“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!



“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.

“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…

“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!

“The highs—and lows—of losing weight”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Melissa Juliano with baby: Weight Loss Diary for valerielatona.com

One of my happiest moments: when my daughter was born.

I have had 10 nights off from work because of a weekend switch. That is the longest I have had off in more than 2 years. By night number 8 I felt human again, better than I have felt in a long time. I was joyous and hopeful. I got amazing workouts in. I lost a pound.

It’s amazing what a break from my night shift can do.
But I am back at it tonight and it has destroyed my mood. I went from feeling invincible to feeling weak.
My friends Brenda and Crystal (and a bunch of others from town) ran the final race of the Polar Bears series on Sunday: a half marathon. 13.1 miles. I am in awe of what they have accomplished. I want to run further and faster to join their ranks and keep up. Yesterday I was sure I could. Today, with 8 of 12 hours left to my work day (after already working 7 hours during the day), a meager nap to get me through the marathon and 6 more nights ahead of me, I am feeling like I will never be fit and strong and healthy.
But sticking with my plan is key: I know there will be highs and lows, ups and downs, weight gain and loss—but sticking with it is the key to success long term.
And that’s what I intend to do. But I need to get through tonight first.

“A Pound of Fat…Gone—No Liposuction Necessary!” Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, March 19th, 2012

1 pound of fat is 3,500 caloriesLost a pound baby!  Down 4 total from my new initiative with My Fitness Pal. I had that infuriating blip of going up 3 pounds in one week. Today I am 204 pounds. My lowest with my continual effort was 203. I put 7 pounds back on last fall/winter and it has taken me this long to get it back off! But now I am ONLY 1 pound away from my lowest and ONLY 5 pounds away from being UNDER 200 for the first time in 8 years.

And I will get there.  I WILL!

I am on 1,400 calories a day to lose 1½ pounds a week. My sister, a personal trainer, says that is too low, not enough calories. Today I just found out that I will have access to a nutritionist to help me succeed! I can’t believe the good fortune of that! I can’t wait to see what suggestions she has for me!

I find it a little difficult, even at 42 years old, to take advice from my older sister.  My older, fit, trim, in shape sister.

“How I conquer the #1 exercise excuse”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, March 16th, 2012

I have many excuses. The most common one: I can’t get to a gym. The hours are limited (true), I work too much (true), no child care (true), I have stuff at home to work out (true), it’s too far to drive (true), I don’t have time (true), I have no one to go with (often true).  So all those things are true but it is still an excuse.

Success is working around the stuff that’s holding you back, even if those things are valid.

Melissa Juliano Workout Room: Valerielatona.com

My inexpensive home gym!

This is a picture of my favorite room in my house: my yoga-plus studio. And my faithful workout partner: Pumba. I pop in a video of Rodney Yee and get transported to a stress-free yoga zone.  I love my basket for holding my yoga mats. It says “Namaste” and makes me happy. The decorations on the walls from my girls also make me happy. My daughters often do yoga with me and that make me very happy.

Lately, I have branched out to weight work. I know I don’t need any big equipment or space to give myself a great workout. Over the years I have employed a personal trainer at least 4 different times. I know what to do.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I get free shipping even on heavy stuff! I have gradually acquired the large ball, an 8-lb medicine ball, a 10-lb cast iron kettle bell (much better than sand filled), and a pair of 5-lb hand weights.  I have a 15-lb weighted bar being shipped soon.

This was my workout today (I’ve attached videos to almost all if you’re interested in doing them yourself and need some how-to’s):

  1. Wall push-ups (working my way up to real push-ups)
  2. Chest press on the ball (with medicine ball)
  3. Chest flies on the ball (with hand weights)
  4. Squat thrusts
  5. Front-loaded squats (with kettle bell)
  6. High Knees (for a cardio burst)
  7. Vertical Balance Squats (with medicine ball)
  8. Front shoulder raise (with hand weights)
  9. Side shoulder raise (with hand weights)
  10. Bicep curl (with hand weights)
  11. Butt Kicks (for a cardio burst)
  12. Lunge holding hand weights, right and left
  13. Squats with hand weights at sides
  14. Hyperextension over ball
  15. Scissor kicks
  16. Triceps Overhead Extension (with medicine ball)
  17. Overhead triceps extension (sitting; I do it on the exercise ball)
  18. High Knees (cardio burst); see video above #6
  19. Jump rope (without the rope)
Home workout equipment: valerielatona.com

This is it: all I needed (plus a little motivation) for a great home workout!

