“Breaking through the weight-loss plateau—finally!” Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Woman's feet on scale

Now this is a sight that makes me incredibly happy! The needle on the scale finally moved!

Here I am again, revisiting my ALL-TIME LOW of 201. Just 2 pounds away from ONEderland! Last time I made it to this point something went terribly wrong and the scale went in the worst direction and got stuck there. But I am here again, because I have NOT given up and I have NOT given in. I am still fighting because I aim to WIN.

Just 2 more pounds to ONEderland. 2. More. Pounds. Then I NEVER want to see a 2 as the first number in my weight again. I am going to get to buy my new outfit from Athleta when I get to 199 and it will get there.

Family with children kayaking

I love being active as a family!

My plateau-hitting downer led to some research and some insights. As a family we try to be pretty active. But time to step it up a notch.

Saturday, we paddled the Chautauqua Lake outlet for 3 hours. Sunday, we biked the Allegany River Trail for about 1½ hours. All of us as a family.

It would seem that a few things have helped break through my plateau: Persistence, continuing to learn more about nutrition, high intensity shorter duration workouts, and more activity!

Almost to ONEderland!

 

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“My sinless chocolate cake recipe”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Sunday, May 20th, 2012
sinless chocolate cake recipe

This combo is the key to moist, delicious, lower-calorie chocolate cake.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE chocolate? I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest  for sinless chocolate cake. The recipe and a bunch of others for avoiding eggs and oil can be found at this website:  Hungry-Girl.Com. I bet we all have tried applesauce in place of oil before. This recipe is simple: cake mix, 1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt  (I use Chobani;  they buy their milk from family-owned farms!), and 1 cup water. It is dense and very moist and by my calculation, 134 calories a slice if you cut the cake into 15 servings.

Last night I warmed up some raspberries so they were a little saucy and put them on top of unfrosted cake for a delightful little indulgence.

I am ALWAYS interested in ways to shave a little sin off my treats. Please share yours!

 

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“How to take your workout to the next level”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, May 18th, 2012

 

woman stepping on scale

The scale hasn't been moving much lately...but I did lose a pound!

Morning: The scale budged. A smidge. I’ll take it but I don’t trust it. 203 is today’s weight. I’ve been getting on the scale every couple of days hoping to see some movement. After all, the rest of me moves a lot.

I’ve gotten some reader advice and support that I am grateful for! (more please!) Allison suggested short bursts of high intensity instead of more steady duration to shock the system that appears to have gotten quite used to sweating steadily for a solid hour. I sure like that advice because I am up to 60 minutes a day! So, today I have planned sprints on the treadmill.

My plan: My machine is a sluggish old work-horse that takes a bit of time to reach speed so I am not going to pay attention to distance. I am going to set the speed to something challenging like 9.0 mph—and do 30-second sprints with a 30-second rest and leave it running (I know, this is dangerous to do!) so I will (carefully) hop on and off.

I am going to do 20 minutes of this and then a sustained slow run for another 20. I will finish my cardio with 20 minutes on the elliptical. And instead of vacuuming or doing any laundry (we have plenty of clothes, really) I will squeeze in 20 minutes with weights. I just got a new kettlebell that needs to be broken in.

Afternoon:  Allison has the right idea! I set out to do an

woman running on a treadmill

Sprints! Now that's the secret to an INTENSE workout!

interval workout that was IMPOSSIBLE!  I LOATHE to admit I can’t do something, but at 9.0 mph I could barely keep up with the belt on the treadmill and actually feared for my life. Or at least my limbs. I was dangerously close to being zipped off the back of the treadmill and breaking a leg. Now that would really interfere with my running. And 20 straight minutes of sprints?  Clearly, I had no idea what I was signing myself up for. That was near undoable. So, within the first minute I had to reevaluate my running capabilities. I ended up doing 20-second sprints at 7.0 mph with 20-second rest.

The first 2 minutes, my heart rate didn’t really zoom up with the sprint. I would recover rapidly during the 20-second rest for the first 5 minutes. By minute 9, I wasn’t sure I could go on. I was quite literally 20 seconds at a time after minute 10. I made it to 18 minutes and just couldn’t find it within me to make it to 20.

Afterward, I felt spent. It was awesome. And today, sore legs to boot. Yeah Allison! Thanks for the advice.

Can’t wait for my next interval workout.  I will make it to 20 minutes!  Or maybe I will try 8.0 mph.

 

 

 

 

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A Mother’s Instinct

Written by: on Sunday, May 13th, 2012
10-day old baby mouse

This little guy is about as big as the tip of my thumb!

Friday night, we found this little, shivering orphan mouse baby—no mother around! My husband wanted to leave it outside (where it would have surely died); I couldn’t do that. My heart melted when I saw this little thing. His eyes aren’t even open yet. So I set it up on a heating pad, covered with little cloths, in an unused glass aquarium…and set upon the task of feeding him baby formula out of my hand every three to four hours. Keep in mind that I’m up anyway feeding my own baby, so I’m not setting an alarm to do this! (I found a great site on how to care for it, www.thefunmouse.com/info/orphanedmice.cfm.)

He’s survived two days so far! If he survives, long term, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I take it one day at a time! The kids think he’s cute and love to watch me feed him. (And they tell me they’re sad that he doesn’t have his mommy.)

