1 year later

1-year-12-months2

Hey everyone!  So I started my weight loss journey on May 1, 2016.  Yesterday was one year later.  It is by no means over, but it is important to celebrate the anniversary of my new life.  Unfortunately I did not lose the 100 lbs that I wanted to.  As of May 1 2017, I have lost 98.5 lbs.  This is not a setback.  Losing that much weight took hard work and dedication.  When I hit the 100 lb lost mark, I still plan on getting a tattoo to remind me of the hard work and pain so I will never gain any of the weight back.

measuring-tape

I wanted to share the measurements I lost with you.  Normally I would just add all these together and give a total, but I am proud of each individual measurement:

I lost 12 inches around my chest

I lost 11.5 inches around my waist

I lost 13 inches around my hips

Normally I am not a person who likes to brag.  I am actually a shy person who will blush (but still enjoy) when receiving a compliment.   This weight loss is the probably the biggest thing I have achieved in my life.  I would venture to say that it is right up there with getting my two Bachelor of Science Degrees (in Information Technology and Web Development)  It is definitely the most personal thing I have achieved in my life.  So when I post my victories on Facebook or in this blog, I hope no one thinks I am bragging just to brag.

how

Many people have asked how I did it.  If you have read through my previous blogs, you know some of the steps I took.  But first I want to say, I do not believe in diets.  There are no fad diets that will help you lose weight and keep it off.    That being said, I started my weight loss journey last May by doing the 24 day Advocare Challenge.   It involved buying a bunch of supplements and eating very little for 24 days.  I ended up losing 24 lbs in 24 days.  After that, I added back in more foods but gave up pop entirely.  I actually thought that was going to be the hardest thing to do but oddly, I have had no cravings for Coca Cola which was my favorite drink and in fact usually the ONLY drink I had.  I think what helped me is I fell in love with sparkling and seltzer flavored waters.   I cut my calories down to 1200-1400 a day.   Some days I do go over that and that is because I do not limit myself.  If I am craving ice cream, I will go to Dairy Queen but I will pay attention to the calorie content and get the lowest on the menu  (usually a small Arctic cherry freeze(with the ice cream blended in.)  If I am craving chips, I have some.  I see my friends and relatives who are dieting, restrict themselves and then when they have a “cheat” day they go all out and it can be hard to come back from that.  I have had cheat days where I go to an all you can eat pizza place with family or where I have pasta.  But i find that even on my cheat days, I do not go crazy because I haven’t limited myself other days.  Other stuff I have done to lose weight is attend Water Aerobics every Monday and Aqua Zumba every Tuesday.  On the in between days, I try to work out at home by riding my stationary bike, lifting weights or doing crunches on my bosu ball.

feeling-good

I feel great!  I feel like me again.  I am able to do things I have not done in years.  I love going to concerts.  I used to limit myself on how many I could go to based on what my body allowed me to do without giving out.  Now I can go to any concert I want to and not worry about the seating situation or how far I have to walk.   I used to love to support my friends in local bands but I would worry about what kind of seats they would have (if any) and if I went, I definitely couldn’t do any kind of dancing.    Now I have just go with no worries and I have even had fun dancing a few times like I used to.  I know this is just going to get better.. Hey maybe in another  year I will be able to ice skate again…. that would be awesome!  Also, my new year’s resolution was to be more positive.  I think that is definitely helping.  I feel happier and more at peace.  I still have times where I over think things, but who doesn’t?

Life isn’t perfect but it is getting there.

Rough Month

candle-heart

So this has been a rough month for me.  On August 20, my grandma passed away.  It was unexpected so I did not a chance to prepare myself for it.  At her funeral, the only thing that kept me going was holding the hand of my 4 yr old niece Ella. I didn’t think she would hold it for the entire time but she did.  She even switched hands with me at one point so she could reach for her doll with the other hand.

ellaprek

I can’t show Ella without showing my other niece-6 yr old Eva.  Here she is as a cat lady 🙂

eva-cat-lady

To top it off,  my dad has been in the hospital.  He was in congestive heart failure and was retaining a lot of water. He ended up losing about 65 lbs in roughly 10 days and he came home yesterday.  He is weak but doing better.

On the good news side,  so far I have lost 70.5 lbs since May 1.  I realize that is only about 10 lbs in the last month, so it has definitely slowed down but I will take it! It’s been really hard this month to eat right.. I spent several days helping to clean out Grandma’s apartment and then helping my mom get things ready in her house for some of Grandma’s furniture.  Plus I had to visit my dad at the hospital.  On those days,  I would eat fast food. I tried to be good and get a subway salad or something.  But I did break down and have Chinese food with my mom.  At the funeral, we had a luncheon at the church afterwards.  Food was provided and it was everything I shouldn’t eat.  Yummy things like spaghetti, mac and cheese, pasta salad and the best snickerdoodle cookies!.  I did my best to eat very little of each thing I wanted!

