Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm still here. And still losing weight.

I never follow through with using this blog the way I intend.  I blame being so incredibly busy - which don't get me wrong, it's a good thing.  I'm glad my photography business has taken off this year.  It is a much-needed supplement to our income and for the most part I enjoy it.  Though I spent most of last night printing CD inserts, burning and labeling disks, addressing envelopes, ordering more supplies, and stuffing envelopes.  Not exactly what every photographer dreams of when they start a photography business.  I just want to take pretty pictures, but as time goes on I am learning there is more and more involved behind the scenes to keep clients (and the government...  hello, taxes and documentation!) happy.  It's not enough to take a pretty picture.  You then have to edit and deliver that picture to them, no matter what method of fulfillment you choose to utilize.  I realized about a month ago that I am, in fact, working two full-time jobs.  Right now that's okay, but I know burn-out will come at some point and I'll have to take a breather.

But that's really not why I'm here. Despite being incredibly busy (and sick for almost two weeks now) my weight loss journey continues!  I was over the moon when I reached the 30 pound mark.  Like seriously jumping up and down and squealing.  The dogs thought something was wrong.  Ha! And now I'm almost to 40 pounds and that seems so huge.  Almost unimaginable.  But it's happening.  For real. 

I swear I'm not trying to brag.  Honestly.  I'm trying to encourage.  Because I have now lost 37.5 pounds while working two full-time jobs!  I haven't deprived myself of anything, haven't starved myself (though admittedly it did feel that way the first two weeks while I was adjusting to the lower calorie intake...), and I haven't had to change my social life. We still eat out more frequently than we should, but I make better choices about my food when we eat out.  I don't have time to go to the gym so I don't.  I was walking at work on my breaks but I've been so busy lately that hasn't been happening, either.  (I plan to get back to that soon.)  Guys, I'm not exercising.  I HATE exercise.  And I'm still losing weight.  So what I'm saying here is if I can do this, anyone can.  A busy schedule is not an excuse.  I'd lose more weight faster (and it would be healthier for me) if I were exercising regularly, but to make this change in my life I don't have to have time to dedicate to exercise specifically.  And neither do you.  So stop making excuses, find out how many calories you should be eating daily, and start holding yourself accountable!

And for my friends who are also on a weight loss journey, I am SO proud of you.  Keep up the hard work! 

Current length of diet: 5.5 months
Current weight lost: 37.5 pounds

I'm just playing around.

Downloaded a new app this morning that lets me tell stories with my pictures in a new format...  thought I would try it out here.  I'll be updating the storie of Landon's soccer games this season as time goes on. Contemplating whether or not this would be a good way to share some sneak peeks or just my Instagram shots.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

You should go get this app.

The single biggest part of my weight loss journey has been the Lose It! app on my iPhone.  Honestly, I can't say I have started exercising in earnest yet.  I've done a tiny bit here and there, but nothing substantial.  The biggest modification has been budgeting for and counting my calories.  (And if you don't have an iPhone you can still use the program through their website AND it's coming to Android devices soon!)  The app (or website) calculates your ideal calorie intake based on your current stats and your goal weight.  As you lose weight it slowly reduces your calorie budget because a lighter person burns fewer calories.  It takes all the guess work out of how much you should be eating out of the equation and does the hard math for you - constantly!

I'm paraphrasing what I read in the Lose It! book here, but the basic math is this...  if you want to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume.  It's pretty simple.  Yes, everything else that comprises the food you eat has a health impact (fat and carbohydrates, for example) but they can be ignored to a certain extent.  By limiting your calorie intake you are also limiting your fat intake because fat has calories.  Yes, it is better to make healthier choices, but I think that's really difficult in the beginning of the journey.  If I were to deny myself all the foods I love I would be a very, very unhappy camper!  I wouldn't last.  But with this way of thinking, if I don't want to skip the cheese on my Subway sandwich (and believe me, I don't!) that's okay.  As long as it fits in my calorie budget I can eat it!

