I feel I had a major wake-up call in late December 2012/early January of 2013, I was feeling bad, really bad. I wanted to sleep all the time. I would come home from work and crash on the sofa after eating dinner and not want to move a muscle until bedtime. When it was time to go to bed, I would slowly walk up my stairs, become totally out of breath and have to stop before reaching the top of the stairs! I hated how I was feeling. No energy, no desire to do much of anything. Then I decided to share how I was feeling with a cardiologist friend, which was a major step for me! He suggested that I get in for a stress test. His words struck me with total fear! In my heart of hearts I suspected I was a half of a step from a heart attack with how I had been feeling and his response confirmed my fears. I knew I had to change or I was going to die and I did not want to go and get a stress test to prove that point! Fear was a huge motivation for me to change. Not really the fear of dying but the fear of not being able to live a healthy life and the fear of feeling old beyond my years.
I joined Weight Watchers online January 2, 2013. I didn’t own a scale and so I “guessed” my weight. My first step in trying to get on program was to log everything I ate. I faithfully started the online tracking but not really trying to restrict my eating in any way. My first purchase was the Weight Watchers Digital Food Scale. I was determined to give myself the tools I needed to succeed! For the next couple of weeks, I tracked everything I ate online and started trying to drink more water.
My online purchases started arriving. I could now accurately measure my portions of food. The light bulbs started coming on. I had been eating too much food! My portions were way out of control! No wonder, I felt so bad. I was eating myself to death. I had no energy and couldn’t climb one flight of stairs without being winded! My next change I made was making myself eat one piece of fresh fruit a day at work instead of candy bars, chips and other unhealthy snacks. It was a major push to eat just ONE piece of fruit but I did it!
My new scale arrived January 23rd so that was the day I learned how truly unhealthy I had become. I had under-estimated my weight by 25 lbs. It was worse than I had realized. I decided this was the time to get really serious! While not the highest weight I have ever been, it was dangerously close. My next change was to try to get in those good health guidelines every day! I decided early on to keep focus only on the five pounds I was trying to lose at the time. I didn’t look at the “big picture” just at those immediate five pounds in front of me. I firmly believe that this strategy kept me moving forward and not getting too discouraged!
By the end of February, my first month knowing my real weight and having the right tools to weigh and measure my food, I managed to lose 11 pounds! I was thrilled! I was on my weight to better health. During the next year, I had a trip to the beach, a cruise to the Caribbean and managed to lose during each vacation time.
I really didn’t think about a goal weight the first few months. I had my annual check up on October 1, 2013 and consulted with my doctor on what I should weigh. She gave me a ten pound range which I felt was too low for me but took her note and kept it so I could show it to Weight Watchers when I was going to switch from online to meetings. I felt I didn’t need the note as the range she gave me was the upper end of the range weight watchers suggested. I still felt it was too low but she had agreed to renegotiate with me when I got closer to my goal weight. I have scheduled a follow-up appointment with my doctor in August; it will be fun to see her face when she reads my chart! 🙂
When January 23, 2014 came around I had managed to lose 86.6 lbs in my first year! That was thrilling!!! And since January 23rd I have managed to lose an additional 29 lbs. and reach my weight watchers goal weight! I started the year very focused on continuing my journey to greater health. My next milestone came when I hit the one-hundred pounds lost mark in mid-March. I knew at that point the biggest part of my weight loss was now behind me and the push toward the goal range had fully began.
I switched from following the Weight Watchers Program online to attending Weight Watcher Meetings the last Saturday in March. I didn’t know how I would handle the transition from being fully on my own to now attending weekly meetings. I found the Saturday morning group very friendly, lively and fun! I found the leader Kathy to be energetic, upbeat and very approachable. It did help that as a member of a Facebook Weight Watchers Group, I had virtually “met” one of the members of the Saturday morning meetings online before meeting her face to face. I do enjoy the meetings! At first, I wouldn’t say much but now I regularly participate. Our Saturday meetings keep growing in numbers which I think is wonderful! It is so uplifting to see so many people willing to come to an eight am meeting on a Saturday morning!
To help me even more, I was the organizer for at Weight Watchers at Work group which began meeting in May where I work. I am now attending two meetings a week. Marie is our leader for our at work meetings and is very personable and a true superwoman handling all the weigh-ins and conducting the meetings on her own! Our group is about 25 people who are focusing on getting healthier.
