Monday, November 30, 2009

Fatty Fatty Fat Fat (or, "why holidays are hard on diets")

Does this really need explanation? It would be bad enough, but I got sick. Like really really sick. I can barely breathe and eating is tough. Thinking about cooking or preparing food is even worse. Yeah, I kinda suck.

I can't stay home anymore, so Ihave to get back in the swing of things. Really cool though: I get a free membership to the rec center for my whole family (my husband and kids - although kids under 4 are free). I just need to start going in.

Lots of changes. A little slippage. I can totally do this. Right?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week 23 - Because I need some encouragement

I got in to see Dan yesterday and gained 2 pounds. Sigh.

Because I needed something good, I decided to try on a pair of "fat jeans". I hadn't tried on this pair for over a year. I purchased them after I had my first child because everything was too small. And I grew out of them anyway. Yep, I put them away because I got even bigger.

Wanna see how they look now? Man, I needed this. I can wear these jeans to LOUNGE in! This means I can tuck my legs up to the side. This is SIGNIFICANT, dang it!

I start a job on Monday. New schedule and Thanksgiving... I'm on maintenance mode for the next week or two and then I'll go back to see Dan and get back into it.

So, no cheating, lots of exercising, and more weight to lose. This is good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 22 - A freebie

I have no idea how I did this last week. The week before Dan told me he was going to be out of town on Thursday so we needed to meet on Wednesday. And I didn't remember till Wednesday afternoon - after our meeting. D'oh!

I did well though. Got all my weights in and even exercised. In fact, I was on a big long bike ride when I remembered about the appointment change.

This weekend is another tough one. Not a total loss, but I still want to do better. blah

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 21 (and a half)

It's tough to post when you feel like you're not making any progress. But I guess that's the concept behind accountability, eh?

So last Thursday when I went to see Dan it had been another hard week. We're up to a month's worth of really tough weeks. Gah! I didn't lose any weight, but at least I didn't gain any. That's really saying something because, well, Halloween candy.

My most difficult time is the weekend. Typically I ride my bike to see Dan and then I don't exercise again till Monday. Maybe even Tuesday. And since the routine is unreliable on the weekends, so is my eating.

Now, when I cheat, it's not like I fall off the wagon completely. I've learned enough over the past 5 months to know that my body really hates it when I eat crap. I feel it (very uncomfortably) for up to two days after. So, a bad day for me is like only 80% following my plan. Even that takes a while to get past, so more than feeling guilty, I really FEEL bad about eating poorly. You know?

Well, this last weekend I did better. I did skip Friday (ate fine though), but on Saturday I took a monster walk. I found an excuse to go out and made it even longer. I would guess it was at least 5 miles. Very pleasant.

I did skip Sunday, but I got my weights yesterday! Even better, I got my weights in today too. That means that doing them tomorrow will be a full workout. Woo hoo!

Yeah, I'm supposed to spread them out. I'm thinking I need a good bike ride in the middle of the day (when it's warm enough), and then with the weights in the evening maybe it won't be another bad week after all. That would be nice.

Back on the wagon, dang it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 20 - Glycemic index

Well, I lost another pound and a half. I guess that means my metabolism is still chugging along, no thanks to me.

I talked to Dan for a while on Thursday about glycemic index. I don't know how many of you know what this is, but I figured I would share my new knowledge. Enlightening, to say the least.

Basically, foods are judged (high, medium, low - on a scale of 1-100, I think) based on how the body metabolizes them. All foods essentially affect blood sugar (glucose). When it makes your blood sugar go high quickly and stay there for a long time, the index level is high. If it takes longer for your body to process, then the index level is low.

Whether a food is metabolized quickly or not depends on some factors, but generically speaking you should keep to lower index levels. It's not a cut and dry scale. For example, baked potatoes are relatively high on the index. Add fat in the form of frying, and it takes more time for your body to process. So french fries are lower on the index - not healthier though.

As your body processes foods, you want it to process efficiently and not go straight to fat stores. You want your body to use it up or get rid of it. Fat doesn't get used, and the body's generic response is to store it. So processing slowly doesn't do any good when it's just sugar (or starch, in the case of the potato) - and adding fat just makes it harder for your body to do anything good with it.

Best thing to do is to pair your sugars/starches/carbs with protein. Basically, this makes your body use the carbs (sugars and starches are carbs) for repair and upkeep - not for storage.

So basically, this is why my diet includes a protein with every meal. You need the carbs for energy, and the proteins for efficient processing.

Dan and I chatted for a few minutes about the implications of the glycemic index and something called the glycemic load. I get the index part now (I've also done a little bit of research online), but the load part is kind of foggy. I think it has to do with the balance between the carbs and the proteins - the final number or something like that.

In a nutshell:
Carbs AND proteins for every meal, stay away from fats (don't avoid them altogether though), and make sure to eat every 2-3 hours. This trains your body to metabolize efficiently, and you'll lose excess weight. Oh, and don't forget the exercise.

Sounds a lot simpler than it is, I think.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 19?

I'm not really sure what week I'm on, but I keep feeling like I'm not going anywhere. This last Thursday when I checked in with Dan, I had lost those 2 travel pounds plus one additional. So I'm still at my lowest weight - 292 - but I'm not really feeling it anymore.

I told Dan that I want to lose 30 pounds by Christmas and he said it was possible. I just have to get my butt in gear.

Like every weekend lately, this one was an epic fail. We were out of the house and dependent on other people's eating schedules and I just ate horribly. Well, my version of horrible lately is just going too long between meals and then eating big portions. I haven't really been that bad. Little cheats.

Today I went on a walk because it's nice out and I think we'll be doing some good walking tonight for Family Home Evening. And I'm going to get out my weights now and do them because I haven't exercised since Thursday. That's the worst.

If you see me, ask me if I've done my weights. I need the push.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Da da da da, feelin' bloaty!

I can't remember what week I'm on, and I've obviously fallen behind some. I didn't do great in California because it was way too easy to just do vacation eating. In my case, at least, that means eating junk whenever I feel like it.

Apparently, my idea of junk has changed quite a bit, because although I gained, it was only 2 pounds. Dan had warned me that airplane travel can totally make you retain water, so I wasn't too worried, especially since even with those 2 pounds, my fat percentage stayed the same. So it really was water weight.

Having people tell me they can see a difference is almost as cool as being able to wear my pre-extra fat clothing. I like my clothes for the most part, so having to put certain things away was kind of depressing. Not being able to go back to it after the pregnancies was worse. So wearing jeans I haven't worn in 3 years feels fantastic, but even more is having some extra room in the thighs. Same for extra room in the chest area with my shirts. Awesome.

I'd be lying if I said I was actually feeling baby hungry. I adore my babies, but I'm still fine waiting. I guess that's a good thing because if I really wanted another now I'd have a hard time waiting to lose another 50 pounds. And that's my goal. I really want to lose that much more before getting pregnant again. Pregnancy is really tough, but pregnancy while obese is just miserable.

So, here's to losing the weight. Here's to more babies. Here's to better health and more adventures.

Oh, one really happy note from my trip. I didn't have to use a seat belt extender on the airplane. I took a trip with the kidlet about 2 years ago when he was just 4 months old and I had to use one. Terrible and humiliating. I was tickled that I didn't need one.

Progress! Little, but visible.

