “I’m going to stick to my diet today” will help you to stay focus and will motivate you to do more to reach these goals. Be sure to reward yourself and before you know it you’ve gone a full week, then a month and then 3 months and so on.

For more ways to stay consistent with your workout check out this link: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/4-ways-to-stay-consistent-with-your-workouts/

My Workouts and Goals for the Day

I can honestly say that I’ve never worked out consistently for an entire week, so my goal was to keep the momentum going. It was a very hectic day at work in addition to a long, dreary, gloomy, rainy day. I wanted to just come home, eat, and curl up on the couch. But I was so proud of myself for sticking to my workouts last week that I didn’t want to disappoint myself today.

I got up at 5:40AM and did strength training that focused on my legs. This is by far one of the hardest Body Beast DVDs in the series… so far anyway.

For my cardio I had to do T25 cardio and I must say that both of these workouts, although challenging, were 10 times more enjoyable, no doubt because I was in “The Zone”. My performance was so much better, which means my body is getting stronger and that means I’m building muscle and that means I’m burning fat and ultimately losing weight.

What Not To Do

I’ve been trying to stop looking at the mirror so much, like a shapely butt and six-pack abs are just going to appear one day in the mirror. This is a gradual process, so now that I’m in ‘The Zone” I’m just going to focus on performance for a while and once I’ve completed 4 weeks I’ll be able to actually SEE some changes.

I read on Pinterest that is take 4 weeks for you to see a difference, it takes 8 weeks for others to see a difference and it takes 12 weeks for the world to see a difference. So remember… be patient.

#body-beast, #cardio, #endurance, #exercise-2, #strength-training, #t25, #workout

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 3

The word of the day is SORENESS!

I am so sore!!! I was way too tired to doing anything last night, so once again, I’m completing yesterday’s post this morning.

Yesterday my strength training focused on Back and Biceps. It was a pretty long workout (about 50 minutes) and it was very challenging. With completing Chest and Triceps on day 1, Legs on Day 2 and Back and Biceps on Day 3, every muscle in my body is officially out of commission. Every part of my body hurts. I get out of chairs like I’m 80 years old and I’m still walking around like I’ve been in a car accident.

To top it all off I had to complete Total Body Circuit, which is one of the hardest workouts on the T25 series, for my cardio. I completely butchered that workout. I could barely keep up and was in pain for the first 15 minutes until my body warmed up enough to ease some of the soreness.

Someone in the office brought donuts to work so the smell of Dunkin was all over the office and followed me around like a shadow. I stayed strong by thinking about the calories and fat that would completely ruin the progress I’ve made over the last couple of days and I’m proud of myself for sticking to my diet.

Nutrition

Still working on my sodium. It was a lot better yesterday because I’m a lot more conscious of the need to watch it. I’ve also learned that I need to increase my protein since I’m doing weight training in addition to cardio. Since egg yolks have some much cholesterol, I’m going to focus on egg whites and skinless chicken breast to reach the amount of protein I need for the day.

Rest

When they say rest is important it is very important. I usually go to bed around 11pm or later. Now, I’m thinking about bed at 9:30 and I’m definitely in bed by 10:30 at the latest.

Benefits So Far

My sleep has improved greatly. I used to toss and turn at night. Now, as soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out like a light until 5:00am.

If you have problems with regularity this workout regimen is for you. Although you’ll be sore going to the bathroom, the actual act of a bowel movement will be no problem for you. I’m sure the combination of the diet, all the water that you drink, in addition to the exercise, helps your body release anything unwanted with ease.

 

 

 

#better-sleep, #diet, #exercise-2, #regularity, #weight-loss-2

A Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 1

One down and only one hundred and twenty-five more days to go. Today was the epitome of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Here’s why…

The Good

My workouts went as planned. I got up at approximately 5:15AM and completed my strength training and after work I completed my cardio.

Today my strength training focused on chest and triceps and believe me when I say my triceps need a lot of work. It was a lot of push ups, something I’m not particularly good at, tricep dips, and a whole lot of technical weight lifting jargon that I can’t remember. The point is I got it done.

This afternoon I had to do the T25 Cardio DVD and it really gets your heart rate going. I was sweating puddles after just 10 minutes and by the time I reached the full 25 minutes I was ready to lay down and take a nap. The thing about Shaun T’s workouts is that they are fun. He really mixes up the moves so you don’t get bored, but they take a lot of commitment to complete.

I stuck to my diet today as well. I refrained from my forbidden foods and ate my healthy planned breakfast, lunch and snacks. I also met my goals for the required caloric and water intake, as specified by the MyFitnessPal App. When I went to the break room to prepare my lunch there was a huge plate of chocolate chunk brownies sitting right next to the refrigerator. But I looked at them and said “get behind me Satan!” and went on about my business.

Brownies

The Bad

I feel like crap. My chest is really sore, my back hurts, my shoulders feel like they’re going to fall off and I can barely lift my arms to type. It’s so true when they say if you don’t use your muscles you’ll lose them. I think my muscles are mad at me for putting them through this torture. However, I’m determined to keep on going so I took a hot bath, slathered on some Tiger Balm and said a prayer. I’ll need God’s help to keep this up.

