“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.

 

 

“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.

 

Amazing Success Story: How This Doctor Lost 120 Pounds!

Written by: on Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Brenda Wahler before shot for valerielatona.comBrenda Wahlers is an internal medicine doctor with four kids (including a set of triplets!). The fact that she juggles a busy career as a doctor with not only four kids…but triplets!…is amazing to me. But when I found out that she lost 120 pounds after having her kids—and took up running races—I’m even more impressed!
Brenda Wahlers Before Picture for valerielatona.com

BEFORE: Brenda at 280 pounds

Brenda Wahlers after picture for valerielatona.com

AFTER: Brenda at 160 pounds

Here, her super-inspiring tips on how to take charge of your life—and drop weight too!
1. Surround yourself with active, healthy people. “I never came close to achieving my goals until I stopped spending my time with people who drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, and had a deep love for processed, fried, sugary foods. Now I spend time with people who inspire me by their hard work and self discipline to remain strong, active and healthy. It makes all the difference in the world.”
2. Keep it simple…..”To take off extra weight, the calories that you take in have to be less than the calories you expend throughout your day. What that means: Eat less and exercise more. I know that sounds like a big “duh” statement but it is THE concept behind all weight loss. It’s pure science – embrace it.”
3. Wake up! “Wake yourself up to the fact that you have one shot at this life. It took me until I was 35 to have that realization. If you want to be healthy only you can make it happen. No program, pill or doctor can do it for you. Educate yourself and DO IT. If you can really embrace the idea of changing your life you WILL make it happen.”
4. Stop obsessing about weight loss. “Eat right, be active, and the weight will take care of itself.”
5. Be committed to yourself and to your goals. “When I gained a pound I would be so mad and disappointed. The difference comes in how you handle that disappointment. Instead of giving up, use that energy to work harder. I had a three-month plateau that about drove me crazy. I just pushed through, stayed on track, and knew that if I could stay committed I could not fail. Patience is not a strong suit of any person who wants to lose weight (at least sure not one of mine!), but this process needs to become less about weight loss and more about taking control of your life.”

“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!

Success Story: “How I lost almost half my body weight—and transformed my life”

Written by: on Friday, March 30th, 2012
I am SO incredibly inspired by Bryan Ganey; instead of opting for quick fixes, which never work, he opted the hard work route toward weight loss (diet and exercise). And in the process, he’s lost 292!!! pounds. (For anyone struggling to lose 10 or 15, it kind of puts things into perspective, right?)
Just look at these before and after pics!!

Before: 577 lbs

Now: 285 lbs

When I asked Bryan for his 5 tips for success, here’s what he had to say:
1.) Accept and understand the truth: there is no quick fix.  Everyone wants it to be easy, we’re so desperate to find the secret that we fool ourselves into believing there is one. There is not. Sustained weight management is very, very hard and that’s why almost everyone fails at it. However, difficult does not mean impossible, so you can do it. But you need to respect how difficult it is and avoid becoming arrogant when success comes easy, because failure is lurking around every corner. Avoid the trap of wanting it all right now, because that is temporary and temporary is not what you want.
2.) Buy and eat real food from the grocery store. You must walk away from the garbage…forever. Face the facts: you’ve had enough fast food, soda, and junk food to last three lifetimes. You don’t need any more. If you’re a food addict like me (see my “before picture for evidence of this) it is absolutely crucial that you never touch the trash food ever again. People tend to eat junk food not because they are undisciplined, but because they are hungry. You have to do the work and always have healthy food on hand. Pack your lunch and eat it. I stick with what I call “The 6 Food Groups:” fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and water.

3.) You must measure, weigh and write down everything you eat. Many people lie to themselves and others about how much they’re eating, but they really have no idea. Remember: everything you eat counts. Being overweight is being on the wrong end of a math problem, so you must add it up at the end of the day. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. As you eat many of the same things over and over, you will memorize their calorie content. There are websites and smart phone apps you can use to track your calorie consumption, or you can use a notepad and a pen like I do. Either way, you have to write it down. This will keep you accountable to yourself.

4.) Water must immediately become your beverage of choice. Water has many benefits, including being essential to life but it also will make you feel full and regulate your appetite. Some people don’t like the taste of water, but I believe you can’t have sustained weight loss without it. Try low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light or their generic equivalents to make it taste better if you have to. But drink a lot of water. I easily drink a gallon a day. Sodas (diet included) contain caffeine that will make you want to eat. I also associate soda with junk food and fast food, so I can’t have one without wanting the other. Don’t drink your calories.  Water is one of the few things (besides air) that doesn’t have any calories, so drink it early and often.

5.) Stay off the scale. It is tempting to weigh every day, because we all want the fast results. You must stop obsessing and worshiping the scale. Instead, weigh once every two weeks, maybe even once a month. Again, think long-term. You are losing weight for the rest of your life, not next week. Also, the purpose of the scale is to give you an idea of where you are. It’s not an end-all, be-all guide to your success. The scale has the power to make your day and it has the ability to ruin your day. Don’t let it. Weigh once to start, then not for awhile.

 

But cheer him on: tomorrow (March 31) he’s taking part in the Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10-K race in Charleston, South Carolina. Last year, Bryan walked this. This year, he’s hoping to run the entire thing! You can follow his blogs at ganeybypass.blogspot.com, but watch this inspiring news coverage of him before the race.

“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…