Anyone want tips or tricks that might be especially suited to them, let me know. I'm happy to help, and Dan wants me to be able to help. I think it reinforces my own good behaviors enough that it makes me more likely to succeed. And Dan is all for that. He has even given me advice on behalf of others. And if you're interested in meeting with Dan - even long-distance, just let me know.

Help me to help you. We'll do this together, eh?

Friday, October 9, 2009

really quickly

I'm in California this week. Trying hard to get in lots of exercise and eat healthy, so by the time I get back to Dan next week I should still be okay. Cross your fingers for me!

By the way, I'm loving where my sister lives in Alameda. Across the street is the beach and there's an awesome walking/biking trail. Been there a couple of times already. Look across the water into San Francisco. Gorgeous, perfect weather, the culture! Only thing that would make this place perfect would be a good $1000 off the rent. This place is expensive!

Sure do love Trader Joe's. Good and mostly healthy stuff and really great variety of interesting things to choose from.

More about the trip (diet-wise) when I get back.

Love you all!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 16 - Stalled (oh my, I have a shape again!)

I feel often like I've lost momentum, but then something comes along to remind me why I started this journey.

This morning I woke up and lounged in bed for a few minutes till my bladder forced me to get up. While I was still ignoring it, for some reason I felt my upper arm. I've been embarrassed by my arms for a long time. There is bulging in gross ways, floppy softness in other gross ways. I've got the Relief Society arms (or "bingo arms" to the non-LDS readers) that old ladies get when they've lost weight and their arm fat flaps.

But when I felt my arm this morning, I noticed a difference. The back of my upper arm doesn't bulge quite the way it did before. I had to take a picture to mark the exciting occasion. I would put a "before" picture, but I don't really allow pictures of the most embarrassing parts of me to exist. It has only been since I started this plan that I've been willing for the fat to show up in all its glorious disgustingness.

When I went to see Dan, I had to admit that I was scared. I've been consistently failing on the weekends and I wasn't sure I wanted to see the scale go up again. Amazingly, it went down. Okay, so it was only a pound, but I'll take anything I can get.

Every single week I leave Dan's office energized and excited to start anew. I want to succeed, dang it! And by the end of the weekend I feel like a total failure. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the desire to socialize and play. Bike rides on city streets aren't really a social thing, especially in the winter when everyone is bundled. It's not like we can go to the park (brrr!) either. The weights bore me to death and every single week I struggle to do them.

I think I'll work on them right now. Get in one session of weights while watching LDS General Conference. After the weights, I'll get some more cleaning done. Then I'll feel both spiritually and physically productive. Maybe I won't feel quite so guilty next time I go to see Dan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It used to be that I looked forward to the weekends because I was so happy to be free from work. Then I started staying home with the kids and the weekends just blended into the other days. I didn't really look forward to them anymore, although I didn't mind them any.

Since this program has started, however, I have started dreading the weekends. I've figured out that I do poorly on weekends. I have a hard time following the program with lots of people and lots of food in my near vicinity. I think I would probably lose weight a lot faster if I weren't cheating consistently every weekend. Dang.

I'm not sure what the best solution would be. I'm pretty sure that once my metabolism is "fixed" it won't be a problem to eat less than perfect every once in a while. For now, however, it is an issue. But it's an issue because I desperately need results to stay motivated. It's an issue because my body isn't prepared to fight the bad stuff effectively yet.

Gah! Help me people! If I turn down your food, please support me. I'm way too weak to turn down the yummy stuff without help.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 15 - Addictions

I have to admit that this last week was extremely tough for me. We had a ward activity on Friday night, followed by an evening party at my cousin's house. There was food everywhere and it was tough to stay away. In fact, I didn't.

Yesterday my sis-in-law made cookies. I wish I couldn't tell you just how yummy they were, but I know all too well that they were delicious. Dang it.

I'm thinking that I need to just imagine and not even take the first bite. It's way too difficult to stop once I have confirmed how wonderful something feels on my tongue. No matter how much I know that my body won't like it, I just can't make myself stop once I've started. (This is a t-shirt design from our friends at Love it!)

A handful of years ago, I attended AA meetings with a friend of mine who was struggling with alcohol addiction. It was kind of awkward, to be honest, but I did learn some about myself. See, I'm addicted to food. I'm addicted to salty, greasy, fattening food. I'm addicted to flavor and richness, texture and depth. It affects my moods and whole body chemistry, and I'm not even talking about the physical affects of the fat and such.

Have you ever known an alcoholic or a druggie who just couldn't quit? They would say over and over, "I'll just take one sip" or "only one more fix"... Well, food that's bad for me is my fix. I cannot allow myself to fall off the wagon because I won't want to get back up.

See, I'm comfortable being fat. In a sense. I'm used to this. It's my comfort zone because it's all I know. I can't actually imagine myself thin. It boggles my mind that I could actually live life with one whole person less to carry around. Logically, I know. I lift the rolls of fat and try to remember what I felt like without them. I wasn't born this way, but I can barely imagine not being round.

Despite the setbacks with the food, my metabolism worked and I lost another 4 pounds. If anyone is counting, I'm about 45 pounds down on the scale and 48 pounds of fat down. Incredibly, the work is still paying off, and even though I'm feeling burned out, I may just be able to keep going.

This addiction of mine, this monkey on my back, is getting old. Just a few more months till the imagined will become the reality and the addiction will be just old memory. Not that I'll ever stop loving food, but that maybe I will be able to take that bite of dessert and not feel guilty for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Checking in

Well, I've now done one day of weights. But I did help an aunt carry stuff up and down in her house for a couple hours today. I should have gone on a bike ride too, but I was actually tired from moving stuff.

I have to say, it's more interesting to do stuff like moving furniture than lift weights. I'm kind of torn on my beloved bike rides, now that it's FREAKING COLD lately. Apparently my fat has been a pretty good insulation for me. I get cold way easier lately. Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week 14 - A setback

I've resisted posting this week because I gained a pound this week. Dang it!

I just wrote a long and boring post about my week. Eating out (I tried to be good, honest!), flat tires, and today's super long bike ride - 16 miles in all.

Apparently I can't be interesting when I'm exhausted. Really though, I want to announce my intention to get my weights in. That's been the most difficult part, and I hear from people that it's the most important.

Oh, and I'm going to coach some friends on a similar program to mine. I'll call it a trial run - to see if I've learned enough to give real help to those in need. I'd venture to say I need to be following my own advice though.

I'll report on Tuesday. Hopefully I will have started with the Llama family (just a nickname, don't worry), and will have done at least 2 days of weights.

Thanks, everyone, for allowing me to be accountable to you. It means a lot to me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little more detail

I've gotten lots of questions about my program and I'd like to give out a little more information.

I am doing a plan with the help of Dan Wilcox through Total Health and Fitness (feel free to ask for his contact info - he's not shy and he loves referrals). He's not a trainer, but effectively he's helping me train my metabolism. But he's not a trainer in the traditional sense.

Every week I go see Dan to report in, get weighed, and get my plan tweaked. He takes into consideration how I've felt (do I ever feel hungry? did I have enough energy? did I lose weight? etc.), and changes my exercises and menu. These changes are typically pretty subtle. I can go up by 50-100 calories or down by 300, add a day of weights or 15 more minutes of cardio.

In a nutshell, you start out with a set amount of calories for a week (remember to eat at least 5 times a day, protein AND carb at every "meal"). If you lose, raise the calories by 50-100 calories for the next week. Do that every week till you're barely losing - like only 1 pound. The week after that, drop your calories by like 300. Essentially this keeps your metabolism from setting a plateau, allowing you to lose weight consistently. Does that kind of make sense?

