“How I’m Ramping Up My Exercise”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Nobody is impressed by how good your excuses areI am feeling a little bit punchy today.  Yesterday I ran 55 minutes at an average pace of 12 minutes 32 seconds per mile for 4.40 miles. That was a workout. Remember I said I tried to avoid suffering? Well, it has become apparent to me that I will not move into the 100’s on the scale unless I do some suffering.

Lauren, my nutrition advisor from FOODTRAINERS, wants me to do more cardio. I wouldn’t want to disappoint. Today I did 45 minutes on the elliptical while watching this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser that I downloaded from iTunes onto my iPad. Technology can be just plain cool. I would have felt guilty if I wasn’t suffering while watching this show. I followed the elliptical with about 20 minutes of weight work with my medicine ball, hand weights, and weighted bar. There was an Usher marathon on Pandora and my energy level was high.

Very early this morning while at work, I ate not 1 but 2 bowls of some sort of shepherds-pie-like-casserole concoction that the nursing supervisor’s husband made.  I ate it with gusto and had to STOP myself from going for a 3rd because it was so darn tasty and I was STARVING.  I could only estimate the calories…somewhere in the neighborhood of 700. That means the rest of the day is going to require a bit more vigilence in the calorie department. But it was well worth it!

 

 

“Nonfat is nonsense…and other great weight-loss nutrition tips!”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, April 19th, 2012

My first question is where did April go? I had such plans, so many goals. April got swallowed up by a series of unfortunate events in my life, but I have the reins on my weight-loss program again.

I have been eagerly awaiting my first bit of advice and direction from Lauren, my personal nutrition advisor, of FOODTRAINERS and it is here!

fresh whole strawberries in a cup

Moderation is key when eating anything, including fruit!

1. Fruit but don’t Overfruit. Fruit is low in calories and a part of any healthy regime. However, fruit is sugar and it’s possible to overdo it. I would stick to 2, max 3 1-cup portions of fruit a day. Additionally try to choose lower glycemic fruits such as berries, citrus, cantaloupe, apples, and pears. Also important given family history (and by that she means the diabetes on my father’s side).

I will struggle the most with limiting my fruit. It is just so handy, portable, and satisfying. Clearly, I “overfruit” now. 

2. Nonfat is often nonsense. I would switch nonfat yogurt to low fat. Nonfat to our bodies is higher in sugar. You also aren’t satiated with nonfat in the same way. Same for fat free half and half.

This is surprising, but not shocking. I always believed this but switched to non-fat to shave off precious calories. Fat back in my yogurt and half and half will be delightful and delectable!

3. Try a 3/4 day for portions. I told Lauren that portion sizes were difficult for me, so she recommended I pick 1 day (a non-work day) and do what she calls a “3/4 day”: Eat slowly, chew well and stop yourself 3/4 through your regular portion. Wait 3 to 5 minutes. If you can, stop the meal there. If you cannot, keep going. The goal is to stop and assess, that’s the first skill.

This piece of advice will also be tough but I am trying to model the eating behavior of my daughters who gloriously and unconsciously walk away when done —whether it is scrambled eggs or chocolate cake. I never want them to learn to clean the plate or finish it off just because it tastes  good. Somehow, I never learned to recognize or acknowledge being full enough and satisfied, but it is never too late!

how many grains you should be eating a day

This is how big your daily serving of grains should be...no more!

4. Trade off grains. Keep carbs/grains, cereal, bread, potatoes, rice, etc to 1 meal a day “fist” size (makes me wish I had a bigger hand!)

Prior to a number of stints with the Atkins Diet, I was a card-carrying carb loader. Thankfully, even though that was an impossible lifestyle to maintain, I did take a way a (nearly) firm control over grains, especially cereal. I should have no problem limiting my grains. They are more like treats to me anyway.

5. Drink plenty of water! Get 48 to 64 ounces per day plus 1 to 2 cups green tea (I will need a catheter!)

Water. Well, I guess I will just have to do it even it I don’t like it. I like unsweetened ice tea and make it by the gallons. Even my girls drink it. I will have to ask Lauren if that would be an acceptable substitute. I could always make iced green tea. Of course I don’t want to start out my nutrition tutoring with complaints!

4. Exercise. Work out 150 to 180 minutes a week (total as you go) with one day “longer” 50 to 60 min.

I have come a long, long way in terms of what I can accomplish physically and how often.  Lauren is advising I ramp it up for weight loss.  There are some days that will be very difficult to achieve but One Hour Workout on ValerieLatona.com

 

 

“Coping with Easter Candy…and a Whole Lot More”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I’m off track. The truth is, I haven’t even been able to find the track to get back on it.

I haven’t exercised.

I haven’t kept my food journal.

What I have done: sought solace in Easter Candy.

This is a time of tremendous stress and uncertainty in my life. Despite all I have learned about how to get healthy and well, I went right back to old behaviors as coping mechanisms. Never mind that eating poorly and not exercising do not actually help me cope with anything. Never mind that these behaviors are self-destructive and contribute to more stress on my emotional well-being and physical body. Never mind that I know this, I mean really KNOW this.

Old patterns die hard.