This is one heck of a workout. The squat thrusts are just entirely painful and difficult. I did the moves in groups of 3 to 6 and then repeated for 2 sets. Each was 10 to 25 reps depending on the move. It took me exactly 43 minutes with music blaring. I was sweating, tired … empowered!  According to My Fitness Pal, I burned 557 calories for “circuit training, general.”

And to think I only needed about $80 worth of equipment, all of which can fit in a milk crate!


“My love/hate relationship with running”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Melissa Juliano Weight Loss Diarist for Valerielatona.com

This about sums it up...

I struggle with running. Is it the treadmill? Is it a mental problem? Is it that I am just too heavy to run any further or faster? Or is it just me not pushing myself hard enough?  Do I need another Couch-to-5k program for 2 miles-to-10 miles?  I should look for one….

Today I did a “slow” 2.25 miles at 13 minute 56 second pace per mile. That seems terrible considering that I started running a year ago. Shouldn’t I be able to do more than this?  I have done faster and further but on a regular basis I just can’t seem to do it. I have a love-hate relationship with this running:

I LOVE the challenge. I HATE that I don’t feel progress.

I LOVE that a year ago I couldn’t run 30 seconds. I HATE that a year later I still struggle with 3 miles.

I LOVE the pain. I HATE the pain.

I LOVE the way I feel when I am done. I HATE that it takes so long to get done.

I LOVE the new shape of my calves. I HATE that my thighs still rub together.

I LOVE the ankle-down look in my New Balance running shoes. I HATE the waist down look that I still has so far to go.

Oh, this seems to be straying from what I love/hate about running to what I love/hate about me.  Hmmmmm.  Actually, I don’t hate anything about me.  That was years ago.  I am so past that. I think…

“I’m stressed and overworked­—and overweight”: Weight Loss Diary

Written by: on Monday, March 12th, 2012
Melissa Juliano, Weight Loss Diarist for Valerielatona.com

Me at a less stressed time...

Monday’s are my least favorite day of the week. The good news is I slept soundly for 4 hours before I had to get up for work. The bad news is the beginning of my marathon workweek starts on Monday morning. (I work from Monday to Monday without a break.)

I’m usually scheduled to see patients in my office from 7:30 am to noon. One patient every 15 minutes. Sometimes 2 every 15 minutes. Because my office time is limited I am packed. I try to give each patient my full attention and the time he or she needs. I never finish at noon. I typically finish around 2:30. There is so much paperwork, forms, dictation, messages, lab work to review.

I am frustrated and stressed and if there was chocolate near to me (but there wasn’t thankfully) I would have devoured it even though rationally I know that eating the chocolate won’t get the patients seen, won’t get the phone calls made, and won’t get me through the day.

healthy chicken salad

I love the chicken salads my husband packs for me for work—but I hate the fact that I never have time to sit down and enjoy them.

My husband packed me a wonderful salad with chicken to take to work with some fruit—but instead of sitting down at one time to eat it (as I know I should), it took me three hours to eat it because I was so busy.  (Ironic, right? I was so busy taking care of other people that I didn’t even have a minute to take care of myself by eating lunch.) The hospital cafeteria serves the unhealthiest food I can imagine for a hospital cafeteria; when you think about it, that’s crazy.  They should be serving the healthiest food to help people get better. But whatever, I try to avoid it whenever possible.

I go home and try to fall asleep before my kids come home. I have to or they won’t let their mommy go. I will toss and turn for hours and hopefully sleep 1 or 2 hours.  I get up try to find it in me to run a mile or do some yoga, help with homework, eat the dinner my husband made and start answering pages at 6 pm. Monday’s are busy. I usually miss my kids’ bedtime and get to the hospital by 7 pm. Then I work until 6 am.

Tonight, I fell asleep on the couch after dinner with my family. The good news is that I could fall asleep. Yeah acupuncture!  Without it, naps don’t happen. But I slept through the girls’ bedtime and now about all I can do us sit stare and type this. It is unlikely I will do anything more than try to sleep tonight and get up in the morning to make my daughters breakfast and take them to school. Chances are I won’t make it out of bed in the morning and my husband will step up without complaint and make breakfast, pack lunches and backpacks and deliver the girls to school and adding 15 miles to his drive to work.

But on the positive side: I did keep my food journal and did not go over my calorie allotment for the day.  But I did not fit in exercise. Still, in my mind, the day was as much of a success as it could be.