I hope you enjoy my blog...if you do, please "follow" me! Also, I love it when you leave comments. It means a lot to me that you take the time to let me know what you think. XOXOXO...BettyShmetty

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Checking in!

I'm just checking in to let you know (whomever you are) that I am still, slowly making progress on my weight loss efforts :)


I have about 10-11 pounds to go until I reach the goal I have set for myself...154 pounds.  I'm not going to sugar coat this, it has been a long and slow effort.  I am so pleased that I have stuck to this for so long.  I really feel like I have changed my life.  Weight lifting and running are part of my life now.  I feel really good.  I'm not worried about the slow pace of the loss on the scale, I am losing size on a consistent basis. 


For example, I was at the same weight for the past 3 months.  Just recently, I've lost a pound.  However, in that 3 months, I have gone from a size 10 to a size 8 pants and a size 6 dress.  How about them apples???  People that know me say that I look smaller than my 164 pound current weight (I'm 5'8.)


Also?  I am getting some pretty awesome muscle tone!  I have muscle definition in my arms and upper back now!  I'll post some photos here in the near future, but I wanted you all to know that I haven't given up.  Don't YOU give up on yourself! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I am not fat!

And it's completely official!  I am "average."  I am "moderately lean."  I am "acceptable."

How do I know this?  Well, because I had my body fat hydrostatically tested this morning.  Hydrostatic testing is the most accurate method of testing body fat percentage, short of cutting off all your fat and weighing it.

I recently decided that I wanted to know where I really was physically so that I could figure out where I need to go from here.  My home scale measures body fat using bioelectric impedence and it's not known as a very accurate method.  What it has shown me though, is a downward trend overall.  I know I haven't really discussed how much I weighed yet, but I'll go ahead and do that now because I actually told my husband my actual weight a few days ago when he asked.

It was a big step for me.  I never told him my weight before.  I felt kind of icky telling him and immediately thought I'd made a mistake, but I realized he was simply curious.  It doesn't seem to have affected how he feels about me.  I am the only one who seems to place a high value on what the scale says from day to day.  I realize that the number that shows up there determines how I feel about myself.  I decided to find out what the number meant, really.  Not what I thought it meant.

Of course, usually, when I look at the scale, I feel fat.  I look at the number (today it happened to be 182 pounds and 37.6% body fat) and I think, "Oh God, I'm so huge!"  (It should be noted that that number is 5 pounds heavier than last week because I am retaining an insane amount of water for some reason, I even woke up with puffy eyes and I never have puffy eyes, but whatever.)  Even though that number is great considering where I was in April (198 pounds and 44% body fat) I still think of it as too much.  Women aren't supposed to weigh the same as their husbands.

So I googled hydrostatic testing in my area and found out that The School of Exercise Science at Florida Atlantic University does this for a small fee.  I called and scheduled an appointment and, this morning, drove to Boca Raton to find out my "number."  I'll admit I was nervous.  I have been thinking, based on what I see in the mirror lately, that the 37% bodyfat number seemed a little high to me.  I had set my goal to be 165 and 30% body fat because coming from 44%, that was a huge improvement, even though I would still be considered barely in the "acceptable" range.

I was told to bring the smallest bathing suit I was comfortable in (uh, what?) and a change of clothes to my appointment.  When I picked out the suit, I dutifully picked out one (actually pieces from two different suits) that were small, however, there was nothing "comfortable" about how I would feel in said suit.  I decided that wasn't important.  I wanted the least amount of fabric possible so  that I would find out what my fat weighed, not what the bubbles hiding in my suit weighed.

When I arrived, just to add to my feelings of vulnerability (remember the extra 5 pounds, puffy eyes and too-small swimsuit in my bag?) the guys waiting to measure me were adorable young college boys.  Nuff said.  So we went through all the preliminary paperwork and questions and came to the moment of horror.  Change into your bathing suit and let us know when you're ready.  Ok.  Mind over matter...I was so self conscious, but I needed this information.  So I did as I was told. 

