Challenge, Fat, Getting Fit, Health, Inspiration, Opinion, Relationships, Weight, Weight Loss

I can do it, and you can, too – My Journey, The Challenge

If you’re looking for a magic pill, or cream, or something, then you’re in the wrong place.  I’m here to be honest.  It isn’t always easy, although it is simple.  It isn’t an overnight transformation – not the effects on your body, and not the effects on your mind.  You have to be patient with yourself.  You have to forgive yourself – and sometimes you have to forgive other people who may not deserve it.  This is about you.

Best of all, guess what?  It doesn’t have to cost a fortune!  In fact, it doesn’t have to cost much of anything!

Eight weeks ago, I joined a Fitness Challenge group on Facebook which was run by my good friend, Nicole.  I had no access to a gym and no money to buy fancy shakes or programs or supplements. I didn’t even have any sort of equipment.  Nicole announced the challenge and I joined on a whim.  I knew that I needed a change.  I bitterly missed being able to take my camera to local parks.  I missed being autonomous.  I missed being active.  I had no faith in myself. I didn’t even expect to finish the challenge.  Not only did I finish, but I was the points winner!

I started with a free app on my phone called MyFitnessPal and the free thirty day trial of Daily Burn (tablet, smart phone, laptop, smart TV… frickin’ anywhere). It’s only about $13 a month after that, so if you feel like you still need it and you can afford thirteen bucks, keep on with it.  There are a ton of great programs on there, for almost any fitness level.

I chose the True Beginner program, because I had been so stagnate for 6 months.  I wanted all the points available in the challenge, so even though the daily workout is only a half hour, I would do it twice.  At first, I needed hours to rest up in between.  By the time I cancelled my Daily Burn subscription (more on that in a later post), I was doing three of them back to back.

I made myself eat 4 times a day: a breakfast of a scrambled egg on a whole wheat light English muffin or a whole wheat thin bagel. My first snack was a smoothie, every day. I used my old blender – sure, it’s a pain to clean if you aren’t blessed with a dishwasher, but it won’t hurt ya.  The smoothies were just Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt, about a cup of frozen no sugar added fruit, and a handful of veggies and healthy greens, like spinach.  My lunch was a salad.  And no, I haven’t given up my delicious salad dressing.  I use Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard and it is delicious and you can’t take it away from me.  Sometimes I toss a boiled egg in there.  With the yolk.  Yes, you can do that. Dinner, typically, is a protein and a veggie (I’m a diabetic, I try to get my carbs in early, when I know I’ll burn them off.)  I also keep walnuts or cashews around if I need an extra snack – just measure them out.

I want to make this very clear: the amount of money that we spent at the grocery store did not change.  We purchased different items.  Healthier items.  In fact, I eat more now than I did before, and we spend about the same amount of money.  My next post will be be a breakdown of exactly how inexpensive it can be to eat better, healthier food.

After the first four weeks, I wasn’t seeing any results on the scale at all.  It didn’t make sense.  Everybody says, “Calories in, calories out”, right?   Nope.  I cut my insulin by just 4 units, and the scale moved.  Four more, and the measuring tape moved.  By the end of the challenge, I had reduced my total insulin by about 14 units and my blood sugar is not only still controlled – it’s better than it was before I reduced the insulin!  (Please consult your doctor before changing your medication.)

Paul started occasionally working out with me, and then I found a nearby walk/run/bike trail.  We went for a walk on it, which turned into jogging, which turned into training for our first 5k.  As soon as I decided to do the 5k, my knee messed up!  So I spent the last two weeks of the challenge trying to work around a bad knee and finding ways I could work out that wouldn’t require any significant weight-bearing on it.  You can do it, it’s totally possible.

At the end of the challenge, I had lost 6 pounds – and 6.5 inches.  An inch off my waist, an inch off my hips, two inches off my bust (all back fat!) an inch and a half off my thighs and an inch off my arms.

Those results aren’t newsworthy.  They’ll never be featured in a before-and-after advertisement for anything.  But they’re real.  They’re results.  I’ve learned to celebrate every victory: when my morning blood sugar is particularly awesome, the fact that my new workout shorts are a large and not an extra-large, hooking my bra on the smallest hook (which is bitter sweet, bras in my size are expensive!!)

Celebrate everything.  And for the love of all things good and holy, throw out your scale!  It’s not about pounds, it’s about inches.  It’s about how your clothes fit, it’s about how you feel when you look in the mirror.  It’s about being healthy, about loving yourself, and about treating yourself and your body with respect.

