Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is Coming, the Goose Is Getting Fat...

but I'm not! I know it's not Tuesday yet, but I weighed in this morning at 370 lbs. That's a total loss of 35 lbs! I was so excited I just had to share. To be honest, I was a little surprised that I had lost 5 lbs over the past week. It's not that I've been "bad" per se, but with the weather being uncooperative and having no car (my car was killed by two trees during the ice storm last week) I haven't gone out to exercise in over a week now. I've also been indulging in a nightly cup of cocoa (good stuff, not sugar-free, although I've been making it with skim milk) and having a couple cookies with my cocoa (we're baking with whole wheat flour this year.) As far as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day go, I'm planning to enjoy myself and eat what I want. However, we are trying to plan a healthy menu, and we are drastically cutting down on the amount of baking we're doing this year so we don't end up with several weeks' worth of cookies to eat. So it won't be as bad as it could be.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Tis the Season to Get Really Stressed

My holiday season started out well. Despite having been out of work since April, I was able to get or make holiday gifts for my immediate family and closest friends. Maybe not as many as in the past or as extravagant, but nice gifts nonetheless. Being laid off from my previous job in retail has meant that I haven't had to fight my way through the holiday traffic or deal with all the surly holiday shoppers who blame you when the gift they have to get Uncle Bubba or Cousin Lurlene is sold out everywhere. I was also generally able to avoid the malls by doing most of my shopping online. As of last week, my shopping was done, my gifts were all wrapped, all that was left was some decorating and cooking for get-togethers. Just when I thought I'd have a relatively stress-free holiday season, Mother Nature had to step in and mix things up a bit. We had an ice storm this past Thursday night into Friday morning that brought down 7 or 8 trees in our yard, two of which landed on my car. I'm still waiting to for the damage appraisal from the shop and praying that the car is fixable, as I cannot afford to buy a new car right now if my baby is declared totaled. We've also been without power for 5 days with no idea when it will come back on. We do have a generator, so we have heat, the ability to cook using one burner at a time, and limited running water. There was no damage to the house and no one in my family was hurt, and I'm thankful for that. The diet challenges I'm facing right now in relation to this situation are: 1. Trying to cook and eat healthy meals when my ability to cook is hampered by power limitations (we're either making one-pot meals or eating meals in courses, cooking the second course as we eat the first.); 2. Trying not to let the stress of the situation result in emotional eating, which has always been a problem for me in the past. I must be doing something right, though: I weighed in this morning at 375 lbs, 1 pound less than last week, for a total loss of 30 lbs. Although, after all this stress, I think I deserve a drink!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quick Update (Because I'm Tired) and Christmas Cookies

Why am I so tired? From cleaning the house, putting up lights and decorations outside, and painting the upstairs bathroom for the second time this year (Mom and I repainted in May to cover the holes Dad accidentally made in the wall, but the paint, which was supposed to be rust-colored, actually showed orange on the wall. We lived with it for 6 months, and then Mom decided she'd had enough. It's peach now.) My knees have been really sore all week. But I guess it was really good exercise, because I weighed in today at 376 lbs. That's 10 lbs down from where I was last week, for a total loss of 29 lbs. Yahoo!

Christmas in my family is a pretty low-key affair. We used to have anywhere between 12 and 20 people at our house for dinner, but the past few years it's just been my immediate family. Since all 5 of us are now dieting, we're not going to do much baking this year, but I was able to get a virtual cookie fix by watching a bunch of holiday cooking specials on the Food Network. I'm not going to completely give up cookies this Christmas, but I'll try to be more sensible about them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting Back on Track and Rethinking Motivation

It's time once again for the monthly measurement update. I looked back at the previous updates recently and realized that the way I was typing it in ended up looking rather confusing once the update was posted, so from now on I'm only going to post the total difference for each measurement and ignore the start and current measurements. This is not due to some sudden sense of shame about my measurements, just an attempt to make my blog posts easier to read (it would be so much easier if I could just copy and paste the Excel spreadsheet I created to keep track of my progress.) So here's where I stand now:
Weight: total loss (tl) 19 lbs (up a few lbs, mostly due to Thanksgiving.)
Bust: tl 2.75 inches
Waist: tl 1.5 inches
Abdomen: tl 1.5 inches
Hips: tl 1.5 inches
Thigh: tl 0.25 inches (this measurement has gone up since last month because the staff at Curves has started measuring at a higher, and therefore wider, part of the thigh.)
Upper Arm: tl 0.5 inches
BMI: tl 2.9 points (this is also up since last month, simply because my weight went back up as well.)