The beauty of going to Dan is that I've got a constant cheerleader/expert/guide through the whole process. The plan is tailored specifically to me. The foods on my menu are ones I like and will happily eat (he doesn't put something on my menu if I don't like it). The weights are things that I can do (in my case, they're all at home - I don't have a gym membership). The cardio is stuff my body can handle (my dad, who had a total knee replacement last year, is one of Dan's clients too).

I've figured out a couple of things so far.

1) I really do feel better when I follow the plan.
a) I have lots more energy when I don't go long periods without eating.
b) Turns out my body actually likes getting exercise. When I eat right in addition to my exercise, I don't feel so exhausted when I'm done. I feel just fine. Maybe a little tired/wobbly, but nothing I can't handle.
c) I think I'm getting sick less. That's a very very happy thing.

2) I can motivate anyone but myself. I actually do need someone else telling me how to do this. I need to be accountable or I slack.

3) Being in the habit of eating healthy is only difficult at the beginning.
a) It's much easier now to turn down the bad stuff or choose the good.
b) It's kind of like detox. It took a while to feel the effects, but now I feel so much better that I can't imagine going back. Well, I can fantasize, but I don't really want to eat bad anymore. I feel too good to give it up.

4) I LOVE sharing the excitement. I want everyone around me to feel good too!

5) I ADORE wearing pants that aren't constricting in the thighs.

Life is good. Just keep keeping on, right?

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. On the one hand, there is nothing quite like the feeling of floating, being supported when gravity usually isn't my friend. On the other hand, I have to stuff my sausage-like limbs and torso into something that shows every cupcake and fast-food meal I've eaten for the past 10 years. Every single flaw.

Yesterday for a birthday party, I stuffed my lycra at the Lehi pool. That place was tons of fun, and I even came in under the weight limit for the really cool water slide. 3 whole pounds under, baby!

I tried to do a similar pose, and here is the result. 3 months and 40+ (almost 45 of fat!) pounds later:
It's so nice to have people say they can see the difference. Even if that means they noticed just how fat I was before, I still like the positive attention. My husband likes it that my chest is the most prominent feature on my front side now (instead of my belly).

I keep telling myself that the daily stuff is what's important. That cheating on the plan isn't doing me any favors. That I'll be happier if I stay strong and don't give in to the urges to eat and laze around.

Don't worry. I believe it most of the time. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 13 - Half way

I'm officially half-way done with this program. And I'm officially 40+ pounds down on the scale (almost 45 pounds of straight fat lost). Feels pretty good, except that I have another 60 pounds to go.

Happily, my metabolism is responding positively to this thing, and Dan says I could lose another 80 pounds in this time. I would be so freaking happy if that were true!

On Monday I labored. I went on a 13-mile bike ride with my sister's family. My husband tried to come with us, but he's not used to biking and by just a mile in was having trouble (as was my 9-month-old infant), so we traded kids (he had the toddler in the bike trailer and I had the baby in the bike seat) and sent him home.

Half of that bike ride was extremely difficult. The bike seat is missing a bolt, and it lists to one side. And it was uphill. Apparently, in all my bike riding, I only do flat or mostly flat surfaces. The hills kicked my butt! I finally gave up and traded bikes with my sis about a mile before the park up the canyon. And on the way home I had the kid ride with his cousin in their bike trailer.

Last night I took the kid to the grocery store. It was pretty late, but it was in honor of the husband putting the trailer on my bike. So we went and I loaded up the trailer with heavy stuff (a good 100 pounds of food). And it kicked my butt all the way home. I figured it was because the wind was against me and I was just tired. So this morning I loaded the bike trailer again with that toddler of mine and we headed off to see Dan. It took longer than normal because even though it was mostly downhill, the wind was against us. Dan pointed out that the bike trailer probably weighs a good 40+ pounds too. I hadn't thought about that. Instead of going straight home, we took a detour to visit my mom at her work. I finally got home, sweating greatly, and decided we needed to go to the store. So I added the baby to the trailer and off we went.

I loaded it down again, sweated my guts out, and got home, 11 miles and one sleeping baby later. Well, the 11 miles was the total for the day, not for the grocery trip at the end. Still.

I'm thinking I'll be able to take the kids around quite a bit with the trailer as long as I can pacify the baby. She doesn't like to be strapped in and isn't quite there yet with holding her own bottle. She can for a little while, but she drops it easily and doesn't pick it back up by herself.

Dan has added a meal to my day and upped my calories again. He thinks I'll still drop a few this next week. I got measured again and he actually apologized that I had lost inches off my chest. Oh, how I would LOVE to be able to buy a bra in a normal store!!! Lost a couple more off my waist too. I love wearing baggy pants. It's been a very long time since I was able to do that without just... um, I was going to say "going to the store and buying bigger" but that doesn't really work. I've been "tight" in 26/28s for a long time and that's the biggest size carried anywhere around here. I know you can get bigger on the internet, but honestly my thighs are massive and I'm afraid that even if something fits in the waist it won't in the thighs, so I don't buy pants over the net. So thank goodness my thighs are getting smaller too!

Other news, I'm hoping to reach 60 pounds down by the time I go to California. My generous (and likely bored) sister is flying me and the kidlets out to visit for a week in early October. I promise I'll eat right and exercise while I'm there. She's a great influence and example and maybe I can even teach her a thing or two. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

WeightView dreams

The website I used for the photo was, but they use facebook to publish the results. Apparently you have to have a facebook profile in order to get the results. Pretty easy process though.

I dreamed last night that I had lost so much weight that I could see my hip bones. Like they actually kind of stuck out and I only had a little belly pooch to look past. (I tried to find a pic of hip bones to illustrate what I saw in my dream but there were only dumb pictures.)

So, I'm getting over a cold and that monthly intruder, and still feeling like I have no energy at all. I miss getting out and exercising, but I don't know if I can do much about it. I'll have to get out there and see.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week 12 - Pre-pregnancy weight

I was scared this week that the news would not be favorable. I spent a couple of days at the end of last week helping a friend move, and I didn't do any weights. I was so tired from packing and cleaning and moving that I could barely do anything by the end.

Saturday night I was exhausted and in need of a good pick-me-up, so I went out with friends. Well, actually, I went over to a friend's house with a bunch of other friends and we crafted and watched a movie and stayed up late talking. It was such a good thing! Except for the eating. I got Papa Murphy's pizza, and I think my kid and I ate an entire one by ourselves - chicken bacon artichoke. Man, I LOVE that pizza!

Turns out my body isn't so fond of it though. I spent the next two days feeling all sorts of intestinal yuckiness.

And then, my period started. Normally I wouldn't mention that in any kind of a public place, but seeing as how Aunt Flo can make you retain water (and not lose weight), I'm throwing it out there. Why? Because I lost another 2 1/2 pounds.

I am now officially back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Yep, 301 pounds. Hopefully all that monthly water gain will come off this week and I'll find myself next week - for the first time in about 10 years - below 300 pounds. What a wonderful prospect!

I found this cool website that shows what they think you'd look like up to 50 pounds thinner. What do you think?

They didn't do anything to my face, but I love what they did to my boobs. :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 11 - Something witty here

Lost another pound. I've been so busy with helping a friend pack her house to move that I haven't gotten in a lot of "exercise". And Dan changed my workout again.

