Well...it has been awhile since I have written on this blog. If you have been a past reader...you will notice that both the name of the blog and the look are different. Of course if you know me....I don't look like I eat celery. In fact...far from it. This blog has always been about my "struggle." Okay...it has been about health and weight loss and mostly a lot of bitching. As much as I would like to say differently...there is a real good chance most of that won't change....especially the bitching part. What might change is I hope to blog more frequently and I hope to blog about things that are relatable in health and weight loss and give something informative to my readers. It came over me the other day while I was walking (yes....I was out walking) that I have been doing many things wrong in my life where weight loss and health are concerned. This blog is evidence of my starts and stops, my optimism and my dips into complete despair over my health and my weight. I know I am not alone. I thought about just leaving this blog to fall into the blog abyss where forgotten blogs must go..... and to start fresh....but then I decided....NO! This is real. Millions of people are dealing with health and weight issues and at least half of those people have stopped and started over and over again constantly looking for that one thing that will actually work. This blog will let you know what works for me and what doesn't. It will keep me accountable and it may help someone out there to take that first step into real change.
Real change....you ask? Of late I have known several people who finally hit their change point and took action. It has been life changing for them. One has committed to working out on a regular basis and the change is amazing. One has decided to finally get serious about a life change and has changed how they view and eat food. It has changed their entire family for the better....and one....a very good friend of mine has changed both food and started exercising. She has lost over 30lbs and she looks phenomenal. So it can be done...but they were all ready for real change. Real change is that moment in your life when you know that you have to make a change and commit to it for the long haul. Sometimes it is a health issue that brings you to the realization that you can't continue down the road you are on, sometimes it is an event, maybe a picture you see of yourself, or maybe you just decide you are tired of feeling like you currently feel. Whatever your real change point is....when you hit it.....the commitment and determination go with it.
My real change moment happened in the last couple of weeks. It wasn't just one thing...it was a combination. First I have a class reunion looming next week, and although I have known for a year it was coming....only the last couple of weeks has it really hit me. Also....I have a landmark birthday just around the corner, but the three catalysts that sent me head long into the realization that things had to change and this time for good all happened within a few days of each other. First there was my yearly MRI to check my breasts for cancer. Because of our family history I have an MRI every six months and a mammogram every six months. The two switch off and never does this time come around without me working myself into a big stressful ball of fear. Yes....being this vigilant makes the chances of them catching any possible cancer very early and thus making the prognosis excellent...but that doesn't alleviate the fear of having cancer in my body. In one day it was pointed out to me multiple times that the more fat you have on your body...the easier it is for cancer to take hold. Not what I wanted to hear. The second thing that sent me into change mode was that my cousin who is just a few years older than myself had a massive stroke and died. I had not been to the doctor in awhile...therefore I had no idea where my blood pressure was and I was almost to the point that I really didn't want to know. Brilliant right?! The final and probably most persuasive thing.... was the fact that when I went to the doctor to get my MRI results(which by the way were just fine)...they took my blood pressure and it was 145/110! Both the doctor and I nearly had heart attacks right then and there. It was at that moment that I decided that if I didn't have a stroke on the way home.....things were going to change. There would be real change!
After going to Immediate Care because of my doctors concern....my blood pressure was on the way down and the doctor there told me he was pretty sure what I was experiencing was stress blood pressure where it spikes in moments of upset or stress. He asked if I had a lot of stress in my life and all I could do was let out a somewhat hysterical laugh. How do you tell someone that you idle on stress constantly? His advice to me was to get a blood pressure cuff and take my bp a couple of times a day for a couple of weeks. If after doing that the majority of the pressures are normal then it is undoubtedly stress related. However....if the majority are high....I need to see my doctor and see about getting on bp medicine. Sigh...I really don't want to go down that road. He also told me to start eating better and to exercise at least 30 min. 5 times per week. When you are sitting in a doctors office and talking about potentially life threatening health issues....you are pretty committed to doing just about anything!
A friend loaned me a blood pressure cuff and I made my mind up from that moment on I was going to change how I ate, as well as how I treated my body. The question was.....what exactly was I going to do? There are million and one diets out there and for the most part....I am not a fan of many of them. Diets to me scream temporary. I am not looking for temporary. If I do this and follow through....I don't want to have to turn around and do this again in five years. I want permanent. I was also very angry at myself. While I really wanted to blame stress, life experience and body changes on my current weight....the truth was I had done this to myself. I had used food as a way to self medicate myself through stress, life experience and body changes. I was/am for all intensive purposes....a food addict. Just like any addiction.....I choose food to make me feel better, to block out things I didn't want to have to do or think about and I have chosen food time and again over my health. I was an addict living in denial and like any addict until I hit rock bottom I would never make up my mind to get back on track and get my life back. I write this here because I know at least one person who reads this is going to be able to identify with it. Maybe this will precipitate a change in someone else too.