I went through most of November with a feeling of apathy, and that apathy bled over into my weight loss, giving me that "honeymoon's over" feeling which always sets in at some time when I diet. I started missing certain foods and eating more of the "allowed" foods to compensate. I also allowed myself to exercise less, making excuses about being too busy or too tired or not feeling well. However, one good thing I did was to start listening to the Inside Out Weight Loss podcast presented by Renee Stephens. I've only listened to the first couple episodes so far, but I think it's already helping. The first few episodes focus on motivation, and she breaks motivation down into two types: away-from motivation and towards motivation. I've rethought and expanded on the reasons why I'm doing this and what I want to achieve.
What am I trying to get away from by losing weight?
1. Bad habits related to food, such as eating late at night, eating more than I need, secret eating (hiding junk food and eating it when there's no one else to see me), emotional eating (eating because I'm happy, or depressed, or angry, or anxious, or bored; basically eating for any reason other than hunger.)
2. The general difficulties associated with being a large person, such as finding clothing that fits properly, not being sure whether the seat belt in someone's car will fit me, climbing stairs, standing and/or walking for any length of time, fitting into non-handicapped public toilet stalls, getting up from sitting on the floor or on a low seat, getting into and out of smaller cars and the backseats of most cars, especially 2-door cars, and not being able to fit into airplane seats, theater seats, booths at restaurants, and most chairs with arms, especially plastic chairs.
3. The embarrassment associated with several of the items in #2.
4. Loneliness: being perpetually single doesn't bother me most of the time, but I do get lonely sometimes and most guys aren't interested in dating and getting intimate with a woman my size.
5. Ostracism: I usually don't let other people's opinions about my size bother me, but sometimes the derisive laughter and cruel comments made by ignorant jerks can be hurtful.
6. Visibility: sometimes I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me due to my weight, especially when I'm at a pool or the beach.
7. Invisibility: sometimes I feel practically invisible despite my size, such as when I'm at a party where, even though I'm dressed as nicely as everyone else, I still get snubbed because of my weight. I can't tell you how many times this has happened: a man and I are approaching the same door, he reaches it before I do but goes through ahead of me without bothering to hold the door for me. Maybe these guys are jerks to everybody, but I'm sure at least some of them would've held the door for a skinny woman. Another time, I was leaving a store and was in the crosswalk outside. Some jerk in a van pulled into the crosswalk right in front of me, blocking my progress, and stopped to let someone else cross (this other person wasn't even close to the crosswalk at the time), forcing me to go around.
What do I want to move towards by losing weight?
1. I would like to cultivate a healthy relationship with food.
2. I would like to be able to travel more, and more easily.
3. I would like to have more options for buying clothes. I think there are lots more great options for plus-size clothing now than there were five years ago, but there are also lots of great clothes out there that don't come in plus sizes.
4. I would like to be more confident.
Why is it so much easier to figure out what you don't want than what you do want?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Dietbusters and Better Choices

My, how out-of-touch I've been lately! I've been allowing myself to be lazy: I haven't gone to Curves at all this month and I'm not keeping track of what I'm eating very well. Add to that the food fest that is Thanksgiving, and it's no surprise that I'm back up to 384 lbs. Why do so many holidays revolve around food? Chocolate on Valentine's Day, corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, cookouts on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, more chocolate on Halloween, and, of course, turkey with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving. This year, we tried to create a healthier Thanksgiving dinner, since my entire immediate family is now dieting. The turkey is fine, as are the veggies (we had asparagus and beets), but the stuffing and potatoes can be dietbusters when prepared in the traditional way. This year, we made our stuffing from high-fiber wholegrain bread and we added lots of onion, celery, and apple to it to give it even more fiber, so it wasn't as bad as it could've been. We had sweet potatoes, which are better for you than white potatoes, and instead of drowning them in marshmallows and maple syrup, we tossed them in olive oil, seasoned them with garlic, cumin, and paprika, and broiled them. We had 2 varieties of cranberry sauce: one was my sister's homemade sauce, which has less sugar than storebought, and the other was a combination of the homemade sauce, crushed pineapple, chopped apples and walnuts, and sugar-free raspberry gelatin. My sister insisted on making mashed potatoes, and unfortunately there's not much you can do to make them better, although she did make them with fat-free milk. So our dinner wasn't as bad as it could be, although we all still ate more than we needed to. And even though dinner wasn't too bad, our Thanksgiving breakfast, which has become a tradition in my family, was filled with dietbusters, even though we tried to make it a little healthier. We had an egg-and-bread strata with sausage (again, we used high-fiber bread), belgian waffles (we used topped them with berries and fat-free Cool Whip instead of syrup), bacon (Canadian instead of regular), hash brown patties, and chocolate-chip quick bread. Well, I enjoyed the food, and I was back on the diet the next day, and now I have just under a month to stay on track and make some headway before the Christmas splurge.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Lost Week (or Two)