I mean, I am being extremely active, and I did bike to see Dan (6 1/2 miles with a 30 pound toddler on the bike), so it's not like I'm being lazy or anything. I still feel like I am though.

I moved things around in the sun for like 8 hours today (got nice and fried, too), so maybe I'll call that cardio for today. Maybe not. To tell the truth, I'm really enjoying my bike rides and walks with the kids. It's pleasant, even if it is insanely hot and uncomfortable. Today I caught sweat dripping down my nose. Disgusting! I'm going back tomorrow for another 8 hours. Yippee!?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


On Friday I had a cupcake. And on Saturday I had an ice cream cone.

I guess I'm really getting into this program because last night I dreamed that I actually gained weight this week and I felt terrible about it. I was petrified that Dan would chastise me for not following the plan. heh He's not that kind of a person. Well, he'll give me a hard time for stuff, but he's not mean about it. His job is to tweak my program every single week so I don't plateau and I don't get hungry or too worn out. Why would I feel so bad about a single cupcake?

Rededication, dang it!

My clothes are fitting differently. I've always had giant thighs, and my pants now are loose around my legs. And I sat down in a chair that normally would have totally pinched my hips and it didn't hurt at all. I still squeeze out the sides a little, but it's noticeably less. It's a beautiful thing.

Truth is that I don't have that much appetite for super sweet things lately. Heck, I have to water down all my drinks because they're too sweet for me. And I only put one small scoop of ice cream on my cone. It was too sweet, but I ate it anyway. I should have just shared one with my kid, who ended up smearing his all over his face and shirt.

No more cupcakes. No more ice cream. It's okay, I like the thin more than I like the sweets.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How I'm doing it

People have asked me how I'm losing weight and how it might work for them. I'm going to nutshell it for you.

1 (most important) - Eat at least 5 times a day. That doesn't mean you have to have real or full meals, but this goes with #2...

2 - Never go longer than 3 hours without eating (except for at night, of course). After about 3 hours your body goes into starvation mode and will hang on to all the calories you eat as fat. Ideal is to eat every 2-3 hours.

3 - Get a little bit of exercise every day. Or almost every day. Don't just do cardio, but do get cardio at least 4 times a week, resistance exercises at least twice. Resistance exercises are weights. Weights stimulate your metabolism, cardio keeps it going. You need both to effectively lose weight for anything long-term.
4 - Eat protein for every meal. Whether that's a cheese stick or cottage cheese or beans or tofu or chicken or an egg, it doesn't matter. But don't overdo it. Just a little bit of protein will do it (one egg, one cheese stick, half a cup of cc or beans, etc.). 5 - eat only enough carbs to get you to the next meal. If you're running out of energy before your 2-3 hours is up, then you need to get more carbs. If you're going to take a nap or sit the whole time, then you need a smaller portion. If you're going to exercise or be active, then you need a little more.

That's really all there is to it. When you start a program like this, start out slow. You actually want results to be gradual, because it's much healthier. And if you're fat like me, going gradual means that your skin will have time to pull back too. Because really, who wants saggy baggy skin?!

One thing that's kind of an exception for me. I don't have a regular wake up time. Because of that, I adjust my meal times based on when I wake up. So I don't always eat lunch at noon, for example. If I'm up at 8, my meals are at 8-10-12-3-6, with a small snack around 8. If I'm up at 10, my meals are at 10-12-2-4-6, with the snack at 8. See how that works? You can make changes to the diet and exercise based on your particular needs.

Please feel free to ask any questions. I've learned a lot from Dan. Oh, and if you're interested in having a similar journey, let me know, because Dan does free consultations, and he loves my friends.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 10 - Still going strong

Oh how I want this journey to be over.

This morning at my weigh-in, I had lost another 4 pounds. It seems so insignificant when you think about the overall goal of 100 (or 150 if we're talking eventual total goals). But when you take into consideration that my loss has been pretty steady, that's a very happy thing. It means I have lost about 31 pounds on the scale and almost 40 pounds of fat. Woo hoo!

To keep the loss going, we're dropping calories again this week. Dan says I might feel a little bit hungry, but I'm not too worried. We're still in veggie season so I can fill up on those. I think I eat at least one tomato a day (if not two or three), as well as a bunch of asparagus or broccoli or something. I do feel much healthier, despite some ongoing terrible back and neck pain. When I told Dan about the pain, he said not to do as much physically, but this is because of sleep, not exercise. I need someone who can trade massages for babysitting or something like that. Like on a regular basis. Maybe I'll ask at church...

Felix and I biked to the appointment this morning. If I go on State Street, it's exactly 3 miles from my house to his office. If I go on 8th East on the way back, that's 3.5 miles. I love having a cyclometer.

So this week, dropping calories, I'm cutting the yogurt and cottage cheese afternoon snack in favor of crackers and tuna. Dan says that will trick my body into thinking it's getting lots of calories when really it's super clean. Whatever that means. Maybe it's the lack of fat.

I've found that although at the beginning of this program I hated the idea of cutting out fat (I love butter!), it's getting easier as I go along. What once was really difficult to even contemplate has become super easy. I don't even have to think about it really. I think my tastes are changing because 1) it's gradual, and 2) results! I find myself a lot more willing to make concessions and be strict knowing that I'm making real and visible progress. I found my lost camera and on it is a picture of right before I started. I think it's a pretty good picture of me, but although my pictures this morning have me flushed (just in from my up-hill 3.5 mile bike ride with a 30-pound toddler on that back of my bike) and wearing grungies, I like the new ones better. What do you think?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Week 9 - Understanding my body

I lost 2 more pounds today. That brings the total to 29 pounds on the scale and about 35 pounds of fat. Dan figures out how much fat I've lost by pinching certain areas every week. It's slightly awkward, but I'm happy to know that progress is being made.

This week we're increasing calories again. Dan says my weight may stay the same, but this raising and lowering of the calories makes it so that my body won't get stuck on a plateau. So I guess I'm okay with it.

He also said that pinching my hip fat, it feels like the fat is letting go there. I'm not positive I know what that means, but he said it meant that my skin will bounce back in a healthy way. Or something like that. Apparently if you lose weight too fast then your skin can't keep up. That's something I really don't want. I'd love to not have pounds of hanging skin once I'm done with this weight loss thing. That's just gross.

I took a friend with me today to the appointment and Dan talked to her about her specific needs. It was informative and it made me realize how much I've learned because I got to pitch in a bunch. Now I've got to share my knowledge and experience with my friend because she can't afford to go to Dan at the moment.

Speaking of affording... More crap medical bills. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE medical crap and insurance. This is the right place to complain. You know why? Because being a fat person, I don't qualify for private insurance. That's right, I weigh too much to have insurance. I have been rejected by all major private insurance carriers. Talk about a load of crap. I'm sick of trying to rely on government assistance (talk about incompetence and inadequacy), and I don't have much of a choice, what with being self-employed. Gah!

I'm so sick of being fat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sometimes it works

My sister is visiting from California and today we biked to Costco. That's one way to keep the spending to a minimum - no place to haul it!