I’ve settled back into a routine now and cooking at home more but next friday, my work is having the annual company picnic.  Lunch is provided along with fair food that includes elephant ears, french fries, corn on the cob and donuts.  I have been craving an elephant ear.  I didn’t get one last year at the picnic because the lines were too long and I couldn’t stand for a long time.  This year I will be able to walk around more and definitely stand in that line for an elephant ear.  So that is going to be my cheat day for the week.  I am already salivating for the elephant ear…..

mmmm.. elephant ear

ear

I was thinking about a few years ago when I lost 50 lbs. No one commented on my weight loss.  It seemed like no one noticed.  However now, I have people who don’t even know my name approaching me in the hallway at work.  So I searched and I found an old pic from when I did a breast cancer walk at Ohio State University.  This was in September 2013 and I was only 9 lbs more than I am right now.  However I do not look it.  I think I look a lot bigger.  The only difference that I am doing now compared to then is the kind of exercise.  The water aerobics and  Aqua Zumba seem to be taking the weight off and shaping me.  I measured myself at the end of August and I have lost 8 inches from my chest, 8 inches from my waist and 8 inches from my hips.  So it is a very uniform loss. (pic below-on the left 3 years ago.  On the right 3 days ago)

photogrid_1473431068361

Anyway. I am still working hard.  I would like to lose at least another 10 lbs by my 25 year high school reunion on Oct 1 and I would like to lose 100 lbs by the end of the year!  Let’s do this!

 

Don’t p in the ool ;)

pool

The pool above looks pretty and inviting, right?  Well it is deceiving.  Yesterday I went to the Canal Winchester Pool and was swimming for about 20 minutes when they made everyone get out because some kid pooped in the pool! I couldn’t wait to get a shower when I got home, it was so gross!!  Also threw off all the plans I had for exercise.  At least today I get to do my water aerobics (different pool)!

Speaking of exercise, I have lost 57.3 lbs since May 1.  I have slowed down a little in July but I also had my birthday and a couple cheat days which I had not done before.  As long as I continue going down, I am happy.

mongolian bbq

I had a free dinner at Mongolian BBQ for my birthday and it expired Friday. I normally love that place but had a horrible experience at the Easton one Friday.  I was already in a bad mood because I had to wait in my car for 3 hours before I even went in.  Once I went in, I was getting my food and the noodles were mushy.   Then when I tried to get szechuan sauce, it was completely empty. So I stood there for about 10 minutes until finally one of the guys who refills things comes out. I asked him for szechuan sauce and stepped aside.  He said he refilled it. I went to get it and it was still empty! So then I asked another guy who happened to be a manager.  By this time I had been standing there for probably 15 minutes (which I could not have done pre-shot in my back!) holding my bowl of food.  That guy told me the sauce had to be made, so i should go have my food cooked and he would bring it to me.  He did and when they poured the sauce on my food, they left it on the grill too long and it came out completely burnt.. it was so gross. My mom said something to the waitress and the manager saw it and came over.  He was upset for me and offered to cook a whole new bowl for me.  So when I finally got my food, it was good but it was just a bad experience! I left work at 5:30 that day and was finally eating dinner at 9:30pm!

spark

I bought a variety of Advocare Spark flavors and I wanted to let you know the best and worst.  I have now tried Fruit Punch which is really good.  Watermelon which is awesome (it tastes like a jolly rancher!)  Grape which is pretty good.(tastes like grape Kool-Aid)  Green Apple is ok.  Mango Strawberry tastes more like mango than strawberry and I am not a fan of that.  The worst flavor I have tasted is orange.  Of course orange is the one that I got as an extra box when I first signed up and I have not even gone through all 14 of those.  I am not an orange juice fan, so maybe that is why I do not like it.

goldengrahams

I bought Golden Grahams to eat as a snack and I forgot how good they are! now I just have to remember to eat them in small quantities!

 

Wish me luck!