When the guys were back in the room with me, we all walked over to the huge, metal tank and I climbed up a short flight of stairs to get to the top of the tank.  I climbed inside and was happy to find the water very warm.  There was a swingset-type swing dangling into the tank.  I was told to sit on the swing holding a 10 pound weight on my lap.  I then had to blow all the air out of my lungs and submerge my head completely while continuing to expel as much air from my lungs as possible.  Once I stopped exhaling, a few seconds passed and then I was instructed to raise my head and breathe.  This process was repeated another 4 times and then I got out of the tank and changed back in to dry clothes.

After plugging in all the numbers, the guys told me I could come over and they would show me the results.  You know what they told me?  They told me I am not fat.  They gave me a number that I had just given them earlier as an "ultimate" goal for myself after a lot more hard work.  They gave me a number that changed the way I looked later when I looked in the mirror.  They gave me a number that immediately made me "acceptable" and "moderately lean."

They told me that my body fat is 25%.

Did you hear that?  I said my body fat is 25%.  That is "normal" and "average."  That is NOT "obese" or "fat."

In an instant I went from "huge, fat, and gross" (in my mind) to "moderately lean."  Wow.

So now, I have a new goal.  Having found out that my lean body mass is 137 pounds right now, I decided that I am going to shoot for 20% body fat.  That gives me a new goal of 170 pounds.  Before,I thought 165 pounds sounded like a good starting point for a goal to reach.  I was going to try to get there and then reassess, thinking that maybe I would land somewhere around 150.  Now I know that 150 wouldn't be healthy for me, but 170 will be.

So, I'm excited that I have real number to work with in my goal to be healthy and strong.  I feel great in spite of the 5 pound gain this week.  I know the 5 pounds isn't due to anything I overate, it's probably just all the exercise (I've been VERY sore this week) causing my body to retain water.  I'm not going to worry about it.  I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing which is working hard and eating a healthy, clean diet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I'm really starting to get it

As I feel more like I've made a lifestyle change rather than being "on a diet," I realize it doesn't really matter how quickly I get to my "goal weight."  This seems like a strange thing to say considering that I am trying to lose weight, but I have been educating myself and I am realizing that it's not the number on the scale that I am concerned about, it's the size and fitness of my body.

I read something today that really helped crystallize this concept in my head.  I have been confused about how to calculate the appropriate number of calories to take in during the day in order to facilitate weight loss.  As I have added workouts, specifically running and lifting weights, into my daily routine, I have been more concerned about protecting the good stuff in my body (muscle) and losing the bad (excess fat.)

As I've stated before, I do not want to be skinny.  Not even a little skinny.  I like the look of a healthy, robust, muscular yet feminine body.  I LIKE big, powerful looking thighs!  I've read a lot of the forum threads on the site I use for tracking my food, myfitnesspal.com, and I have read a lot about a mysterious thing called "TDEE" and "BMR."  I'm not going to get into the specifics about each way of calculating caloric intake vs. caloric expenditure, but I am starting to understand that it is very important to eat enough calories to support building or maintaining lean muscle and to create a small daily deficit in order to allow for 1 pound of fat being lost each week. 

1 pound a week sounds slow, but more than that, on the scale, could mean you are losing lean body mass and not fat.  Lean muscle is what raises metabolism.  Lean muscle looks, well, lean.  It's what I want and it's what I am thinking I need to nurture and protect.

So, with all this in mind, I think I am going to try this TDEE method as opposed to trying to eat 1200 calories a day (as is my current setting on myfitnesspal.com).  This will mean that I will probably be eating more like 1800 to 2100 calories a day.  I'll still be working out very hard (this is key) and eating healthy foods.  The difference this will make is that I will not be losing lean body mass while losing "weight."  I'll be slowly losing the fat.

I am getting ready to schedule an appointment to have my body composition (body fat testing) done (in a water tank!) in order to find out what my real numbers are.  Right now, I am using a fitbit scale that uses electrostatic measurements for body fat.  I think my number on this scale is very high.  I am thinking my actual body fat percentage is lower than the scale shows.  Either way, I'll find out for sure and get a better idea of what my new "goal weight" might realistically be.

