Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weight Loss Update

Normally I'd never let this picture surface. Actually, I think it's on my Facebook, but nonetheless...

January 2010

One of our wedding pics - July 2012

August 2012 - My cousin Ryan and I...

Needless to say, I'm down 47 pounds. I believe I talked about this in a previous post, but I didn't feel like reading through them to check. I just wanted to post some before and after pictures. I was embarrassed to post the "before" pictures for awhile, but then I decided I should. I want to be an inspiration to others and let them know that they can do it too. People sometimes ask me what I did to lose the weight...well for any of you who read my posts from when I started this blog, it wasn't easy. It took me close to a year before I started to see any type of results. Of course, this varies from person to person, but I think that my metabolism was so out of whack that I was keeping the weight on. I am going to try to post all of my tips, and hopefully I won't be rambling too much. Hopefully someone reads and can use my tips to their advantage too.

Before I started on my path of weight loss, I was drinking up to 4 cans of diet coke a day. I was skipping breakfast, and mindlessly snacking because I was bored at work. Ben and I had moved into an apartment together and were eating nothing but food slathered in butter and cheese. Hot wings were a big hit in our apartment. Grease and overwhelming amounts of calories, perfect combo for disaster.

It was that picture and the others like it from that particular event from January 2010 that finally pushed me over the edge. I was so unhappy and uncomfortable in my own skin. It wasn't even the emotional symptoms that were bothering me, but I also had heart burn, and worst of all, non-stop acid indigestion. I'm not sure if you've ever experienced acid indigestion, but it basically feels like you are starving to death, ALL the time. I remember every morning when Ben would leave at 5am, I would be tossing and turning for an hour, popping Tums or Rolaids, trying to get rid of the burning. It was becoming horrendous. Waking me up out of sleep sometimes, only to take Tums for a midnight snack. Or eating a piece of bread at 2 in the morning to satisfy a false hunger. Due to the constant "hunger pangs", I was eating more than usual to try and subside the burning. Tums and Rolaids seem innocent enough, but despite the fact that they are chalky, tasteless candies - they are not good for you to take repeatedly, just like any other medication. 

That was it. It was when I started this blog that my struggle began. Of course, gaining the weight is easy - we all know this, but getting it off seems like an endless dark tunnel. 

I joined the gym down the street from my work and started running. I tried to get in the gym at least 3 days a week and do a half a mile. It was a start. Especially for a smoker. Granite, I was only smoking a pack a week, but that still put me in the category as a smoker. I smoked for the first few months when I first started working out before Ben and I made the conscious decision to quit together. We haven't smoked since October of 2010.

My next feat was to kick pop (or soda as some of you say). I had never believed the myth about diet pop keeping you bloated and keeping the pounds on until I quit drinking it. Ok--I still drank it, but I seriously limited the amount. Instead of keeping a 12 pack in the house I quit buying it altogether. My pop consumption came periodically when I was in the car, which was replacing the cigarette I wasn't smoking. I dropped 10 pounds in only a few short months. I also started taking 5000mg of Biotin vitamins everyday and 500mg of B-12. My hair started to grow out like crazy and my skin looked better and brighter.

Beer was another problem. I simply like beer, there's no way of dancing around it. So instead of drinking Busch Light at a social gathering, I switched to Select 55. Being the lightest calorie on the market, I couldn't pass it up. The way I looked at it is if I drink a 6 pack of Busch Light, that's almost 600 calories or more, whereas Select 55, is 330. 

I started drinking a lot of water. I stress, A LOT. I remembered saying so many times, "I hate water - I'd rather drink pop or milk". It's because I wasn't craving water. I was depriving myself and only drinking pop and sugary juices. Now, I try to drink at least 3 liters throughout the day. In fact, I can't go without it now. Speaking of which, every morning, I squeeze a half of a lemon into a warm glass of water and chug it. Sounds super gross, and it is. I gag it down every morning, and have almost puked a few times, but I feel great afterwards. I wanted to share this link from my good friend Danielle, who is currently in the process of becoming a health and nutrition coach.