The trick here is that you become aware of how many calories you are consuming and in turn you make healthier choices so that you can eat more!  When was the last time a single piece of pizza (380 calories) filled you up for dinner?  Even my nephews eat more than that sometimes.  Wouldn't a more filling choice be a large salad with grilled chicken and fat-free dressing (409 calories)?  You get more bang for your calorie buck when you eat healthier foods.  (Calorie counts are from the foods I would have personally picked for those meals and may vary for your favorite foods.)  So I have found myself eating more fruits and vegetables just because I can "afford" them.  This has led to the transformation of the green bean for me.  I would avoid them in the past because there are other things I would rather eat.  But when I found out you can have a whole cup of them for only 34 calories they became a low-calorie jackpot of sorts! 

The Lose It! app has transformed the way I think about food.  I am able to keep track of what I'm eating and hold myself accountable.  It is very black and white.  If I go over it's right there in big bold red numbers to stare me in the face...  and my friends that I've connected with who also use the app (and/or website) can also see how I fared for the day.  The networking tools are an added benefit because my friends can help hold me accountable and get me back on track if they notice that I'm slipping.

Another great thing about the app is that you can enter your exercise for a boost in your calorie budget for the day.  Spend 30 minutes on the exercise bike?  That buys you around 270 calories that you can "spend" as you like (or at least at my weight it does - your exact calculations may vary).  Or if it's the other way around and you see that you're going to eat 100 more calories than you have in your budget for the day (you can enter food ahead of time to help plan meals) you can see how long you need to walk around the neighborhood to burn those extra calories off and decide if that high-calorie dinner is worth it or if you should make a better choice.

Lose It! also has lots of restaurant foods pre-programmed in their database, and I find that to be a huge help.  If David and I decide to have Wendy's for dinner I can easily determine what I can afford.  I had a burger and small order of fries last weekend and didn't go over budget.  See what I mean about not giving up the foods you love?  I wouldn't do that every day because I know it wasn't really a healthy choice - but perhaps eating that burger and fries within my calorie budget kept me from binging on an even worse burger and a large fry later in the week when the cravings became too much. 

It's all about learning how to balance your diet and educating yourself about the foods you eat.  I was drinking organic chocolate milk because, hey, my mom always said I should have more calcium and that was a pretty tasty way to get it!  Turns out one cup of my awesome chocolatey goodness has 180 calories in it!  And I don't know about your glasses at your house, but ours aren't 8 ounces!  I was having at least two servings most nights before bed.  That's...  bad.  I still buy the organic chocolate milk, but if I have hit my calorie budget for the day I don't get to drink it.  And I certainly only drink one serving at a time.  And have you ever looked at how many calories are in peanut butter?! Peanut butter is supposed to be one of those healthy protein-packed snacks, but one tablespoon has about 100 calories.  One tiny tablespoon! 

I could go on about the discoveries I have made but I'm going to stop here.  Just know that knowledge gives you power, and when you really become aware of what you are putting into your body it becomes difficult to ignore the damage being done by a PB-heavy PB&J sandwich.

Current length of diet: 2 months
Current weight lost: 13 pounds

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Welcome to my journey in weight loss.

I'm 29 years old and I weigh way more than I should.  I've always been overweight...  at times it has bothered me and other times I have been fine with it.  But I've always known that it is something I should change, whether I let it upset me or not.  My doctors have (some politely, others notsomuch) all mentioned it, no matter what my ailment was.  (Sinus infection?  You should lose weight!)  And to be honest, simply seeing the word "obesity" written down on my paperwork under diagnosis was really upsetting.  Yeah, I'm fat, but obese?!  Turns out...  yep, I am. 

So when David and one of his co-workers decided to do a weight loss challenge I decided to jump in.  I'm not in their contest because it was deemed unfair with odd numbers, so basically I'm just trying to do better than David so I can kick his butt and gloat.  But more importantly, I know this is something I need to do for myself.

