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motivation

Starting Our Facebook Community and Jumpstarting My Journey

Well it hasn’t been easy waking up at 4:30 in the morning again and getting to the gym. My body is still not used to it.  I know it’s for the best, but I am remembering just how hard this is.  I had terrific energy this morning, full of adrenaline after the workout. But then I crashed early afternoon. Just keep swimming…

I’d like to start an online community.  Support for anyone and everyone who is struggling with weight and/or fitness.  I think I will create a Facebook Page for the blog where we can all share and add local events, goals, achievements, pics etc. Additionally, I would like to start some local fitness groups here in Southern San Diego County. And encourage online community members to do the same in their area.  Pages on fitn2016_10_26_13_23_23ess, diet, recipes, style, gardening, crafts – whatever our community wants to talk about.  Our commonality will be the journey we are each on to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am even thinking about a Fitbit group which we could ALL be a part of!

That being said. Look for OUR page @ www.facebook.com/theassofdeath/

If you are local to the San Diego area my family and some friends will be participating in the Foam Glow 5K on November 12th in the evening at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.  Come join us and walk, jog or run off some calories and/or stress!foamglow

I am going to have to take another before and after pic I think as I have gained an uncomfortable amount of weight. I was 147 just four months ago and now I am up about 20 lbs. Here is my before pic with a scale shot.  I am not depressed about it, a bit embarrassed, but most of all disappointed with myself.  This disappointment will lead to motivation, perseverance and ultimately success.20161026_15370320161026_154407

STAYING Motivated

The most difficult part for most people struggling with their weight is STAYING motivated. This is why so many of us try so many diets, lose some, gain some and continue on the same vicious cycle. I wish I had a miracle answer, but because weight loss is such an individual journey staying motivated can be a very personal and emotionally charged bumpy road. No one stays 100% motivated 100% of the time. I think the key is staying motivated for the majority of the time – this is what will push you through the difficult moments. Being able to reflect and remember why you started the journey to begin with, and the successes you have had in the past will help you move forward.
My motivations:

  • Living healthy for my family
  • Being the best me I can be
  • Not losing myself because of what I see in the mirror
  • Remembering how lousy I felt 135+ pounds heavier
  • Realizing how happy and revitalized I am now

Although these sound like motivations post weight loss, they actually were the same during my weight loss. I found it helpful to write these things on a card and keep it with me and one with the same reminders posted on the refrigerator. I also kept a photo of a beautiful dress I hoped to wear as a personal reward for reaching my goal. Having visual reminders was helpful to me. I also set my phone to remind me when to have a small snack during the day.

The hardest part was certainly the exercise. But again it was the results I saw that kept me motivated. Pounds or no pounds I saw my shape changing and wanted to keep moving in that direction.

Simple things you hear from many people who have had weight loss success really do help, like:

  • Parking your car further out in the parking lot, and walking in when you are shopping rather than hovering around to find the closest spot.
  • Counting your steps daily with a pedometer or a FitBit or similar smart watch. Keep setting your goals just a bit higher as you see improvement. (This will help with motivation too!)
  • Lifting some free weights or doing some jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of your favorite television show.
  • Listening to music that makes you want to move. (Check out the song above that I used to start my movement everyday.)
  • Just start out by carving 20 minutes of movement into your schedule and grow from there.

I hope these things were helpful for some of you. If anyone has any additional suggestions please feel free to comment on the post to help and encourage others.

Cheese & Chocolate!

I was watching GMA yesterday and they referred to a study recently done about the addictive qualities of cheese. Well I feel like a study was not necessary. I know many people (myself included) who can tell you with out a doubt that they are addicted to cheese.

Now, like everything else if you are actively trying to loose weight full fat cheese needs to be eaten in moderation. But, cheese is one of those things I refuse to give up entirely (kinda like chocolate). I have had to give up quite a lot on a gluten free diet, so cheese and chocolate are staying.

I think you need to remember that dieting should not be about deprivation, but about moderation and healthy choices. You need to still enjoy food, just not eat it for comfort or distraction, but when your body is hungry. Eating mindlessly is a very easy trap to fall into. Before getting on the computer or watching the television it is probably a good idea to fix a healthy snack to keep nearby (this especially goes for computer time at work).