All I can do is move forward. And that applies to work, home, relationships, my wellness plan (never say diet!)…the whole kit and kaboodle. I’ve been on a ledge in more ways than one (why I haven’t posted any blogs yet this week). Today it was time to talk myself back. The inspiration that helped me do that included these two things:

Desire to Change quoteThe 3 C's of LIfe

My sense of personal strength has been mighty limited lately. Today I chose to flex the muscles I know I have and was pleasantly reassured that I still remember how to use them. Some tough decisions were made at home and work. An old daily devotional book seemed to beckon me from amongst a pile of paperbacks and has become welcome nourishment for my soul. I logged into My Fitness Pal and tracked every last jelly bean. I finally got my food journal into an email to send Lauren at Foodtrainers.

Now I am just eagerly awaiting some guidance. I see the track just up ahead. It’s right on the other side of my treadmill.

“Real life is definitely NOT like The Biggest Loser”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Stop wishing, start doingWould it solve anything if I cried, screamed, ate?  I avoided the scale last week because I was so afraid to see my success become a gain. But I couldn’t do that for 2 weeks in a row because I have to stay on top of this! So I stepped on it.

204.

I gained 3 pounds.

I want my life to be like The Biggest Loser where they shed pounds every week in double digits. But I am not in a controlled environment with a refrigerator stocked with the right foods and Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser making me work harder than I think I can. All I have is me and a very uncontrolled environment. But that isn’t making me feel better.

Truthfully, today’s setback comes on the heels of feeling much failure. Home has become a place of tremendous uncertainty as my husband embarks on a new adventure and challenge that takes him away from us for much of the week. I have been negotiating for weeks for a day job. And even though it looks like that is going to happen, it has come at the expense of others. I wrestle with guilt.

Even the weight-loss success of my friends is making me feel like a failure.

Women I love, respect and am blessed with as friends are achieving new health and wellness through much hard work. And I struggle by comparison. They seem to move in leaps where I crawl. I can only look at myself for what I accomplish or don’t but I can’t help but compare and feel like I am not trying hard enough. I know they are making it happen through careful eating and difficult exercise and not through some sort of magic that I just haven’t stumbled on yet.

But I can’t help but feel that I don’t measure up.

I was feeling defeated, but then I realized: this is time to reach out for help. I need to assess where I am—and where I’m going.

First up: a nutritionist to help me assess what I’m doing right—and wrong. The woman that got recommended to me: Lauren Slayton, MD, RD, from FoodTrainers—and I just had a consultation with her. She said things like, “I am impressed,” and “You are doing a good job.” That was music to my ears! And soul. Lauren was easy to talk to, like an old friend. I am going to LOVE working with her!  But more about that later.

Next up: despite my initial hesitation about working with a trainer  (I do know how to do a lot of workouts), I’m going to talk to one to assess how I can be shaking up my workouts a little more. I’m going to get my own Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser!

My attitude: never be above asking for help. Isn’t that what The Biggest Loser is all about anyway? And right, now, I need help.

Now for my green goddess shake and a 50-minute run….

 

“Easy home exercises with a weighted exercise bar”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Exercises with Weighted Exercise Bar on valerielatona.comAfter workouts with my weighted Reactor Bar, I decided I was pleased with my purchase. I searched around the web for some exercises specific to my new bar and found this You Tube video work out: Ask In Your Face 10 Minute Workout. The editing is not the best, but the instructor has awe-inspiring muscle definition and a pleasant voice for leading the “class.”  The weighted body bar was the star player. Mine is a reasonable 15 pounds. I brought my iPad up to my home “studio” and got down to sweating. The lunges are tough and nearly continuous and mine definitely need work. I powered through the 10-minute workout and then….did it again. I liked the combination of upper and lower body moves. Those get the heart rate up and going. Because the Reactor Bar doesn’t have loose weights attached to the ends like a barbell, it is very stable. On a day when I only have 10 minutes, this will be great. But on a day set aside for muscle work, I need more.

I finished with another 10 minutes of:

  1. Bench presses with the bar on stability ball
  2. Wall push ups
  3. Front loaded squats with 10 pound kettle bell
  4. Dead Lifts with reactor bar
  5. Over head triceps extension with 8 pound hand weights while on stability ball
  6. Upright rows with the bar
  7. Shoulder Raises to front with 5 pound hand weight
  8. Shoulder Raises to side with 5 pound hand weight
  9. Jump rope for 30 seconds (without the rope)
  10. Repeat

Rodney Yee Yoga Video on valerielatona.comAnd a final 20 minutes of back bends with Rodney Yee. I find back bends really work the abdominals to the point of quivering.  Yoga is a fine end to a workout for a much-needed stretch of warm muscles and centering your mind for what the day has left.

 

“Eggo Vs. Kashi: My Weight-Loss Breakfast Challenge”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Breakfast of this champion:  2 cups of coffee with 2 Tb fat free Half & Half, 2 Kashi blueberry whole grain waffles with 1 Tb Crofter’s Organic apricot preserves, ½ grapefruit with 1 tsp loosely packed brown sugar.

