Saturday, April 24, 2010

7 Week Challenge: Week 2

OOPS! I totally forgot to update about Week 2 of The 7 Week Challenge and my weigh in. Let's start with a quote as usual shall we?

Goals are not absolutely necessary to motivate us. They are essential to really keep us alive.
~ Robert H. Schuller


If we sit around on our backsides with no goals, no dreams, no hopes - are we really alive or are we just existing? And, if that is what we are doing, how can we hope to STAY alive? We've spent weeks, months, years doing virtually nothing besides shoving food in our faces and no plan to counteract those actions. And that is affecting our health.

Having goals, having strategies, helps us survive. By setting a goal for myself to lose weight and keep losing it, I have put a plan in place to SAVE MY LIFE. How about you?


So how did Week 2 go?

Goal #1 - Work out a minimum of 5 days a week - GOAL MET!

Still the hardest to achieve but I think that is because it is now so deeply ingrained to dislike exercise that I am having a hard time working around that. I'm getting there though. I think the key is to find something I actually enjoy, which I think I have. I actually LIKE going swimming. It's still a good workout but there's no pressure on my joints, which is great. And I'm beginning to enjoy my walks. It gives me time to be in my own head with my own special soundtrack on my iPod....and it burns off stress.

This is what I did this week:

Thursday - 40 minutes swimming (40 lengths) AND 1 hour AquaBlast water aerobics class
Friday - 1.5 hours at gym (3kms on treadmill, 5 kms on bike, weights circuit

Leg Press (62.5 kgs / 137.5 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Lat Pulldown (10 kgs / 22 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Abductor (48 kgs / 105.6 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Chest Press (30 kgs / 66 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Hamstring Curl (42 kgs / 92.4 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep Pushdown (5 kgs / 11 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Shoulder Press (15 kgs / 33 lbs) - 3 sets of 15 reps
Bicep Curl (3 kgs / 6.6 lbs - free weights) - 3 sets of 15 reps

Saturday - 30 minute walk
Sunday - Day off
Monday - 1.5 hours housework at high speed and high intensity. Major sweat!
Tuesday - 45 minute walk
Wednesday - Day off

Goal #2 - Drinking more water - GOAL MET!

This week I was allowed a maximum of 2 glasses of Coke Zero a day and a minimum of 6 glasses of water. It's getting harder! I love my Coke Zero and I find myself wanting to drink it all the time. But the increase in water is helping.

As of Thursday, I am only allowed 1 glass of Coke and my water consumption needs to be upped by one glass a day. I'm totally on it!

Goal #3 - Tracking everything that goes into my mouth - GOAL MET!

Still doing well with this and it's actually really helping to see what good stuff is going into me and what stuff I need to avoid. I even went through the past week and highlighted stuff that wasn't worth it, didn't satisfy me or was a bad choice. Not as many highlighted bits this week as last, so YAY!

Weight Change This Week : - 800 grams (1.76 lbs)

Weight loss total to date: - 19.9 kgs (43.78 lbs)

I was incredibly frustrated with this weight loss...but only because it brought me to just 100 grams shy of the 20kg mark I was aiming for this week. Ah week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting back up.

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.
~ Ralph Marston

I saw that quote over at Speaking of Witch and I thought YES! What a perfect quote to relate to the frustration that so many of us feel when we stand on those scales.

As we battle bravely against the bulge, we can sometimes feel like there is never going to be an end. After weeks of losing weight bit by bit, a gain can send us into a total tailspin before we even have the chance to think about what might have caused it. It isn't until much later that we consider the possibility it might be retained water or muscle mass. We are so wrapped up in the misery that comes with gaining that we are sure it is something we did. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't and there really isn't any point in stressing ourselves out about it.

Yet that frustration sits there, simmering away at the surface. That frustration can get in the way of future success. It can make us wonder what the point is in continuing on our journey. It can, for those of us who eat our emotions, cause us to come home and do something silly.

What we forget is that we have done it before. We've had weeks and weeks of relatively consistent losing, so we know how to do it right. We shouldn't let one (or two or three) weeks of staying the same, only losing a small amount or gaining to stop us in our tracks, turn us around and send us back to BlubberVille.