The two little ones (mine and hers) got pretty cranky to be tied down for the ride even though it was pleasant out. My toddler loves being on the back of my bike. Thankfully, my bike is super comfortable for me to ride too. I'm sure my sis got the short end of the stick having to ride my husband's heavy mountain bike. On the way home the babes fell asleep. Too cute. I like this exercising thing when it's not just for the sake of exercise. When it's a walk or a bike ride or whatever just to get in the exercise I get really bored. Going to a store or a park or for some other errand makes it a lot easier to do it.

This particular bike ride was pretty fun. Nice to have adult conversation even if we were yelling back and forth. Now that my husband's bike is fixed, though, I'll have to get him out on it with me. Good family activity, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week 8 - Making headway

This last week I was good. I mean really good. I still wasn't 100%, but I was close. I even exercised a lot.

And it paid off. I lost another 6+ pounds of fat, putting me at close to 30 pounds down. We took measurements today since I broke the 20 pound mark by a bunch, and I've lost everywhere. I'm even down to 49% body fat - down from the original 54. Yay!!!

I now weigh 311 pounds. That's still about 10 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, but it feels great. Maybe by the time the weather cools for real I'll be able to wear my fat jeans again. haha

Seriously though. I know these aren't true before and after pics, but people have asked and I really like what other people have done (Brandi) to show progress. I'll be taking the pics once a month till I'm all the way done.

Oh, I figured out how to get in my cardio exercise every day. All errands are done on the bike or on foot. Well, most anyway. Great "secret", eh? Really though, I take the kids with me (most often just the toddler) if it's within a couple of miles and I don't have to carry anything super heavy. It's worked wonderfully.

This next week I'm doing the weights 4 times instead of 2, and still getting cardio in at least 4 days. I think I did at least 5 last week, so that shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting it done

Sometimes I just hate my life. I mean, it's all about perspective, but when you lose that, it's easy to feel sorry for yourself.

Truth is that skinny people - people who have never been fat - don't really have any idea what it's like to struggle with weight. They might protest and say they have to work at it, but until you're carrying an extra person (a large extra person, at that) everywhere you go, I won't sympathize.

Yeah, I did this to myself. Yeah, I've been lazy. But still!

Last week I was dealing with some intense back and neck pain. It got so bad that there was a full day that I could barely move without crying. I tried making out with my husband and ended up running down the hall holding my neck sobbing because it hurt so bad. Turns out that biking doesn't really help that pain. I think I compensate for the neck pain by holding it in to my back, which was already sore.

A dear friend of mine offered to give me a massage. She's a professional, and that hour and a half I spent on her table was heavenly. I woke up the next morning with a little pain still, but during the day it actually got better. Two more days later, and I only have a little pain left.

But I went biking again anyway. I'm a bit sore across the top of my back. Nothing like last week, but not comfortable. At least I'm done with my exercise today.

I can't wait for my metabolism to be retrained. I can't wait to try out all the recipes on (if I were rich and thin I'd totally be a foodie). I can't wait to sleep through the nice without dreading the morning pain. I can't wait to run and not be weary...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week 7 - The Reason for the Effort

This lady to our right is essentially the reason why I have to get in shape now. I have no idea how old she is, but I'm related to her by marriage. That means our kids not only have my crazy genetics, but they have THIS too?

I refuse to saddle my kids with this.

I've lost one more pound. That puts me at 21 down so far. I did really well for 6 of the 7 days, but then last night we went out with my husband's family to Chuck-a-Rama and I was confronted with this. Since you probably can't see clearly (I was trying to be subtle), this woman's belly hangs to her knees. This is NOT an exaggeration. I wish oh so much that I was exaggerating.

I wish I had supermodel genes to pass on to my kids, but I don't. I have giant breasts and belly curtains that weigh as much as the rest of the person carrying it. I have thighs that go on forever and grotesque flapping underarm fat. That just sucks.

And because I care for the future of my children, I will stop eating butter. I will eat more veggies. I will roast my chicken in nothing but spices. I will refrain from pint sized ice cream binges. The chip bags will remain uneaten for weeks at a time. I will count my freaking calories. And I will push my body to pain and back.*

I choose HEALTH, damn it!

*currently already in pain. I have a serious kink in my neck and biking 7+ miles this morning made it worse. And I've been compensating for it all day so it's radiating down my back and across my shoulders.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Bike Rides

You know what's great about exercising in the summer? You can do just about anything you want till really late at night (relatively).

You know what sucks about exercising in the summer? Sweating. Blech!

I'm sure there are some of you who might suggest I do some swimming. I have lusted after a good swimming pool of my own for a long time. Why my own? Because I don't like all the hassle of packing everything up to go to the gym, only to share dressing rooms with much better-looking naked people and athlete's foot. But that's only half the problem. See, I'm, well, buoyant. I don't have to work to keep afloat, so it's not much exercise. I do love biking though. You can bike in the summer and the breeze will keep you cool. In the late evening before it gets dark it's both safe and pleasant. Then you stop and there's no breeze good enough. No AC works fast enough.

Thank goodness for cool showers and clean cotton sheets.... mmmmm

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Week 6 - Now I know...

...what happens when I eat lots of goodies and don't exercise (I did go out on a good bike ride last night, but once does not count apparently).

I lost a whopping .2 pounds this week. That means I still haven't lost the official 20 pounds yet. Close, but not quite.

It has been nice to have people say they can see a difference already though. Dan says if I'm super good this week - about both meals and exercise - then I should drop significantly since we dropped the calories again. And he says that if we raise the calories I HAVE to do the exercises.

This is my week, dang it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Week 5 - what do you know? I'm still losing

So, even though I followed the plan by only maybe 60% this week, I still lost another 2 pounds. That means I'm down by 19 pounds of fat total so far. It feels good, but even though people tell me I'm looking good I can't see any difference. My clothes don't really fit me any better, I don't see it in my face.

Dan says I can't skip meals anymore. If I need to, then I should set an alarm. Skipping meals puts the body into starvation mode apparently.

I rubbed some cajun seasoning on some chicken breast tenders and then surrounded them by fresh asparagus for dinner the other night. Turned out perfectly. I think I need more spices because I'm getting bored of chicken. And goodness knows there's no good fish in Utah.

My goal is to hit this thing by at least 80% this week. That means I have to get out and exercise more, and I have to follow the eating plan. I can do this. I think.

Monday, July 13, 2009

unconventional dinner

I had a creamsicle, two tomatoes, and a couple slices of fancy deli turkey for dinner. I'm so bored.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How does one diet at a party?

When I was a kid I remember one "fast" Sunday in particular (once a month you donate the money you would have spent on food to the poor - you "fast" and get all sorts of spiritual benefits). I was probably 4 or 5 and some big person asked me if I had fasted. I said, "yes! I only ate one banana!" There was lots of laughter and I was embarrassed that I hadn't been 100% faithful to the idea of fasting.

Yesterday I went to two parties. I was good! I only ate 3 creampuffs!

I think the only way to make sure there's something at the party that you can eat is to take something that you can eat. Otherwise there's no guarantee.

No guarantee, but most people serve both proteins and carbs, and there's plenty of water next to that soda.

I took a fruit salad. Fresh cherries (picked yesterday morning even) and strawberries and pineapple in a fat-free, low-sugar cream sauce. Yum. I still ate too much, but it wasn't a bad day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Week 4 - 7 pounds

Yup, 7 pounds.

This week was a little bit tough because of the 4th of July. I mean, how can you not cheat at a barbecue where bratwurst is featured? I did have Dan's permission.