On Weight Watchers this was a 5-point breakfast. At my present weight I was allowed 30 points a day. Now I follow calories with My Fitness Pal. This breakfast is 283 calories. At my present weight I am allowed 1670 calories a day. I have eaten this breakfast just about every day for the last 13 months. I look forward to it!

I have another app on my iPhone to help me choose healthy foods: Fooducate. I used to eat Eggo Nutragrain Waffles. They were the same number of points as Kashi and very crispy and tasty. But Fooducate told me that Eggo has worse ingredients in it. I checked out the label (at bottom) and decided to switch to Kashi. The flavor is just as good but they aren’t quite as crispy. I can live with that. My children love them too and I don’t have to worry about excess junk in my morning breakfast!

Today’s exercise: 35-minute run on the treadmill. Then I got on the elliptical for 20 minutes more.  According to My Fitness Pal, I burned 778 calories doing cardio for 55 minutes. Holy Moses does exercise pay off!

“Yoga, I love it but still have a lot to learn!”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, March 30th, 2012

I aspire to this...

...and to this

...and to this

...and this!

My daughters, ages 8 and 6, can do some of these poses already. I have been regularly practicing yoga for a year and I still don’t have the strength to do any of them. But the fact that I’ve stuck to yoga—and practice it regularly now is progress. And I’m determined that someday I will be able to do these poses! Just wanted to share…

“My simple (no-sweat) trick for running faster and farther”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Run when you can, Walk When You Have toFor months I have been floundering with my running and not gaining any speed or distance. I have been running at pathetic paces of nearly 14-minute miles (with guilty walks mixed in)—and I’ve been getting slower instead of faster.

Boredom, the treadmill, pain all contributed.

So, I set out to improve. That, plus I am on a quest to do an upcoming 5K race and I am determined to keep up with, or at least keep near, my friends, Crystal and Brenda. (Crystal and Brenda of the completed-half-marathon fame.)

Another marathoner friend of mine, Kevin, told me about Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run training style. Kevin has witnessed runners finishing ahead of him in marathons when at points he has passed them as they walked. The possibility of walking while running appealed to my desire to avoid suffering. Jeff Galloway believes that walking to recover helps you go faster and further. He has training plans but I made my own after being inspired by his website.

My first run was for 30 minutes. I set the treadmill at 5.0 mph. I walked 4 scheduled 3o-second intervals and 1 60-second interval…without guilt!…and, as result, felt like I ran the last few minutes instead of being dragged.

This alone is success in my book.

Melissa Juliano: Weight Loss Diarist Valerielatona.com

Success!

Today was a “fast run” and I am very pleased with my results. I set the treadmill at 5.5 mph for running and 3.0 mph for walks and covered 1.6 miles in 20 minutes at an average pace of….get this……12 minutes 11 seconds per mile! I shaved almost a minute and a half off my time!

YES! I am on to something here! I am on my way to faster and further!

 

 

“From size 22 to size 16: my newest size—and picture!”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Melissa Juliano: Weight Loss Diarist valerielatona.com

April 4, 2010

Melissa Juliano: Weight Loss Diarist valerielatona.com

Me today! March 27, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a chore it is to find a picture of me from BEFORE!  But here is one from two years ago…along with a DURING shot that I actually asked my husband to take (this is a big deal as I have never wanted anyone, even my husband, to take pictures of me!). I haven’t reached my AFTER yet, but I will!

I asked my husband to take the picture to help me celebrate because yesterday I bought some new slacks in a size 16. That dress in my before shot was a 22. Oy! My snazzy new top is an XL, not a 2XL. I went into TJ Maxx and had to put things back because everything fit and I couldn’t buy it all. BEFORE, I just got what fit and didn’t think about whether I liked it. Wow, I don’t mind looking at this DURING picture. Not at all.  Yeah!  Now, I’m off for a run…….

“Why Mixing Up Your Exercise Routine Helps”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Dogs as running partners: Weight Loss Diary for valerielatona.com

My faithful running companion!

The treadmill is boring to the point of being undoable. I needed a change. But I always felt like I couldn’t run outdoors because I live in the boonies. In my mind, which I might add is always quick to come up with any kind of exercise excuse, there are lions and tigers and bears out here. Well, bears for sure and mountain lions maybe depending on who you talk to. In reality, the 10-ton log trucks barreling down my no-shoulder road are a bigger threat than a bear.

So I decided to heck with my fears…and I gave Pumba, my dog, a pep talk about not pulling my arm off on the leash and we drove the ½ mile to a side road that sees less traffic. Then we ran. He was so good and I felt safe with him trotting along out in front. His tags jangled loud enough to be fair warning for any bear to steer clear. Plus, he is a pit bull and ought to give any human up to no good pause before thinking of messing with me.

We ran 2.33 miles in 32 minutes 34 seconds for an average pace of 13 minutes 57 seconds per mile.  Now I could beat myself up about how pathetic that is. I could probably walk faster. But pavement is much different than a treadmill and there are HILLS here. My legs muscles are tired when I get off the treadmill but not usually sore. But  today I am sore. Those hills build muscle and endurance!

My running partner is snoring loudly now … and I feel ready to take on the world!

Just another example of how mixing up your routine can motivate you even more!