Friday, June 10, 2011

There is No Weight on Vacation

There is something very liberating about being away from a scale for a week. Somehow when there is no scale, there seems to be no weight. After all, when you are on vacation the world is different. Freedom reigns throughout each day with no time, no boundaries, and no constraints. It is like living in another dimension in space.
And everyone knows you weigh less in space.

Vacation always means socializing with good food and drink. My recent week at the beach was no exception. Lots of fun, sun, food, and fruity drinks. I enjoyed one week of vacation from dieting too.

Some people might say I was in denial about the consequences of my eating habits while on vacation. My philosophy is that vacation is a time to escape from the real world of jobs, schedules, and rules. You are supposed to do whatever suits your fancy. The biggest decision I had to make each day was: pool or beach?

After a glorious week of pretending vacation was my reality, I returned home. The scale loomed big, teasing and taunting me to step aboard. I knew my fate awaited me. When I stepped up onto the scale, reality revealed itself: 3 more pounds showed up. Not terrible, but not good either.
Time to admit: I gained weight on vacation.

I haven’t quite figured out how to get back into real life mode yet. It is taking me a little longer than expected to adjust to living back on planet Earth. But I plan to get back on track and on the road to Thinville again very soon.

However, I have figured out how not to gain weight after vacation-
Simply stay on vacation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

To Tan or Not to Tan

I know too much sun is bad for your skin. I know too much sun can be dangerous. I know I can't afford any more unnecessary wrinkles.

But I couldn't escape the fact that I always seem to look better with sunkissed skin.

Such was my dilemma while on vacation this past week. Sunburn is bad, but suntan is good.

So, I went for for one more opportunity to enjoy the bronzed look that always makes me feel a little thinner. The first day of vacation, I climbed into my new bathing suit and swallowed up as much sun and vitamin D as I thought my skin could handle.
The results were as I expected- very red.

The next day, I cautiously covered up in hopes that the red would slowly turn to beautiful brown. As the week progressed, my skin did slowly take on a much tanner tone. Even the stretch marks and flaws in my legs were less noticeable. And I liked it.

Now I know I am getting older and that every time I soak in the sun I am adding age lines and unnecessary exposure to ultraviolet rays. But I can't help feeling that for the next week or two- wrinkles and skin care just don't matter. I'm going to enjoy the effects of my short-lived week of being a sun goddess.

...then when my tan fades, I'll go back to losing those extra pounds I gained during vacation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bathing Suit Bonanza

Today I ventured out into the unknown.

Courageously, I set out into a sea of spandex and stretch fabrics in search of the perfect swimsuit. I admit I was apprehensive as I searched through the endless maze of bikinis, tankinis and slimsuits. It has been many years since I tried to squeeze my body into any type of swimwear. After multiple trips to the dressing room, I settled on a two piece tankini. The top covered my stomach well and the bottoms fit comfortably. A sale was secured.

During my fitting room escapades, I was very happy to discover that I actually fit into a size smaller than I anticipated. The biggest challenge I faced was not the bathing suit itself, but the parts of my body that the suit did NOT cover up- like my thighs. Sadly no matter how flattering a bathing suit may be, it just doesn’t cover up middle age jiggles and spider veins.

I soon realized that it was equally important for me to find a beach cover-up. I changed the focus of my shopping spree to finding a cute and concealing cover-up. I eventually opted for a shorts/shirt combo, knowing in my heart that the shorts would provide a little extra protection against my insecurities when necessary.

And now I ready myself for the final test: wearing the new bathing suit in PUBLIC.

Not to worry. I will once again claim the childhood motto I’ve learned to use in all embarrassing situations:
I don’t know these people and I’ll never see them again.
Works every time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sagging Butt Syndrome

Today I caught a glimpse of my butt in the bathroom mirror. I glanced away, but it was too late to ignore what I had seen.

I am a victim of Sagging Buttocks Syndrome, aka S.A.S. The firmly rounded butt I imagined myself keeping forever has been lost - possibly irretrievably. The symptoms were obvious: drooping jeans and a baggy bottom. I chose to ignore them as long as I could.

I must admit I am in mourning for the loss of my butt. I was extremely fond of the taute derriere I possessed in my youth. It shaped my jeans nicely and even brought an occasional glance from construction workers and the like.

Alas, soon my round cream puff backside will become nothing more than a sad flat pancake.

Leg lifts and squats start tomorrow....

Monday, May 2, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

Writing a blog about losing weight isn't always exciting.

Losing a pound of weight each week is a slow process- kind of like watching grass grow.

The fact is that the daily events of dieting are boring. Most of us want to flip to the back of the book and find out what happens. I wish I could fast forward to a few months from now and see the thinner version of me.

My daily routine has become very...routine. I am simply trying to stay on track and not veer off the road to Thinville. I eat a sensible breakfast each day, limit my calories, and try to get in exercise whenever possible. I search out healthy, low calorie meal choices and foods constantly. For now, my progress is steady. I know I should increase my efforts, but some days are more challenging than others. I am happy to be staying on course.

Clothes fit me loosely these days, but I refuse to buy smaller pants just yet. I am not satisfied to stay at my current weight. This is just a rest stop along the way.

I have to focus on looking ahead to the end of the journey. Buying clothes now would mean accepting my current weight and that is not an option. Each day must mean progress- no looking back and no staying put!

Next goal: Lose weight worth buying new clothes for!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rain! Oh no. I Might Melt!

I know this is just an excuse, but all this rain has kept me from getting outside and exercising.

Dieters are allowed to have occasional excuses. It helps us handle our challenges and small setbacks. Today I decided that the weather has really affected my ability to get outside and burn off some calories.

I'm not really convinced that the rain is to blame.
However if I believe that the rain has kept me indoors, then when the sun comes out I will be sure to get right outside and take a long walk.