Besides some sanctioned cheats, I was really good about food this week. The awesome part of this program is that I honestly don't get hungry. I've gotten in some great walks (there's a good park not too far away and it's a great day trip for us, and I have a good friend that I like to walk with) and even done some weights. I need to do more, of course, but I'm doing great.

And I lost 7 more pounds!

That means I'm down almost 20 so far. Yippee!

Okay, so I want to talk a bit more about what I'm learning. The gist of this program (Total Health & Fitness) is retraining my metabolism through smarter eating and exercise.

Basically, you need to eat at least 5 times a day - every 2 to 3 hours. At those meals you need to eat carbs and proteins, but you should only eat enough to get you through to the next meal.

My menu hasn't changed much from the beginning, but here's what I eat:
First meal (7 or 8 am): small bowl of cereal (I've discovered Honey Kix - yum and very low cal) and an egg (I usually spray a small paper plate with Pam and crack the egg and poke it with a fork, then microwave for 45 seconds - perfect and no clean up)

Second meal (around 10): cheese stick (Western Family are all of the following: cheapest, lowest fat, lowest cal, and best at "stringing"), 5 Triscuits (doesn't seem like much, but amazingly it's plenty - I eat the best flavor ever... fire roasted tomato, or sometimes the rosemary and olive oil), and a piece of fruit (although today I substituted with 3 very yummy tomatoes).

Third meal (noonish): sandwich (Sara Lee Delite bread has only 45 calories per slice, sliced deli-type ham or turkey, and I found some flavored american cheeses with only 70 calories per slice - I got a cheddar bacon flavor and a garden veggie flavor, tomatoes and pepperoncini if I've got them), and a handful of Sun Chips (we're back on!). I also drink a lot of Crystal Lite lemonade. I love that flavor, almost as much as I love the cherry pomegranate. It helps fill in the holes.

Fourth meal (around 3): half a cup of cottage cheese and a yogurt (Activia is pretty low cal). I like to mix them, but I might continue the obsession with good fresh tomatoes and do cottage cheese and tomato and then do yogurt separate.

Fifth meal (6ish): chicken breast or fish (I like to microwave a frozen breast for about 2 minutes, coat it with crusting and spices, and then cook it in the toaster oven for about 25 minutes), half a cup of brown rice or a small potato (I have to admit I'm not a big fan of brown rice - I don't like the texture. I do love wild rice but it's super expensive.), and a bunch of veggies. If I do a potato, I'll microwave it in a baggie for a couple minutes, cover it with fake butter (can't believe it's not...), veggies, and a dollop of fat free sour cream. It's surprisingly tasty.

Sixth meal (8): Skinny cow or other such yummy cold treat - about 100 calories or less. Yeah, not much of a meal, but it's a perfect late treat.

Dan said if I eat later than 7 pm I should cut out the rice or potato. And if I stay up really late I can do a small snack of protein (like a cheese stick or egg or something).

Simple enough, right?

So the deal is, you raise the calories every week till you're barely losing and then drop them suddenly again - this keeps you from hitting plateaus and also trains your metabolism higher and higher. Pretty nifty trick, eh?

I'd put up another pic, but the numbers aren't changing yet. Not there anyway.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Frustration / Fresh!

This week I'm supposed to be very careful about what I eat. Like exact in my portions and times and such.

Unfortunately, I'm finding that it's tough to keep it up sometimes. The 4th was a real tough one. I've been great since, of course. I've done my weights and done cardio 3 times already (one more today and I'll get it all in).

I don't feel satisfied though. Dan cut out my Sun Chips, so I keep looking at that unopened bag of peppercorn ranch Sun Chips longingly. I did get some great veggies though and that has helped. I'm a sucker for asparagus. And tomatoes. Drool!!!!! I cut up a big juicy tomato yesterday and Felix ate the whole thing. I need to get back to the store and get more. I'm glad he's such a big fan like I am. Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, artichokes...

I think next year I'm going to tear up a large chunk of my parents' yard and do a veggie garden. Maybe I could do artichokes around the edges. I don't know if you've ever seen them growing, but they're funky.

In Italy I met a family who had an artichoke farm. I got to spend a day pickling artichokes and mushrooms and we ate a large number of them too. I can't even begin to describe just how amazingly yummy these things are. We're talking tender, juicy, tangy, fresh, so yummy your mouth will yearn for them for years to come. Drool again!

That kind of food makes me not miss things like hamburgers and french fries. My sis is growing potatoes in her garden. She also has a large strawberry patch (can anything beat fresh strawberries?!) and a bunch of other good stuff.

Oh, I did find out that there is a kind of kiwi that grows in Utah. It's a vine and it's hardy to -25 degrees. According to one website: "Hardy Kiwis are much smaller, about the size of a large grape. The fruit’s skin is smooth like a grape and does not require peeling before eating. Kiwi culture is also similar to that of grapes. The plants grow as a vine and require strong support and annual pruning for the best production and quality."

Friday, July 3, 2009


Some have asked what kinds of foods I eat on this eating plan. It hasn't changed much from that first post - not significantly, at least. But here's a pic of what will eventually be today's snacks: Sugar snap peas, best flavor of crackers out there, fudge ice cream bar, the cheapest (and best) string cheese... And I didn't include the Honey Kix (super low cal and very yummy), the yogurt (Fiber One or Activia Light), the fancy fish fillets or chicken breasts (I have a great and simple way to prepare them that keeps moisture and flavor - ask if you're interested), or the really yummy new flavor of Crystal Light Immunity - Cherry Pomegranate.

Truth is that I eat really well. I just occasionally get tempted by the chocolate and the soda and the Chik-fil-A. 6 months. Then, my metabolism will be trained and I can have that occasional treat and it won't matter. Thank goodness there are good-tasting health foods now though or I don't think I'd make it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Week 3 - another pound down

One lousy pound. Dan said not to be worried though because that shows him where my metabolism is. Now we drop 300 calories per day to start training my metabolism to be where we want it.

Apparently by raising and lowering the calories, that keeps me from hitting a plateau, and I'm totally okay with that.

Of course, I have to follow everything by the numbers this week. That means I have to get all 1300 of my calories as specified (I can still mix things up within though, like doing fish instead of chicken at dinner). And I have to keep walking/biking and I definitely need to do the weights that Dan has planned for me.

Dan said I could cheat at the bbq on the 4th, but otherwise I need to be good. I think I can do that as long as I do some shopping. I need the variety and I'm almost out of cheese sticks.

Interesting to note this week. Dan said that to maintain my current weight I'd need like 2700 calories a day. I'd like to think that's gross, but that's what I've been doing. I guess the Italians weren't kidding when they called me golosa (glutton). And I was even skinny (comparatively) back then. Crazy stuff.

I can't wait till my metabolism is back to healthy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby Steps

About an hour worth. I went on a big long walk today with a friend. It's been really hot lately and I just can't bring myself to go out and exercise in 90+ degree weather. That's just insane.

Thankfully, in Utah it cools down at night. We walked for about an hour in the cool night air and it was beautiful.

Sadly, it reminded me just how out of shape I am. I NEED this.

Today on a message board someone started a topic about obese people. Said things like, "Why is it that they just let themselves go? Do they just resign themselves to being single forever? Do they just not care anymore?"

That was a bit difficult to read. I mean, it's about the most insensitive thing you can say - to assume that the only reason someone is fat is because they don't care. Because they've let themselves go.

