Saturday, October 31, 2009

Feels good...

Do you ever have such a good workout that you feel like you're above the world? Like you can do anything at that given moment? Like all is well with everything? Like you want to scream out to everyone who can hear you that you're getting fit and healthy? Like you can't wait to come back tomorrow and do it all over again? That was me today. I went to the gym this morning (even had to stand outside for 5 minutes until it opened, lol) and worked myself silly on the elliptical and for some reason, it felt extra good today! Maybe it's because I can remember the days when it took all that was in me to do 5 or 6 minutes until I felt like I was going to pass out. Then I'd stop. I'd feel hopeless. I knew those 5 or 6 minutes didn't do anything for me and I knew I'd pay for the pain that day AND the next. Back in those days, I just wanted to jump on that machine and sweat it up like everyone else did though. They made it look so easy. I wanted to go fast. I wanted to pedal forward AND backward. I knew I couldn't though. The pain in my foot was unbearable. But, NOW I CAN! YAY ME! When I got in my car afterwards, I saw my face in the rear-view mirror and it was fire red! LOL! I think it was that way for the next 45 minutes! Felt good though!

Get out of my way people, Nikki P is coming through! :)

Also, tomorrow is my weigh day. I always weigh myself on Sunday mornings and as always, I'm looking forward to it! Tomorrow is also November 1st (how did that happen?!), so I'll be posting my updated weight over there → in the right hand column and will also post how many pounds I lost this month so keep your eyes out. My shortest term goal starting out was 60 pounds by Nov. 1oth (thanks to my nutritionist friend for my goals! Love having something to aim for!) and I think I'll do it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

50 ways losing 50 pounds changed my life...

When I officially lost 50 pounds a couple weeks ago, I thought it'd be fitting to make a list of how losing that much weight has changed my life. When I first started the list, I wondered how I was going to ever come up with FIFTY changes. That seemed like an enormous amount, lol. It turns out as I got started, I couldn't stop, lol. I even went over 50 but decided to stop and stick with just 50. When I lose 100, I'm sure I'll make a list then also. It was really eye-opening and encouraging for me!

When I was done making my list (which maybe took me 15 minutes to complete), I found that my list contained actual physical changes as well as emotional and mental changes which I found interesting. As I've been on this journey, I don't think I've realized just how much my life is changing in so many ways...little ways and big ways. It's not just about dropping pounds. It's about changing my thinking (which has come naturally to me it seems), changing my actions and changing everyday habits for the rest of my life. I love that feeling!

So, here we go: (and keep in mind that a few of these have changed even now, considering I've now lost 50+ pounds!)

  1. I’m down 5 sizes in my waist
  2. Chronic pain has left my life
  3. I have energy like never before
  4. I wake up by 6:00 or 6:30am
  5. I am no longer a night owl
  6. I can walk up several flights of stairs without being out of breath
  7. I can cross my legs under a table, booth etc
  8. My seat belt stays between my breasts instead of on the side
  9. I can easily walk 2 miles
  10. I am able to buckle the airline seat belt with plenty of excess
  11. I smile more than I ever have
  12. Migraines have left my life
  13. I have learned there is nothing I could eat that would make me happier than I am now
  14. I feel like I have a fresh start in my life
  15. I feel amazingly happy and free
  16. I can fold my arms securely and keep them on my chest
  17. I can put on my socks and shoes by simple pulling my legs up to my chest
  18. I love and enjoy working out
  19. I’ve lost 21.5”
  20. I can do 100 crunches
  21. My joints no longer ache
  22. I have confidence in myself
  23. I have become truly aware of what “living life” means
  24. My bath towel easily wraps around me and tucks in nicely
  25. I like photos of me now
  26. I no longer get leg or foot cramps in the middle of the night
  27. I can sit in a booth without the table touching my mid-section
  28. I try new things and don’t beat myself up if I fail
  29. I look forward to standing on the scale
  30. I genuinely care about my body and me
  31. I own my feelings with less shame
  32. I’ve had to remove a link from both my watches
  33. I no longer have chest pains
  34. I can see my feet in the shower
  35. I can go shopping for hours at a time
  36. I can complete 20 minutes on the elliptical machine
  37. I know how much a portion is and only eat one serving
  38. I can tuck in my shirt and wear a belt
  39. I wonder what it will be like to lose a total of 130 pounds
  40. I work out everyday between 60-90 minutes
  41. I am responsible and accountable for everything I eat
  42. My BMI has went from 42.9 to 35.3
  43. I have a sense of self-worth that I’ve never had
  44. I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel miserable
  45. My tears in the dressing room are now tears of joy and not defeat
  46. My wedding rings no longer fit
  47. I’d rather be out doing something than sitting at home
  48. I’ve seen muscles I never knew I had
  49. I can eat anything without feeling like I’m being judged and snickered at

I love my list and I can't wait to see what my list will contain at 100 pounds lost! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How I'm losing my weight...