It sounds really good on paper anyway.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Buckle Up

I have to admit that for the last few weeks I have been slowing down in the right lane while driving to Thinville. My efforts have been steady, but I haven't moved into the passing lane or made any progress losing pounds.

I have not been as disciplined about counting my calories lately. As a result, I am maintaining my current weight - instead of losing pounds.

It is too easy to drive along and not pay attention to my speedometer. Today I realized that during the past 4 months, my average weight loss has only been about one pound per week. That is not terrible, but I had hoped to be about 5-10 pounds lighter at this mile marker.

My beach vacation is only 4 weeks away, and I still can't imagine trying on any bathing suits yet.

The logical next step for me is to buckle up and head into the hammer lane.

I need to speed things up and make some definite efforts to eat less calories and burn additional ones. Yes, that means being more disciplined about eating AND exercising.

However, I am learning that small goals are achievable! Working towards the next milestone of 5 pounds is totally do-able!

I hope some of you can also look ahead 4 weeks and see yourselves 5 pounds lighter. I plan to buckle up and get down to business
I'm sure that seatbelt will fit a lot more comfortably by then too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wedding Weigh Ins

Weddings are events the reunite us with friends and family we often have not seen in many years. Such was the case for my husband and I this past weekend. We attended the wedding of a former neighbor’s daughter. We lived across the street from their family over 15 years ago. All our children are now grown and most of us have grown in various ways as well. It seems like just yesterday that we were the thin youngsters saying vows and sitting at the head table…sigh.

As time goes by, our lives change and so do our looks. In fact, the older we get the more likely it is that our weight and waistlines change also. Whenever I expect to meet up with old friends, I still have some apprehension. I wonder what my old acquaintances will think of the newly ‘enhanced’ version of me.

Seeing old friends last weekend at the wedding was actually quite enjoyable. It seemed that most of our old friends had aged and gained right along with us over the years. We all were on equal ground and I realized that we are all trapped in bodies that change without our knowledge.

My 50 year old body is facing the same challenges as every other 50 year old body. I just need to decide if I am going to stand by and let my belly go to pot. Heck no!
My quest to Thinville continues.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Skinny Feels Good

Ultrathin model, Kate Moss, was criticized for promoting extreme thinness after claiming she lives by the motto:
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

Nobody should ever promote extreme weight loss or eating disorders, but I have to agree that being skinny definitely feels better than being fat.

I wish I was able to convince myself that chocolate doesn’t taste as good as wearing a size 7 feels. Unfortunately when chocolate meets up with my sense of smell, my brain can sense nothing else.

My taste buds always override all other senses and sensibility.

For now, my motto will have to be:

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels-
except for chocolate.”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Accessories Make the Woman

Every woman knows that accessories are a necessary part of everything we do. We need accessories to complete our wardrobes, to design our homes, and even to add finishing touches to our hair styles. We carry purses in every color, buy endless pairs of shoes and have jewelry for every outfit.
The fact is: Women are born to accessorize.

Recently, I found a new accessory for my travel bag to Thinville.

I bought myself an insulated drink tumbler. Perhaps some people will consider a plastic cup to be an absurd accessory for a weight loss journey. Still, the sturdy plastic cup has given me the motivation I needed to drink more water. I am happily more hydrated and delighted to carry around my flowery new cup.
Goodbye, boring water bottles. Hello,cute cup!

It’s funny how adding certain items to a diet and exercise regimen can motivate us towards our goals. Going to the gym is difficult for me. The worst part is trying not to draw unnecessary attention to myself when I am surrounded by so many attractive hard bodies. To help restore my confidence, I purchased some flattering workout clothes. Wearing clothing accessories that help me overcome feeling too self-conscious has helped me stay on the road to Thinville too.

During this journey, I also purchased a pedometer to count my steps and a weight ball to tone my muscles. I hope to maximize my use of every item.

Every little accessory, even a simple drinking cup, can motivate individuals towards their goals. What accessories are you finding most helpful on your journey?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Illusion of Thin

Since losing a few pounds, I have discovered that much of my clothing fits more loosely. There is great comfort (literally) in wearing clothes that no longer restrict my breathing.

I am starting to feel like I actually fit into my own skin again. I was uncomfortable for so long that now I truly appreciate having to pull up my pants now and then.

There are many advantages to wearing clothes that hang loosely from my frame. Today, I started to actually imagine a state of thinness in my mind. I put on a pair of drawstring pants before taking a long walk. The pants were delightfully loose and comfortable. I realized as I walked through my sunny neighborhood, listening to my IPOD, that wearing those pants made me feel thin.

We should all have moments where we feel slim and trim. Today I had one of those moments and it was delightful.
I think I may just put those drawstring pants on again tomorrow.

Feel Thin! Be Thin!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Magicsuit

Today I received a Victoria’s Secret catalog in the mail. At first, I assumed it was intended for one of my daughters. However after investigating further, I discovered that the catalog was actually addressed to me - or Current Resident.

I doubted that Victoria’s Secret would have any clothing designed to fit my body. However, I decided to research the gold standard in bikini bodies. I discovered that the early pages of the catalog displayed endless teeny weeny bikinis that would never fit the typical woman.
By page 49, I had seen quite enough of the ultra thin bikini models. And then it happened. I turned to page 50 and discovered ‘The Magicsuit’. The first one piece bathing suit in the catalog made claims of slimming, trimming, smoothing and streamlining. The suit's description began: ‘Feel the Magic’ and offered a ‘Quick fix for beach trips!’ Unfortunately, even I realized that the Magicsuit could not fix all that this body requires for the beach. The catalog soon found its way into my circular file.

I feel fairly certain that this 50 year old will never purchase a bathing suit from Victoria’s Secret. I do so miss the days of a tanned tummy, but these days are different. My bathing suit goals have become quite simple:
slim my stomach and smooth the bulges.