So yeah, I have let myself go. But there's a whole lot more to it. Those struggles that I have - the same as any girl growing up - well, I dealt with them by eating. Some people exercise obsessively. Some people drink or smoke or do drugs. Some people eat their way through their insecurities and pain.

It's terrible to think that people actually believe the bad stereotypes out there. I hate that anyone still has to deal with this stuff. Talk about a bummer.

Thank goodness the majority of people are smarter/more understanding/kinder in their curiosity and opinions.

Thank goodness for good friends who will walk slowly with me as I begin this journey.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The food is getting old

I like the foods on my eating plan, I really do. But one of the reasons why I have a hard time with consistency in eating is that I get bored very easily. I would consider myself a foodie if I had the money. I just adore food. I crave intense flavor regularly - something that will make my mind work while I'm eating. I think about the combination of spices and base ingredients, the textures, the symphony of it all.

Maybe that's why I liked Ratatouille so much.

There are a number of cereals out there that meet the criteria, thankfully, which means that I can choose between 4 or 5 that I do actually like. It's difficult for me to keep eating though once I'm done with a bowl of cereal, and Dan has asked me to eat an egg or some other protein for breakfast every day. Says it's important to get protein with every meal.

And even though I do have some variety (egg, tuna, cheese stick), and even though I like the options, I'm getting bored.

How is it that having a pretty good variety of foods to choose from - all of which I do like - I still have to talk myself out of cheating?

Eating good food can be expensive. Maybe that's why I don't feel like I'm being cheated. I get Sun Chips and Triscuits (the fire-roasted tomato flavor is insanely good), really yummy spices, Skinny Cow desserts, good yogurt, etc. I shouldn't be bored. This kind of food shouldn't get old.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Week 2 - still losing

(I thought I was holding it in the same place, but maybe not)

You may look at that "still" and wonder how many diets I've tried in the past (seeing as how it's only been two weeks). Or you may wonder at my perseverance. Yeah, I don't have much. And this week has been tough.

There has been eating out and dinners in with lots of people. There has been very little sleep and lots of appointments out. There have been lots of people around and little money in the bank.

All of this combined means it's hard to stick to an eating schedule. The exercise is easier, not that I've done much of that. Gah. And I still lost 2 more pounds.

My calories have been bumped up to almost 1600 per day. For any of you who diet, you'll know that's a lot. How can someone lose significant weight while eating lots of calories?, you might ask. It's simpler than you might think.

Our bodies need calories for energy. In today's society, we often go long periods of time between meals and then eat till we are very full. That translates into our bodies not having the energy and then having too much (calories anyway). So basically, we need to eat only enough to sustain ourselves till the next meal. And eating every 2 to 3 hours teaches our bodies not to "save" the calories for later.

Dan has been teaching me the gospel of Elmo. Oh wait, that's E.L.M.O.

Eat Less, More Often. As much as I'm following it, I'm losing. I just need to do more ELMO. Right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Supplemental 2

As I sit in the darkened living room this morning to avoid the glaring reality that is my insanely messy house, I think back to this "diet" and how it has affected my life already/so far.

I like to cook. I really do. Living in a converted basement apartment, the facilities aren't the most convenient. The hubs and I have made do since we got married, but we've been extremely lazy about it. We eat out a lot because the prospect of either carrying everything upstairs to cook or cooking on the single burner or in the toaster oven isn't appealing. And that says nothing to the fact that *we will then have to stand over the laundry sink to do dishes.

I learned how to cook in Italy, dang it! Why did cooking become so uninteresting? Is it the facilities? The lack of variety? The fact that carrying 300+ pounds around makes my feet hurt like hell if I'm standing for more than 10 minutes at a time?

Whatever the reason, I really don't enjoy it anymore. The thought of cooking meals makes me cringe. Scavenging for food is hard enough as it is, without factoring in foods that fit the criteria. And that says nothing of doing it like 5 or more times a day.

Eating out is easier. I can do a chicken breast or a salad or whatever, and I don't feel like I'm doing too badly. But sitting at home in my post-tornado-disaster house, eating at regular intervals is just one more thing on my long list of crap I need to do.

Logically, I know it will make me feel better. Having a clean house, eating healthy... they are two things that will keep me sane. But the herculean effort it requires to get off my butt and DO anything is daunting and overwhelming and frustrating.

I'm tired. Like really really really tired. It's not because the food I'm eating isn't giving me energy. It's more that I never get enough sleep and I'm mentally exhausted from the effort of living.

Can I really do this for 6 months?

*I say "we" but really I mean "Brent". That laundry sink is killer on my back - just too low to be comfortable for more than a couple seconds.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Supplemental 1*

*tongue in cheek (you know, supplements, like food supplements... haha)

One big fat note for this "diet" thing. Besides the fact that it's not really a diet, of course.

I have not felt hungry at all. And that is a very big deal. Eating foods I like, never feeling hungry, and still losing weight? Yeah, I think I can do this.

Week 1 - Who am I?

You know how you identify yourself for who you were as a teenager? Like, I was pretty medium-sized back then, so I consider myself a medium-sized person now. I almost have to remind myself that I'm fat. There are fat people, skinny people, and me. I'm in the middle, dang it!

I know lots of formerly-skinny people who still fight their current size just because it's not what it used to be. And I know lots of people who grew up chubby who, even though they are all sorts of trim now, still see themselves fat.

I think it's time to rethink this. I mean, I really want to be that medium-sized person again. I like curves, but would rather not have extras. Like the "belly curtain" or the "butt shelf".

Of course, maybe getting bigger but still seeing myself medium will make it easier for me to get back there.

Even being all gung-ho on this program I felt like I had failures all week long. I didn't exercise as much as I should. My portions were bigger than prescribed. I even had extra meals a couple of times. I was prepared to fail. I mean, isn't that what diets do?

8 pounds down. Huh, what?!

So, the very first night of my new plan, my sister was in town and we ordered some food from a new barbecue place. I don't think it really fit into the plan. And most of the other days there were glitches. I went out on one good bike ride. And I went on a couple of walks. But I didn't do any weights, and I'd say I only followed the eating plan about 75%.

And I lost 8 pounds of fat! Holy crap!

I LOVE this! I am rededicating myself because now I know it can work. Dan says that I will never be 100%. As long as I do work at it, we'll be okay. He's a crack head. But I trust him.

Good times ahead!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The first real visit - Week 0

This morning I took my food log to Dan for the bad news. Just kidding. Sort of.

The purpose of keeping a food log for two days is to see what kind of caloric intake is maintaining my current weight. Dan looked it over and we have a plan.

I have to admit I'm a little scared. I'm a champion eater and it doesn't look like a whole lot of food. I have decided to have faith, however, because Dan assures me that the complexity of the foods will keep me filled all day long. The goal is to not feel hungry at all, which really is best in dieting.

Then again, this isn't a diet. This is a metabolism kick-start.

I'm starting out with 1422 calories today, more or less. And Dan assures me that by the end I'll actually be eating more calories than that. Either way, 5 meals a day should help too, and it's all foods I'm already eating.

Here's my generic meal plan:
7 am - small bowl of cereal
an egg
a handful of strawberries

10 am - 5 whole wheat crackers
a string cheese
an apple

noon - sandwich (with meat and cheese)
10 Sun Chips

3 pm - half a cup of cottage cheese
a peach

6 pm - 4 ounces of lean meat
green veggies
1/4 cup of brown rice

8 pm - 100 calories of dessert (Skinny Cow)

He said to switch up the fruits, the meats, and the veggies so I don't get bored. Sounds pretty good actually, doesn't it?

