Sunday, May 31, 2009

When I Ruled The World

Thank you to Coldplay for letting me borrow a line from "Viva La Vida" was just too appropriate for this post. Whenever I hear that song I think back to a time when I thought I ruled the world, or least that the world did not rule me.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this journey, I lost 65 pounds not too long after I graduated from high school. I really was on top of the world. No longer did I hear "such a pretty face", I just heard pretty or beautiful without any conditions attached to it. I could wear any style of clothing that I wanted, and high heels did not bother me because I did not have as much weight to balance on them anymore. I got a lot done, both things that needed to get done and things I've always wanted to try...all because I had more energy and confidence in myself.

Now, what 19 year old female would not enjoy all of the compliments and attention? I know I loved it - I am human after all. I've always known that there is more to a person than his or her outer shell, but when you're used to being ignored because of your size, it sure feels good to hear something so positive, even if it's about something as shallow as looks.

Many things have happened in my life since then, just as I know that a lot has happened to all of you over time as well. This time losing the weight is about more than just looking good in clothes, although I will be very happy about that! We are all beautiful no matter what our size, and what matters the most is our health. This time it's about doing the right things for my body, first and foremost.

This is why finding out about the things that I've been putting into my body is such an eye opener. Chemicals and preservatives in our food, medicines, and household items have been taking a toll on health...not only weight, but other conditions too. I told you about the yogurt yesterday, now I've tried the organic coffee. It tastes just as wonderful as the other coffee. I still have to make sure I don't drink more than 2 cups of it because of the caffeine, but at least I'm not throwing hazardous and unnecessary chemicals down my throat now. It was also a very pleasant surprise that Starbucks organic coffee is the same price as their other coffees, at least at the store I shopped at on Friday!

If all of us take charge of our health and well-being, it will make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of our family and friends. With God's help, we can all rule the world...together!

Marie :o)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Tried It...And Loved It!

I've heard from a few of my friends how great this stuff is, but I'd been putting off even the thought of trying it. It's a little more expensive than what I normally buy, so with our tight budget I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the extra dough. (I just had to say dough, didn't I...I have to stop thinking about those refined carbs!)

I went to my grocery store, and once I stocked up on my produce I headed right for the organic section. There it was...Fage, which is Greek yogurt without all of the chemicals in regular yogurt that our bodies don't need. It was even on sale! Granted, it was still more expensive than other yogurts, but the sale price gave me an extra push to go ahead and try it. I bought two. I also bought organic Starbucks coffee, which was not any more expensive than their other coffees. I am currently drinking the last couple cups of the coffee I already had at home, so I will let you know tomorrow how the new coffee tastes. (And yes Jillian...I will be done with my caffeine before noon!)

After my son's baseball practice we came home and I got out a carton of Fage. I took a taste, and it was a shock at first. No sugar or artificial sweeteners, so it was definitely not a sweet flavor. It was good though, and very thick and rich. I sliced up some strawberries and added them to the Fage, along with some cinnamon for flavoring. (No sugar, just straight cinnamon out of the jar.) It was so delicious and extremely filling!

The way I see it, Fage is worth the extra cost, because after I ate the other yogurts I was always still starving, even if I paired it with a piece of fruit. This way I will not need to add more to my snack and it will save money in the long run. Besides, it will cut down on my sugar consumption and help eliminate the artificial sweeteners from my diet that have been making me feel so crappy. I can't wait to try some of the other ideas my friends have come up with for their Fage snacks! If you eat Fage and have any ideas, I would be grateful if you would share them here with me.

I ate really well yesterday and got my exercise happy I've rekindled my love affair with my step. No more playing cards on it; I've got to treat my baby right! Let's all keep positive no matter what life throws at us. God made us all, and He has given us the strength to do everything we need to do. Keep the faith...I know I am!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Step It Up!

It's time to take things to the next level...sort of. I'm working out like crazy for the next few days, because I am having some minor surgery on Tuesday and I know this will slow me down for a little while. I sent a message to DJ, who is a Biggest Loser trainer...he has trained Tara Costa, Amy Parham, and Phil Parham when they were no longer on the ranch. He has given wonderful advice so far, so I asked him how I should handle this workout-wise. He told me to listen to my body, and when I feel up to it I should start with cardio. He also recommends that I ask my doctor how soon I can do certain exercises, which I am going to do. I'm sure I can still walk, and I will definitely keep eating healthy foods. I know I'll have a couple of days on pain meds, so I'll be a little sleepy.

The one thing I will not do is give up. I've had this type of surgery twice before (breast biopsy) and thank you to God that everything was fine. My doctor believes that I'll have the same results this time, but I have a family history of breast cancer so he wants to make sure I'm all right. Both of those other times, however, I took it WAY TOO EASY. I also didn't pay attention to what I was eating, so I gained weight during those times. That is not going to happen this time!