I have a lot of people I've run into (online and off) asking me how I'm losing my weight and I'm happy to share what I'm doing. The way I'm exercising and eating is working beautifully for me! I also definitely want to say that I'm getting very valuable help from a friend with a nutrition background who's been a integral part of this whole process. He's kept me on goal with watching my calories, carbs and proteins as well as keeping me on track with my exercise and keeping it changed up to help avoid plateau. I feel so blessed and grateful that he came into my life! With his help, my hard work and the support of family and friends, I am able to walk this journey.

So, here we go:

  1. I eat 3 meals AND 3 snacks each day... breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack.

  2. I haven't been drinking pop (or soda depending on where in the country you're from, lol) in a few years and I've stuck with that. No diet pop either. I'm not an aspartame fan AT ALL.

  3. I've dropped my iced coffee habit completely. I can honestly say that I haven't had any coffee since starting all this jazz in July. I can also honestly say that I used to order an iced coffee at McDonald's almost every day. Yes. It's true. UGH!

  4. When it comes to grains, I search out 100% whole wheat or 100% multi-grain. This goes for my bread, pasta, couscous etc,. And rice... I stick with long-grain brown rice. (it is SO important to read the ingredients on each package!)

  5. When it comes to meats, I stick with lean meats like turkey sausage, Canadian bacon, chicken breasts, pork loin, cod, salmon (not so lean, but a very healthy fat w/all those Omega-3's and a great protein source!), tilapia, scallops, shrimp and tuna (canned, in water...not oil).

  6. As far as lean proteins, I like low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cheese (made with 2% milk), skim or 1% milk, chickpeas, beans, egg whites etc,.

  7. When choosing nuts, I tend to go with almonds or walnuts (raw, unsalted and I roast mine in a glass Pyrex dish to bring out their flavor)

  8. I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies - the more color the better! I even throw a cup of baby spinach into my morning protein shake!

  9. I keep a close eye on my sugar intake and have cut it down significantly!

  10. I measure out each and every serving and stick to ONE serving only!

  11. I drink water almost exclusively except for hot green tea (decaf) a time or two a day.

  12. I have chosen to simply NOT BUY JUNK FOOD. I just don't need it in my pantry. I've made a conscious decision to NOT have it in my house. I shop healthy and try to always have healthy foods stocked so that I always have easy decisions right in front of me.

As far as exercising:

I exercise 60-90 minutes a day, 6 days a week. This is an example of what my weekly routine looks like (although my nutritional friend and I try to keep it changed up every 3 weeks or so...again, to keep that plateau far from me!). My workouts are at the YWCA and normally I'm the only one in the gym. LOVE that! :) My walks are in the evenings with the hubs.

Sunday: (this is my sort of day off...I just walk in the evenings on Sunday)
Walk 2 miles/40 minutes.

Aquatic Therapy (30 minutes - 15 cardio, 15 general)
Weight training - Upper Body (30 minutes)
Walk 2 miles/40 minutes

20 Minute Aerobic Bike Workout (20 minutes on the recumbent bike, each minute is at a different/changing resistance level. It's tough but it's become much easier for me! YAY!)
Walk 2 miles/40 minutes

Aquatic Therapy (30 minute - 15 cardio, 15 general)
Weight training - Lower Body (30 minutes - sometimes 45 if I jump on the elliptical machine)
Walk 2 miles/40 minutes

20 Minute Aerobic Bike Workout
Walk 2 miles/40 miles
*Every other week, I clean a gal's house and that's a 2.5 - 3 hr. workout...

Aquatic Therapy (30 minutes - 15 cardio, 15 general)
Weight Training - Upper Body (30 minutes)
Walk 2 miles/40 minutes

20 Minute Aerobic Bike Workout
Walk 2 miles/40 miles

I move and groove a lot. I do. But, I love it and I am so thankful and blessed that I found (okay, with MAJOR help from hubs!) aquatic therapy that now allows my feet to take a lot of moving, finally!

A few other things:

- I've quit my night owl routine. I used to be up until 1 or 2am and now I go to bed around 10 or 11pm.

