Monday, November 18, 2013

My Lifestyle Transformation

Hi! It's me! No, I didn't die. I just got sidetracked by a lot of other things and forgot about my blog. I've been keeping everyone on Facebook updated to the changes that have been occurring in my life this year, but I totally forgot about posting it here. Sorry about that!

Back in September 2012, I began walking with my kids as part of their physical education class. I use a cyber school to homeschool my kids, and that was the first year they sent a curriculum for gym. Each of my kids got a pedometer and the first thing they wanted the kids to do was see how many steps they could take in 20 min. From there, it was how long does it take to walk a mile. The goal I believe was to do a mile in 20 min. At the time, I was 240 lbs and was disgusted by my weight. I wanted to lose weight, but I never stayed motivated long enough to do anything about it. I figured "I can walk!" and I began walking with the kids every day. It was exciting to try and beat the time we had had the day before, but September and October quickly passed and it became too cold to continue walking outside. We stopped walking, but I was happy that I had lost 9 lbs and I was able to maintain that weight loss through the holidays. The last Sunday in December, our pastor gave a sermon on setting goals. I came home and immediately knew what my goal was going to be. I was 231 lbs on Jan. 1, 2013, but I decided I wanted to lose 100 lbs from my starting point of 240 lbs. I didn't want to set myself up to fail and I had no idea how quickly the weight would come off, so my long range goal was to lose 100 lbs and my short term goal for 2013 was to lose 50 lbs. I also included other goals to help me reach that goal.

One goal was to increase my water intake. I was NOT a water drinker. I was a soda drinker. I would drink 2-3 cans of soda a day. I knew I was suppose to drink eight 8 oz glasses of water a day, so my initial goal was to drink 5 glasses of water a day. I used a glass that held about 10 oz, so I wasn't too far off from the 64 oz I should be drinking. I later learned that you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day! I should have been drinking almost 120 oz of water a day....TWICE what I was drinking! I'm actually glad I didn't know that at the time because I know it would have been overwhelming for me. I celebrated each day that I was able to drink 5 glasses of water because I knew it was a small, but necessary victory for me in my journey to become healthier. A few months ago, in order for me to make sure I drink all my water, I decided to fill an 80 oz pitcher and a 20 oz glass with water each night. When all that water was gone, I knew I had drank all my water for the day. I always made sure to fill those up each night so I could start each day with cold water.

Another goal was to decrease the amount of soda I was drinking. I aimed for drinking just one can of soda a day. I then said that maybe I could reduce that to one a week and possibly one a month. I was afraid of getting headaches, which is what usually happened whenever I cut back on soda before. The Lord blessed me and I had NO headaches at all when I cut back on the soda. Eventually, I cut so far back on soda that I can easily go a month without drinking any soda. It actually seems too sweet for me so I usually only have 1/2 a can when I do decide to drink some.

A third goal was to exercise at least 30 min. every day. A friend of mine who I reconnected with on Facebook had just lost 100 lbs and when I posted my goals for this year, she graciously offered to send me some DVDs that I could use to workout with during the winter months when it was too cold to walk outside. A few days later, I received 3 Walk Away the Pounds DVDs in the mail: 1 mile, 2 miles, and 3 miles. I decided I would do the 1 mile workout for the entire month of January, then move to the 2 miles for February, and 3 miles in March. Yes, my kids did the workouts with me during the week. They took the weekends off, but I did my workout 7 days a week. I continued to work out 7 days a week for the first 6 months. Then I decided that I probably had developed a strong enough habit of knowing that I needed to exercise and could take 1 day off a week. I chose to take Sundays off from exercising. When I first began, it took everything within me to complete that 15 min. 1 mile workout. I had to keep telling myself "I can do this! I won't quit! Keep going!". My face would get bright red and my kids constantly kept asking me if I was ok. In order to get my goal of 30 min. of exercise in a day, I had to do an additional 15 min. of exercise, so I did push ups, crunches, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, etc. Once I moved on to the 2 mile workout, that was 30 min. in length so I didn't need to do those additional exercises; although I do still do them since I need to work on tightening my abdominals! By March, I moved on to the 45 min. 3 mile workout. When the weather got warmer, I started walking outside. I slowly increased the distance I walked and I also worked on increasing my speed. As people took notice to the changes in my body and asked what I was doing, they couldn't believe that it was due to walking.....and eating differently.

I never wanted to be one of those people who counted calories, but I realized I needed to change my eating habits and not just start exercising if I truly wanted to lose weight and be able to maintain it. I needed a lifestyle change, not a diet. I joined because it made it so easy to keep track of the calories I was eating. I initially cut my caloric intake to 1200 plus whatever I burned off doing exercise. It is important to eat the calories you turn because you can easily put your body into starvation mode if you don't. Since 1200 is the fewest number of calories you should be taking in on a daily basis, it was very important for me to eat whatever I burned off doing exercise in order to ensure that I lost weight. Recently, I have increased my daily calorie intake to 1600 plus whatever I burn doing exercise. I did this after realizing that my metabolism was probably faster now and my body wanted more food and could handle having more. It was actually an accident that I realized this. I had been on a plateau for about 2 months. I was frustrated and was wondering why I wasn't losing when I was eating right and exercising. I remember the day was a Sunday, my day off from exercising. We went over to my parents' house for dinner like we usually do. We had pizza and I felt guilty because I ate more than I usually do, and then I ate ice cream for dessert. The next day, the scale went down for the first time in 2 months! That night, we went out to eat and I chose what I thought was a healthy choice...a salad. I just about fell over when I came home and looked it up and discovered my salad was 1300 calories!!! ACK! I had again went over my 1200 calorie/day goal in just one meal! The next morning, the scale went down again! That's when I realized my body was telling me to feed it more because it could handle it! LOL!