Yesterday I got to take my walk before it rained again. I felt like I needed to do more, so I pulled out my old workout step...the one my son has been using to sit on the floor and play solitaire. That's almost as bad as using your stationary bike for a clothes rack! My step workouts are all on video, and my VCR is not working. I have exercise DVD's, but none of them are step. I remembered a lot of the old step moves and made up my own workout. By the time 15 minutes had gone by I was completely dripping in sweat. I plan to do more stepping tonight, and hopefully soon I can grab a step DVD so I can challenge myself more.

All I know is...this surgery is just a minor roadblock to my goals. I will do whatever I can or am allowed to do right after the procedure. Then I will work my way up to full health once again! God is with me through it all, and he will lead me where I need to go. Please stay with me on this journey...I will still be posting everyday and reporting on what I am doing and how I'm feeling. I'm not the only one who experiences these temporary setbacks, so I hope this will help any of you who have your own issues or injuries to work through. Adjust whatever you have to, but don't let anything stop you. I know nothing is stopping me this time!

As for the next four days, I will be working my butt off...and telling you all about it!

Marie :o)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Have you ever heard this: "You need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes...that way you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes." Well, up until yesterday, you would not have wanted my shoes!

I have this very comfortable old pair of sneakers that I wear everywhere. I even wear them when I go walking around my neighborhood. It's a well-known brand of shoe and very well made, but they are laces to tie or anything to fuss with. I just slip them on and go. The problem with this is that over time they've gotten pretty beat up, and the construction has stretched out so that they are a little looser. Without any laces, they is no way to make them tighter.

Enter my new walking shoes: another name brand bought at an outlet store last year to save money, but this time with laces. The fit is so much better, and they have better traction because they are newer. It was amazing to walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon (Yes, I made it through my walk before the rainstorm came!) and find that I could walk better and faster because my feet did not hurt and I did not have leg pain to slow me down. I walked farther than usual and at a better pace, all because I changed my shoes. To top it blisters either!

Please make sure you get a good fitting pair of shoes and get rid of those old worn ones. It will make a world of difference in your exercise routine, and you will be more likely to stick with it. And if you want to walk a mile in my shoes, I'll make sure to give you the old pair...I'm not parting with my new ones!

Marie :o)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Small Victories

I didn't make it onto the treadmill last night. I had something come up and by then it was very late. (I know, I sound like Marcia Brady..."Something suddenly came up!") What was good about this is how I handled it. Normally I would have just been so bummed that I would have said, "See? I just don't have the time to exercise!" That usually leads to giving up.

This time, I still did some exercise. It wasn't as much as I would have gotten on the treadmill, but it was certainly better than doing nothing and feeling sorry for myself. I did stretches and jumping jacks, along with some leg lifts and arm circles. I also decided that I would start planning on getting my exercise earlier in the day, so there would be less chance for anything to derail my plans. Today I will exercise in the early afternoon, before my son gets home from school. This way I also have the evening free for "So You Think You Can Dance", because I'm writing a recap of tonight's show to be posted afterward for Ballroom Dance Channel.

I had another victory over the past two days...I got through the evenings without giving in to snacking. Bob and Jillian both recommend not eating after a certain time in the evening, so all of that food is not in your stomach when you go to bed. Late night snacking has always been a downfall for me, and even though I really wanted to snack I didn't give in. I just drank more water so I wouldn't feel like I needed to have anything to eat so close to bedtime.

Thinking about these small accomplishments helps keep me going and also stay in a positive frame of mind. I highly recommend that we all write down everything we did right each day, so we can focus on that instead of the things that didn't go according to plan. Of course, we still need to take those things into consideration, so we know how to fix them. All I can say is don't dwell on them, or else they'll get you down. Look at your list of positives and keep reaching for the stars!

Marie :o)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Relatively Good Start!

Well, day one of this new adventure went pretty well, in my mind at least! Being Memorial Day, of course it was not a typical day. We headed over to my dad's to visit for a little while , and then to my mother-in-law's for dinner. I'm thankful that she is so good about making healthy meals. She did make a cake though, and she was not offended when I passed it up because she knows I'm trying to stay on track and get healthier. We all wound up taking a nice long walk around her neighborhood, and though I didn't time it exactly, I know it was at least 45 minutes of constant walking. It felt so good to get through a holiday without stuffing myself, eating junk food, and just sitting around. It was the perfect way to start this journey. (Other than us having to clean up the dog poop on the walk, of course!)

It's been raining on and off here so far today, so I'm planning to rock the treadmill this evening. I'm eating pretty well, but I know I need to get to the store and get fresh fruits and veggies, among other healthy foods. At least right now I have some Lean Cuisines and frozen vegetables to work with, and some canned fruit...canned in juice, NOT heavy syrup. I have to stay away from the sugar as much as I can!