Start now.  Start today.  Take this journey with me.  Get off the couch, get off your phone.  Get your shoes on, and get moving.  It doesn’t matter where you start, or how slow you are.  Stop being intimidated by all the B.S. that you see online – you don’t need that.  Take a walk, eat a salad.  Build from there.

I can do it, and you can, too.

Tell me your story in the comments below, or find me on Facebook!

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Born Fat
Fat, Health, Inspiration, Opinion, Relationships, Weight, Weight Loss

Backstory – a LOT of it – My Journey to Wellness

Backstory

I was born fat.  Well, that’s what I tell people in my more self-deprecating moments.  The truth is, though, I was.  I was born weighing 9lbs, 13.5oz. My poor mom, she didn’t have any meds for that, either.  She’s an amazing, strong woman.

Born Fat

Born Fat

Born Fat

Born Fat

My parents divorced when my age was still in the single digits, and my brother and I continued to live with my father and grandmother, both of whom were emotionally abusive toward me.

I started developing breasts in about third grade, and I stopped growing in fifth grade, topping out at a massive 5’3” tall.  Oh, and I weighed about 180 pounds.

Middle School

Middle School

Elementary School

Elementary School

Elementary School

Elementary School

Middle School

Middle School – that’s my mom beside me.

I was a nerd, I loved to read.  I was an introvert, with few friends.  I was shy and not at all confident.  I didn’t have many friends, I didn’t speak to people.  I didn’t get involved in anything.  Even when I expressed an interest in joining something that would get me out of the house, my dad would tell me that I had to find my own way there.  He wouldn’t drive me.  It was about this time that he began to tell me things like, “You know, if you spent as much time losing weight as you do on books, you might be a pretty girl.”  He fed me garbage, drowning in Country Crock or other grease.  He had the, “eat what I make or don’t eat” mentality.  I learned quickly to skip meals, sneaking Little Debbie snack cakes or potato chips late at night when I wouldn’t be caught.

I didn’t know what healthy food was.  I didn’t know how to eat healthy, and even if I had known, I couldn’t have changed my eating on my own.  The support never would have been there.  It was my fault that I was fat, but I was given absolutely no tools with which to combat that.

I began to lose weight going into Junior High and High School.  The weight that I had was redistributed.  I never got smaller than chubby, though.  It is my belief that I developed Type 2 diabetes sometime in that period, although I wouldn’t be diagnosed until later.

I have few actual memories of middle school.  Bits and pieces of memories that I can dig up, though, lead me to believe that I may have been sexually abused by an adult relative then, as well.  I do not believe that abuse included rape, but that time frame is such a black hole of memories, I can’t rule it out.

Junior High Academic Reception

Junior High Academic Reception

Senior Picture

Senior Picture

I got married the first time when I was 19 years old.  He was an idiot, and I didn’t think I could do any smarter.  I continued to lose weight, but I didn’t DO anything to lose weight, it melted off me.  I didn’t question it, why look a gift horse in the mouth, right?  I didn’t know that unexplained weight loss is a major sign of diabetes.  All I knew was that I looked hot.

Early Twenties

Early Twenties

Early Twenties

Early Twenties

That marriage lasted about five years.  It was plagued by sexual dysfunction because of my body image issues, abuse issues, and the diabetes that was, unbeknownst to me, waging war with my body.

I immediately found myself in another (emotionally abusive) relationship.  While preparing to get married for the second time, a routine eye doctor appointment ended with me sitting in a doctor’s office with a diagnosis of diabetes at the age of 25 and 140 pounds.  My blood sugar level was over 350 (normal is 80-120) and I had diabetic retinopathy in both eyes (I’ve had 3 laser surgeries on one eye, and two on the other.  I’ll never be able to see at a 20/20 level, even with corrective lenses.)  I was placed on medication – Avandamet – and sent on my way.

I gained 30 pounds in about two weeks.

I had immediately given up the sugary soft drinks.  There was a lovely park nearby that I walked every day.  I walked for hours at a time, just to maintain my weight leading up to the wedding.  My favorite jeans were getting tight, and I felt powerless to stop it.

Despite being active, I continued to gain weight.  Over the years, I eventually topped out around 230 pounds.

230 Pounds

230 Pounds

A change in my medication for diabetes allowed me to lose about 50 of those pounds. Victoza not only functions as an appetite suppressant, but it has some hefty gastrointestinal side effects.  That change meant that I was taking not one, not two, but THREE medications for Type 2 diabetes, as well as some to control my blood pressure.

I graduated from a local community college with my AAS in Paralegal Studies.  Then I graduated from Wright State University with my BA in International Studies: Research and Intelligence Analysis, with a minor in French. I woke up.  I left the emotionally abusive relationship that I had been tethered to for ten years.  I met the most amazing, supportive, wonderful man.