The Ugly

There’s nothing more hurtful than the truth. I thought I was doing so well today until I looked at the nutrition log on my fitness app. Take a look at the pic below. Do you see the areas highlighted in red? That’s where I went wrong today and the main concern is my sodium. I mentioned in my first post that I’m trying to avoid high blood pressure and heart disease and a high sodium diet is the main culprit for these disorders. I literally ate oatmeal, salad, some chicken breast, soup, yogurt and nuts and I went over my recommended sodium intake. After looking deeper at the nutritional facts, it seems that soup and salad dressings are very high in sodium so I’ll have to watch this tomorrow. I read that although most people can have about 2,300mg of sodium a day, African Americans are recommended to have only 1,500mg due to the high rate of high blood pressure cases. I’m just going to focus on getting to 2,300 for now.

MyFitnessPal

Well, I’m absolutely exhausted and the only thing I have to look forward to is doing the same thing tomorrow. My small term goal is to complete a week without any slip ups. So far, I’m on the right track.

A Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – The Last Last Supper

A Slight Setback

Oh the dreaded setback. How I loathe thee!

Okay people, here’s the scoop, I had a little setback today. I hate starting things on Sunday. Honestly, it’s hard to start anything on Sunday, because… well… it’s Sunday. You want to relax, enjoy a nice spiritual day and enjoy some nice soul food before going back to working for “The Man” on Monday morning. I guess it’s a cultural thing but there’s nothing like some fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens and sweet potato pie on a Sunday afternoon after a good spiritual feeding. HOW I LOVE SOUL FOOD!!!

soulfood

Anyway, since I’ve already slid off the wagon, my official start date is Monday, October 26th. I’m going to enjoy the rest of this day, capping it off with my last cup of ice cream. I’m okay sliding off the wagon a little bit, because I’m not trying to be the next Miss America (as if a black woman could be Miss America anyway). I have my fitness goals but I also don’t want to become a robot that doesn’t enjoy life. Don’t forget that life is a gift and a little sweet potato pie never killed anyone. The key is moderation. As long I get back on the wagon I’ll be okay, but this time I’ll strap on a seat belt or something.

Bad Associations Spoil Useful Habits

Today I heard a spiritual talk based around 1 Corinthians 15:33 which mentions the importance of watching your association. My mom used to recite this scripture to me every time I wanted to go to a party or do something unchristian like. Well, believe me when I say that this applies to every aspect of life. If you’re going to reach any goal it’s important to surround yourself with people that will assist you with reaching that goal. My husband is officially bad association. I love him dearly, but his love of french toast sticks, Welch’s fruit snacks and ginger beer is really messing up my resolve. My mother used to say “you can put on a clean white shirt and play in the mud but you’ll never make the mud clean” and she is so right. I know I’ll never be able to change my husbands eating habits, and I know there are times when I’ll have to cook or buy him the very items that I’m striving to avoid. But like I said in my last post, it’s important to continue to meditate on the reason why you’re doing this in the first place. I didn’t do that today (don’t judge me) but going forward this will be my life line.

Preparation

I read somewhere that it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time so you have a few good go to meals and snacks to get you through the day.  I’ve always hated doing this and have avoided it for years, but I’ve seen how I get at work when I’m hungry and don’t have a healthy snack plan B. I head straight to the vending machine for some Cheetos, Cheez-its, nacho cheese Doritos or anything else cheesy (I love cheese). So I’ve packed some oatmeal for tomorrow’s breakfast (Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packs – 150 calories), I bought some apples for a snack and have salad for lunch. Almonds are a good energizing snack for that “i can’t wait to get out of here and go home” syndrome that always seems to hit me at work around 2-3pm. If’ I’m still hungry I have some Oikos yogurt for an emergency.

Tracking

I’ve downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to track my calories. I’ve avoided using this in the past because when you have to log your calories it’s like reporting to the IRS. You know when you owe and when you’ll receive a nice tax return and I usually owe. I hate when I’ve eaten something  that I know will put me over my recommended caloric intake for the day and have to see the red highlighted number and pop up reminding me that I’ve gone over my goal. It’s a necessary evil, because it holds me accountable for my decisions and actions. I highly recommend using it as it tracks your steps, you can log your exercise for the day and you can even track your nutrition. This is vital for anyone trying to reduce their sodium, cholesterol and/or fat.

The Last Last Supper

Well I’m off to enjoy this ice cream before I have to get up at 5am to begin this strenuous journey.  Till next time.

#exercise-2, #exercise-goals, #losing-weight, #weight-loss-2

A Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – The Last Supper

Hello. My name is Heather and I love to eat. Anything with pasta, heavy cream, bread and cheese makes my heart melt and don’t get me started on Boston Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie or any kind of cake. To be honest I’m eating a couple of slices of pizza while I’m writing this blog entry, but this is my last day so I’m making the best of it. More to come on that later.