Instead, we should take that frustration and put it to good use.

Last week, I only lost 400 grams (0.88 lbs) at weigh in. (I can feel Tex just itching to smack me for my use of "only lost"...a loss is a loss. ) I was frustrated by that because I'd been eating really well and working my butt off at the gym and pool so to not see that manifest itself on the scale was hard for me. I was a little miffed the whole way through my meeting and all evening. Then the next day, I went and kicked ass at the gym.

Work off the frustration and the stress...put it to good use. I don't know about you, but I work harder when I'm trying to burn off stress.

Another thing for you to try, and I'm going to tie this in with a brag, is to Take. Your. Measurements!!! And take progress pics.

Check this out.....I finally got around to taking another progress pic and doing my measurements. I've lost a significant amount of inches, especially off my waist and hips. My arms are looking (and feeling) more toned. And when I look at these pictures, I can see the difference in my neck and face. I'm even beginning to see some definition in my ankles!! Say goodbye to the cankles.

Do it. Trust me, it's worth it!

Click on the pic to see it in all it's gory glorious detail.

It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up.
~ Vince Lombardi

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breaking it down.....

If you want to reach a goal, you must "see the reaching" in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.
~ Zig Ziglar

Ahhhh goals, you gotta love them. Setting mini ones can help you along the road to the main event and help stave off some of that annoyance of how long the journey is taking. That is, in large part, why I set myself the 7 week challenge after seeing the idea on Prior Fat Girl's blog. And you know what? It's helping. Knowing that I have all these mini goals to achieve every week gives me something smaller to work towards. It's a lot less daunting than when I think about the fact that my MAIN goal is still 60kgs away.

So how did this past week go? Let's have a look shall we?

Goal #1 - Work out a minimum of 5 days a week - GOAL MET!

Of the three mini goals that I set myself, this was the hardest. That surprised me, but I did it!!

Thursday - 45 minutes swimming (50 lengths)
Friday - Day off
Saturday - 30 minute walk
Sunday - 45 minutes swimming (50 lengths)
Monday - 1 km on treadmill & 8.4 kms on bike
Tuesday - 1.5 kms on treadmill & 8.5 kms on bike
Wednesday - Day off

I think that going forward I will use Wednesday as a definite day off, because it's hard to fit my meeting AND a workout in that day.

Goal #2 - Drinking more water - GOAL MET!

This week I was allowed a maximum of 3 glasses of Coke Zero (my precious) a day and a minimum of 5 glasses of water. I actually had a few days where I only had two glasses of coke. It turns out that the more water I drink, the less I crave the Coke. Go figure!

As of today, I am only allowed 2 glasses of Coke and my water consumption needs to be upped by one glass a day. I can do this. Right? Right.

Goal #3 - Tracking everything that goes into my mouth - GOAL MET!

I carried that notebook everywhere. It was in my purse, on my dining room table, in my kitchen. I felt a bit like a tool but it really worked. I tracked every single morsel of food and drink that went into my mouth. And I will continue to do so.

Having to track everything has also helped me in my planning. Menu planning has become and essential part of my life and being able to track it ahead of time is awesome.

Weight Change This Week : - 400 grams (0.88 lbs)

And there you have it folks. Week 1 of the challenge is over and I'm feeling good about it all. I'll have a post up in a couple days about frustration and how to deal with it in a new way, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, I leave you with this other quote.....

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
~ Author Unknown

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's the little things

One joy scatters a hundred griefs. ~Chinese Proverb

I had the best day today! In fact, I'm having a fantastic week! My challenge is going really well so far, but I'll update that on Wednesday after weigh in. What's really fantastic is that my little sister (almost 20 years old and model thin & gorgeous) is here visiting for a few days from University. It's so awesome having her home.

Today, I had grand plans of walking up into the Wither Hills again today and taking the kids so that I couldn't back out. Turns out, they didn't want to go. So then I decided we'd walk about 1.5kms down the road to play in the park and get a treat at the bakery (for the kids! I didn't think I'd have points worth using on anything there!). But little sister didn't want to walk that far.