I have come to the conclusion that "dieting" (I lose that term very loosely because I am not doing a particular fad "diet") and weight loss have to become a sort of obsession when you're at the point I am in order to achieve anything.  I feel like all I have been talking about lately is my diet.  It helps that I'm excited about my progress (12 pounds lost since May 1st).  But I'm pretty sure people are getting tired of hearing about my calorie budget and my spiffy new pedometer and how many steps I've taken for the day!  But my mom, Samantha, and one of my co-workers have all started "dieting" too, and it's a huge help to be surrounded by people with similar goals and struggles.  And what we are doing is working!

I don't intend for this to become a blog about weight loss.  There are plenty of those out there, and that's not what this is.  This is just what I am going through right now, and I need a place to obsess and share - even if nobody ever actually reads it.  ;)  I'll try to share the things I have learned and the tools I've found helpful.  It is my hope that if I should fall off the wagon at some point (okay, it's probably inevitable given my track history) I will be able to look back at this blog and remember my reasons for the changes I have made. 

You don't get a before picture.  I took one, but it's not going anywhere because it's absolutely frightening.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to share it.  I'm also not telling you how much I weigh!  Maybe once I reach my goal I'll tell you how bad things were in the dark days... but for now that's just not something you need to know. It's something I cheerfully ignored for quite some time, so that's what I'll expect you to do.  ;)

Current length of diet: 1.5 months
Current weight lost: 12 pounds

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm still thinking about the bathroom.

I still haven't decided what to do with my downstairs bathroom.  I started browsing Amazon for towel racks, light fixtures, medicine cabinets, and mirrors.  I don't know if I'll end up using some combination of what I already have or replace it all.  The medicine cabinet is set into the wall, so that may prove problematic.

Anyhow.  I was poking around trying to get some ideas and it struck me that these rounded items might help with the small space.

I like the chrome look because it's modern.  I can't stand the wood that seems to overpower the room right now.  That's possibly because it's not the color of wood I would have chosen.  It's a medium color and just bugs me.  I also really like the black metal and dark brown metal look, but I'm afraid with it being such a small room that wouldn't work very well.  

The thing that is starting to concern me right now is that if I go with this chrome look things will be too matchy and it may start to look institutional.  I don't want it to be a cold, unwelcoming bathroom.  I'm also concerned about ordering these items on Amazon because if they don't match well I'll have to send them back.  Having said that, I really hate home improvement stores.  I really just don't want to go to Home Depot or Lowes and try to find something I like there.  Now if we had an Ikea I'd be all about it!  Maybe I need to save up for a little while and make a bathroom decorating trip to Atlanta (the nearest Ikea).  Much as I love the place, that idea doesn't really appeal to me, either.  

So I'm still thinking and mulling over ideas.  I think I could be on to something with the rounded look and the small space.  I guess that's a little progress. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I have the smartest dog.

So I'm sitting here crocheting a scarf for my sister's silent auction for Relay For Life. It's pink and REALLY soft. I sort of wish I could keep it. Anyhow, I had my yarn (Crayon in Begonia from KnitPicks) sitting on the arm of the recliner I'm sitting in as I worked. Bailey nosed at it and I told her no. She left it alone, no problem. I kept on crocheting. Then Ricki (one of the cats) jumped up on the arm and wanted me to pet her. She blocked my view of my yarn, half sitting on it. Next thing I know David is asking me, "What's that Bailey has?" My initial response was that I had no clue because there was a giant cat blocking my view. I managed to peek around her and BAILEY HAD MY YARN! She knew Ricki blocked my view! She knew that was her chance to take off with the yarn! I have never had a dog play off a distraction before! Honestly, my mind is sort of blown. It also happened to be insanely adorable.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I can knit!

I'm about to finish my first knitted scarf! About to do the last finishing ... is that called a stitch? I still prefer crochet but I'm happy that I know ~how~ to knit now! Thanks Samantha!!

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