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Perfectly Imperfect

This past year has not been without it’s challenges.  I went through a heart-wrenching breakup and my dietary self-discipline was touch and go.  The thing that kept me moving towards a positive goal was finally focusing on myself.  What did I need?  What did I want?  Health, yes.  Happiness, of course.  But overall, I wanted to accept myself as I was: perfectly imperfect.

I admire those who lead a strict disciplined life of impeccable health and physique, but I know that is not in my DNA, and that’s ok.  Recently learning from my physician that my metabolic blood tests were within a healthy range despite my being “obese” makes me want to share that it’s possible to reach that healthy balance without being perceived as perfect.  You can lead a healthy lifestyle without making the right choices all the time.

The Smart Ones© message of wiping the slate clean has been a running theme on my blog and it’s one that resonates strongly with me.     Giving in to unhealthy food choices at events, family gatherings, and any sort of environment you find yourself within reach of food temptations doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you human.  If you are able to say no to the extra slice of cake, that’s great!  But in my experience, deprivation of certain foods can lead me down a slippery slope of gluttony.  I’ve learned to take desserts home if I am full, wrap up half of my plate of excessively portioned restaurant food before I start eating, and most importantly I listen to my stomach.

Occasional food slip ups are part of your journey to wellness, and it may be difficult but not impossible to keep from starting at square one.  Schedules get busy and unhealthy food makes it past our lips.  As much as I wish I had the money for a personal trainer and private chef, that’s just not the case.  Try not to let momentary set backs become permanent by realizing that it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t making the best food choices for a day or even weeks.  It may seem impossible if you are in a viscous unhealthy food cycle, but with a little help and inspiration you can get back on track.

Time is not always on my side.

Time is not always on my side.

 

Obese & Healthy

Last Friday was my yearly physical and today I got the blood test results.

According to every BMI chart out there, my 5’9″ 231 pound solid self falls on the obese side of the algorithm.

According to my primary doctor’s observational evaluation and “superb” blood test results with “good, if not better, numbers than my previous results,”  I am metabolically healthy.

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I am more than a number.  I am an ongoing work in progress. I’m not saying weight doesn’t have anything to do with your health, it clearly does.  But, it is not everything.

I stand by the belief that not every thin person is healthy, and not every obese person is unhealthy.  There are many factors that play into health, but numbers on a scale and coordinating charts do not define your lifestyle.  You define your lifestyle and the blood tests confirm it.  What you put into your body and how often you move your body is ultimately what makes you “healthy” or “unhealthy” as far as diet.  It’s a pretty simple formula.

There is a little debate about the term “metabolically healthy obese” but more and more people are starting to understand that it’s not all about weight.  “It’s much easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get a fat person thin,” states Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., an exercise and wellness professor at Arizona State University.   My experience focusing on weight alone has led to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and depression, fueling my hatred for TV Shows like The Biggest Loser.  Since changing my mindset to focus on strength and fitness, I’ve never felt better in this “obese” body and I’ve tried to make it easier for others to accept their own natural healthy size.

haters

I dreaded these annual physicals in previous years due to my elevated weight, poor eating habits, and fear of needles.  2 years ago and 48 pounds heavier, I knew it was time to change & take control of my health no matter how difficult.  I wanted to feel better in my skin while improving my overall quality of life.  My primary doctor’s tactful bedside manner and compassion for my weight struggles had a large part of helping me get started in making the right food and exercise choices.    Being lambasted by primarily older doctors in the past about my weight would send me spiraling deeper into a depression and avoiding check ups on the regular in fear of “failing”.  With my current physician it’s a team effort and I never feel judged.  That’s the way it should be.

This is why I cannot express enough how finding a support system that you trust, and who builds you up instead of tearing you down, is very important in reaching your health goals.   I tried to do it on my own in the past, but I knew that I needed guidance from someone who I could be completely honest with this time around.  Not only did I find a wonderful Primary doctor, but I found an excellent therapist who I saw regularly over these past years.  I now only call her if I need her and I have not seen her in over 2 months.  It’s nice to know professional resources are there when I need a little extra support, ongoing or temporary, and that they will help guide me back into a positive and encouraging mindset.

I understand not everyone has access to these resources but sometimes we all just need to find that one person in your life (a partner, sibling, parent, child, co-worker, friend, blogger, etc.) who will be there to urge and support you as you transition your existence into something meaningful and long-lasting.  I want to let you all know that it’s OK to ask for help and you are not alone in your struggles to find that healthy balance in your life.

 easybalance

 


					

Fighting the Bloat

I have been trying to watch my sodium intake lately since I’ve been feeling a bit puffy. It can be difficult to keep your sodium consumption down if you lead a busy life where eating packaged foods keeps you from passing out because you aren’t able to find the time to make three fresh meals a day from scratch. As much as I try, I don’t always keep fresh fruits and veggies constantly stocked in the fridge.  Planning & making meals ahead of time is great in theory, but my plate is full in other areas!

I have made little changes in my habits to fight the bloat and noticed positive results over the past month. I drink lots of water to offset any higher sodium content in my diet and stopped drinking soda! I love my daily diet sodas for a caffeine kick since I don’t drink coffee. After a week or so of kicking the habit, I already felt less bloated and shed a few pounds in the process.   Even just cutting back your soda intake instead of quitting cold turkey can lead to feeling a little better in your skin.

One thing I love about Smart Ones® meals is their reasonable sodium content. Their website even has a list of products under 500mg of sodium.  How handy is that?!