 

Bricks are falling

bricklonghorn

I did not take the picture above but found it on the Yelp page for the Pickerington LongHorn Steakhouse.  I went there Saturday after a full day of swimming with my mom.  We sat in large booth because it was one of the only tables left.  It was the kind that you have to scoot around and you can usually fit a lot of people.  We both ordered the Grilled chicken and strawberry salad and the firegrilled corn.  Since they do not consider the salad an entree, the corn was $4.79 each!!  First when the corn came out, it was like field corn.  The kernels were very close to the cob and it was tiny!.  Mine was actually still cold like it had not been cooked at all.  So the manager brought us each 2 ears of corn.  Then when we started to eat our salad, they had not put the raspberry vinaigrette on it,  nor had they given us any.   So they had to bring that out.  Finally I was ready to start eating and all of sudden I feel something hit my back.   There were kids at the table next to ours and I thought maybe they had thrown something at me.  So I looked down and there was a brick sitting on my back.  It was probably a 5 lb brick that was 10-12 inches long and had fallen down from the wall that you see in the picture above.  I do have a bruise but luckily it doesn’t hurt.  I think the only thing that saved me was the fact that it must’ve bounced off the back of the seat because there was a big white mark on the seat.  I just kept thinking what if a small child or a baby had been sitting there?  Or what if it had me on the head.  So they comped my meal only (not my mom’s)  and took down my information for an accident report.   Needless to say I will not be going back to that location.

lighter

In better news, I weighed myself yesterday and I have lost 37.4 lbs since May 1.  Tonight, I will be doing water aerobics again.  Wish me luck!

 

My ongoing life

So I realized I haven’t done a blog in a while.  I wanted to celebrate the fact that I have now lost a total of 35 lbs since May 1.

happy_dance

I got the results back from my MRI on Monday.  They told me that I have arthritis (duh) and the beginning of degenerative spine disease.  They want me to get an epidural steroid injection to see if that helps with the pain.  They do it over 2 different times.  So I will be getting this done June 23 and July 13.  I am a little scared because they insert a giant needle in my back.  I hate needles! I just hope it makes me able to walk and stand without pain!

needle

Last Monday, I did water aerobics.  I got there early, so I decided to swim before the class.  there was no one else in the pool so I was swimming back and forth, dog paddling and breast stroking the whole way.  I swam for about 30 minutes before class.. Then once the class started, I realized that was a mistake. All the muscles I had overworked by swimming were the same muscles I was working in the class. I was so sore afterwards! It was fun though and I am going to do the aerobics again this coming Monday.

One thing that has been hard is finding things to eat when I do not have time to cook.  This week, I think I ate out too much. Last Saturday at my parent’s house, we had Domino’s pizza for dinner.  It was a medium pizza and I only had 3 pieces plus a salad.  Sunday, I went out to eat with a friend to Mongolian BBQ.  Normally I would’ve gotten mostly pasta with some chicken on top and I would’ve gone back up for a 2nd bowl.  This time, I had carrots with french dressing and then I just got a bowl of chicken. I put a couple of noodles on it but not many at all.  That is all I had.  Monday, after aerobics, I was heading to a friend’s house, so I stopped at Wendy’s and got a side salad and a spicy chicken sandwich (no bun). Tuesday I was going to the movie theater, so my friend and I wen to Champps.  It was hard to find something to eat on their menu. I finally settled on 3 grilled tacos in soft corn tortillas.  I asked for no cheese and sour cream and instead of chips and salsa, i got a side salad.  Thursday I had to run around after work so I got Wendy’s again (same as before)  Tonight(Friday) is going to be the first night where I can actually cook a homemade meal.   I think  I am still making decent choices even though I have been eating out too much. I just hope it doesn’t affect the scale!

ttfn

Life after the Advocare Challenge

cowboyhat

Well, I discovered something about myself this weekend.   I cannot stand being at a country bar!  My cousin is moving to Florida in a few weeks so he had a going away party that started at Quaker Steak and Lube.

quaker.jpg

I had never been there before and let me just say the food was really really good!  I had  the small portion of their Grilled boneless wings with Buckeye BBQ sauce and a side salad with Italian dressing.  The menu was full of things that the old me would’ve eaten in a heart beat (such as Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.)  The people I was with got Nachos and loaded french fries as appetizers.  I had 3 nacho chips with chicken and jalapenos on them(I stayed away from the cheese)  and I had one plain french fry (I don’t like all the loaded stuff anyway.)  So I didn’t feel left out or limited in what I was eating.  Afterward we all went to a country bar called Tequila Cowboy.

tequila-cowboy.jpg

When I first walked in, I thought it was O.K.  It wasn’t too crowded and the noise of people talking covered up the music playing in the background.  There was a mechanical bull in the corner and it was fun to watch people ride that.  I tried to sit on one of their stools and was unable to.  Because I have knee and leg problems, I do not have the ability to hop up on a stool anymore.   My cousin found a short chair for me.  It was very embarrassing sitting in a short chair between all the high stools.  Then a live band began playing.  That is when I realized that my hatred for country music was going to outweigh any love I have for my family and hanging out with my cousins.   I tried to entertain myself by watching the middle aged women dance horribly to the music but then people stood directly in front of me and I couldn’t see anything.  I then tried to entertain myself on my phone but even that became boring.  I think I lasted about 2 1/2 hours and then my cousin Brian said he was going upstairs to some pool tables.  I turned to my other cousin Megan and asked “Do we need to still be here?”  She agreed so after checking out the karaoke bar WannaB’s which is attached, we left.  She promised to come  pick up my cousin Brian when the bar closed.  I had never been happier to get into my car and turn on Sirus Satellite radio on the Hair Nation channel.  I sang the loudest I could to “Love Song” by Tesla and I had my cousin Megan laughing at me the entire time.  At least, now I know that any time someone invites me a country bar again, I can say “No!”