I have been in the healthy weight range which Weight Watchers and my doctor suggested since May 24th but I have been pushing to lose more. I have been losing/gaining the same 1.4 pounds for five weeks and it hit me. My body was talking to me and I was not listening! For seven weeks, my weight has stayed within a one pound range. I have been on program and doing nothing extraordinary that should cause a “stall” and looked over my charts and felt I have been maintaining and not losing much in seven weeks. Then, a light bulb went on. I AM at a healthy weight, have a healthy BMI AND within the goal range given to me by both Weight Watchers and my Doctor. My body has been trying to tell me; you are at GOAL, you have accomplished your mission of feeling better, being healthier and reached the weight range you thought was far too low for you! When I was in my mid-twenties and weighed this, yes I could count my ribs front and back. Now being somewhere over “40” I cannot count any ribs front or back. I am sure I have ribs, just not sure exactly where they are yet! I know I can lose a few more “vanity” pounds and not be unhealthy and that will be my goal over the last of the year to shed those “vanity” pounds but with no big rush to do it!
This Friday (at work) and Saturday (at the Weight Watchers Center) I will be “officially” celebrating reaching goal. This is very exciting for me as I never thought I would reach the suggested weight range! Now I am working on six weeks of maintenance to achieve my Lifetime Status with Weight Watchers. If I have calculated correctly, I should achieve lifetime on August 16th.
Below are the pictures from my Saturday morning celebration with my leader Kathy, the “bling” I received Saturday: the clapping hands are for 16 weeks attending meetings, the copper key ring for 10% weight loss at meetings and the silver star for reaching my weight loss goal! As of Saturday, I am down 119.2 lbs. This was said at one of our meetings recently, “Welcome to Goal! Welcome to more of the same!” I will be attending meetings still on a regular basis, weighing and measuring my portions and trying to eat more healthy foods and yes, that is exactly more of the same that I have been doing already! But doing those things, got me to a healthy weight and I do want to stay there! Just like the shampoo bottle says. “Rinse, Lather, Repeat!”
I feel very bless that God allowed me to live so I could get healthy again. Thanks to: my mom, for always being supportive, my best friend for being honest and suggesting a stress test, my family, friends and co-workers for always being encouraging and supportive, the wonderful members of the Facebook Online Group (Weight Watchers and Us) who were my meetings when I didn’t attend meetings for the first 101 lbs and taught me I am awesome no matter what my weight!, the USF Fit Program, and a very special thanks to Richard Simmons who has always personified a genuine love, a fountain of joy, a source of endless energy and exuberant encouragement for all!
This is added information for “Eating Junk Foods & Why We Crave Them” from the Weights and Balances Newsletter of July 2, 2014.
What can I eat in place of junk foods?
- Tomatoes – high in lycopene fights inflammation which helps fight off depression
- Dark Chocolate – in moderation can improve feelings of fullness, brain function and improve your mood
- Yogurt /Greek Yogurt– rich in calcium and protein, eases mood swings depression and anxiety
- Mussels are high in B12 elevate your mood.
- Asparagus is a powerful anti-oxidant and is high in folate which helps prevent cognitive impairment.
Is eating a steady diet of junk foods linked to other issues?
Researchers have found that diets which are high in sugary, high fat, and processed foods and cause us to feel tired, unmotivated and decreased physical performance. It takes a pattern of eating bad foods to do damage to our waistlines and health, not just an occasional binge. Diet sodas which contain artificial sweeteners can cause gas and bloat. White (processed) grains/products can cause constipation. Couple these white (white grains) carbs with alcohol and you are looking at being very irregular. Foods high in fats can induce acid indigestion. These foods take longer to digest and if you eat on top of them, acid can splash back into your esophagus and create heartburn. Sugars and starches can spike your insulin and then cause it to drop which might increase mood swings. Combining sugar and caffeine are to be avoided when your hormones are raging. Colorings, dyes and nitrates are known to induce headaches. Try to not eat foods that contain large amounts of the chemicals such as some hotdogs and processed meats. If something you are about to eat has a colorations not found in nature, it would probably be best to avoid it. Eating a diet consistent in junk food can lead to depression was found in research studies. Foods you choose can affect your face and general appearance by inducing the aging process and causes premature wrinkles.
What problems can be caused if I eat a steady diet of junk food?