Hmm...Maybe I should give that Magicsuit a try after all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

500 Calorie FIASCO!

Many people realize that to lose 1 lb. of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. Breaking that down into one week's time, you need to reduce your calorie count by 500 calories a day in order to lose a pound. OR You can also choose to exercise off the additional pounds.

Either way, you need to get rid of an average of 500 calories each day in order to lose pounds.

So why is it so darned easy to add 500 calories to what we eat each day?!
Take these 5 common menu items:

 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies: Careful now
 1 bowl Potato Chips: Perilous Snackin' (Plus lots of fat)
 1 Piece Deep Dish Pizza: Epic Fail Ahead
 1 Innocent Little Margarita: Mad Calorie Count
 1 Outback Bloomin Onion: 2210 Calories!
(YIKES! I wasn’t sure if you knew about that one)

You can see why losing a pound a week is such a challenge. Where is a determined calorie counter to turn? No wonder we all face weekend weight gain! It’s just wrong that these 5 harmless foods present such threatening calorie totals.

Woman cannot live on vegetables and Lean Cuisines alone!

500 Calories - My Butt!
No, seriously. 500 calories would go straight to my butt.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lessons About Exercise DVDs

I have purchased my fair share of home fitness DVDs and have recorded exercise programs straight from the T.V. as well. The T.V. screen speaks to us daily, but it doesn’t always motivate us to get up off our feet and moving.

Here’s what I have learned about exercising in front of the T.V. screen:

1. Exercise requires discipline.
Any form of physical exercise requires motivation and effort. Whether you get up and go to the gym or get up and move furniture in your living room, you just need to do it.

2. Some DVDs work for home exercise and some just don’t.
• The first exercise tapes (yes, I said tapes) I ever purchased were Tae Bo tapes with Billy Blank. They had enough variety to appeal to me and the boxing moves were unique enough to keep my interest. I actually used those tapes frequently and even go back to them occasionally today.
• The DVDs that do NOT transfer to living room exercise include the likes of Zumba. Something about dancing and whooping it up by yourself in your living room just doesn’t work. Zumba is a group workout. Part of the fun of the Zumba Zoo is squealing along with other dance-crazed individuals. Another DVD theme that just doesn’t work in my living room is a Walking Workout. I was recently given a Walking DVD as a gift and found it to be boring with a capital B. I love to get outside and walk and I just can’t figure out why I would want to march in place in my living room instead.

3. The instructors leading the DVDs should be in AWESOME physical shape.
If I am being led by individuals who look as out of shape as me, I wonder how effective the workout is. The same is true when I go to aerobics classes. If the teacher in the class isn’t in fantastic shape (and I know SHE is doing the workout 4-5 days a week), I question the results I can expect. If you are a trainer, aerobics instructor or DVD coach, your personal fitness sells your product and/or services. Motivate me by example!

4. Some homes accomodate exercising in front of the T.V. better than others.
I have always had to move furniture in order to exercise at home. None of my living rooms have ever been easily transformed into workout areas. Some people are blessed to have basements or rooms devoted to working out. Others require some challenges finding the space you need. But in most cases, there ARE ways to accommodate your spacial needs.

5. Children and pets can create challenges.
When my children were small, they always saw my exercise time as fun time for them. Almost every DVD or T.V. fitness show includes high energy music, which every child loves. Additionally, there are few children who don’t want to try leg lifts or arm stretches for themselves when they see mommy doing it. Pets can often get worked up by the music and activity levels too. Unless your pet is used to seeing you moving all over the living room, you may find that Fido thinks it is playtime too.

Every ‘at home’ exercise program is going to have challenges. Getting up and getting started is the key.
Speaking of: Time for me to put on my walking shoes and head outside for a long walk.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps the Pounds Away

For years doctors have been touting the benefits of apples. Apples have healthy advantages that many other fruits do not provide. Apples contain less sugar than many other fruits, and are also high in fiber.

Many people crave crunchy foods and the texture of apples often satisfies that desire. Additionally, the lower sugar content in apples helps keep insulin levels balanced. In turn, apples may help individuals avoid the ‘need to eat’ syndrome that is created by sweeter fruits like bananas. The fiber content in apples helps improve cholesterol levels too. Some studies even show that people who eat an apple before meals tend not to consume as many calories during meals. Individuals who eat 1 or 2 apples a day have been shown to consistently lose weight over time.

Apples are great portable snacks that can be taken and eaten anywhere. They are tasty additions to salads, cereals and meals. I happen to bake a mean crumb apple pie, but it packs a lotta mean calories!

Since I also love treats like apple crisp, I have found a good low calorie alternative to pie as follows: Peel and slice about 5 granny smith apples. Layer the apple pieces in a square baking dish. Combine, about 3 T. sugar, 3 T. butter, 1/3 c. rolled oats with cinnamon and vanilla to flavor. Layer mixture on top of apples in baking dish. Bake at 350° covered about 30 minutes, then uncovered about 20 minutes more. Makes about 8 delicious servings, each about 190 calories. Top with lowfat frozen vanilla yogurt for added delight.

Go Green- Apples!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You Can Be Fit over FIFTY!

There are many inspirational individuals who have healthy bodies to motivate all of us. I suppose there aren't as many publicized photos of people 50 and older who have superfit bodies, but they ARE out there.

We are exposed to many of the most attractive 'bodies 50 and over' by the media, particularly magazines. Recently, Valerie Bertinelli lost 50 pounds, celebrated her 50th birthday and got married. She looks great and seems happier than ever.

Christie Brinkley is over 50 (actually closer to 60), as fit as ever AND claims not to have had plastic surgery. She attributes her healthy, good looks to great genes, an active lifestyle and a wonderful dermatologist. Whatever she is doing, it's working.