At the ocean with Paul

At the ocean with Paul

I was happy, but my abusive ex wasn’t done with me. I am trusting.  I want to see the best in people.  So when my ex said that my precious little blue Mini Cooper could stay in his name, so that I wouldn’t have to refinance for a much higher payment, I went with it. And then this past October, he had it repossessed.  I have been unemployed and stuck at home 8-10 hours every day, all winter.  I tried a number of pursuits to keep myself busy and earn money, but got nowhere with anything.  I was sedentary, I was depressed, I was frustrated, I was discouraged, I was beaten down and broken. I was 183 pounds.

Stay tuned for what I did, the changes I’ve made, and the steps that I am taking.

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Fresh Fruit and Veggie Corner
Challenge, Fat, Getting Fit, Health, Inspiration, Money, Opinion, Relationships, Weight, Weight Loss

Excuse #1 – “But it’s sooooo expensive to eat healthy.”

Excuse #1 – “But it’s sooooo expensive to eat healthy.”

Nope.  I call BS.  Nor is it all that time consuming.  Let me break this down for you.

My breakfast is less than $1.00 per person, per day.

My lunch is less than $3.00 per person, per day.

My dinner is less than $2.00 per person, per day.

You can eat healthy for less than $6.00 per person, per day.   How?  Like this:

For breakfast, I make frittatas.  Sounds more complicated than it is.  I use 10 eggs ($1.50 a dozen), about 3/4 pound of lean, ground turkey (we get it from Sam’s Club, $12.95 gets you 16 servings), some mini sweet peppers (2lb bag for $5), fresh zucchini (about a buck a pound), onion (I don’t even know. Cheap.) and about half a sweet potato (usually well under a buck a pound).   That gets you about 18 standard muffin-sized frittatas and it takes less than an hour, start to finish.  Toss ’em in your fridge and then reheat in the morning.  I have one, the boyfriend has two.  Each frittata will costs you less than a quarter.  The bulk of our breakfast expense comes in the form of whole wheat English muffins.  Yum.  And still only about .50 cents a piece.  Each frittata is about 80 calories. The English muffin is about 100.

My lunch is a salad.  I buy a two pound container of a 50/50 spinach and baby greens blend for $5.00.  Add my zucchini, cucumber, sweet peppers, and sometimes a boiled egg.  And my Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard!  Around $3.00/day.   Cut your veggies up at the beginning of the week and prep time is a snap!  My average salad is around 300 calories.

Dinner is the least expensive meal that we have.  We got all our protein at Sam’s.  We purchased a pork loin for $15.35 that makes 26 portions (that’s .59 cents per person), chicken breast for $11.78 that makes 20 meals ( .59 cents per person) and the lean ground turkey I mentioned above, at $12.95 for 16 portions, (.81 cents per person).  I buy frozen vegetables at around $1.00 per bag and make about half a bag with each meal.  Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, and etc.  As a diabetic, I try to make my dinners as low-card as possible.  But you could get sweet potatoes or corn or whatever else if that isn’t a concern for you.  Dinners come in around 250-300 calories, depending on my protein cooking method.

We eat a piece of fruit before breakfast, an apple or a banana.  Then we go to the gym.  We a Nature Valley Protein Bar as a post workout snack (about .65 cents each).

The key is portioning.  Measure your servings.  Only make enough for a meal.  Use something like MyFitnessPal to track everything that you put in your mouth.  All of it.  Make sure you’re eating enough calories for your activity level – not too many and not too few.  Enough.

Is organic and all of that healthier?  Yes, of course it is!  But just because you can’t afford organic DOES NOT  mean that you can’t eat healthy foods!  The internet is so intimidating sometimes.  It makes you think that you have to buy organic this and superfoods that.  You don’t. Start where you are.  Start with what you have.  Start with what you can do.

And whatever you do, do not tell me that it is too expensive to eat healthy and then go and buy hamburger!  Every lean meat source out there is cheaper than cow right now.   Except maybe fish.

If you need help with portion control, or maybe you feel like you need some additional structure, there are programs that help with that.  They aren’t as inexpensive, but they’ll help give you the tools you need to be successful.  Toss me a note in the comments if you feel like this is you.  My friend, Nicole, can help!

I’d also like to invite you to join a fitness challenge on Facebook!

Do you need a little extra motivation to workout and eat right? Do you benefit from accountability, healthy competition, and a challenge? Would you like to have all of that in a safe, private, and supportive online environment? Then join our next fitness challenge, starting May 4th!