The rules of nutrition:
1. Always eat at least 5 times a day. By providing your body with a consistent and frequent supply of just the right number of calories, its need to store fat is reduced.
2. In planning each of your meals (or snacks), a ratio approximately 1 part fat, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrate is a good place to begin. Depending on the severity of your daily work routine and training protocol, you may need more or less carbs for energy. Fat is essential for maintaining good health, and it's needed in the manufacture of many hormones in your body, so do NOT attempt to eliminate fats from your diet! Remember that protein and carbs both have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
3. When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, "What am I going to be doing for the next three hours of my life?" Then, if you're taking a nap, eat less carbohydrate foods; if you're planning on a training session, eat more carbohydrates, and so forth.

Most of the fat loss will be done through nutrition, but some will be done through exercise.

Dan mapped out 8 exercises for resistance training - building muscle, or at least keeping it healthy and making sure I don't lose it. And for cardio I can walk or bike or do yoga - 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time. Not too difficult. I just have to schedule it all in. :)

I hope none of you are disgusted by the picture of my fat belly at the top. I don't know that I'll lose fat there first, but I sure would like to lose a lot of belly fat. Maybe I'll take weekly pics of my other fat body parts. But I won't subject anyone to that. When I get to the end I might show a total before picture and a total after.

Anyway, so far so good. We're off!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So, I'm fat

The time has come to "say goodbye, fatty!"

No seriously, I'm fat. I've been fat for a very long time, and for long before that I just thought I was fat. That means that in my mind, I have essentially been fat since I was like 12.

Like most women, I have a terrible opinion of my body. I hope that it's a realistic opinion. I've learned over the years to like myself despite a severe dislike for my shape, but that was a really difficult task. From a young age, I took my cues from the general world about my self-worth, so even though my family told me I was a good person, I figured I was never good enough because I wasn't shaped right. Or I didn't wear the right clothes. Or I was the wrong religion. Or I talked too much. Or something.

The one thing that the world told me was right bothered me. I, um, developed very early. By the age of 12 I was wearing a real bra. In fact, I never wore any kind of a training bra. I was ogled and objectified. Funny thing is that nobody told me I was beautiful except for my family. But guys - especially those a few years older than me - really liked my boobs. And I hated them. The boobs and the guys.

Since I knew that my body wasn't right, how could I possibly trust the affection of guys professing interest?

I was in my 30s before I got over that.

When I got to college I gained a lot of weight. I remember telling myself as a teenager that I would never let myself weigh 200 pounds. Yeah right. I hit 200 in college, but was so insecure that it came out as anger and bitterness.

When I was 21 I went to Italy to be a missionary for my church. You might think that, like most of the people who went to Italy for a long time (a year and a half for me), I'd gain weight. But the physical demands were so grueling that I lost 45 pounds in the first 2 months I was there. I had to safety pin all my clothes so they wouldn't fall off. The nice part was that I was eating a ton. Carbs galore! I had a large bowl of cereal for breakfast, a giant bowl of pasta for lunch, and usually a whole pizza for dinner (pizza in Italy is different from here, I promise) - plate size. Yum. And I still lost weight!

After the initial weight loss, I weighed about 180. I didn't keep losing, but I didn't gain either. I kept it off for over a year - till I came home. Then, I got a job working terrible hours (often day and night hours), started eating terribly, drove everywhere (instead of walking or biking), and within a year I was up to 280.

As you might guess, it was depressing. I blamed the shallowness of guys for my lack of dates and ended up alienating any who might have braved the fat. My bitterness and self-disgust pushed all away, but it was always their fault, not mine.

Over the next 7 or 8 years I gained about 20 more pounds, had a few relationships that broke my heart, went on a few adventures, and came to accept myself. I decided that without a great body and without a relationship, I could still enjoy my life and like who I was. I could have a fantastic personality, accepting everyone and learning from all my experiences. The process of acceptance - of myself and my life - took about 3 years. It wasn't like I could just blink and make it all better. It was a huge process.

Four years ago I was in the best place of my life, both figuratively and literally. I was living in my dream location, had a dream job, some of the best friends anyone could want. Then I had an epiphany. The purpose of life is to progress in family relationships - either the ones we're born into or the ones we create. It actually made me sad because I knew I needed to go home.

Now, home for me was not some beloved place. Sure I loved my family, but they had moved to Utah after I graduated from high school and I felt no connection to the state at all. I thought it was dry and kind of ugly (I was living in Alaska, so the comparison was pretty drastic). The people were pretty generic. The opportunities, especially with dating, were limited.

But then I got a phone call. My sister was having a difficult pregnancy and had four little kids at home who needed more attention. Would I consider coming home for a month to help out? I was the only unattached and available member of the family left. Instead of going for a month, I packed up everything and moved back to Utah.

Being generally happy with my life, I decided to do some internet dating. I didn't take it seriously, and I dated more than I had in the previous 16 years. It still took 6 months, but eventually my cousin introduced me to the man who would become my husband. He didn't care about my size because he loved me for me. It was wonderful.

Having hovered around 300 pounds for at least 5 years by then, I was a bit worried when I gained 54 pounds with my first pregnancy. It was a difficult pregnancy, and I'm sure it was a lot harder because of my weight. After WeWe (his name for himself) was born I lost about 35 pounds very quickly. And then over the next year I gained about 20 back. What the...?!

Pregnancy #2 was also very uncomfortable and I gained about 40 pounds. And again I gained. Or at least it felt that way. Baby Mia is now almost 7 months old, and I weigh 338 pounds. I feel and look terrible and I'm ashamed of myself. I have no motivation and I blame my bad habits on circumstance. Yeah, there are lots of bad influences surrounding me. Yeah, my genetics aren't really in my favor for weight. Yeah, I have little kids at home. Yeah, I can't afford any kind of a gym. Yeah, it's too hot outside to do serious exercise.

But seriously, I'm sick of being fat. I'm sick of being in pain all the time. I'm sick of sleeping terribly because I'm so big. I'm sick of asking for seat belt extenders on airplanes. I'm sick of the almost-permanent bruise on my hip from the seat belt in my car. I'm sick of having to wedge myself into movie theater seats. I'm sick of shopping in the fat sections of stores (or in specialty shops!) and not finding anything that fits anyway. I'm sick of asking people to give me special seating because my butt is too wide for normal chairs. I'm sick of worrying if I'm too heavy for furniture (sorry, Tawna, about your patio chair!). I'm sick of getting winded when I'm just a little bit active. I'm sick of having to move my fat out of the way for sex.

So here we are. I'm 5'6" and I weigh almost 340 pounds. My bra size is 44J. I am 54% body fat. How do I know? Well, yesterday I met with Dan. Dan's some kind of crazy, but I like him. He's going to whip me into shape. He promises results as long as I do what he says.

The results? I'm glad you asked. The goal is 100 pounds in 24 weeks. That's down over 18% body fat. The eventual goal is to drop over 150 pounds, but Dan promised that by the end of 24 weeks (during which we'll meet once a week) I'll know my body well enough to keep going on my own. And he'll meet with me once a month to help me get the rest of the way. This is me. Feel free to commiserate. I'll be posting my journey here, including pics. I'm sure I'll be terribly embarrassed, but I figure that will just mean more motivation. Right?