And then there are the men. It is a well known fact that men tend to lose weight quicker than women. They also have more muscle and usually know a lot about toning those muscles. I remember being shocked when I saw 62 year old Ricardo Montalban in the movie: Star Trek II The Wrath of Kahn. Montalban was a long way from his days on Fantasy Island. He had an amazingly buff chest and physique. People challenged his appearance, but movie producers confirmed that he did NOT wear a prosthetic chest. Montalban was simply in great physical shape for his age and had the chest to prove it.

The days of accepting that we are too old to be in great physical shape are gone. It is time to start looking ahead so that we can adapt healthy lifestyles for tomorrow.

The average life expectancy today is between 75 and 80 years of age. Additionally, it is thought that 1 out of every 5 people may live to be over 100 years of age. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives!

Whether you are 20-30-50 or 70, what you do today decides how you will live tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

No Cake Zone!

Note to Self:

You cannot watch ANY television shows that have the word 'CAKE' in the title.

That includes Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Wedding Cake Wars and anything related to cake baking. The allure of cake is too great. The taste of cake lingers too strongly in your mind. The smell of cake is too easily brought to life by the sight of any bakery environment seen on T.V.

Just be thankful you didn't have any cake in the house this time.

Next time you may not be so lucky!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Traveler's Poem

There once was a woman
from Spring Hill,
Who set out on a course
To find Thinville.

She ate less and less,
tried to decrease her stress,
and discovered the pathway
to true happiness.

She learned that the journey was daunting
Thinville often seemed far, far away
The path was uphill and uncharted
So easy to detour astray.

But onward the woman did travel,
The end of her journey in sight.
She followed the road map to Thinville
And her waist reappeared overnight.

Her body began to trim down.
No longer did she wear a frown.
From morning to night
She was a new sight,
And she worked it all over the town.

She continues her journey to Thinville
Determined to stay on the road.
When it comes to the calories and cookies
The traveler must lighten her load.

And now as she looks to the future,
She knows in herself she must trust,
There’s certainly no turning back now-
Cause it’s either Thinville or Bust!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Good Calories vs. Bad

Calorie counters have many opinions about the types of calories they consume.

Some individuals focus only on the amount of calories they take in at each meal. Others choose the quality of the calories contained in their foods. What counts is keeping track of what you eat and how much food you eat. However, deciding what types of calories you eat CAN make a difference.

Many of the foods that we bring into our kitchens are processed. Processed foods last longer. They are more convenient to store and eat for busy families who are often on the go. BUT staying away from processed foods is a smart decision. Not only are highly processed foods low in nutrition, they don’t satisfy hunger. There is a reason ‘nobody can eat just one’ potato chip or cheese curl. Processed foods also have large amounts of added salt, sugar and fat in order to compensate for the taste that is lost during the refining process.

Natural foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are absorbed slowly in our bodies and satisfy our feelings of hunger. Foods in their most natural state also have the highest nutrient and fiber contents. Apple or orange juices without pulp have less fiber and nutritional value than in pure juice form. Boiled vegetables have less vitamins than those eaten in raw or steamed form.

If you want to increase your weight loss potential, pay attention to the quality of the calories you eat. Eating less salt, sugar and fat is always wise. Natural foods always benefit our bodies most.

All foods are not created equal. Go natural!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Works For Me

I am still amazed at my ongoing weight loss and devotion to this journey. Since I started this trip on Jan. 1, 2011, I have managed to stay focused on my destination: Thinville. I don’t know why I have remained vigilant, but I know what I am doing differently.

The formula is simple. Added calories = added pounds. For every 3500 calories consumed, we gain 1 pound of fat. Eliminating 500 calories a day will contribute to 1 pound of weight loss each week. Everyone has success stories and my story is not unlike many others.

Some reasons for my current success:

1. No Quick Fixes.
I decided from the beginning that I did not want short term success. I’ve tried quick fix methods in the past hoping to achieve big losses in short amounts of time. Unfortunately every time I tried to starve myself or follow rigid diet plans, I failed. This time, I just started out taking small steps.

2. Set reasonable goals.
Since I wasn't looking for a drastic change immediately, I set manageable goals for myself. I first decided to try and lose 1-2 pounds a week. This is not an overwhelming goal and it allows me to easily get back on track if I veer off a little from time to time. Ultimately, I hope to be 25-30 pounds lighter by summer.
I also hope to build a regular exercise regimen into my schedule. Thus far, I have not been as disciplined about exercise as I have been about my food intake. Still, whenever I eat more than I know I should have, out the door I go for a long walk. You could say exercise is my safety net, when my taste buds go astray.

3. Keep good foods in my kitchen.
Starting on the first day, I went to go to the grocery with a list of foods that would get me started on the right track. I have continued to shop regularly for more produce (including frozen fruits and veggies), nuts, whole wheat products and low calorie snack foods.

4. Count calories.
I read all my labels and keep track of every calorie I eat now. I’ve even started separating good calories from bad. I now focus on eating more high protein, high fiber foods. At the same time, I have cut down on salt, sugar, processed foods and fat.

5. Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.
Eating small amounts throughout the day has helped me to balance my eating patterns. I do not feel famished after work and I can focus on good calorie choices. Most of my meals include vegetables and/or salads. When our bodies feel starved, our cells instinctively want to store fat. Eating small amounts of food keeps our metabolism working and that is where long term results show up.

6. Eat breakfast.
I used to just grab a cup of coffee and head out the door each day. Now, I try to eat something before starting my day. My favorite breakfast food has become oatmeal (See POST: The New Man in My Life). It is natural, high fiber and low calorie. I can add milk, fruit, nuts and even a little honey or sugar without feeling guilty. It also fills me up and carries me through the morning hours. AND it gets my metabolism started!