At any rate....before I even decided how to proceed with my eating I was out walking. Let me say something here about walking. Walking is my go to exercise when I am not doing anything else. It is said that in order to stay fit and healthy a person should walk 10,000 steps a day. That averages out to be about 5 miles. If you have a sedentary job or your favorite activity is sitting in front of the tv....the chances of you hitting that mark daily are slim. I found that even on days when I am running up and down stairs cleaning and never find a moment to sit down....I usually only average at best about 4,000-5,000 steps...of course you need a pedometer to have an accurate account. That is why it is important to try and get in at least a 30 minute walk a day. That will average you another 4,000-5,000 steps which will get you close if not right on the money for the steps you need.
Walking is an excellent starter exercise no matter how much you weigh nor your physical shape. For the extremely over weight/out of shape person.....start out walking 10 min. at a time and work your way up. Walking is good aerobically and gives you a place to start. I know it is hard to watch shows like The Biggest Loser and see the trainers working extremely overweight individuals to their breaking point and see the end results of major weight loss and then think....how is a little walking going to help me achieve the results I want? The fact is though....unless you have the money for a trainer....you have to start somewhere and you can't go from A to Z without first starting at A and working your way to Z. That is what walking is. My suggestion to anyone starting out is start walking. Don't start out trying to do 10,000 steps either. Get yourself a good pedometer or if you have a smart phone....download yourself one. The one I have is great for walking. It is the GPS+. It is free and it tracks your steps, your miles, your time, your calories and it has a stop watch and music settings. It also keeps your workouts in history and allows you to send them to Facebook if you wish. Once you have a pedometer....plan your walks. If you are completely out of shape and overweight....start with 10 minutes. If you can do a couple of 10 min. walks a day then great....if not at least you have that 10 minutes. If you are moderate start with a 15-20 minute walk and if you are in okay shape but just haven't done it for awhile.....start with 30 minutes. Plan on doing this for at least five days. I say this because you need that time to make sure you have the right shoes (you don't want blisters rubbing or foot pain as that will be a mental reason to quit). This also lets you work on pace. Is 2.2 mph the best you can do or can you amp it up to 3.0 mph? After five days you will feel a sense of accomplishment. In most cases you will be ready for more. Every five days....add time. When you reach your 30 minute mark....before you do more time....work on pace. If you did a mile and a half in 30 minutes try working up to 2 miles in thirty minutes. When you have worked yourself up to 3 miles in 30 minutes....move on to 45 minutes. You will start to see the challenge in walking along with the health benefits. You will start losing inches, drop pounds, your stress levels will decrease and things like bp and insulin levels often improve. So here is where I challenge anyone reading this. If you are ready for a change...whether you need a whole body overhaul or you simply want to feel more fit.....for the next week I challenge you to walk. The weather is beautiful right now and it is a perfect time to get out and enjoy the season. Start where you are comfortable and you might even jot down your current weight or how you feel, maybe your bp or some note to compare how you feel the day you start to how you feel on the 5th day. I think you will be surprised.
As for the food.....I have been on every diet, meal plan, etc. known to man and the bottom line is they probably all worked....I just didn't work them. In future blogs I will talk about many of the plans I have been on and what I liked and didn't like about them. This might help someone decipher what might work for them. Yes...I said I wasn't a fan of a diet...but because next week is my reunion....I settled on what I call a "quick fix" diet for two reasons. One...I am a firm believer that anyone who starts a weight loss life change needs to see results from the get go or they are likely to quit before they get started. Also....I wanted to lose a few pounds just to feel good about me before this life altering event. The diet I chose is a 7 day diet called The GM Diet which I got off another blog through Pintrest. I chose this diet because it is very low fat, but it is rich in fruits and vegetables. It is also a diet that can help your body detox from sugar which my body really needs that. I am currently on day 4 and taking notes as I go. When I have finished the whole 7 days I will let you all know what I think about it and how I feel. From there I am not sure where I will go with my weight loss plans but whatever I try and wherever I go from here I will definitely take you all along for the ride.
Now before I leave you all...a few obligatory words of wisdom and caution. First of all....whether we like it or not, weight is both sexist and age discriminatory. If you are younger...you will likely lose faster and if you are a man you will likely lose faster. Yes...as often happens...we middle aged women get the short end of the stick. Not all diets/weight loss plans are created equal. We need a certain amount of protein, carbs, fat(yes good fat) as well as fruits and veggies in our diet to keep our bodies running optimally. If we deprive ourselves of any of the things we need it can throw off metabolism, insulin, potassium, etc causing us grave and sometimes even life threatening issues. Before you start any weight loss efforts...I urge you to see your doctor (especially if it has been a while). Tell him/her what you are planning to do and what plan you have chosen. Not all diets work on all people. If you have allergies or illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease....a special diet maybe recommended by your doctor. Also get okays for exercise if you have issues with hips, knees, feet or heart. Again...the doctor may recommend a special trainer, physical therapy or certain exercises particularly designed for your needs. It doesn't pay to have to quit due to injury before you even get started.
So these are my words of wisdom for today. I hope you come back to this blog often as I will tell you how I am doing, discuss health related issues, weight loss programs, exercise....and yes...I am sure I will bitch along the way. I also would like to hear from you. I want to hear your successes, your dips into despair and also the things that you find work for you. Until next time...thanks for reading.