“5 Ways My Life Has Improved Since I’ve Lost Weight”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Mother and daughters at Marine Park

I requested, actually insisted, on pictures with me in them! I am living this life now, not hiding behind the camera, documenting the enjoyment of others.

1) I can actually walk around an amusement park without becoming exhausted! Last week my girls and I went to Marineland and I pet a beluga whale, an unforgettable experience. The whale, Isis, was like a marine dog, eager for human interaction. The 3 of us (and my 76-year-old mother) walked miles around this park. It was easy. The last time I had the opportunity to walk around an amusement park I recall it being exhausting.

2) I can play with my children without getting winded. My girls and I spent another day bike riding, playing on a playground, and picnicking at a glorious county park. The same park where I met their dad, just about 11 years ago. The same park where he asked me to be his wife. I played with my kids, hung from monkey bars, ran through a field and biked back and forth up and down hills.

 3) I now seek out fun, active things to do with my family. A couple months ago we put a tandem kayak on layaway. Layaway. The last day of

Melissa Juliano's bikes in a local park

Our bikes after our fun ride in the park.

our vacation we picked it up and went paddling. We also got a zippy sit-on-top kayak for my older daughter, Payton. She named it “Tango.” The four of us spent a few hours exploring a creek off Chautauqua Lake. Certainly not a strenuous outing, but it was active and together. 

4) I can proudly say that I live a healthy lifestyle. For 15 years I have practiced medicine and become more disillusioned with what I am able to do to help people. Lifestyle is everything.  I take care of very old 50-year-old smokers and drinkers. The obese populate my hospital rooms with diabetes, hypertension, wounds that don’t heal, depression, sleep apnea. Patients come to the hospital toting their own C-PAP machines in plastic grocery bags. I dispense insulin with the regularity of Tylenol. I have to lead by example. My patients notice. Last night I walked into a room in the ER to admit a lady who has been my patient for years. Despite her distress, she squealed with delight when she saw me. She told me how good I looked and that I glowed (despite my complete exhaustion). And then she said that if I could do it, with my work schedule and sleep deprivation and stress and kids and home, that anyone could do it. Wow. That was some unexpected, much welcome and very gratifying, recognition of what I have accomplished thus far.

5) I finally have come to realize that you can be happy even if you haven’t reached your “goal” weight. I had no idea what I was going to write when I sat down to do this blog post.  An apology to myself and whoever is reading for not losing 5 pounds a week seemed appropriate. But I ended up celebrating that I do not watch TV or laze away days sitting on my butt because I am too heavy and too old and too blah to do anything else. I do not idly hope that healthfulness will settle on me like a golden cloak. I do enjoy my ice cream and have given in to chocolate a distressing number of times, but I also walk, run, bike, paddle, hike, play, and move whenever possible. My lifestyle is so much healthier, active and rewarding. I will lose weight. It is inevitable as I slowly and steadily correct all the wrongs of my first 40 years. But it won’t be quick because there is no such thing as a quick fix. What’s most important is that I’m actually enjoying my life now. And that makes me incredibly happy—happier than any old number on the scale can make me.

 

 

 

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“Help! Dieter in need of a few words of encouragement!” Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Our new “lifestyle” is kicking my butt. My husband works out of town, I still work nights, and now I am a single parent. People do this. Others manage. What have I learned from all this constant effort at eating right and exercising to be healthy?

My fitness palNot sure! Because I still expect a Danish or an ice cream cone to make me less tired, less frustrated, less overwhelmed, less busy, less lonely. I’m trying to regroup and pull myself together. At 4 o’clock this morning, I wrote, “Help!” on my status for MyFitnessPal. My friend, Crystal, who has struggled too (she’s gained and lost a lot and gained back some and is now doing steadily awesome), came to my aide with, “Come on now! Let’s go! You’re not quitting now!”

Thank God for the love, support and understanding of those in the fray with me. Those 9 words flashing across the front of my iPhone when I got up today really, really helped. I made my shake instead of eating whatever. I sat down to write this blog about weight loss that I don’t even feel worthy to do because I feel like I go nowhere. Those 9 words will get me on the treadmill when I am so tired.  Thank you, Crystal.  I could use more support.

Anyone out there have any words of encouragement? Please, share!

 

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“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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“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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“What a real-life home gym looks like”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, April 30th, 2012
What a Real Home Gym Looks Like

My home gym doubles as a playroom (hence my daughters' drawings on the walls!), which is the reality for most people!

You want to know what a real home gym looks like? Well, for one thing: it usually doubles as another space (some people have it in their basements, by the washer and dryer; others have it in their dens; and some—like me—have it in the kids’ playroom). But … here’s mine! Cardio Central. Pumba, ever faithful workout partner, is lurking in the corner too. He stares at my feet whether I am on the treadmill or the elliptical. I have to pick my way through a floor littered with toys to get to my equipment. (Note to self: my girls have too many toys!)

But it doesn’t matter what the room looks like; what matters is that you get your butt there to do your exercise. If it’s not motivating, then you won’t want to step foot on the equipment!

Do you have a home gym? Tell me how you get motivated (and stay motivated to work out there); write to me at melissa@valerielatona.com.

Our treadmill is a free hand-me-down. Actually, we are the 3rd to house it. I am grateful for it in ways I never thought possible. Husband has had to repair it and jerry-rig the top back on. Sometimes, it doesn’t smell right. Every step could be its last. I have my eyes on a new one. It’s over $1,000. To save and prepare, I have been charging myself $3 each time I step on it. As it nears its demise, I started charging myself $3 to get on the elliptical too. The girls even pay 25 cents to use the equipment! I have almost $250 saved so far. Today, the self-imposed usage fee goes up to $5 because I am afraid it is going to quit before I am ready!

I am still on my quest to be a contender in a 5K race in May. May is tomorrow! I need to step up my training schedule. It seems I need to do more “suffering”…but it definitely pays off!

 

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“Finally…making progress!” Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Junk food in garbage

Sorry, the inside of my garbage can is not pretty! But my advice: just throw out the stuff that you can't stop eating. And then, don't buy it in the first place!

I’m avoiding the scale. Probably the pressure of this blog. Of everyone in the whole wide world knowing when I falter. Even so I’m feeling pretty good. Stronger even. Smaller. My eating has been encumbered by M&Ms. I used to call them “power pills” when I thought that turning to chocolate in times of stress was unavoidable. I now accept that it is avoidable. Why oh why do I buy them in the first place? Shouldn’t I just throw them out?

… Done! That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Lauren from Foodtrainers advised stepping up my exercise. Last week I hit 200 minutes of cardio. I feel the difference. Yesterday was a full hour. 30 dreadful minutes on the treadmill followed by 30 on the elliptical.

picture of home treadmill

My home treadmill with my daughter's picture front and center.

My youngest daughter drew me a picture that I keep on the treadmill. It’s of flying horses and I continue to try to feel like one of them when I run. I don’t feel like a flying horse though. Not even a trotting donkey. But her drawing helps me focus on why I am on the thing to begin with.

When my girls exercise (activity is on their daily chore list) and decide to use the treadmill they call it “riding the treadmill.” As though it’s fun. As though it belongs in an amusement park. Does that mean I am doing something right with them? That they actually think exercise is fun? Or are my kids just a bit daft? I’m hanging on to the first. They think exercise is fun and I need to keep up the ruse. Time to go “ride” the treadmill.

 

 

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