A little over 2 months ago, Nicole Cline started a fitness challenge group that changed my life. I’ve lost 11 pounds, and over 9 inches. My super-handsome boyfriend, Paul, has lost 22 pounds – and he wasn’t even part of the group!

This time, I’m co-hosting the challenge! So hit me up for the details if you’d like to be annoyed by me every day. Come on… You know you wanna!  Find me at www.facebook.com/christie78.

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Uncategorized

Talk to Me

Women notoriously have the “me last” philosophy and it is difficult for many of us to make the decision to act for ourselves.  We feel guilty, selfish, maybe even greedy for doing so.  I had no idea I was this bad about it, until I started this challenge.  And I HATE working out.  I don’t even enjoy the things I’m feeling guilty about!

For the past three weeks, I have felt beaten down, stressed out, guilty, ashamed, ugly, fat, selfish… Anything but healthy or on the right track.  I want to give up Every Single Day.  I want to eat a box of hostess cakes Every Single Day.  I want to just stop and crawl back in bed Every Single Day.  And do you know why I don’t?  Because if I complete the challenge or if I don’t, if I get healthy or if I don’t… either way, I am letting someone (who isn’t me) down.  I understand, intellectually, that that isn’t true.  But my god, it feels that way.

As an introvert, my circle of people I am comfortable talking to is extremely small.  Like, two people: Best friend and boyfriend.  I’m not going to go to anyone else.  I’m not going to make myself a burden to anyone else.  I’m difficult enough for the people who say that they love me.

The best friend can’t understand it.  She just can’t.  The girl is twenty-five years old and doesn’t really have any obligations to anyone except herself.

The boyfriend doesn’t understand, or won’t understand.  Or says that he understands, but if he did… if he really did… he’d say different things.   It’s not that he doesn’t support me, he bought me all sorts of stuff to help me, and he doesn’t ever say anything to make me feel bad about it.  It’s just that he doesn’t get it or doesn’t have time for it or whatever.

So, if you’re reading this, leave me a comment.  Share your own story with me.  Show me that I’m not alone here, that it’s at least somewhat normal to feel like this.  And tell me how you got past it.

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Pushing Through

Sometimes the medications I take for my diabetes make me nauseous.  That has been the past couple of days for me.  I know, though, that the only way I can stop taking them is by pushing through and doing my workout, anyway.

So,  I signed up for the free 30-day trial of Daily Burn. It will stream to EVERYTHING.  Samsung SmartTV, Chrome cast,  kindle fire, playstation, XBox, Android, Apple…  You name it.   Kind of brilliant.  I’m doing the 8-week True Beginner program and it kicked my butt today.  My ego is very, very bruised now.

As promised, here is what I look like right now. I’m 5’3″ and I wear a size 14. 

image

Yes, I am wearing purple socks. And yes, I have blue flannel penguin sheets on my bed.  Deal with it. I kind of look like a hobbit. It’s hard to take a full-body selfie. :-/

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Challenge

I am, starting yesterday, participating in an 8 week fitness challenge organized by my friend, Nicole.  Nicole is an amazing motivator, an inspiration, and just a great upbeat and positive person. I am excited for this challenge, excited to see where the next 8 weeks takes me, excited to build new and healthy habits.  I’ve decided to blog my journey. I need the accountability. I need to make it public. And when I am successful, I want to be an inspiration; to myself and to all of you.

My starting stats are:

image

I’ll add here that my last A1c was a whopping 9.1.  My goal is to get that down to 6, and reduce/eliminate my insulin (that will still leave me on 2 different diabetes medications).

I’ll post some pictures later, after a shower. I’m going to be as transparent about this as possible; as open as possible. It’s going to be a real struggle for me, because working out just ain’t my thing. I’m going to do it. And I’m going to prove that ANYONE can do it.

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Ignition

My ex-husband once said to me, “If I can’t take it out on you, who can I take it out on?” I feel like we’ve created a culture of that. We express that same sentiment to our loved ones every day – not in words, but by our actions. We go to work, and we give our jobs the best of ourselves. The prime hours of our days, the prime days of our weeks, the prime years of our lives.

And we come home to our loved ones, and we’re stressed out and exhausted from spending all of our energy at jobs that we hate. And our loved ones are there, also stressed and also exhausted. And we spend so much time doing what we hate, that we have no time for what we love.

We’re too caught up in our stress and exhaustion to turn to each other. To find our passion for each other. To love each other. And we forget, in the mud of our own humanity, how energizing those things are. We neglect, in the name of stress and exhaustion, the very things that might just ignite our souls again.

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