7. No more random snacking.
I used to come home from work and eat 200-400 calories in snacks before sitting down to dinner. Sometime after dinner, I usually had a snack as well. Now I’ve learned to limit my snacks and focus on healthier choices like nuts, olives, low fat cheeses, hard boiled eggs or low calorie snacks.

Part of making changes in my eating habits was asking myself ‘How did I get here?’. The easy answer is that I was eating more and exercising less.

I am still working to establish an exercise plan that I can stick with. I continue to read up on exercise tips frequently, but my main focus right now is still food intake. I am thrilled that the above steps continue to propel me towards my ultimate destination: THINVILLE.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Walk This Way

Spring weather is bringing more beautiful days to enjoy. Today was no exception.

After arriving home from work, I took advantage of daylight saving time and took my dog, Snickers, out into the spring sunshine for a walk. Walking is one of the easiest ways to keep fit and it doesn’t cost a thing. You can walk anytime- anywhere- and travel as near or as far as you choose to go. Experts recommend 30 minutes of physical activity daily. A walk can be 30 minutes long or it can be broken up into shorter walks.

Studies show that physical activity, like walking, can benefit our mental health as well. It can reduce anxiety or depression and help in handling stress. Walking can increase energy levels and help improve sleep habits too.

The physical benefits of walking are well known. Walking helps keep bones, muscles and joints healthy. The heart is one muscle that is always strengthened by exercise. Walking builds endurance and strength. Over time, most people are able to walk faster and can gradually increase their distance and speed. Trails can lead up hills, through neighborhoods and into sunsets. Walking offers variety and gives us a new view of the world every time we venture out.

Walking is not only great for our health and well being, but it burns calories too. Less calories means less weight. Grab a good pair of shoes and enjoy a good walk.

What can be better than feeling great and looking great!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fattest States announced recently the results of their Fattest States analysis. They ranked the 'most overweight' states in the U.S. and the percentages of obese adults in each of the 50 states as averaged over a 3 year period.

Although the results ranked the most obese states, I found the obesity of our entire country to be of greater concern. A three year average obesity rate was used and only one state, Colorado, was less than 20% overweight. Over half of all states are more than 25% overweight and nine states have obese populations of over 30 percent. In most states, at least 1 out of every 4 people were determined to be obese during the three year averaging period.

Our country eats a lot and we eat what is convenient. Many of us are too busy to cook or even shop for good foods. As a result, we have learned to rely on fast foods that we can eat on the run. Our snack foods are mostly processed and most of our children would eat junk food every day if we allowed it.

For those of us who grew up spending most of our days outside, times have changed. We are lured indoors by the temptations of cable T.V., computers and video games. Our children are mesmerized by every square screen they encounter. Bike rides and hikes have become special events. It is no wonder that many of our states are actually increasing their average obesity rates.

It is time for change. Many of us want to change our eating and exercise habits - and we can!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Find Your Own Way...

Tonight I read yet another weight loss plan in a fitness magazine. I’ve read tons of weekly menu plans, and I usually decide that most plans are not for me. Most of the time, I survey all the food ideas to find some recipes or snacks that might be worth putting into my own weekly diet plan. I rarely find an entire week’s worth of daily menus that I can follow rigidly.

The same is true of exercise routines. There seem to be endless supplies of step by step instructions for calorie burning. There are walking and running schedules, weight training guides and even instructional photos showing the best 10 minute exercises for toning and firming.

I know that it seems easy to have a pre-arranged plan for eating or exercising, but that is not always the case. I like variety. I get bored easily and just can’t follow a rigid routine. Instead, I have learned to find new foods and exercise tips each week. Every day is a little different and the key is to stay within my calorie limits.

If I had a weight trainer or a chef who could keep me accountable, things would be different. But in my world, I have to work, manage my family AND find creative ways to lose weight and stay on course.

For most of my life I have been a planner. I set goals, make lists and plan for tomorrow. This journey has been about planning with flexibility. Boundaries are always necessary, but everyone likes to have choices within their boundaries. My preferences aren’t always what the magazines or weight instructors recommend- so I have learned to chart my own path.

With a small amount of discipline and the right limitations, I am finding that my ways aren’t all that bad.

Find you own way and then stay on the road.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weight Loss Websites

There are an overwhelming amount of websites devoted to assisting others in the process of losing weight. In my quest to discover a variety of worthwhile recipe ideas and healthy food choices, I have become an avid user of search engines.
Many of my posts do include links to related weight loss websites. Today, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite websites. These are many of the sites that I have personally found to be valuable during this first part of my journey. I hope that others will find something useful at these sites as well. Thinville or Bust! Love this site! The free food logs, exercise logs, and weight loss tracking tools are what got me started on this journey! There are tons of extra resources that list exercise and recipe tips too- all free. The Hungry Girl states right on her website that she has ‘great recipe tips and tricks for hungry chicks’. I have found lots of low calorie recipes, low-cal substitutions for recipes and lots of added cooking tips!(See 'Have Your Cake and Eat It Too' post) Need guidelines for choosing what to eat? Here they are- spelled out for you: what to eat, what not to eat, and what to eat instead. Part of a great book series too.

Ginny’s lowfat recipes: Lots of ideas and resources for cooking up interesting and delicious lowfat recipes. . Great details about diets, products, methods for losing weight and extra tips. Want to know how many calories to eat each day? This site will guide you through steps for plugging in your weight goals in order to receive details and steps for how you can lose your desired weight. Multiple topics and lists for losing weight like “8 Tips to Slim Down Now” or ‘Lunches for 400 calories or less". Found this site while searching for motivating before and after stories. Has great healthy diet and food tips too!

Happy Surfing!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time to Change It Up

I am still losing weight steadily, but I feel like I need to add something to my trip at this point.

Keeping a steady course doesn’t seem like enough anymore. I knew the day would come when I would have to make a commitment to exercise and today is the day. Writing down goals is always the best way to accomplish objectives and since I am blogging- here goes.