We ended up at the gym later in the afternoon, so it's all good.

But that's not the source of my happiness!

Did you read that quote at the top of the page about happiness scattering grief? It's absolutely true. I had SO much fun at the park with the kids. We played, we talked, and we had a great time. And I got to do this:

Picture from Free-Extras

Yup. I got to swing. And swing and swing and swing.

It has been a LOT of years since I was able to sit comfortably in a swing and just go. And it was one of the most freeing things. It really helped hit home just how far I've come.

It was AWESOME!!!

I squealed, loudly, in delight and didn't care who heard me. I was having such a good time, swinging back and forth with my 7 1/2 year old daughter and my little sister on the other two swings while my son and watched us with a big smile on his face as he listened to his mother squeal like a little girl.

And you know what? It made every bad thing that has happened in the last few days, every difficult moment I've had with this journey, just fade away. Gone.

What little things have you enjoyed lately that tie into your journey?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BMI Frustration

This morning marked the beginning of my self imposed challenge. I have myself all sorted. But never mind that for now..... I'd like you all to pause for a minute and picture me doing my happy dance again. Ok, now stop...don't want you all to get too excited.

Weigh in was last night and after the not so stellar week I'd had with Easter and just sheer laziness, I was expecting a gain. Another one. Not so! I was very happy to see her right down a loss of

2.6 kgs (5.72 lbs)

That means not only did I lose the 1.2 kgs (2.64 lbs) from last week AND the 500 grams (1.1 lbs) from the week before .... but I lost another 900 grams (1.98 lbs) on top of it!! WOO!

This also puts me into a new set of numbers and means I have to readjust my points allowance. My new weight is 139.9 (307.78 lbs). I'm also not working much at the moment (ok, not at all), so I'm not running around as much. So I THINK my new points allowance per day is 26. Yikes! Considering I started this whole thing with an allowance of 30 points per day, it's going down pretty fast. Ah well.

Last night at our meeting, Tex was talking about BMI and it's effect on our health in general. Now personally, I think the whole BMI measurement thing is evil, but I'll talk more about that in a bit. For now, the World Health Organization deems BMI the best judge of how healthy someone is where their weight is concerned. They reckon that the lower your BMI, the less chance you have of getting all sorts of diseases. They're right, of course. If you're overweight, you're at risk. If you're obese, you're even more at risk. If you're morbidly obese....well, there's a reason that word "morbidly" is in there.

There's a fancy schmansy formula to work out your BMI:

BMI (kg/m2) = weight (kgs) divided by height (m)2

But personally I'm happy using one of the tools on the net. THIS ONE from the Healthy Food Guide NZ is quite good, if you ignore the fact that it's mean and called me all sorts of nasty names before running away in fear.

For example...back in November when I started this journey, my BMI was 50.6

Considering that a "normal" BMI range is between 20 and 25, that's pretty damn shocking don't you think?

Now, 5 months into this long and arduous journey? My BMI sits at 44.15

Still shocking, and still Morbidly Obese (oh how I hate those words), but at least it has dropped.


Here's my issue with BMI though. It sucks. I'd like to invite you to check out a video put together by Kate Harding from Shapely Prose (awesome site by the way...truly awesome). It shows a whole range of women from underweight to morbidly obese. Some of those women you would see on the street and think she looked perfectly "normal". But on the BMI scale, she might be considered obese. Or even underweight.

Click HERE for the BMI Project video

It's a flawed system, plain and simple. Unfortunately, as Tex pointed out to us last night, it is what the WHO still uses to judge our health and our risks for disease.

As for me...I prefer to keep an eye on the scale and how my body looks. Obviously right now, it's not looking fantastic...but it's getting there. I'm working hard to make it that way. I'm keeping an eye on my measurements.

By the time I get to goal, my BMI will be JUST in the "normal" range. Just.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I get that it is still the standard system of measurement, but I don't have to like it. Weight Watchers or not.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Plan!! A Challenge! A...potentially awesome 7 weeks?