It's been well over a week since I last blogged, and it's been quite an up-and-down ride. Last week I was menstruating and the hormonal imbalance was wreaking havoc with me. I didn't exercise at all last week, and this week I only went to water aerobics twice. I haven't been to Curves at all in the past two weeks, except last Tuesday to get measured. Remember those maple Wicked Whoopies I had in my freezer? Last Tuesday after blogging I broke down and ate two of them. They hadn't even thawed out completely. I'm surprised I didn't get sick. Then on Saturday we had a birthday party for my dad and I had gingerbread with lots of frosting. This time I did get sick the next day. This past Tuesday I went to a job fair and had a very unsettling interview for a job I really want (planning special events for the local baseball team) and my disappointment in how the interview went made me mildly depressed. I happened to find 2 boxes of Anna's wafer cookies in my closet that I had purchased last year. They were stale by this time, but I ate them anyway. I haven't been writing down what I've been eating. I'd been feeling very unmotivated up to yesterday. The surprising thing is that, even through this whole crazy period, I still managed to have a couple achievements. The first achievement: I have a couple bras that I mail-ordered last year. They didn't fit, but I never got around to returning them. On Tuesday I tried one on, and it actually fit! The second achievement: I finally weighed in on Thursday, and I weighed 377.5 lbs, which is a total weight loss of 27.5 lbs! Imagine where I would be if I hadn't gone crazy over the past ten days. So, in order to get back on track, I've started listening to the Inside Out Weight Loss podcast, and over the next few weeks and months, as I get caught up with the podcast, I will be using this blog to do the exercises (mental exercises, that is) that the presenter, Renee Stephens, recommends. Just from listening to the first episode I can tell that these exercises should help.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two-Month Update

Do I look any different yet? I don't see much difference, but then again, it's only been 25 lbs. Here's where I am now:

Monthly Weight and Mesasurements
9/2/2008 11/4/2008 Difference
Weight 405 380 25
Bust 60.5 59 1.5
Waist 60.5 59.5 1
Abdomen 64.5 63 1.5
Hips 64.5 63.5 1
Thigh 32.5 32 0.5
Upper Arm 18 18 0
BMI 61.6 57.8 3.8

So as you can see, I am still making progress, although there are a couple measurements which are not progressing as much as others. My weight, for example: I've been bouncing around the 25-pound mark for the past few weeks. In addition, I regained the half-inch this month that I had lost from my arms and thighs last month. But as you can see, my BMI (Body Mass Index) has gone sown a total of 3.8 points in 2 months. This means that my body is made up of more muscle and less fat than it was 2 months ago, which can help to explain the increased arm and thigh measurements and "stalled" weight loss.

I'm trying to still make good choices, although I am also allowing myself a treat now and then. When I do allow myself a treat, I try to be as sensible as possible about it. For example, my mom and I started a water aerobics class last week at the local Y. During the first class, the instructor told us that there would be a potluck party after the next class, and that we were welcome to come. We made roll-up sandwiches using whole-grain lavash bread, Thin&Trim ham and turkey, low-fat cheese, and greens. Someone brought sweet'n'sour meatballs, someone else brought barbecued chicken wings, and everyone else brought some form of dessert. I had some of the non-dessert items first, and then I thought very carefully about which dessert items I wanted. I had a mini-cupcake, a mini cheesecake, a toffee bar, and a small piece of cinnamon crumbcake (which I liked so much that I had another little piece.) I counted this as my mid-day meal, and had a light dinner, so I really didn't set myself back very much. And I was very good on Halloween, I only had one Reese's cup, and then we brought all the leftover candy to the neighbor's house. I'm hoping that I can continue to be sensible through the upcoming holidays, as I'd like to reach my first mini-goal of 40 lbs. before the end of the year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Honeymoon's Over