- I naturally get up between 6:00-7:00 and often times I wake up even earlier and I think it's just because my energy level is higher.

- I spend probably 50-60% less time on the computer and watching tv because I'd rather be moving now!

- I am very strict with myself because I know I have to be

- I avoid eating out as much as possible but if I do eat out, I choose VERY carefully, ask a lot of questions, request specifics and surprisingly they do what you ask. I'll also get online and look up a restaurant's nutritional information so that I'm well informed before I get there. It's my body. I care about it now and I'll do what I can to stay ahead of the game.
Feel free to ask questions and I'll be happy to answer them the best I can. And of course remember, that we're all different. We all lose weight differently and there are so many different aspects of people's lives that can affect eating and exercise, so I guess it's fair to say that this happens to be working for me and that's the only one I can speak for. :)

Let me tell you...there's nothing I could eat that would make me happier than how I feel now!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pictures speak a thousand words...

Some of my readers have already seen the following progress photos but for those who are reading my blog and don't know me from my scrappy forum, I wanted to also share with you.

So, here's the story behind these photos...

The 2006 photo was taken while on vacation. Hubby took this in front of Turtles on Little Sarasota Bay restaurant while I leaned against a palm tree. I can remember feeling good about myself that day and actually thinking I looked pretty. Looking back now, I think vacation bliss was clouding my reality, lol. Gosh. FYI - I weighed the same weight weight for the last 3 years, so that's why I'm using this photo as a comparable/now photo. When I started this journey in July, I still wore these clothes and was in the 280's...

The 2009 photo was taken this month while also on vacation in Siesta Key, FL (hubby and I's favorite place to vacation!). At that point, I had lost 43 pounds since July 13th (when I started to change my life!). I was having trouble seeing the difference in the mirror even though I had many people telling me they couldn't believe how different I looked (not to mention my measurements were drastically changing, the scale was definitely telling me a different story and my clothes were no longer fitting). I think that alone goes to show how warped our image of ourselves can be after years and years of seeing the same thing looking back at you not to mention the mental torment you put yourself through about your weight. Anyway, the talk of going back to Turtle restaurant and retaking the photo, 3 years later and 43 lbs lighter came to light. So, that's what we did. :)

I have to say that this was really the first time since July that I saw a BIG difference (no pun intended!). I can remember after hubby took the photo, I said "let me see how it looks" I looked at the camera and I couldn't believe that was me. It didn't even look like who I see everyday in the mirror. That night we went to a little place that had wi-fi and I took my photos off my camera. I still couldn't believe it was me that I was looking at. I didn't know who she was or where she came from all of the sudden.

When we came home after vacation, I decided to dig up that old 2006 photo on my external hard drive. I butted them up beside each other in Photoshop Elements and it honestly blew my mind. Wow. This was me...and that used to be me. I definitely saw the difference and what everyone else was talking to me about...finally. I also knew I NEVER wanted to go back to where I was. EVER.

I started this journey on July 13th this summer. I weighed 282 pounds. I'm averaging a 3lb loss per week. Still going strong and on my way to a short-term goal of losing 80 pounds by Christmas/end of December. I think I can do it! NO. I know I can do it and I will. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little (okay, a lot!) about me and why I'm here...

Hi everyone and welcome! :) So happy you're here! If you're new to my blog, you can first read my profile to get a quick background on why I'm here. :) I hope this will be of encouragement and inspiration to any of you who may be/have been in a similar situation whether you deal with chronic pain or are in a weight-loss battle. You are not alone!

So, let me give you a little background. Let's go back to the year 2000. I was 25 years old. I worked a full-time retail job. For those of you who have worked retail, you know that it's an all-day-standing-on-your-feet kind of job. I've worked retail basically since I was 18 aside from a job or two (home health-care billing and I worked in a call center for which I sold computer systems.) Sooo, standing on my feet began to take a toll from all those years (as well as gaining weight I'm sure). I began to go to a podiatrist because I was having severe foot pain, especially when I'd get out of bed in the morning, if I was sitting for a while and would get up and when I'd stand all day, I'd find myself wanting to sit so badly. I was then diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis.