Every week at our Weight Watchers meeting I sit and listen to our leader, Tex (name changed to protect her privacy, til I hear otherwise), talk about that week's topic. In the past, most of the topics that the WW powers that be deem worthy of talking about have bored me to tears. It seems to be different this time around though. I know that part of it is that my head is in the right place and I'm more willing to actually take in the information. The other part of it is that Tex - a petite little fireball from Texas (didn't see that one coming did you?) with the enthusiasm of 10 people - makes it FUN! She doesn't just stand at the front of the room and drone on at all the gals and hope that someone is listening. She engages us. She encourages us. She supports us. But more importantly, she reminds us that she hasn't always been the petite woman we see every week. She has also been heavy.

At the end of every meeting, Tex asks us what we're going to do that week to make sure we succeed at the our journey. And every time, she gets the same old stock answers fired back at her:

Tracking our food


Drink water

I can't help but feel like we're letting her down. Why don't we flesh those things out and actually come up with a plan? An honest to goodness PLAN!!

So, that's what I'm doing. Right here, right now. The inspiration for mine came from a challenge that I saw today on the blog the Prior Fat Girl. She discovered she'd gained 13 lbs (about 6 kgs) and wanted to do something about that. So she came up with the 10+3 Action Plan. They're already 3 weeks into that challenge so I'm putting my own twist on it and setting up my own, slightly shorter, timeline. I invite you all, whoever might be out there reading, to join me. Come up with your own plan.

The general goals of PFG's action plan were much like the stock answers we come up with at our meetings.

Workout regularly (she had 5 days a week)

Journal food

Drink water

And that's fine. But to make it a successful plan, you have to put yourself into it like she did. So here's mine


Working out a minimum of 5 days a week - I don't want to corner myself and say that I will be working out for 90 minutes a day on each of those days but I will say that I will do a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes a day. These exercises will include such pleasures (*snort*) as:


walking (I do have that Half Marathon I'm meant to be training for!)

gym circuits (weights & cardio)

Wii Fit & Wii Biggest Loser (Bob's a jerk!)

I've already mentioned that when I exercise I feel better mentally, so maybe this will be beneficial for my husband and kids too? Happy Mommy = Less Yelling...right?


Drinking MORE Water - I had this grand idea at one point, that lasted all of twelve seconds, that I would cut out ALL the Diet Coke I was drinking and only drink water. Cold turkey. Moron. I very quickly managed to develop a massive caffeine withdrawal headache which in turn made me guzzle a ton of Diet Coke to make it go away. I'm still drinking it. Actually I'm drinking Coke Zero because, y'know, it's soooo much better for you.

Then I came up with the idea that I would drink one bottle of water for every glass of Coke that I was drinking. Um. Yeah. Well, I peed a lot.

So what's the grand plan now? I don't really know. I do know that I need to cut out the Coke, but I can't do the cold turkey thing again. So how about this for now:

Week 1 - Maximum of 3 glasses of Coke Zero per day. Minimum of 5 glasses of water.

Week 2 - Maximum of 2 glasses of Coke Zero per day. Minimum of 6 glasses of water.

Week 3 - Maximum of 1 glass of Coke Zero per day. Minimum of 7 glasses of water.

Week 4 - No more Coke Zero. Minimum of 8 glasses of water.

This is to be tracked on fridge chart.
Totally doable right? Mmmm. We'll see.


Keep a journal of ALL food (and drink) that goes into my mouth - I have been so incredibly slack in this department lately. I keep telling myself that I've been keeping track in my head, but then I remember that well there was that mint earlier and the latte...did I account for those? Probably not.

I have purchased a lovely spiral notebook where I will write down everything that I eat. It will fit in my purse and even coordinates well with my WW points calculator. A lot of the time I can plan ahead because I menu plan for evening meals, and I tend to eat the same thing for breakfast & lunch 99% of the time. MUST STAY WITHIN POINTS - My first mini goal (sub-goal?) for this challenge is to not exceed my daily points at all. DO NOT EAT EXERCISE POINTS - I've always been good about this but my second mini goal is to not use any of the points I earn doing exercise.