I'll post my composition results when I find out.  Also, I didn't take a photo when I started this project, but here's a photo from a couple of years ago that looks about right (except for the hair color, LOL!)


Saturday, August 17, 2013

I've hit a new low

How can I possibly describe how good it feels to be in control of my body?  I feel so good.  I feel amazing and light.  Holy crap!  I feel SKINNY! 

I am by no means skinny...but I am feeling so slim!  So far, I've lost 18.5 pounds.  I am more than half way to my goal of 33 pounds.  I have hit a landmark on the scale.  A new decade.  I feel like I have my life back.

It's more than the number on the scale, it's how my body feels at this new low.  I am running and working out with weights.  I feel strong.  I feel healthy.  I am eating a vegetarian diet and using vegan protein powder from Arbonne to supplement two of my meals during the day.  I consider those to be snacks.  My other meals consist of fruits and vegetables and some (a few) whole grains and nuts.

I am well on my way and I feel great about it.  I can't see going back.  I have a new attitude about all of it.  I am thinking long term.  I am thinking about how I'll look in a year instead of trying to lose it all by next month.  I am thinking in terms of being healthy and fit and able for the rest of my life.  I am not trying to starve myself or make myself into anyone anybody else thinks I should be.  I am honestly doing this for me.  For a change.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Showing my ass


Ha!  Well, not exactly.  Since I started working out again, I have become reaquainted with workout clothing.  I haven't found anything that adequately covers up the part of my body that I am most self-conscious of...my ass. 

I mean, really, I have this pair of cute, low-rise sweatpants that I used to wear around all the time with colorful tank tops thinking it was, well, cute and sort of hid my giant ass.  One day, I don't know what possessed me, but I decided to pick up a hand mirror and turn around to get a look at my rear view. 

As I took a look in that mirror, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Not only were those cute (junior-cut, extra large sized) sweatpants not attractive on my from behind, I found that my entire backside, including my back and upper arms, was horrifying!  I just couldn't believe that was me!  Even though I knew that I was over-weight (I have been wearing a size 14 and could feel myself needing to go shop for 16s) I am one of the "lucky" ones who wears the weight evenly distributed on my body.  Although I do, of course, get bigger when I gain weight, it is all distributed throughout my body, so it's not quite as noticeable (to me) as the pounds start to creep up.  It kind of sneaks up on me.  I don't get a giant belly (although I do get soft and doughy around the middle and have 3 rolls when I sit down) I just grow, well, everywhere.

So, back to what I was saying before, I was looking in this mirror because I was checking the rear-view, for whatever reason, and I was shocked at how fat I looked from behind.  I knew I had to do something.  I was so embarrassed.

So, for further torture, I went and purchased some yoga pants to walk and work out in.  Now, I don't know about you, but I was sort of thinking that if I found some really cute, color coordinated workout clothes, specifically, YOGA clothing, I would look svelte and "put-together" while I worked to sweat my ass off!  So, imagine my horror when I got my new, super-cute, boot-cut, yoga pants with the colorful, fold-over band around the hips on my ass and looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that, not only did I still look fat, (REALLY??) but the cotton and spandex yoga pants cupped the bottom of my ass in such a way as to ENHANCE the effect of the lumps and depth of the "hidden pocket" formed where my ass cheeks met my upper thighs!!  (Have you ever heard of the thing where you can check the status of your sagging boobs by doing the pencil test?  No?  Google it.  Anyway, I could not only hold a pencil in those folds, I could have held a ruler in there and you wouldn't be able to see it.  Seriously.  I know.  Sorry.)

I knew one thing.  I needed to cover that up immediately!  So, over my super-cute new yoga pants went one of my workout jackets.  Tied around the waist.  Like this:
Only, I'm not Halle Berry with  an adorable pregnant belly, but you get the idea.