I have decided to choose some specific activities that I will accomplish 3 days per week as follows:
1. 15 pushups (girl style at first)
2. 30 minutes of cardio
3. Work arms using weights or weight ball- 50 reps each arm/various moves
4. 50 situps/ varied

Since I will need accountability, I will post completion of these goals each day that I satisfy the 4 requirements.

I am a little intimidated by setting such definitive goals. However, I am encouraged by the fact that I have managed to stay on track with my diet so far. The best part of adding exercise is that if I can complete these goals 3 days a week, I will start to get my body toned too.

Thin AND toned is definitely the best way to arrive at Thinville.
What have I got to lose- except bulges?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Before and After Stories

I love to hear success stories and see before and after pictures of people who have lost weight.

Today I found many weight loss success stories on .

I love Jennifer's story (pictured here) because I can relate to her weight. It started in the same range as mine. She was 180 and I was near it. She ended up at 135 and I would LOVE to end up there too! She is much younger than me, but nothing is impossible these days- even for a 50 year old.

Jennifer did not describe her turning point, but I know mine happened when I realized that I never wanted to see 180 lbs.- and I was close. For me, I couldn't keep heading in the direction that led to more unhappiness. I had many things happening in my life, and I wanted some control back.

I like success stories because they demonstrate that we can all achieve our goals, no matter where we are or how impossible the goals seem. When I read success stories, I like finding out what each individual did to stay on track during their journey. Most people have tips from their own experiences about exercise, food, or what kept them going.

I hope to eventually have a kick butt after picture one day too. Maybe somebody else will be motivated by my experience too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Goin Fishin'

Years ago, I had a fleeting interest in the benefits of fish oil. I even had a bottle in my cabinet when I decided to re-investigate this dietary supplement. I am now more serious about vitamins and supplements that contribute to my diet regimen. Fish oil has beneficial effects that are worth consideration.

Fish oil has many health benefits associated with its Omega-3 fatty acid content. The benefits include reducing the risk of heart attack or coronary heart disease . Not only is fish oil beneficial to physical health, it is also beneficial to mental health. The omega-3 fatty acids are known for combating depression, bipolar disorder , schizophrenia and the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Fish oil can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your healthy cholesterol (HDL) numbers. It has even been shown to help a person lose weight when taken along with a sensible diet and exercise plan.

The ability to reduce inflammation also makes fish oil effective in reducing the symptoms and pain of arthritis. Morning stiffness and joint tenderness has been shown to decrease with regular intake of fish oil supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil provide an anti-aging benefit related to their ability to prolong the life of cells. Fish oil has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, which is a common cause of blindness in the elderly.

My daily diet regimen now includes a multi-vitamin and fish oil.
Bring on the benefits.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Celebration Day!

Today it happened. I got on the scale and it read 165! My magic number has finally arrived. I have arrived at my first milestone goal and I am very excited.

I feel so motivated to stay on track and work towards my next goal. Having small achievable goals really helps me take things one day at a time. My next goal is 159. I haven't seen the 150's for a long time. I think I can make the trip in less than two weeks if I put the pedal to the metal - or my feet on the treadmill!

I promised myself that I would indulge in a few oatmeal cookies when I arrived at this milestone. Rewarding myself with food seems counter- productive, but I might have just one cookie.

Make small goals and stay on course.
Thinville is just over the horizon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rest Stop Ahead!

Today I discovered that I am within 1 pound of my first milestone goal!!

I have lost 12 pounds during these first 65 days of 2011. I had hoped to average a loss of 1-2 pounds a week on my journey and success feels good. I am traveling a little slower than I had hoped. However, as long as I am heading in the right direction- it's all good.

I am hoping that tomorrow I can take an exit to my first rest stop and celebrate the loss of one more pound. Yes, it will be time to celebrate if I lose 13 pounds.

Sooo exciting!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Failure is Not an Option

There are many successful people in the world who failed on their way to success.

Many wealthy people lost everything they had before gaining their wealth. Some companies, like FedEx, were on the verge of losing everything when circumstances suddenly changed. Fred Smith started FedEx in 1973. The company lost $29 million during the first 26 months of operation. Smith's investors considered removing him from the helm of the fledgling company, but company president Arthur Bass backed the young founder. By late 1976, the company was carrying an average of 19,000 packages a night, and by year's end it was $3.6 million in the black.

Some people became rich and then lost everything before regaining their wealth, like Simon Cowell of American Idol. In his twenties, Cowell had some success in the music business and lived a lavishly rich lifestyle. But by thirty, he lost everything, and was forced to move back to his parents’ home. He didn’t give up. Fame came late and suddenly to Cowell. He was unknown at forty-two, nationally infamous by the time he turned forty-three and internationally famous only a few years later.

Steve Jobs, of Apple, dropped out of college before ever starting his computer company with a friend in his garage. But ten years after starting his company, the board at Apple fired him. He stated in a commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that ever could have happened to me.” Jobs turned a humiliating career loss into an incredible success by changing his attitude and beginning again.

We can’t all be Steve Jobs or Simon Cowell, but we can all turn failure into success with our attitudes. Like Steve Jobs says, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition.”

We learn from failure. Every time a batter strikes out, he learns what not to do next time. Such is life. Without failure, we would never be motivated to improve. Without failure, we would never appreciate success.

Failure makes us work harder to avoid mistakes in the future. With my track record, I should be able to avoid lots of mistakes in the future.

Bring it on- cause failure is NOT an option!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

I am still losing weight AND I am still happy!

I've never stayed on any disciplined eating plan for this long - 62 DAYS! At first, I wasn't even sure I would keep up with a food log. I found a free food and exercise log on and thought I would give it a try. Since I didn't have to pay for it, I thought, "What the heck?" It occurred to me that since I wasn't paying into my weight loss investment, it might not stick. I was wrong. I have faithfully logged in everything I’ve eaten since January 1st.