And for those of you who have followed our animal baby stories, our baby chickens—sadly—did not hatch.

(Note: My husband went out yesterday and came back with a whole slew of new mouse traps, muttering about rodents.)

Just curious what you would have done….tell me!

Update: December 11, 2013: “Mister Mouse” as my kids call him is a member of the family. He’s alive—and thriving. And every night when I come to check on him, I call him and he comes to greet me at the side of his cage/home. My husband still won’t acknowledge the “rodent” as he calls it, but he has—on occasion—admitted that he’s “a little bit cute”. But the kids love him—and say that I’m his mommy. And I guess, in a way, I am!

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“What it REALLY takes to become a Weight-Loss Success Story”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, May 11th, 2012
woman on scale with arms up in triumph

It takes a lot of hard work—and a hard look at your reality—to become a success story.

Have you looked at the success stories on this website?  Have you seen the doctor who lost 120 pounds? Brenda wrote some very worthwhile advice in her story: eat right, surround yourself with active healthy people, stop obsessing about weight loss but keep your eye on the simple math of calories in versus calories out, and be committed to your goals.

Looking at Brenda’s advice and knowing how she succeeded by following those simple philosophies, made me realize I have to do more.

I credit myself with eating right, being active and staying committed even though I am not (at this moment) losing.  That is all true, but not true enough.

I finally had to take a cold, hard look at what I was doing—and as much as I hate to admit it, I could be doing better.

What it takes to be a Success Story  

Exercising 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week

Occasional sugary treats 1-2 times/week

Daily activity beyond exercise

Maintain nutrition program instead

of regularly giving yourself permission to eat what someone else is eating

My reality 

Fits and spurts of exercise with gaps of 2 to 4 days at times with no exercise

Daily sugary treats (although they’re written down & counted in my calories)

Taking the elevator up or down 1 floor at the hospital and parking as close to the door as possible

I never say dietI’m don’t think I THINK it enough either. And by that I mean making conscious better choices instead of letting myself believe my hips won’t notice the French fries.

How many of you have a reality that differs from what is truly necessary to succeed?  Please share with me and any little tips or revelations that have helped you get your reality closer to what is required. I can’t emphasize enough how interested I am in what has worked for you!

 

 

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“How to overcome a frustrating weight-loss plateau”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Consistency is key to successI don’t know if I believe this anymore, but I will act as if I do. My dietary transgressions are small—or at least they are to me. But they are apparently substantial enough that my scale does not move.

How is it possible???

I eat mostly right.

I exercise often.

Shouldn’t I see at least something?  But this week, my scale has not moved. Still 204. Last week I spent 200 minutes doing cardio. 200 minutes! How many calories is that? Must be thousands. Sunday, I did 80 minutes on the elliptical. That alone was 1,200 calories. Don’t you have to burn 3,600 calories to lose a pound?

How can this be? Well, rather than getting completely and utterly frustrated (and believe me, I am just about there), I decided to do a little research and here’s what I discovered:

1) Weight-loss plateaus happen to everyone who’s ever tried to lose weight. They are not just happening to me (as I thought). They occur because, as we lose weight, the metabolism slows down. That means that…get this…I’m burning FEWER calories than I did when I was heavier doing the EXACT SAME ACTIVITIES! The reason: the body is achieving a state of equilibrium. Great. *$#@! Insert a string of profanities here!

2) Once you reach a plateau, things have to be changed up—or no more progress will be made. This means, that despite all the hard effort I’m putting in, all the exercise, all the eating right…I still have to do more. To lose more weight, I need to cut my calories further and/or increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. If I still with what I’m doing now, I will stay the same weight…just as I have been doing.

3) You have to cut 200 more calories a day. This is what seems to be the typical recommendation to start; don’t go overboard with calorie cutting (and never say diet!), but it seems that I have to cut just a bit more.

4) Do even more exercise! I find this hard to believe—and find it harder to fathom how I’ll fit any more exercise into my day, but this is what all the experts say. Some recommend not doing any additional “formal” exercise, but just to add more walking, moving, etc every day to burn more calories.

I must admit, I do feel defeated sometimes, but just hearing that I’m not the only person who has experienced a plateau makes me feel a bit better. But it seems I just have more work to do.

Have you ever experienced a plateau? Can you please share with me what worked (or what is working for you)? I need all the advice and support possible to get me through this! Write to me at melissa@valerielatona.com.

 

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“Tell me the one thing that helps YOU lose weight”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, May 7th, 2012
Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser

Bob Harper is one reason I am glued to my iPad while working out!

I have a new favorite workout gadget: the iPad!

I use it to download The Biggest Loser—and watch it, mesmerized, while sweating away. It makes the time pass so much more quickly…and I find that I can exercise for a lot longer than I could with just music! I am usually not much of a TV watcher; this is my first season, ever, watching The Biggest Loser (I download it from iTunes for just $20)—and I am hooked! It is so motivating! Plus, truth be told, I think I have a little crush on Bob Harper….

I know the iPad is expensive, but it’s absolutely worth it. I already spent 80 minutes on the elliptical doing hills and adding resistance while watching the contestants do the same. I don’t know about you, but I will gladly spend my money on anything that helps me get healthier and more fit!

Tell me the one thing that helps YOU lose weight.

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