In my mind, even though adding more fabric and bulk around the middle seems to draw attention to and widen the problem area, covering up that well-cupped fold-over and lumpy, wide view, was much more important to my delicate ego in it's current, weakened condition.  So, in cute yoga clothing with a bulky jacket tied around my middle, I started walking and running, then running, then injuring and rehabbing, then walking/running, then injuring, then rehabbing and walking, and walking and working out with weights and stationary biking and eliptical trainering, all the while trying to eat clean and healthy, my way to last night.  When I put on my super cute yoga pants and got ready to tie my jacket around my waist and, for some reason, stopped to check the rear-view mirror...

Holy moly!!

You know that fold-over thingie at the bottom of my ass that I was talking about earlier??  Well, it's still there.  A little.  I mean, it's MUCH SMALLER.  And my ass doesn't quite look so broad!  And the folds at my waist in the back?  Gone on one side, and NEARLY gone on the other!  13 pounds.  I haven't thought it is much.  But it's a LOT!  In my rear-view mirror.

So, you know what I did last night?  I went for a very long walk and sweated my ass off.  As usual.  But, without a jacket tied around my waist.  And I felt really, really good. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

It's working!

I'm starting to lose weight again!  I just had to post and let you know (you know who you are) not to give up.  It's really hard to keep going when we don't see results in a timely manner.  It's hard to stick to or try to tweak or entirely change up a diet and continue to try to be disciplined when you don't see any payoff for all of the work. 

As I said the other day, I've been at the same weight for nearly 2 months now.  That is so frustrating in the context that I am seriously working hard to reduce the number on the scale and the size of my ass!  So a few days ago, I decided to go back to a diet I was on before that helped me get over a medical problem I was having.  This was The Alkaline Miracle diet.  It worked before and it's working again.  The scale has moved.  A little.  But it's something.

I didn't go into it before, but when I was on this program the last time, I found it by accident.  I was having an issue with my lower legs, feet and ankles swelling up.  Actually, they were swollen for a couple of weeks before I really realized I was having a problem.  When I first noticed some discomfort, I felt like I needed to stretch my calves because I had worked out too hard and my muscles were sore.  Only I wasn't working out and there was no reason for my legs to be sore.  I guess I'm a little slow sometimes because I'm so busy with being a working mom, but about two weeks into this feeling, I realized that my ankles and feet were literally twice their normal size and I was having trouble squatting because of  the swelling in my calves. 

All of a sudden, I was very alarmed.  I had never experienced anything like that before without it being linked to an injury.  Or pregnancy.  So, of course, I began trying to self-diagnose by googling my symptoms.  All kinds of things came up, from heart failure to kidney failure.  All of them very scary!  From the lists of symptoms I read, the only one that seemed even remotely possible was kidney failure. Now, you must realize that, at the time, I was 48 years old, a police officer in uniform with approximately 25 pounds of equipment around my waist and upper body every day, standing most of the day, and out of shape. 

As I googled "kidney failure" and looked for self cures for what was ailing me, I came across a discussion board about kidney failure and several people mentioned getting on a high alkaline diet.  I started looking into the diet and found the book I mentioned above, The Alkaline Miracle.  I immediately bought the book and started doing the diet the same day.  I think I mentioned that the diet consists of mostly green veggies, a little fish, some nuts and grains, and lots of water.  It seemed doable, so I did it.  I noticed results immediately.  Within 3 days, all of the swelling in my legs was gone and I felt amazing!  I lost 17 pounds.  I did not find the diet difficult to stick to.  (There is no dairy or meat, but I gave up dairy several years ago and didn't really miss the meat.)  The only bummer was all the prep for the fresh vegetables.

I was doing fine until I watched the movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" and decided to try juicing for 10 days.  Three days into the juicing, I started feeling sick.  I had a migraine and was lethargic.  It was too much so I started eating food trying to feel better.  Then I started sliding backwards with my diet and soon was back where I started as far as my diet was concerned.  My take-away lesson?  Moderation.  The alkaline diet is healthy and, for me, balanced.  The juicing only?  Not for me. 