I know a lot of people will cut things like flour, sugar, carbs, etc. when they are trying to lose weight. I knew that if I told myself I couldn't have any chocolate, I would not want to stick to the program. I also saw a problem with cutting things out of my diet other than running the risk of overindulging if you do allow yourself to eat it once. If my body wasn't use to eating something for months, it might not be able to digest it properly once I add it back in and I could gain weight quickly. I decided what was most important for me to learn was portion control. I didn't cut out anything from my diet. I cut back on sodas and the amount of chocolate and other sweets I was eating, but I still allowed myself to have correct portions! "Everything in moderation" was a motto I tried to follow. When people ask what I am doing to lose weight, they are shocked when I tell them "walking, and eating proper portions". I love when someone says "You lost weight walking??! I can do that!" Yes! You can!! If I can do it, then anyone can do it!

There's no magic pill to lose weight. Dedication and hard work is what it takes! Yes, exercise can be hard work, but you can also make it fun! I love trying to beat my time each time I go out for a walk. Back in June, I decided to see if I could jog one block. I was THRILLED when I reached the end of that block! I started jogging one block every mile. Later, I increased it to jogging every other block. Finally, I started jogging as much as I could before walking and I try to only walk a block at the most before jogging more. I have been able to jog over a mile straight before walking, and it feels AWESOME to know I am probably more fit now at 44 than I have ever been. I say that because even though I weigh more than I did many years ago, I am exercising 6 days a week most of the time and that is something I have never done!

So, you may be wondering how I have done with my goals and how much I have lost so far. I now exercise at least an hour a day. My kids didn't walk with me during the summer, so I had to cut back to walking 3 miles when they started to walk with me again in September. I tried to get them to jog every so often, but they can't keep up with me when I jog. They have a hard time keeping up with me when I am walking! I easily have left them in the dust when I went full out, but I decided it was more important to instill in them the importance of daily exercise than wearing them out trying to force them to go faster than they were ready for. I slowly increased the distance they were walking to 4 miles. Eventually I hope they will be willing to do 5 miles. I usually walk 5 miles a day, but about 2 weeks ago I decided to see if I could do 10 miles. It took me 2 hours 9 min., but I finished 10 miles of jogging and walking! AMAZING!! I increased my daily water intake to 1/2 of my body weight. The amount I have to drink each day has decreased as the weight came off, but I almost always have all my water finished by the end of the day. Yes, there are still times I don't get it all in, but I do my best to make sure I am drinking even when I don't feel thirsty. As of this morning, I am 160 lbs. That means I have lost a total of 80 lbs (71 of which have been lost since Jan. 1, 2013). I am 20 lbs away from my initial long term goal of losing 100 lbs! I will NOT give up until I reach this goal! I have since decided that I will probably try to lose an additional 10 - 20 lbs. I would love to be able to reach 120 lbs and be able to say I am officially half the person I use to be. Here are some pictures to show you my progress: The first is from Sept. 2012, when I was at my heaviest. I am on the left and my cousin is on the right. The next two pictures are of me on Jan. 1, 2013, the first official day of my lifestyle transformation. The last two pictures were taken last month on October 20, 2013.

I haven't had any surgery. I haven't taken any pills. In June, I was taken off all my blood pressure medication that I was on for 2 years because I no longer have high blood pressure. My ankles use to swell every day, but I don't deal with that at all anymore. The changes you see are from me walking (and now jogging) every day and eating proper portion sizes. When I was writing down my goals back on Jan. 1, I also said that if I could inspire just ONE person, this would all be worth it. God has blessed me ABUNDANTLY because I can not count the number of people who have said to me "You are an inspiration!" or "You've inspired me!" Since it is now November and the weather has gotten colder, I have again begun doing the Walk Away the Pounds workouts by Leslie Sansone. I put on a 5 mile workout and do the whole thing, but my kids stop after mile 4. You can find these workouts at Wal-Mart as well as on youtube. I find it easiest to workout first thing in the morning. I get up, put on my workout clothes, do my workout, then take my shower and get ready for the day. If you are tired of being overweight and want to make a lifestyle change, write down your goals. Be determined that NOTHING will stop you from doing this! You can do this! Never give up! Keep pressing on! You may have a bad day here and there, but don't let it stop you! Every day is a new day, a new beginning, and a fresh start. Don't think about yesterday. Focus on today. The change in the way you look and feel is worth it! If I can do this, anyone can do this!


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I just stumbled across your blog and read your weight loss story. Congratulations! I need to lose over 100 lbs. I found your story inspirational. Thank you.

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Guadalupe Vela said...

Wow that is amazing that you lost so much weight so far, congratulations on losing the weight I have tried losing weight before it gets pretty hard when you have those habits of drinking soda eating candy and so on. My wife and I are going to stop drinking too much soda though out the week and limit to just one cup on the weekend, let’s see if can do it wish us luck. Once again that is good to hear that you have lost so much weight so far.

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