- Poor digestion
- Blood Sugar fluctuations
- Poor Brain Function
- Increases the risk of heart disease (high weight)
- Can lead to kidney disease (high sodium)
- Can damage your liver (trans fat levels)
- Induce type 2 Diabetes
- Increase your risk of cancer
- Pre-mature aging (wrinkles)
- Increase infertility in healthy men
What are considered Junk foods?
- Bagels, white bread, regular pastas, and breakfast cereals which are made from white grains and not whole grains.
- Cupcakes, cakes, pies, pastries; any foods which are high-carb, high-sugar and high fat laden foods.
- Hot dogs, Bologna and any processed meats made with nitrates. Look for nitrate free versions
- French Fries which take hours for the body to digest and are: high in fat, sodium, refined carbs, bad fats.
- Sugar-Free Drinks made with chemically based sweeteners such as; Aspartame, Saccharin, and Splenda. This includes the little powders you add to water for flavor.
How do I avoid junk food?
- If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it
- Avoid processed and packaged foods at the grocery store (inner isles) and shop the outer walls/isles of the grocery store (fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, etc.)
- Five Ingredient Rule – it something has more than five ingredients, do not buy it.
- Gross yourself out and do some research and find out what is really in that junk food.
- Eat a variety of foods and not just breads, pastas, etc.
- Learn better coping strategies to better deal with anger/stress/anxiety etc. We often turn to junk foods for comfort.
- Get outside and move; if you are moving you aren’t eating!
- Slow down when eating. Chew more, eat less.
- Scented Oils released in the air seem to over ride the appetite in some.
- Sip Black Tea to help feel “full.”
- Write in your journal. If you are writing you aren’t eating. Explore in your journal what you are feeling/experiencing when you feel driven to eat junk food. This will hep you identify your “triggers.” Once you have identified your triggers, you can learn new ways of coping with them that do not involve junk foods.
- Many have found that Self-Massage is a good way to help avoid junk food. Some examples of self-massage: Take a tennis ball under your foot and roll it around; place a ball on a wall and press your back against it, rolling it back and forth in between your shoulder blades
The bottom line is the less you eat junk food, the less you will crave it.
This is a continuation of the May 21, 2014 article on how NOT to lose weight.
Here are more things you can do to assure you will not succeed in your weight loss efforts.
- Don’t track food; not keeping a food journal (write down everything you eat and drink, awareness/knowledge is power!)
- Refuse to eat any snack (keep your body fueled throughout the day to avoid bingeing and overeating) Give in to food pushers (letting others guilt you into eating something you don’t want/need is the fast gateway to weight gain)
- Overestimating calories burned. (Thinking exercise gives you a “pass” and you can eat anything you want.)
- Going it alone. (Find a diet/workout buddy to help motivate and encourage each other! You think you know everything!)
- Eating gluten-free for no reason and thinking it is low –calorie.
- Avoid eating nuts. Successful dieters get 30% of the daily calories from fat.
- Underestimating how much you have eaten: If it isn’t on a plate, it doesn’t count. (I WISH!) Samples at the food court, Sam’s, Costco, BJs and Publix count!
- Drinking your calories: the over consumption of alcoholic beverages or other high calorie beverages such as fancy coffee drinks, juices, etc.
- Relying on pills/supplements/protein bars.
- Mindless and Emotional Eating – Don’t let your emotions rule you!
- Lack of consistency: Taking the weekends off from your program, not always careful about portion sizes, not writing down/tracking everything you eat, drink, etc.
- Eating too fast. Slow down and savor each and every bite! Eating too fast will often lead to overeating and indigestion!
- Not preparing to maintain a weight loss. Losing the weight is only one part of the process; maintaining the loss is a whole other process. Prepare for it! This is harder than losing the weight!
- Have a Vitamin D and/or Calcium deficiency – It is believed that these preserves our metabolism.
- Parking your vehicle close to stores and/or appoints. Park further away and get in some extra steps and you might just avoid some extra door “dings” too!
- Not moving at least 30 minutes a day. Being sedentary will lead to weight gain. It is suggested that we move five-minute every hour if we have a desk job. Many health problems have been tracked to sitting for long periods of time.
- Thinking you can’t do it; if you think you can’t; you won’t! Get your head set to succeed!
- Negative self-talk. Telling yourself you are dumb, stupid, lazy, fat, etc. all the time. Talk like you are your best friend, because you are!
- Thinking you will wake up one morning and be healthy without any effort. Healthy weight loss requires an effort.
- Talking about weight loss and never doing anything to change.
How to be successful? Do the opposite!