So, for the last few days, I've been juicing some fresh veggies and adding them to my protein shakes twice a day, and basically following an alkaline diet.  And I've lost a couple of pounds.  I feel awesome and very motivated to continue.  I'll keep you posted, but, as of today, I've lost 13 pounds and I have 20 to go to reach my goal.  Yay me!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Still plugging away


Well, I can honestly say that I am working my ass off.  Since I am off for summer vacation, I've been using my extra free time to work out.  I decided to take advantage of the gym in my community center (only $50 per year!!) and have continued with my walking daily (the other day I walked 10 miles!)

I've added upper body workouts, doing them every 4 days or so.  I have decided to do my entire upper body on one day instead of splitting it up into two days and am basically following the Body for Life type of weight workout.  I'm trying not to over do it here in the beginning and haven't been overly sore.  Having the gym to work out in has been great.  It's air conditioned and clean and has everything I need to get it done for now.  In addition to the weight equipment, there is a stationary bike, an eliptical machine and treadmill.  I've been using the bike and treadmill alot in addition to my usual walking outside. 

On the treadmill, I've been using the incline at the highest setting and doing a lot of walking backwards (I really feel it in my butt and the fronts of my thighs.)  I feel like I'm doing everything I can to get the weight off.

My diet has been good (definitely keeping the calories under control) and I've been recording everything on Myfitnesspal.com.  I wear my fitbit all the time and myfitnesspal adjusts my calorie intake for the day based on my exercising so it is great, no guesswork!

The bummer is that no matter that I'm following all of that, working out like a fiend and eating a healthy, balanced diet, I'm still not losing the weight in a satisfactory way (meaning I've been the same weight now for about 2 months.)  Yesterday, I remembered that I used a program by Dr. Young called The Alkaline Miracle last year when I was having some health issues.  The diet worked great.  I lost 17 pounds while on the diet and I didn't exercise at all at the time.  My health issue completely resolved as well.  I found it pretty easy to stick to, but the prep time for all the veggies I was eating eventually got to be a pain and I stopped doing it.

Well, I'm going back to it.  I started yesterday.  The results are really pretty immediate in the way I feel.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Check it out for yourself.

As for the Isagenix products, the jury is still out.  I've been using the shakes for about 3 weeks now.  I don't really notice any difference between the way I feel using them verses the EAS product I was using before.  I did a two day cleanse last week and lost 1.5 pounds, however, of course, it came right back when I started eating food again (and I'm talking about good food, not crap.) I didn't like the taste of the Cleanse drink, but I drank it anyway.  I'm certainly going to use all of the products I bought, but I don't think I'll buy more.  The products are expensive and I don't really feel any different after using them.  We'll see.  I still have two cannisters of the shakes and one bottle of the cleanse left.  The company allows customers to return products if they aren't happy, but I'll probably just use them up.

Have any of you ever used the Isagenix products?  What did you think?  Have you ever tried an Alkaline diet?  Did it work for you?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Checking in

I feel like I should check in to let whomever is here with me know that although I haven't written lately, I'm still plugging away.

I tore my left calf AGAIN about 4 weeks ago while we were in Cooperstown, NY for my son's baseball tournament.  The day I tore it, I felt terrific.  I worked out in the morning and felt no warning that I was going to have a problem later.  How did I tear it?  My son hit a home run and I started jumping up and down and BAM! I felt like someone had stabbed my calf with a knife and I was down and out for the rest of the trip.  I went to the orthopedist doctor when I got home and he confirmed it was a tear and that all I could do was rest it, ice it and let it heal. 

After three weeks, the bruising and swelling finally started going away and I started to be able to place my heel on the floor.  I am still limping occasionally in the morning, but I am gettting better.  This week, I started walking again...a little. 