For the busy vegetarian bee on the go, try planning three meals with Smart Ones® under 500mg products to stay well within a healthy day’s dose of sodium. Start your morning with the mouth watering, sweet and hearty Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal made with delicious steel cut oats. Spend your afternoon indulging in the filling and zesty Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans for a fiesta lunch. Then end your day with a light yet flavorful sauce over crisp veggies and cute bow tie pasta with Pasta Primavera for dinner.

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Your tastebuds and waistline will thank you if you add these lower sodium dishes to your menu.

Humpday Humor!

lose weightI joke because lately I have been ravenous, but I’ve also been working out harder than normal.  The two go hand in hand!  Luckily, you can still eat and lose weight, just choose the right foods.  Or if you aren’t losing weight, perhaps gaining, but still feel you are making the right nutritional choices, pay attention to how your clothes are fitting and how you continue to feel.  Don’t let the numbers control your life, but make a change if you feel like you’ve hit a wall.  I’ve actually been gaining pounds, but I feel my clothes fitting differently and being back at the gym lifting weights has given be strength, energy, and enough confidence to not let the scale dictate how I feel.  Let’s hope I can continue to feel happy and healthy without the frustration of not losing weight.

Hump Day Humor!

Sorry, it's called genetics. :/

Sorry, it’s called genetics. ; )

Alternative Sweets for your ‘Sweet’

Holidays and sweets go hand in hand.  Valentine’s day is one of the many holidays pushing sweet treats and candies and chocolates in excess.  The biggest chocolate heart is supposed to show your loved one how much you love them.  That irks me.  It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality!  While at the grocery store last night I was surrounded by sweet temptations because of today’s holiday.  Do I love all of those things?  Heck yes!  But, in order to support this healthy lifestyle of mine, I came up with two options to battle the Valentine expectation of sweets for your ‘sweet’.  One is obviously healthier than the other, while the other one deals with making the right choice as far as portion size while at the grocery store.

1. Heart Shaped Fruits

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If you happen to have just 15-20 minutes to prepare something sweet and healthy this Valentines day evening, then I’d recommend the simple act of cutting up fruit like honeydew,  melon, apple, etc. into heart shapes (using a heart shaped cookie cutter is recommended if you aren’t confident in your carving skills) and piercing them with a BBQ skewers as pictured above.  It’s not only delicious and healthy, it’s simple and adorable!  Or get creative with it, make it your own Valentine presentation!  There are so many healthy alternative ideas  for holiday treats thanks to the wonderful internet that houses blogs like Sincerely, Paula where I first saw this recipe and where she lists a plethora of other healthy Valentine food options including both sweet and savory.  Obviously, the best choice health wise would be if you chose fruit instead of chocolates as your Valentine sweet.  I’d rather take a little extra time to create something unique on a holiday where store bought chocolates and cards are the norm, but I know that is not always possible when life gets in the way.  If you do not have the time to make something simple and unique for your loved one, it’s understandable for those who have very busy lifestyles.  This brings me to option #2.

2. Freshly Baked Mini Cupcakes

Cupcakes

I squeal with delight whenever I see mini cupcakes.  Most mini cupcakes are around 100 calories each.  Most larger cupcakes are around 300 calories, give or take depending on ingredients and freshly baked or packaged.  This means you can have just one mini cupcake for 100 calories if that’s all you can afford in your calorie count, or 3 mini cupcakes for the same calories as one larger one.  Besides the fact that you can easily pick up the better choice of mini cupcakes in most any grocery store on your way home tonight, mini cupcakes are just cute!  If you are someone who cannot have the box of 9 or 12 mini cupcakes in your house tempting you, opting for one larger cupcake from a bakery instead of a prepackaged 6 may be better.  Purchasing one large cupcake instead of an entire ice cream cake or a box of chocolates can mean so much more on a holiday like today.  To me, sharing something small and sweet with someone you love is extremely special and meaningful and intimate.  It shows you care about their health but you don’t want to miss out on the small joys in life, and you want to enjoy these things together.   Who wouldn’t love receiving just one adorable mini cupcake along with a lovely personal written note or spoken word of affection from your sweetheart?  Someone without a soul, that’s who! 🙂

Quick Confession of an Overeater with Anorexic Tendencies

katy edit

2/13/13
230 lbs.

I’ve officially gained back 4 lbs. since my 10lb. tonsillectomy surgery weight loss (226 lbs.) recorded exactly 2 weeks ago on 1/30/13.  I am OK with this.  The surgery’s all liquid diet was a fear of mine, a valid fear.  I wanted to maintain the weight loss after I was healed.  I knew this was not impossible but a long shot knowing my past habits.  When I decided to get the surgery, I was very nervous to be forced into a 2 week fast because of my history with feeling the high and euphoric rush of a quick weight loss.  During the 2 week recovery, I felt happy when I could tell that outer layer of water weight was gone and I could feel more of my collar and hip bone popping out.  I felt happy when I saw the scale drop 2-3 lbs. in a day, knowing very well that it was an unhealthy way to lose weight and difficult to maintain.  I told myself not to be happy with this, to fight your euphoria, but it was difficult.  It took until this morning to accept the fact that I have gained back 4 of the 10 lbs.  I came to terms with it almost immediately after stepping off the scale, I just don’t have the energy anymore to keep beating myself up over the feeling of going backwards instead of forwards.  If you feel yourself going backward, stop and re-evaluate.  Move forward again as soon as you can.  After a couple of weeks of ups and downs in my food choices, I now feel that I have a handle on my workout/movement routine and healthy diet.   I’m ready to accept and move on.  I’m ready to feel human and healthy again.

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