Since 2000, I've done everything imaginable. I have a 3 page document that I've worked up to take to any new specialists/doctors/therapists that I may see which lists (from 2000 to present) every medication I've taken, special foot boots to sleep in, various injections in my toes, ankle, heel etc., several rounds of physical therapy, ESWT (electro-shock wave therapy), specialists I've seen (orthopedic surgeon, cardiologist, neurologist, sports medicine specialist, rheumatologist), compression socks I've worn, shoes I've tried (New Balance come HIGHLY recommended for this condition and I definitely stand by that. The higher the number on the shoe, the better for your foot. Zappos is a GREAT place to find these and they carry WIDE!), icing/de-icing methods, x-rays, MRI's, various diagnoses, EMG tests, blood work, pain clinic appointments and on and on. I finally had surgery in 2005 which did correct my Plantar Fasciitis condition but since my surgery 4years ago, I've had more chronic pain which has lead to being diagnosed with Inter-Digital Neuroma/Neuropathy. This is again, chronic pain but nerve pain in the top/bottom padding of my foot, between my toes as well as having Pitting Edema. Again, 4 years of trying this, that and the other with no relief.

Now, there is much more to be said...but, I'll move on to how this effected my life. As you can imagine, having severe, chronic foot pain certainly limits life's activities. It's caused me to miss many, many shopping trips with my mom (we used to be shop-til-we-drop shoppers!), outings with my sister and my nephews, various events with my cousins who visit from out of town, baseball games that I couldn't deal with sitting that long or walking from parking to the stadium, driving too far without being able to get my foot up, beach walks on vacation (I ADORE the beach but walking on it was murder, so I'd sit in my chair patiently waiting for hubby to come back to see what kind of shells he found. I'd watch him walk until I couldn't see him anymore. Now mind you, just so you know and so you don't think he'd be up and running and leaving me behind, my hubby is THE BEST and I would always tell him "no, you go ahead honey." I never want him to miss out on something just because I couldn't do it and there were many times throughout the years that he would stay with me because he's sweet like that), carrying the laundry/vacuum up and down the stairs became too difficult (hubby has done this for me for several years now), sitting with my feet tucked under me was very painful, I couldn't squat down because the pressure on my forefoot was just too unbearable, walking on uneven grass was excruciating, wearing anything other than my tennis shoes was nearly impossible I could continue this paragraph for another hour, but I won't. I think that's enough. You get it. It wasn't much of a life, really. Sleeping became the only form of relief.

Pain was my middle name. It was my life it seemed. Everything I did was excruciating and sleeping all the time is NOT healthy for anyone's emotional, physical or spiritual well-being. I had gained a lot of my weight starting at the age of 19 after I moved out and into my own place but since 2000, it of course became progressively worse because it was so extremely difficult to do any kind of exercising on my feet...treadmill, elliptical, walking (I could barely go 3 or 4 blocks), name it. Unbearable. Soooo, I did nothing. Well. I did something. I ate. There, I said it. From the time I was 19, food was my comfort. That's 15 years. 15 years.

Let's fast forward to July of this summer. Hubby is involved with a local rehabilitation center and has been for a few years. He had told me that they do a variety of neurological treatments, that they had a therapy pool for clients etc. We had talked about going in to talk with the center to see if they thought any of their services could help my neuropathy and if I'd qualify to be a client. One day when hubby was off work, we went there and talked with the lady he knew. I told her of my condition and within 1 day, I had an appointment set up with the aquatic department and within 3 days, I had my first appointment. I went in to be evaluated and was in the pool that very day. I was given an aquatic routine that would not only help my neuropathy but also get me doing some cardio so that I could lose some of my weight (this was of course one of my concerns that I voiced when I went in for my evaluation). That first day is when my life changed. I can remember driving home and feeling that there may be some hope for me.

That same week, I decided that if I was going to be in the pool, exercising and working on my foot that NOW was the time to also change the way I ate. For good. It honestly just hit me square in the face. I had to do it. This was the time. No excuses. No "dieting" (I've never believed in dieting anyway), no starting on Monday, no starting at the beginning of the month, after the holidays...none of it. I wasn't going to do it anymore and so I started to completely change the way I ate. I changed the way I grocery shopped. I changed the way I thought of food. I changed...for good.

I was so sick of my life at this point. Well, I had been sick of my life for some time. For years. And years. It really didn't seem like living at all. I existed. I felt like I lived in this huge shell and couldn't get out. Thinking of it this very minute floods my mind with emotions but I'm instantly reminded that it's different now. It's changing. I'm changing. I'm getting to know the real me...finally, at 34 years old.

I know it looks a little bare around here but everything is in the beginning stages. I have a few things in my sidebar started and will continue to add other goodies. And yes...I posted my actual weight over there. I still can't believe I did but it is what it is...or was. At the end of each month, I'll post how many pounds I've lost and what my current weight is.

I have progress photos to share with you as well as details of how I'm losing my weight, how I hold myself accountable etc. More to come!