The second thing I decided to do was write this blog. Actually, keeping up with this blog has been one of the more difficult challenges I have faced on this journey. I realize that nobody is really reading this blog, but part of me feels like I need to keep it current. Still, keeping this daily journal has helped me discover invaluable facts and tips about food, nutrition and exercise. I believe that without writing this blog, my perseverance would not be as great. Don’t get me wrong- It would be wonderful if I had some feedback and encouragement from others, but I'm satified that this web page is helping me work towards my goal.

I think timing has played a big part in my newfound happiness too. I was finally ready to make a change in my life. I came to a fork in the road and realized it was time to take a different path. I was tired of not being able to wear the clothes I love. I also found that I was embarrassed to take pictures or have old friends see the bigger me. Discouragement CAN BE a great motivator.

And here I am: happy. I feel very comfortable with my eating patterns and the foods I am now choosing to eat. It is still tempting to veer off the road, but I am trying to keep focused on my destination:
Thinville or Bust!

Color me happy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bumpy Road

Most long journeys ultimately lead to encounters with roads that are under construction or are in need of repair. My current journey happens to be riddled with bumps, potholes and delays.

Every time I seem to be speeding up, I run into a bump in the road that slows me down. Sometimes it is bad weather that prevents me from getting outside to exercise. Other times it is giving in to a food that I just can't resist. Once in a while, I just get lazy and want to coast down the road. Most of the time it boils down to the fact that I am not staying self-disciplined enough to stay on the smooth part of the road.

I can't seem to avoid the areas that slow my pace.

Still, I am certain that I will not turn back or give up on this journey. I refuse to give up. I need to set my GPS for Thinville and follow the directions that lead me to my destination along the fastest route. It's all about avoiding the bumps that hinder my progress.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Did You Know?

There are many helpful food and weight loss facts that I have discovered while gathering information for this personal journey. Many facts are valuable for everyone, so I decided to share some of my favorites-

1.Butter is better. Margarine isn’t always a better choice than butter. Most margarines contain just as much fat and as many calories as butter so they do not offer any real weight loss benefits. Worse still, they may also contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are thought to be harmful to the heart. If you like the taste of butter, there’s no reason why you can’t include it in your diet, providing you count the calories. Since I am a butta-lover, this is really great news for me!

2.Cereal bars and fiber bars aren’t always the best snack choices. Some ‘healthy food or fiber bars’, have as high a calorie count as candy bars. For a sweet snack, you’d be better off choosing fresh fruit. But if you must have chocolate or a sweet treat, check out the nutrition and calorie information on the label first. Small chocolate bars or treats, like Hershey Kisses, contain fewer calories than some healthy sounding cereal bars- and many are less expensive! Candy bar instead of fiber bar? Fine with me!

3.Low fat foods do not always help you lose weight. Foods that are described as ‘low fat’ or 'fat-free' aren’t automatically low in calories. In fact, some low-fat products may actually be higher in calories than higher fat products. Some low fat foods contain extra sugars or additives to enhance flavor or texture. Low fat does not mean low calorie.

4.Honey is higher in calories than sugar. 1 tsp. of honey contains 25 calories, compared with 16 calories in 1 tsp. of sugar! Plus, it’s just as likely to cause tooth decay. I like both, so no problem.

5.Potatoes, bread, pasta and rice do not make us gain weight any more than other foods. There is no proof that foods high in carbohydrates are worse than other foods. Extra calories will add pounds, regardless of where the calories come from. It’s usually the fat that we add to carbs that raises the calorie content, such as butter on toast, creamy sauces on pasta,or sour cream on potatoes.

6.Spinach is great. If you could eat only one vegetable for the rest of your life, eat spinach. It’s one of the highest ranking vegetables as far as overall antioxidant capacity. It can easily be added to many recipes, meals and salads. Popeye always was my hero.

7.Diet soda does not automatically contribute to weight loss. In fact, it’s been shown that diet sodas actually increase hunger. I don't drink many carbonated beverages, so I can avoid these without too many struggles.

8.Red meat is OK. Red meat is much leaner now than ever before. Around half the fat in red meat is actually heart-healthy monounsaturates. In particular, red meat contains oleic acid, which is the same type of fat that’s found in olive oil. Red meat is also packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It is easy to choose lean cuts of meat and to use cooking methods that do not add fat. You don’t have to limit yourself to chicken anymore. Bring on the filet mignon!

Bottom line on most of these tips:
First and foremost-count your calories!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Steady Limit

Today I found a definite 'speed limit' for my journey.

My plan is to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Although I have been cutting back on the foods and calories I am eating, I have not focussed on an actual number of calories to eliminate from my diet each week. Today I found my limit:

To lose 1 lb. of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. Therefore, I need to reduce my calorie count by 500 calories a day. By reducing my calorie intake each day, it should be easy to lose 1 lb. a week.
If I take in fewer calories than I need, my body will start to use up its extra fat to get the extra calories it needs to keep functioning properly. Over time, this will result in weight loss. Bingo!

Exercise can help me burn off some additional calories too. It is important not to eliminate my favorite foods or starve myself.
Regardless, the basic weight loss rule still applies:

Extra calories means extra pounds.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Ordered deep dish pizza tonight.


No point in discussing it further.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wrong Way!

I’m going in the wrong direction. Today was the first time since beginning this journey, that I discovered my scale is going up- instead of down.

I am still counting calories faithfully, but I have been eating too many of the wrong kind of calories and it shows. In recent days, I have wrongly convinced myself that sugar is OK as long as I count and limit the calories. In another lapse of judgment, I stopped paying attention to the fat content in foods.