I didn't get to read any more yesterday, but I did show my dad Jillian's book Master Your Metabolism. He is diabetic, and it runs in my family so I have to be careful about that too. He read just the section on the insulin hormone, and said he learned more in those few pages than he had in an entire book on the subject. Once I finish reading it, I will be lending it to him. I don't think my lovely stepmom will mind if my dad declares that he needs to kiss Jillian after reading the whole book!

I really have to add something important here today: I am so thankful for all of the support I'm receiving from all of you, and my family and friends. There are a lot of us on this journey together, and I'm so happy that we can all inspire each other. Learning is such an important part of the journey, and so is friendship. Thank you from the depths of my heart and soul!

Marie :o)

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Big Scale Moment

This morning was the moment...the moment of facing the scale, not knowing what number would pop up before my eyes. No, it was not the giant scale of Biggest Loser fame, but it sure felt like I was walking up to that huge platform, ready for the world to see what I weigh. (Especially since in a way, posting it here IS telling the world what I weigh!)

I always weigh in the buff, of course to take off every ounce of weight that I possibly can. No cute Biggest Loser tank tops and bike shorts to wear...but since I am NOT actually weighing myself in front of other people, this is OK. So after a trip to the commode I peel off the PJ's and undies and step on the scale.

After the standard zeroes flash for a few seconds, the number comes up...213.2. Almost my highest weight ever (while not pregnant), but not quite. That weight was 217, so at least I didn't get all the way back up to that. I take some comfort in that fact.

My next thought is...Marie, you must get your butt in gear! This is not acceptable! Too much sugar in my diet and grabbing whatever is convenient has taken its toll on my body. My family has been hit hard by the economy like so many other families, but like Jillian says, you don't have to spend a fortune to eat well. I am learning that now; I sure wish I had learned it sooner! I am exploring opportunites to shop for healthy food on a very tight budget, and I will tell you more about them as I learn. If I can get off my medications through this, I will be saving almost $100 a month as well.

Now you know what my starting weight is. I will never see that number again. I will be posting daily, but only weighing once a week. Otherwise I would stress myself out on the scale, and you might see me on the news throwing it out of my second floor bathroom window! Have a great Memorial Day everyone...and please pause to pray and remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Marie :o)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This is it!!!

It feels like I've been fighting with my weight forever! In actuality I was a thin little girl, but started to put on weight in fourth grade. By junior high I was about twenty pounds overweight and dealt with constant ridicule from classmates. I was pretty happy with who I was on the inside...but the outside definitely needed an overhaul!

I dieted off and on for years, winding up at 188 pounds when I graduated from high school. I often wished I was taller (I'm 5'4") so I could carry my weight better. I spent that summer having a blast, still eating everything I shouldn't and enjoying every minute of it. (Only the truth is spoken here!) I finally got my act together right after Thanksgiving 1984, and lost 65 pounds in the course of a year.

Life was good...I still had to watch it when a few pounds crept back on and take care of business. I loved the compliments and stares, and loved even more that I had the energy to do what ever I wanted or needed to get done. I only wish I'd followed proper nutrition when I lost the weight...I starved myself a lot, and if I decided I wanted ice cream I'd make that my dinner. I know, I can hear Bob and Jillian gasping right now. If they get to read this, they will probably find a way to reach through my computer and shake me. To this day it's a bad habit I have to break, especially when I feel so crappy after I do it.

One thing I was good at was getting my exercise, whether it was the treadmill, stationary bike, or dance workout that I came up with myself. Just a basic dance workout...the pros who choreograph on Dancing With The Stars have nothing to worry about! I had to make it fit the amount of space in my room, which wasn't much, but it worked!

Once I got married, I had some trouble with my weight again, partially due to pain from a car accident and the fact that my mom was dying of cancer. Exercise fell by the wayside as I spent as much time with her as I could at the nursing home. Then when she passed away I ate away my pain. Over time I lost and gained again, and ever since I had my son it's been a struggle. I can't use the "I just had a baby" excuse, because my son is ten years old. It just doesn't fly!

I deal with various health problems, but as we've learned from The Biggest Loser, that is not an excuse. In fact, it's a reason to get my act together again, so I can feel better and get off my medications too. I'm currently reading Jillian's book Master Your Metabolism, and it's a real eye opener for me. No wonder I feel like crap all the time! I have to stop putting junk into my body so it will work properly. Time to get into the exercise routine again too...I have still done it, but not consistently enough.

Being a writer means I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer, but I am not making any more excuses for myself. I will make the time to exercise and eat properly. This starts today! Come join me on my journey...I hope we can inspire each other to live better lives!

Marie :o)