Here’s my problem. Although I love to eat, I need to lose some weight and get in shape and the two don’t really seem to go together very well. Hence, the need for this new journey. I’ve promised myself that by the time I turn 30 that I’ll be in the best shape of my life. Well, time flies when your eating good because I now have only 4 months to keep this promise. So to keep myself accountable I’ve started this blog to record my journey. This is really just going to be an outlet for me to post my triumphs, failures and frustrations. So there’s going to be a lot of ranting and raving, because like I said, I love to eat. I’ll also be sharing information I learn along the way as I do a lot of research whenever I set my mind to something.

Why Now?
In order to keep myself motivated I’ve read that it’s important to reflect on why you want to lose weight in the first place. That main motivator is going to be needed whenever an office party leaves you staring at a plate of glazed donuts, or when your mother bakes you a cake just because she loves you.
For me the main reason I want to get in shape is because I want to prove my father wrong. Big women tend to run in my family and throughout my entire life my father would tell me that I’m going to be just like them. Just so you know, he’s a little on the heavy side as well, so I guess the taunting throughout the years proves that misery loves company and I refuse to be a part of that company. I’m usually very good about watching my diet and exercising but I recently had surgery that didn’t allow me to workout for 6 weeks and let me tell you… it shows. I am not about to visit my parents in the Spring just to see the look of “I told you so” painted across my father’s face.

More importantly, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease run in my family. When I say these things run in my family, I mean they run throughout my entire immediate and distant family tree. Grandmothers on both sides, uncles, aunts, mother and cousins. At family gatherings they talk about their health problems as if they’re normal and they announce that someone else has “gotten the sugar” (we’re country folk so that means they have diabetes) like it’s a badge of honor. Everyone tends to look like it was inevitable in the first place and practically “welcomes them to the club”. These are the most deadly and preventable health problems plaguing Americans and I know that one day I’ll have to eat right and exercise anyway. So, I figure its better to get into the habit now instead of waiting until the doctor tells me I have diabetes and need insulin shots. I don’t want my grandmother to announce to the family that I now have “the sugar”.

Lastly, I enjoy working out. I enjoy sweating out my frustrations after a long day of work and I always sleep like a baby when I workout regularly. I miss that feeling of accomplishment after a long workout and I miss seeing my body gradually change from a Coca-Cola can to a Coca-Cola bottle.

The Goal
My goal is to lose 20 pounds in 4 months. According to the weight loss gurus, that is about 1-2 pounds a week, which is reasonable. However, I don’t just want to lose weight, I also want to tone some trouble spots that seem to run through the family bloodline. That includes my arms, lower belly, hips, thighs and butt… just to name a few.

Me Now and the Goal

The left is how I look now and the right is my goal. As I continue to look at the picture on the right I laugh inside because this is not going to be a fun journey.

The Regimen
In order to reach this level of fitness I’m going to have to do much more than 15 minutes of cardio 3 to 4 days a week as those old Nordic Track commercials would like you to believe. This is going to be torture. I absolutely hate going to the gym so I’ve purchased two at home workouts that will help me reach my goals. T25 and Body Beast.

Workouts

I’m going to get up early in the morning and focus on strength training with Body Beast. Don’t let the guy on the cover fool you, I’m not going to look like a body builder by the time I’ve finished this workout. There is a Lean Beast version that’s more for women that want to build lean toned bodies.

My cardio will come from T25 which is what I’ll do when I come home from work. This is a program put together by Shaun T. I find him to be motivating and it’s an interval training workout that’s optimal for fat burning, especially in those problem areas. If I can workout in the morning and in the evening I can really start to attack fat two ways; (1) by building muscle which helps to burn fat throughout the day, even when you’re resting, and (2) by burning fat through intense cardio interval training. I’ll be working out Monday through Saturday, while simply stretching and doing ab focused exercises on Sunday.

The Diet
I’m not going to lie, changing my eating habits is going to be harder than sticking to a workout routine. I’ve decided to cut out cheese, bread and sweets throughout the week (Monday – Friday). Saturday will be my cheat day for these items but I’m not allowing myself to eat or drink any of the following: fried foods, soda or any other sugary drinks, pork, beef, any kind of cold cuts or sliced deli meats, creamy soups and salad dressings, and last but not least pizza.

I will focus on eating whole grains, nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats (just turkey and chicken). I’ll be eating 4-5 small meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and sometimes a light snack before 9:00pm (depending on when and what I ate for dinner). I’ll be drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day and drinking a small cup of almond milk for calcium, as I don’t drink regular milk.

The Last Supper
Today is October 24th and it’s literally the last day of my care free eating life. Today is my last day to eat, drink and be merry and believe me I’m going to live it up.

I’ll be posting everyday so you can follow my ups and downs. You’ll be able to track when I fall off the wagon and the steps I take to get back on. I look forward to this challenge and I hope this will motivate others to take control and do what’s best for their bodies and their lives.