This injury has been difficult for me.  I have been depressed.  I haven't been eating the foods I should.  I find that I am an "all or nothing" kind of girl.  I have to be exercising in order to want to eat right.  Since I've been unable to exercise, I have been eating some crap.  Last week, when I started feeling better, I ordered some Isagenix products and decided to really get back in the swing of things when the products arrived.  They came yesterday and I started my 30 day weight loss and cleanse routine.  The good news after several weeks of crappy eating is that I did not gain any weight.  What a shock!  I thought I would have gained at least several pounds.  I guess that goes to show how important it is to exercise when trying to lose weight...I guess it really helps to keep it off afterwards, even if you aren't doing it for a while.

I think the Isalean shakes are filling, but they taste a lot different than other protein shakes I've used.  They are not as sweet.  I find myself adding a little stevia to my shake to make it taste a little better.  I do find that I am not hungry for several hours after drinking one though, so that's good news.  I am not sure if the products will make it any easier for me to lose weight or make me feel better.  I'll have to let you know.

I decided to shake up my routine by adding some strength training.  Although I am unable to do all of it at the moment due to the injury to my calf, I am doing some of the exercises you can find on this link:

http://health.yahoo.net/articles/fitness/7-minute-workout-could-add-years-your-life

The exercises are tough!!!  But I can feel that they will really help me as I am better able to do them like the instructions say.  Wish me luck!

That's all for now.  Here's to hoping you are successful in your efforts and staying healthy and without injuries!




Monday, June 3, 2013

Frustration

Being 49 and trying to lose weight just plain sucks.  I have been working really hard every single day.  I have walked my ass off.  I have watched and logged all of my calories.  And still, the scale doesn't budge.  I am frustrated.  Really, right now, what I feel like doing is eating some cookies.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not doing one of those crazy strict diets where I never allow myself anything that isn't "perfect" diet food.  No.  I am simply logging everything that goes into my mouth on My Fitness Pal and then, I am exercising.  Mostly, I walk, although I would prefer to run.  I injured myself over a month ago (while running) and now I just can't seem to shake the calf injury to my left calf.  So I walk.  Really hard.  For miles.  Everyday.

I just feel like I should at least see a pound a week.  I'm not unrealistic.  Nor am I expecting miracles and magic weight loss.  It's supposed to be all in the numbers.  Calories in, calories out.  I just don't understand why I can go for weeks with no changes in the number.

I am frustrated.  But I'm still walking.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Betty Takes It Off...again


Recently, I started taking charge of my body (once again, don't laugh!) and I started to look for some other blogs that were written by women like me...working moms who don't have enough time but are doing the exercise and healthy eating thing the best they can anyway.  I'm still looking for the blogs, but then thought, I'll keep my own blog!  And since I already have a blog, (with a cute little section called "Betty Takes It Off") I'll just use that!

So, here I go.  Betty has been working at taking it off.  The weight that is.  I've been working at it seriously for a little over a month now.  I've lost 10 pounds.  I want to lose 30 pounds, so I am a third of the way there.  I am definitely feeling better in many ways.  I feel slimmer and healthier.  It doesn't make me short of breath to walk up the stairs now as I have been exercising every day for the most part.

What have I been doing?  Well, it's pretty boring really.  I downloaded an app onto my phone called "MyFitnessPal" and, with that, I keep track of everything I eat, every day.  My goal is to eat 1200 calories a day.  I also bought, and am using, a Fit Bit.  I highly recommend this tiny little motivator!  It keeps track of things like steps taken and calories burned, as well as sleep.  I find that knowing this stuff motivates me to want to reach goals and go beyond them.  It's all pretty basic, really.  Calories in, Calories out. 

The 10 pounds I have lost, this time, look different than other times.  I've had to work hard for those 10 pounds.  There have been days and weeks when I didn't lose anything at all.  I have been sticking with the exercise and reasonably healthy eating anyway and it's all coming together.  It's not easy, but I'm not really struggling with it.  I really want to be healthier and slimmer.  I'm tired of feeling like nothing looks good on me.  I'm tired of feeling self-conscious in my skin.  I'm ready for a change. 

What I'd like to do is to keep track of how I am feeling and the struggles and challenges right here.  Feel free to join me if you like.