I started controlling my portions. My BIGGEST point that I want to stress, is don't stop eating what you love to eat. If you want that big, juicy cheeseburger, then eat it, but learn to portion control. Do you really need the entire burger? Unless you haven't eaten in 3 days, no, of course not. So what I do, is order that burger, but I cut it in half. Instead of getting the fries, get a healthy side and then pick a few fries of someone else's plate. I'm using a cheeseburger as an example because I happen to love them. It's my biggest downfall, but I refuse to give them up. So I started to cut them in half and pretend I don't even have the other half. I box it up and take it home for the next day. Give a try, I bet you anything that once you eat that half, you'll be full, you won't even want the other half. Happens to me every time.  If you get a salad, DON'T dump the dressing on the salad. All the fat comes from the dressing. Didn't you ever wonder why when you are reading the nutritional facts about salads at restaurants, it's 40g of fat for a plate of lettuce and vegetables? It's because of the dressing. Ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork in it before spearing the lettuce. You get the same amount of flavor, and your salad isn't swimming in a pool of runny ranch afterwards. Same goes for pancakes. I LOVE pancakes, but skip the butter next time. Use your favorite syrup (I happen to love Boysenberry, which is close to impossible to come by), and use enough to let it soak into the pancakes before eating. Honestly, I've never understood the concept of 'drowning' your food. The whole point of a pancake is to love the flavor of the pancake itself, not forkfuls of buttery syrup. I will admit, it does taste good, but I do NOT feel good about it afterwards. Mayonnaise at restaurants is a joke too. It's a splatter of creamy, buttery, lard that they squirt onto a sandwich for an extra kick of flavor but is completely unnecessary. Order the sandwich you want, but don't feel silly to do modifications. You won't miss the mayo. 

Ditch the yolks for breakfast and eat the whites. Egg whites always sound so unappetizing to people, but I've found them to pretty much taste the same. I like to scramble them up with skim milk and use various popcorn seasonings for flavor. Kernel Season's is a good one. The white cheddar is my favorite. Sprinkle that on with some pepper and you're good to go. Or, boil eggs the night before and keep them on reserve in your fridge. Crack one open for a snack, or eat one whenever. Try to limit the yolks though. I know the yolks are the best part, but try to limit them. You can eat up to 12 egg whites a day for the protein benefit, and minuscule calorie count, but the yolks need to be eaten in moderation. If you have a hard time eating the hard-boiled white of the egg, use a bit of salt, or even mustard. (Recommended by my husband - I thought it would be gross - now I prefer it, give it a try!)

It's just little things that I started to become aware of and change. I haven't stopped eating what I like (except for chicken wings, those haunt me now), but I've become aware of what I'm eating. I am an annoying label reader now. One of my favorite things to eat is Boca or Morning Star vegan burgers. Dress them up a bit with a dab of BBQ sauce and a bit of cheese and enjoy. Don't be afraid of cheese. I know all the new fad diets out there strictly ex-nay cheese, but I disagree. Of course, I'm not an expert, and I'm not telling you to sit and eat an entire block in one sitting, but a small slice or two is not going to completely sabotage you. 

So overall, I really have no set diet. I have no persistent work out plan. I work out when I feel like it (I try to get in there 2-3 days a week for about 45 minutes, doing at least a half hour of cardio, and switching to weight training for 15-20 minutes, and visa versa). Keep your work outs a surprise. Your body will adapt to the same routine every day and will become resistant so switching up your routine will keep your muscles guessing and force them to adapt and change, and change is good. Eat what you want, in portions and try to eat every 4 hours, and for shit's sake, DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST. There is no excuse why you should. I get everyone is different and everyone has different routines in the morning, but if you don't have time to sit down and eat a quick bowl of cereal; grab a granola bar, or some fruit. Boil eggs the night before and bring them with you (I love doing this). I have also heard the excuse 'breakfast makes me sick in the morning'. Well, ask yourself, what are you eating when you did try to eat breakfast? Captain Crunch? Pancakes drown in syrup? Something undoubtedly loaded with sugar? I know that when I eat something loaded with sugar first thing in the morning, I get the most incredible stomachache. I get stomachaches all the time because I'm just naturally the most nervous person in the world, but now I get one if I don't eat. I feel miserable if I don't put something into my stomach before 10am. Don't use a busy lifestyle as an excuse to put off your goals.

Hopefully my tips helped a bit. Use your own judgement based on what you like and what fits your lifestyle. Don't let ANYONE tell you that you can't do it. Don't pay attention to the people who are going to 'talk'. If there's one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that people who talk about you are not your real friends, and my advice to myself was, "What are these people ever going to matter in my future? These people are nothing to me". Rise above. Make them feel stupid by not caring and doing what is best for you, and your health. 

In case you were wondering, the heartburn is gone, and the acid indigestion is gone. Tums and Rolaids are a distant memory. 

PS: If anyone out there read my first blog post - I just wanted to let you know, that my state ID is telling the truth now. 

I've reached my goal.