OK, so I've been on this diet now for almost 2 months and as of today I've lost 26 lbs., but I'm starting to feel my motivation lessen. I'm not at the point where I'm thinking about giving up, but I find myself thinking about cheating alot. Just the other day I was heading to the hospital to visit my dad, and I was going to stop at Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee for him and Wendy's to get salads for my mom and I for lunch. I was feeling hungry, and I was seriously thinking about getting a jelly donut and french fries to eat on the way to the hospital. I was smart, though -- I had a Laughing Cow light cheese before I left the house so I didn't cheat. So I guess what I need to do now is find some ways to stay motivated. I found a couple podcasts on iTunes that may be helpful. One is called Inside Out Weight Loss and the other is the Nutrition Diva's Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous. I'm also planning to create a motivation journal/scrapbook that I can look through when I need to remember why I'm doing this.

Tune in next week for another measurement update, and don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Step in the Right Direction

I weighed in today at 381 lbs., which puts my total weight loss at 24 lbs. Basically, this puts me back where I was 2 weeks ago. This is what I hate about setbacks: you work hard to lose the weight, then you slip and gain a bit back, and it usually takes longer to lose it again than it did to gain it. On the plus side, I was able to lose 5 lbs this week even with a splurge: Belgian chocolate and cupcakes on Saturday night.

Next week I'll be starting a water aerobics class that will last until the week before Christmas. The class is Mon-Wed-Fri, and I'll go to Curves on Tues-Thurs, so I'll be exercising at least 5 times a week for the next 2 months. This will not only help to jumpstart the weightloss for the next 2 months, it will help me stay on track for most of the holiday season and help me recover easier from splurges.

Only 2 more weeks until my next measurement update!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Slight Stumble

I know, I promised updates every Tuesday, and here it is Wednesday, and I'm a day late with my update. I was just too tired to get online last night, especially with the Red Sox getting trampled by the Rays in Game 4 of the ALCS. But that's beside the point. Anyway, I did get weighed yesterday, even though I didn't blog, and I weighed in at 385 lbs. I gained 4.5 lbs last week. Bummer! I know why it happened, though. I slipped back into some bad habits last week: I wasn't exercising, I wasn't drinking enough water, and even though I was eating right I was eating late at night because my sleep schedule was all fouled up. I also had a whoopie pie on Saturday. See, I love whoopie pies, and the local grocery store stocks Wicked Whoopies, which are the best whoopie pies in the world. I've been able to resist them so far, but this weekend the store actually had the maple whoopies, which 1. they don't usually have, and 2. are my favorite flavor. So I bought 5, which was all they had. I know that sounds bad, but I didn't eat them all, which is what I would've done before starting this diet (I would've strung the 5 whoopies out over 2 or 3 days, but still.) This time, I ate one, and I really enjoyed it, and then I froze the other 4. So next time I get a craving for a maple whoopie pie I can defrost one and have my little maple moment. So on one hand, I feel that I've progressed in the sense that I was able to have a little splurge without completely blowing my diet. On the other hand, I know that I didn't do as well this week as I could've. So my goals for this week are to drink more water, exercise more often, and get my sleep schedule under control so I'm not eating late at night anymore.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Triumphs of the Past Week

Triumph #1: I went out to lunch with my best friend this past week. We went to a local Japanese restaurant, and I had miso soup and a bento box with salmon, chicken, and plenty of vegetables. I did not have rice. I actually told the waitress not to even bring my rice (she looked at me like I had two heads.) I believe that the easiest way to avoid temptation is to remove it completely.

Triumph #2: After lunch, we went to the movies. I used to get popcorn smothered in butter, spicy curly fries, and a large blue raspberry slushie. Not very healthy. This time I had absolutely nothing. Of course, we had just eaten a nice, healthy lunch, so I wasn't hungry, and that certainly helped me to avoid giving in to the temptation of the concession stand.