Finding other comfort, pleasure and distraction is key. I can’t tell you what will work for you. I can tell you what works for me: ANYTHING creative. I write, draw, paint, sing, act, and design… This refocuses me and brings me joy. Here is our mantel decorated and ready for Halloween.

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I like to visit with friends who understand that I like to make healthy choices and just talk, and share stories. Find what distracts you from stress and sadness – a walk outside, your pets, your children, solving problems or puzzles? It’s different for everyone.

I have a callback for that show tonight that I mentioned in my previous blog: Four Weddings and an Elvis at Rover Dramawerks in Plano, TX – and I am very excited. This in and of it self helps me stay on track. If I know I am going to perform, or even audition, I need to look my best that helps me stay motivated.

A bunch of friends went out to the 2105 Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs. Now being gluten free I can’t drink beer and try hard not to drink too many of my calories. I now enjoy some hard cider, and can still have some party time with friends. We dressed as a bowling team (team name The Gutters and the Udders) and each couple had their own couple name. This was my mom’s idea and it was a huge hit as our photos appeared in Guide Live and on Flashy Foto’s Facebook page. Here we all are:

Halloween is hard on a diet, especially for a chocolate lover (and worse if you have kids). When purchasing candy for your trick-or-treaters try and buy stuff you are just not that crazy about. Kids will pretty much enjoy any candy you give them. You could also bag them individually if you have the time, which may avert you from breaking into the candy. Don’t deprive yourself entirely just don’t overdo it. One Resees Peanut Butter Cup will not destroy your life or pack on 5 pounds, but a whole bag of them might.

Let me know how your Halloween goes, and remember to HAVE FUN!

 

How I Lost 135+ Pounds…

No Biggest Loser, no Extreme Weight Loss Makeover and no gastric surgery….

People ask tattoome this question almost every day since December of 2014. How did you lose all that weight?  How did you stay motivated? How are you keeping it off? Did you have gastric surgery?

I am going to try and answer everyone’s questions here, and by starting this blog I hope to motivate and continue to help people.

MOTIVATION

This was actually the hardest part of the process, and continues to be.   I cannot put my finger on the exact moment I basically cracked, but I do remember this – stepping on the scale sometime towards the end of April of 2014 and seeing the number 287.  I freaked out. I thought OMG I am closing in on 300 pounds, the prior month at my yearly physical my doctor told me I was prediabetic, I am going to be one of those people who can’t get out of bed without the assistance of a hydraulic hoist!  Something snapped.  I can’t tell you what, I can’t tell you why… all I can say is that I realized at that moment that I was going to be 45 years old in just under a year and I felt like I was 85.  I needed to act quickly because it was only going to get worse and only get harder to do something about it.  So that’s basically how the journey began. I vowed to reach my goal weight by my 45th birthday.

I had lost weight after babies in the past with the help of Weight Watchers and to this day still believe it is the ONLY healthy way to lose weight as it is truly a life style change and not a diet.  Not having time for the meetings, and not wanting the initial humiliation of that first weigh in, I joined online, and began immediately counting points and getting rid of all the trigger foods in the house.

Going into a public gym feeling as self-conscious as I did was not remotely an option. So I began slowly moving at home.  I walked the dogs every day. Then (being the crazy off kilter person I am) I started doing Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies II (I still love that workout – just the music makes it fun). I couldn’t do it with all the gusto of my youth or even make it through the whole work out at the beginning – but I was determined to not give up. Still too embarrassed to enter a gym I purchased an inexpensive exercise bike/elliptical machine.  I began alternating my friend Richard with my new friend Elliptical every day.  At that point I was only exercising once a day, but I tracked how many steps I took with a pedometer and roughly how many calories I thought I might be burning during a workout.  Believe me accuracy was not critical to me, just approximates to stay motivated.

When you ask people about weight loss they tell you don’t weigh yourself every day, do it once a week.  I firmly believe that that needs to be a personal choice for your individual psyche.  I weighed every day.  It never discouraged me, it kept me on track and kept my eye on the prize so to speak.

The first few weeks if you are doing it right, you always see some impressive results – its sticking with it afterward that’s so hard for so many.  The first two weeks I dropped roughly 8 lbs.  This was encouraging enough for me to keep going. I stuck with Weight Watchers for about three months – till my body learned portion size and healthy eating.