I need to get back to eating pure unprocessed foods. Eating organic foods like fruits, vegetables and meats is very different from taking in processed or high sugar foods. My attempts to steer clear of processed foods are failing. I started to enjoy too many of the delicious 100 calorie (although processed) foods that lure me into defying my diet rules.

The result of my bad choices is obvious. My forward momentum and progress on this journey has stopped. The worst part is that I am now going in the wrong direction.

I plan to get turned around soon and get back on my way to Thinville.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It seems that ALL the best recipes and food shows are on T.V. right after I get home from work. This is, of course, the hungriest part of my day.

Today, I watched Paula Deen making a 'melt in your mouth' pot roast and frozen chocolate mousse pie. It was more than I could handle.

These T.V. temptations taunt my taste buds too much.

I am well aware of the fact that I need to guard myself from the perils that lie deep within the flat screen. I don't know why, but I just can't look away when I see delicious food preparation staring back at me from the square glare.

There can be no more sightseeing on the Food Network or the Cooking Channel for me. From now on, I've got to respect the stop sign when tempted to view tasty cooking techniques and recipes.

It will be difficult to give up my food watching fascination cold turkey. I'm thinking that maybe I can watch a little of my favorite food shows - as long as it is after I eat a good meal,
but never before I fill my tummy with food first!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I really need a lift. If only someone could pick me up and carry me the rest of the way to Thinville. Some days the road seems too long to endure. Lately, it seems that I am spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.

Encouragement makes the road so much easier to travel. Recently, a friend who I hadn't seen in a while, noticed that I looked a little thinner. Actually, she said my butt looked tiny! She carried me a few miles with that comment!! It was so nice to receive validation that even 10 pounds can make a difference. I am noticing that all my pants are fitting better these days. Additionally, it doesn't seem that my belly sticks out quite as far as it did a month ago (of course, my perspective may be different from that of others). Successful results have a positive impact on my journey and carry me further down the road.

Sometimes discouragement makes me feel like a hitchhiker waiting on the side of the road. For now, I plan to stay on course and keep following my road map-
I just wish I could find some shortcuts!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Road Block Ahead

It’s too early to hit a road block. Seven weeks into this journey and my weight is holding steady at a 10 pound weight loss. The good news is that I am not gaining weight. The bad news is that I am not losing any either.

I’ve heard about people hitting a plateau, but not this early in the process. 10 pounds will simply not do. It won’t get me into skinny jeans or skimpy summer dresses.
It definitely won’t get me into the bathing suit of my dreams.

So where do I go from here? I had hoped to average a loss of at least 7 pounds a month. Right now, I have less than a week to lose 4 more pounds. My options are clear. I have to ramp up the exercise and buckle down on my diet. Both options are challenging with the weekend approaching fast.

Getting beyond road blocks is always a challenge. Sometimes we have to go around and sometimes we have to just break through. Either way, I have to ask myself how badly I want to reach my destination. Where there's a will, there's a way.
Stand by for updates...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just a Fad

Anything that seems too good to be true, probably is.

Fad diets and quick fixes are everywhere. The problem is that they are what they seem:
weight loss plans that become popular for a short time and then disappear just as quickly.

I have generally kept away from diet programs that seem too crazy to make sense. I have found more than a few ridiculous eating plans in my quest to reach Thinville.

Any diet that limits you primarily to a single food or type of food, like grapefruits, cabbage or mostly meat will generally become very boring. I like most foods, but being encouraged to eat ANY one food over and over again is not really very exciting or motivating. Even if I could eat pizza every day, sooner or later I would be ready for a change. Variety still helps keep me on track.

Any diet that uses the words cleanse or detox is generally a bad idea. Most of the time, it means some kind of liquid fast is involved. It usually means extreme bathroom visits are involved too. Again, not real exciting.

Diets that promise losing many pounds in a short amount of time are also difficult to stay with for any extended amount of time. My efforts to jump start my trip to Thinville with quick weight loss fads have failed every time. Drastic changes to eating patterns rarely work.

I know now that quick fixes don’t work for me. Effective weight loss for me means having variety, flexibility and choices. Being a slave to food will never work for me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This weekend I have been diligent about walking off a few calories. I know that a brisk walk does not burn off as many calories as a high cardio workout. Still, I feel good knowing that I did get outside and got my muscles moving.

I have been able to include 2 days of intentional exercise each week since starting this journey. It hasn't been enough to impact my weight loss tremendously, but I am trying to include some physical activity each week. Eventually I hope to increase my exercise goals.

My focus, thus far, has been on food. I have been very deliberate about planning and watching my meals and calorie intake. As I reach more weight loss goals, I hope that my fitness goals will also increase. Ultimately I want to shape this body into a well-toned machine.

It may be a lot to expect six pack abs and Madonna's arms, but making dreams come true is what this journey is all about. Anything is possible with perseverance.

Perseverance- noun.-
Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Caption: You Can't Let Go and Still Win

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hilton Head Beach: 3 Months Ahead

This weekend's weather was better than the last. Today the thermometer reached over 70 degrees. I can see summer weather ahead and I am anxious for June, when we will vacation at the beach in Hilton Head, S.C.

I love the beach and all warm weather vacation spots. However in recent years, my enjoyment of all places sunny has been hindered by my appearance insecurities. Let's face it: even the best bathing suit cannot cover up wide hips and a bulging belly. Even the longest shorts do not cover up thick thighs. As a result, I now own multiple pairs of capri length pants instead.

As I dream of warmer weather and sunny beaches, I am resolved to arrive at Hilton Head in a newly remodeled body. The road signs ahead indicate that the beach is just over 3 months in the distance. Staying focussed on the road ahead is important to me.

While Thinville is the ultimate destination, there will be stops along the way. I look forward to taking a small detour to Hilton Head Beach, where I hope to enjoy the surf in a new bathing suit- which will highlight my thinner self.

Surfs up- weight's down!