So the next day I weighed myself in the morning and found that I have now lost 29 lbs since May 1!!

beagle-scale_v8tqva

So I am happy to say I am still on track and will keep on keepin’ on 🙂

Life after the Advocare Challenge

Hello everyone! It’s been a few days since I ended the challenge and a lot has happened.  I think I have made healthy choices through it all.

chocpeanutbutter

The first thing I want to mention is that I had ordered 2 different kinds of the meal replacement shakes to get me through the next month.  I ordered chocolate peanut butter and vanilla.  I have not had the vanilla yet but I wanted to describe the chocolate peanut butter.   It smells like a Reese’s cup when you open the packet!  I mixed it with some unsweetened almond milk and took my first drink.  At first the taste of peanut butter was overpowering.  But as I drank it more and more, it was really good.  I am a HUGE fan of chocolate peanut butter things and I think you would have to be to enjoy this.  I cannot wait to drink it at home when I can make it into an actual shake with some ice and my handy Bullet (blender)!

Now to get on with my life after the challenge.  Last Wednesday I wanted to go do a second day of water aerobics, so I went to the Groveport Rec Center and and was getting ready to pay for the class when I clarified “You do have the 6pm Water Aerobics class, right?”  The girl said no.  The class that night was the Water Zumba at 6:15pm.  Now when I hear Zumba, I think advanced movement and dance so I was too scared to try it by myself.   I asked I could stay to watch and ended up waiting quite a while.  The class did not start until 6:30pm because most of the class members where talking in the lobby for a while.  In fact,  just over hearing them, it felt very clique-y.  They were watching people walking in and debating over whether they looked liked “Zumba people.”  These were women mostly in their 50’s and 60’s doing the debating.  So finally I watched the beginning of the class and I almost wished I had done it.  It is not really water Zumba.  It is more like water “slow dance movements  underwater.”  I think I could’ve kept up easily and it probably would’ve been right up my alley.  I am going to try it soon.

Thursday I made tacos.   I bought 98% lean hamburger (because I cannot stand turkey burgers) and I bought an Old El Paso taco kit.  I made the tacos per the directions and just added some salsa into the meat.  I ate 2 tacos with jalapenos on it and a cup of frozen steamed corn.  The dinner was really good.  The sad part was that I fell asleep on my couch at 10pm and woke up at 6:30am and realized that I had not put away the taco meat. Since it sat out for so long, I had to throw the rest away!

TUMBLEWEED.0

Friday, my mom and I went to Tumbleweed for dinner.  They brought the chips and salsa which were always my downfall before.  I didn’t deprive myself, but decided to eat 6 chips with some salsa. For dinner, I had their grilled chicken with barbecue sauce on the sauce, corn on the cob and a salad.  I did not eat the bacon, tomatoes or croutons on the salad.  I had fat free french dressing.  To drink, I ordered water.   By habit, I almost ordered a coke but I caught myself.  It was really good to be able to eat out and have it not be too bad for me.

Sunday, I went to a cookout at a friend’s house.  This was the most temptation that I have had to experience yet.  I brought a chicken breast for my friend to grill for me and I brought my own salad and dressing.   I also had some watermelon.  There was a bag of lays sour cream and onion chips on the table in front of me.  I decided not to limit myself and had 1 serving of those (about 17 chips).  Then later, we were playing a card game and there was a bag of Smart Food Spicy Jalapeno Ranch popcorn.  I ate a serving of that as well.

SmartFood_Jalapeno_Popcorn_900x550

Even with eating those extra things that I have not had in a while, for the whole day I was still under 1000 calories.  When I got hungry later at home, I just drank two cans of sparkling water.  The important thing to remember for that day is that even though there were cookies, macaroni and cheese, buttery corn on the cob and fried chicken, I did not touch any of those things.

Monday I had a cookout of my own that turned into a cook-in because I could not get my grill to work!  But I ended up making a chicken breast with barbecue sauce to dip and corn on the cob with I can’t believe it’s not butter Spray butter.

So even though I have eaten a lot of corn in the last week, I still think I have made healthy decisions and I will weigh myself in another few days and see where I am at.  Wish me luck!

garfield