Having suffered with IBS since my early teens I believed that managing it was going to be a lifelong commitment.  During my weight loss journey I had come across a few different articles online which indicated that individuals with IBS may actually benefit from a gluten free diet. I had been checked for celiac disease in the past and was told that my blood work did not indicate such an allergy. I figured at this point I had nothing to lose and everything to gain if it worked.  So another round of removing food from the house began.  (I did keep a stash of real bread, etc. for Jan as this gluten free thing was not something she could get on board with.)

I also read that sugar calories were much harder to burn off than fat calories. So I began eliminating almost all refined sugar from my diet and increasing my protein intake to help build muscle and burn calories.

After three months on Weight Watchers, and exercising on my own, I had lost roughly 46 lbs.  I could now face a gym with pride – I had come this far – certainly I could do even better with real equipment and some guidance.

Eating was now more or less simple for me.  I drank ONLY water and a ton of it all day. I ate the same basic things daily:

  • Breakfast:

Steel cut oatmeal, with blueberries and toasted flax seed – [Occasionally I changed up the fruit and/or added some nuts])

  • Mid-morning snack:

A very low sugar cup of Greek yogurt (I recommend Siggi’s if you can get it) and a cup of Naked Juice’s Green Machine

  • Lunch:

Gluten free protein bar, some low-fat cheese cubes and an apple

  • Mid-afternoon snack:

A handful of cashews and/or a protein shake

  • Dinner:

A normal dinner like a medium sized steak, some rice or potatoes, a salad with sugar free dressing or some cooked green vegetables (asparagus, green beans…)

I’d try to eat dinner by 6:30 the latest so I wasn’t going to sleep on a full stomach when burning calories is more difficult. I also tried very hard not to eat after dinner.  This was hard, but when I did succumb to temptation I chose something healthy or in the very least refined sugar free (a fruit, some sugar free pudding, popcorn etc.). Being a chocoholic I stuck with dark chocolate during my weight loss, and still try to reach for it when given the option.

It’s all about movement, portion control and healthy choices.  It’s NOT easy.  Becoming gluten free has been really difficult, but also the best choice I have ever made.  I miss real pizza, real bread and real CUPCAKES!  The gluten free alternatives are not bad, but it’s still not the same. Before I fully understood what the family of gluten was comprised of, one night I made a huge vat of mushroom barley soup for my family and after having two large servings wound up in the hospital with an intestinal infection.  Needless to say – I’m staying gluten free.

So – over the next 7 months I stuck with all the above.  I went to the gym every morning for an hour (half hour of cardio and a half hour of strength/resistance training), and then again at lunch for 30 minutes of cardio (walking, elliptical, bike…).  In those seven months I lost roughly 90 pounds.

I set smaller goals throughout the journey and had a karaoke party when I dropped below 200 lbs. making sure there were healthy choices on the table along with regular “party” foods for all our guests.  We had a blast and it helped me stay motivated.

At the gym I found a trainer who would occasionally take some of her personal time to help me learn to use the machines properly, and rotate through my muscle groups: using muscle confusion and interval training.

In just under a year and right on time for my goal I had lost 135+ pounds, and weighed in at 150 lbs. I fluctuate within a healthy range of 5-6 lbs now.  Between 147 and 153.  I don’t weigh in everyday, but I do keep constant tabs to be sure I am staying on track, as my eating behaviors are not as stringent anymore.

One day while I was on the elliptical machine at the gym, I continued to stare intently at the décor on the wall to my right.  Skinny, muscular people in a variety of workout phases and activities.  There were words superimposed on these figures.  One word stuck in my head – resonated, and has never left: PERSEVERE. When I reached my goal I had this word tattooed on my body in both English and Hebrew in a design I created. It’s on my calf where I can see it at all times.  It reminds me what I went through to get here, and reminds me to keep moving forward.

Everyone says I am an entirely different person now –and honestly they are right. I do feel like an entirely different person… I feel like the person I was meant to be.

I hope this has been helpful to those of you who have asked how I got where I am.  I will answer anyone’s questions, and I will support anyone who needs help finding their motivation.  Just ask….(it’s a good place to start!)

Oh, and for those of you who have no idea why my blog is named theassofdeath, read my next post and it will become clear!

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