Today is Monday, April 5th. My regular day for weighing in at Weight Watchers is Wednesday.

So this challenge will, for me, run from the morning of Thursday, April 8th til the evening of Wednesday, May 26th. That's 7 weeks. It also means I'm ending on my 31st birthday. Hopefully there'll be a good result!


I will continue to post on Wednesday evenings with updates on my weight but I will try to flesh them out with updates about how I'm meeting these goals too.


It is always important to remember that even though the numbers on the scales aren't going the way you want them to, or going fast enough, that there are other victories. Because of this, I will take my measurements on Thursday morning when I start this. I will then take them half way through and again at the end. Let's see how much of a difference these 7 weeks can make!


So what do I get at the end of this? Is there a challenge reward?

Well, I'd like to think that there will be a really cool number on the scales that will make me jump for joy. That will be reward enough. Beyond that....I don't know. Maybe I'll buy myself some lowlights for my hair or something.

And then....I'll start a new challenge for myself!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Giving it a little umph!

The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!
~ Marvin Phillips

You know those days when you just feel blah, when you don't care about anything, when you just don't feel like doing anything? Those are the days when going for a walk or to the gym are the last things on your mind. Unfortunately if you have too many of those days in row, they tend to snowball into this big thing called a week. I know! Shocker right?

This is exactly what I did the last couple of weeks. I had one whole week where, other than my normal bimbling around during the day, I pretty much sat on my backside. I wasn't working, I wasn't getting out for exercise. I sat and played on the computer or read my book or had a not at all deserved Nanna Nap. The next week, I only went swimming twice. And I didn't put as much effort into the swim as I normally do. I had been swimming 80 lengths every day and working hard at every single one of those lengths. But not last week! Oh no, I just kind of drifted along in the water.

The result? Two weeks of gains. I gained 500 grams the first week and just brushed it off with a shrug. That right there was my first mistake. Shrugging it off instead of taking it as the warning it should have been. This week, I had a gain of 1.2 kgs. I stood there at the scale and tried to laugh it off, tried to say it was because I was wearing my jeans instead of my normal light weight pants, when in actual fact all I wanted to do was scream.

I'd love to say that there was stuff getting in the way of my exercise time. I wish I could say that I'd been the model of restraint as far as eating is concerned, but it wouldn't be true. That's not to say I was eating everything in sight, I even stayed within my points every day. But there probably should have been more fruit & veg.

The big thing is the exercise though.

The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.
~ Anthony Robbins

Ok, so I'm not the biggest fan of Tony Robbins (I think he's a bit of a loud mouth schmuck) but in this case he has a point. We've all heard it before but for many of us, myself included, it goes in one ear and out the other. I even PROVED his point these past couple of weeks and I still went "Huh!" when I read that quote.

When I exercise regularly I am less inclined to scream at my children like I'm some depraved escapee from the local asylum. The endorphins that the workouts produce keep me going til bed time when I collapse in exhaustion.

When I get my butt out the door for a walk, I take my iPod and tune into my own little world. I will walk in just about any weather (though I'm not partial to the hot sun), and even the rain doesn't faze me. By the time I get home, I've had enough time immersed in my own thoughts to sort out any problems and to walk away any stress that I was carrying around.

More than anything, when I exercise regularly, I feel better! I don't GET those blahs that I was talking about earlier. My body feels better, my brain feels SOUL feels better. My kids notice that I am nicer to them, my husband realizes that he hasn't been yelled at that day. Sad, but true.

So what do you do if you had a few days or weeks where, like me, you had the blahs and didn't do anything.....and ended up gaining?

You get back on the proverbial horse and gallop off into the sunset!!

I know, easy for me to say from behind the keyboard right? Well let me tell you folks, I walked up a big ass hill AGAIN yesterday morning. The kids' school was doing it for the end of term and off I went. I rivaled the colour of a tomato by the time I got to the top, but I did it.

Today, I'm going for a swim. Tomorrow, I'll walk.

Giddy-up pony!

So what are YOU doing to add a little UMPH?