Triumph #3: I've dropped a pant size!

Triumph #4: I lost another 5 lbs. this week, putting my current weight at 380.5 lbs. and my total weight loss so far at 24.5 lbs. That's 10% of what I want to lose. Only 220.5 lbs to go!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First Month Results

So, it's been a month since I started my new, healthy lifestyle. Here's where I stand now:

9/2/2008 10/2/2008 Difference
Weight 405 385.5 19.5
Bust 60.5 60.5 0
Waist 60.5 60.5 0
Abdomen 64.5 62.75 1.75
Hips 64.5 64 0.5
Thigh 32.5 31.5 1
Upper Arm 18 17.5 0.5
BMI 61.6 58.6 3

I'm not yet seeing much of a difference, either when I look in the mirror or when I compare this picture with my start picture, but I am starting to feel a difference. It's getting easier to move around, and my clothes are fitting better, especially my pants. The best thing so far is the effect losing weight and exercising is having on my knees. Being so heavy for so long, and working many jobs that had me on my feet, has put a great deal of stress on my knees, and I started getting arthritic symptoms in my left knee a couple years ago. But over the past month, my knees have been feeling better and better and have regained some of their strength and flexibility. I can actually walk up the stairs like a normal person now!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday Repercussions

Well, my birthday was this weekend and I splurged, as I had been planning to do. I had wine with dinner and cake afterwards, and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, it caused me to lose a little ground. I weighed in this morning at 391 lbs., which means I gained back 7 lbs. (some of that weight gain is due to menstrual issues.) So I've gone back on Phase 1 for the next week to undo the damage.

Thursday will be a month since I started, and I'll be getting measured again. I'll post my updated measurements then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Update

I've lost 3 more pounds! I weighed in this morning at 384 lbs, for a total loss of 21 lbs. Not bad so far! My weight loss is starting to slow down, which is normal at this stage. Most people show significant weight loss over the first week or two of any diet, but then the weekly weight loss slows to an average of 2 lbs per week. This is normal and also very healthy -- if you lose weight too fast, you're more likely to: 1. lose muscle as well as or instead of fat; and 2. regain that weight much more easily if you go back to an unhealthy diet. So I'm not too worried about my weight loss slowing down. My focus right now will be on continuing to eat properly while doing whatever I can to keep my metabolism up, such as making sure I drink enough water and get enough exercise. I've got a good start under my belt, but there's still a long way to go.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Second Weigh-In and Starting Phase 2

Two weeks down, and I weighed in this morning at 387 lbs. That means I lost 5 lbs this past week and have lost a total of 18 lbs since starting the diet. I'm almost halfway to my first mini-goal of 40 lbs! Today is also the first day of Phase 2, which means I can start eating fruit, yogurt, and grain products again. Yay! I celebrated by stopping at the farm on the way home from Curves and buying myself a nice, juicy, sweet-tart Honey Crisp apple. And we're having raspberries for dessert. The trick with Phase 2 is to re-introduce fruits and grains a little at a time, and to only eat fruits that are lower in sugar and higher in fiber, and whole grains that are high in fiber and protein. I figure I'll start by adding in 2 servings of carbs a day, probably 1 serving of fruit as a snack and 1 serving of grains with dinner (I'm having 2 servings of fruit today because I didn't have any grain.) I can increase the amounts later if I want, as long as I continue to lose weight. If the weight loss stalls, then I'll know I have to cut back a little. I can also go back in Phase 1 from time to time if I need a weight-loss boost, such as when I hit a plateau (this always happens eventually) or if I plan a splurge, like on my birthday. That flexibility is one of the things I like about South Beach.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How to Eat Well While Dieting (Recipes Included)

My time on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is almost over. For those of you not familiar with South Beach, Phase 1 is the strictest phase of the diet: no fruit, no grain products of any kind (including rice, pasta, bread, cereals, or anything made with flour), no dairy products other than low-fat cheese (although I have been drinking a little milk every day, I can't live without milk), no real sugar or syrups of any kind, and no starchy or sugary vegetables such as corn, potatoes, or carrots. So, what is allowed on Phase 1? Low-fat proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean cuts of pork and beef, and eggs; low-fat cheeses; legumes (while legumes are high in total carbs, most of those carbs are dietary fiber, which makes the net carb load of legumes very low); most vegetables (other than the afore-mentioned starchy/sugary veggies); and healthy oils such as olive oil. Sounds a little boring, doesn't it? The trick is to be as creative as possible with the ingredients which you are allowed. Thankfully, herbs and spices are free and can be used whenever you want. So it's not really as bad as it sounds. I've been researching recipes and turning to other cultures for culinary inspiration (my World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey has been a treasure trove!) and occasionally I've thrown something together that ended up being really tasty. Here are a few of the recipes I've come up with:

Seasoned Grilled Veggies

2 large or 3 small zucchini
2 large or 3 small summer squash
1 lb whole mushrooms (button or baby bella)
1 large sweet onion
olive oil
garlic powder
mixed Italian herb seasoning

Wash and cut up the zucchini and summer squash into 1-inch pieces. Clean the mushrooms and halve or quarter them, depending on size. Peel the onion and cut into chunks. Put the cut vegetables into a large plastic container. Add just enough olive oil to coat the veggies and season to taste with the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Heat a grill wok over a gas or charcoal grill. Spray the wok with non-stick spray, add the veggies, and allow them to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender but not mushy. NOTE: if you do not have a grill wok or some other way of cooking cut veggies on the grill, you could saute the veggies on the stove or roast them in the oven under the broiler.

Chickpea and Artichoke Salad

1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Cannelini beans could also be used)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 red or orange sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar (red or white)
mixed Italian herb seasoning
salt (optional)
honey (optional)

Combine chickpeas (or Cannelini beans) and veggies. Mix together the oil and vinegar and season to taste with the Italian seasoning and salt (I usually use about 1/2 tsp of the seasoning and a dash of salt); if the dressing is too sharp, add a little honey to mellow the flavor (no more than 1/4 tsp.) Pour the dressing over the beans and veggies and mix well (you may not need all the dressing -- store any unused dressing in a container in the fridge.) Salad may be eaten as is, but for a real taste treat, try this: Rinse and dry a large, crisp, Romaine leaf. Spread 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb cheese on the Romaine and top with 1/2 cup of the salad.

Quick Spinach Egg-Drop Soup

1 can light chicken or vegetable broth
1 generous handful of fresh spinach, washed & trimmed (chop it if you feel the need to do so)
1 or 2 eggs, beaten, or an equivalent amount of egg substitute

Combine the broth and spinach in a saucepan and cook until the broth is heated through. Just before serving, stir in the beaten egg and cook for approximately 30 seconds. NOTE: For a heartier version, break up 1 package of Ramen noodles and cook them in the broth with the spinach (throw away the seasoning packet from the noodles -- Ramen noodle seasonings are loaded with sodium!) Add the eggs once the noodles are done. This version is not South Beach friendly, but it's very nice when you have a cold.

Roasted Garlic Beans

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 can Great Northern beans (or any other small white beans), drained but not rinsed
1 cup light chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp roasted garlic puree
mixed Italian herb seasoning
salt (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)

In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion until soft. Add the beans, broth, and roasted garlic puree. Allow the liquid to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced. Season to taste with the Italian herbs and salt; for a little kick, add red pepper flakes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Weigh-In (Drumroll Please!)

So, the first week of my diet is over. I weighed in this morning at 392 lbs, a loss of 13 lbs! Yay! What a great start! I know that my weekly weight loss will start to slow down now and I still have a long way to go, but it's very heartening to see that I am making progress in the right direction.

I feel like I've eaten very well this first week and I haven't really felt deprived at all. That's one of the reasons I like the South Beach diet -- even though the list of "allowed" foods is relatively small (especially on Phase 1), you can pretty much eat your fill of them, especially vegetables and legumes. I've been trying to find new and interesting ways to prepare these foods, whether it's seasoning summer squash with garlic and grilling it, or sauteing eggplant and onions in curry powder, or cooking lentils and spinach together with cumin. I even made a salad of chickpeas, artichoke hearts, red pepper, and green onions which I ate in lettuce leaves with some garlic & herb soft cheese. Yum! I really love food (how else could I have reached 405 lbs?) and being able to eat well while dieting will definitely help me stick with it longer and NOT CHEAT (cheating is one of the two main things that has sidetracked all my previous diets; lack of willpower was the other. Wait, aren't they pretty much the same thing?) Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that I will be a saint. Nobody could deny themselves indefinitely. I will splurge from time to time, but this time when I splurge I will plan my splurges and then get right back on the eating plan. For example, my birthday is coming up at the end of the month, and I am going to have cake on my birthday. I will eat right for the rest of the day, I will have my cake, I will send any leftover cake home with my sister and brother-in-law so it won't be in the house (very important detail), and the next day I will go back on Phase 1 for a week to counteract any damage. See? I can totally do this. ;-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

TMI Alert: This post is about bodily functions. Those who are squeamish may wish to skip it.

As most of you probably know, one of the basics tenets of any weight-loss program is to drink lots of water. The general rule for good health is to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses a day. That works out to between 48 and 64 ounces. That's just for a normal, healthy person to stay properly hydrated. For weight loss purposes, you need to increase your water intake. I've seen different recommendations in different books, including one book which said that you should drink as many ounces of water each day as half your weight in pounds. So let's see, I currently weigh 405 lbs, so I should be drinking 202.5 ounces of water daily? I don't think so. Over the past couple of days I've averaged 140 ounces a day, which means I'm peeing at least once an hour, if not more often (this morning I peed five times in the first four hours I was awake.) It also means that I can't sleep through the night as I'm getting up to pee every two to three hours. The fact that my blood pressure medication contains a diuretic doesn't help matters any. If I'm peeing this much on 140 ounces a day, I can only imagine what would happen if I was drinking 200 ounces -- I'd probably never get out of the bathroom! Well, that's all for now -- I have to go pee again!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We Have Liftoff!

So today I started my diet and exercise program. I suppose it would be more correct to say that I restarted, as I've been on diets and exercise programs before, I just never stuck with either long enough to make much of a difference. This time, however, I am determined to succeed. Here's what you need to know as I start my journey:

Where I Am Now

To the left you see my lovely "before" picture. (To those of you who think I should be smiling: I smiled in the picture that was taken before this one. It looked really goofy.) Here are my current stats:

Weight: 405 lbs; Bust: 60.5 inches; Waist: 60.5 inches; Abdomen: 64.5 inches; Hips: 64.5 inches; Thigh: 32.5 inches; Upper Arm: 18 inches; Body Mass Index (BMI): 61.6.

Weight will be updated every Tuesday, body measurements and BMI will be updated on a monthly basis.

Where I Want To Be

According to those charts that tell you what your ideal weight should be based on your height and gender, my ideal weight is 130 lbs. Highly unlikely. I think the last time I weighed 130 was when I was in 6th grade. So I'm setting my ultimate goal weight at 160 lbs, which is definitely doable. So that means I have to lose 245 lbs all told. However, I'm going to set mini-goals for myself (after all, 245 lbs is a very big number) of 40 lbs at a time -- 10% of my current weight.

How I'm Going To Get There

I am following the South Beach Diet eating plan and will be adding some of the nutritional and lifestyle concepts of the Fiber35 Diet (supplements, metabolism boosts, detoxing.) I am also following the Curves Smart fitness plan. This week I am also doing an herbal cleansing detox to give me a bit of a boost.

Why I Am Doing This

This section is as much for myself as for everyone else: at some point in every diet, there comes a time when I'll get frustrated and will need a reminder of why I'm working so hard at losing weight when it's so much easier, and usually more pleasurable, to dive face-first into a chocolate cake. At that point, I can come back here and read this list.

I am trying to lose weight because:

  • I want to get healthy
  • I want to travel more, but it's difficult to fit in an airplane at this size; also, when I do travel, I want to be able to walk around and explore the sights
  • I want to be able to go to the movies, a show, or a concert without worrying whether I'll fit in the theater seat
  • clothes shopping will be much easier when I'm a smaller size
  • if I don't do it now, it will just keep getting harder to do

So I guess that's it for now. Check back for regular updates, and keep me in your thoughts!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Diet Starts Tomorrow

So I'm starting on the South Beach Diet tomorrow. I did South Becah once before and it worked pretty well; this time I intend to stick with it until I've actually reached my goal. I'm also adding in some of the ideas from the Fiber35 Diet and I'll be going to Curves regularly. I'll post updates here on this blog. Wish me luck!