Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 55

Hi, I'm sorry I've been missing in action for a bit, but I've just been really busy these past couple of days. I've stayed on track, though and I also treated myself to something since pretty soon, it'll be 2 months on my journey. Don't worry, it wasn't food. I did however pick up the Wheat Belly book by Dr. William Davis, from Target today.

Gwen from Sky and Surf ( posted some disturbing things about eating wheat a few days ago, that blew my mind... seriously. I always thought wheat was good for me, but she shared some facts that showed me otherwise. There's still so much I don't know, I mean I don't even know where to begin. I went to the grocery store today thinking that I'll just get a different type of bread and start there. I grabbed a loaf of rye then pumpernickel, but when I read the ingredients, I noticed that those breads had wheat flour, too... even white bread. I'm a bit confused. I don't even know what to eat for breakfast anymore, because I pretty much stick to Special K every morning. For the time being, I'll stick with the same cereal and I'll start reading the book tomorrow.

Inspiration picture: Jennifer Hodges lost 212 pounds ( featured story)

I Lost Weight Jennifer Hodges

Jennifer's before weight was 369 pounds. I included a part of her interview below.

How I Gained It: I was addicted to fast and processed food. And I led a very sedentary lifestyle. Food filled a void for me. A void left by working parents, a lack of friends. I ate because I was bored. I ate because I was lonely. I ate because I could. I just ate. The bigger I got, the more I ate and the worse I would eat. I think a lot of the eating habits stemmed from growing up in the restaurant business, having food available all the time. I would feel good when I was eating, but as soon as I was done, I would feel horrible. So I just didn’t stop.
Breaking Point: When I fell in the backyard and couldn't get up. My three young children had to run inside the house to get my husband. He had to roll me on a blanket and drag me inside. That was my "a-ha" moment. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle not only for myself, but for my entire family.
How I Lost It: I enrolled in a gym. I started out very slowly. I began at the gym on the recumbent bicycle, but I longed to get into the group fitness room. I could see the room from my bike and I just couldn’t wait to get in there, but I was so worried what other people might think about me. Finally after about three months I decided I didn’t care anymore what other people thought. This journey was for me and my family, not for other people. In January 2009, I took my first Les Mills group fitness class: Body Step. I was very nervous, and I was too big and too out of shape to use the step, so I just did the moves on the floor. After three months, I started using the step. I was feeling more confident in myself and in my body. I also started adding BODYPUMP to my routine right around this three-month mark. Soon after I was able to do two hours of consecutive exercise; cardio and strength. And I loved it! I loved the person I was becoming. My body started to change shape; I was becoming leaner, fitter, a better person on the outside and the inside. Group fitness has forever changed my life. I also totally changed my diet and started paying close attention to what I was putting in my body. I gave up all processed and fast food -- all of it! I'll have an egg-white omelete with spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes for breakfast with a slice of Ezekial bread. Lunch is generally my largest meal of the day, lean protein like fish, chicken or shrimp on a bed of greens, or a salad with a lot of beans. For dinner, I usually have whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa or couscous with lean protein. And during the day I snack on all sorts of fruit. Apples, bananas and mangoes are my favorite.

This is Jennifer today at 157 pounds.

Daily Food Journal:
Breakfast: Special K with berries, decaf
Lunch: Tuna on multigrain with lettuce, tomatoes and 1 pear
Snack: 1/2 grapefruit
Dinner: 2 slices of rotisserie chicken, 1 baked sweet potato, cabbage

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 50

Okay, I remember that it's Sunday and I'd already made up my mind to weigh myself today, like it or not. Once again, I'd been avoiding the scale and my meter since I goofed up on the 4th of July. I'm a little disappointed with the numbers, but it is what it is. It just pushes me to work a little harder this week.

Weight: 179.5
Glucose: 132 (Higher than it should be.)

Inspiration picture: Eli Sapharti lost 110 pounds

I Lost Weight Eli Sapharti

Eli's before weight was 290 pounds. I've included part of his interview below.

How I Gained It: I suffered with obesity much of my life and, like many who have battled with being overweight, tried almost every diet in existence. I "joined" the gym quite a few times, which is not the same as going to the gym and actually exercising. I ate lots of sugary cereals, cookies, fast food, pastries, potato chips, pizza, candy and soda. I suffered with many ailments associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and depression.
Breaking Point: After many failed attempts to lose weight, in 2008 I had an epiphany while traveling on business. I was at the airport in Miami and before boarding my flight, I went to buy a bottle of water. The clerk at the kiosk, a cute girl, said to me, "You're really good looking for a big guy." Most obese guys would have taken that as a compliment. All I heard was "You're FAT!" The entire trip I kept hearing her voice saying, "You're FAT! You're FAT!" I was disgusted with myself. It's not like I didn't know I was fat before, but at that moment it just hit me!
How I Lost It: The first thing I committed to was walking for 15 minutes every day. My 15 minutes of walking became 20 minutes, then 30 minutes. Walking eventually got boring, so I decided to start "jogging" (many people walk faster than I was jogging). I was only able to manage jogging for a few seconds at a time before I was so tired and out of breath that I had to walk. As soon as I recovered, I would start jogging again for a few seconds and repeated the cycle until my 20 or 30 minutes were up. It eventually became a bit easier to jog for a longer time, and I eventually was able to jog one mile non-stop. As I became more fit, my nutrition became better. I am now a fit 180 pounds. I have transformed my body from obese and sick to fit and healthy. Now, I am no longer sick with high blood pressure, pre-diabetes or depression. I can not only walk a flight of steps without losing my breath, I can sprint a flight of steps without losing my breath.

This is Eli after losing 110 pounds

Daily Food Journal:
Breakfast: Special K with berries, decaf
Lunch: Tomato basil hummus with red leaf lettuce and tomatoes, side of watermelon
Snack: 6 saltine crackers, 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter

Dinner: 1 Garden veggie patty (no bun or cheese), roasted vegetables and a hot cup of green tea with honey (I really love vegetables cooked this way. I could eat these every day... seriously.)

Notes: Well today went well and now I'm about to exercise. So take care and have a great evening.

Doing nothing is easy. That's why so many people do it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 47

Today, my daughter's really stressed out me out. I won't go into what happened, but all I wanted was to get rid of all of this crazy stress I was feeling some kind of way. Automatically thinking of comfort food, the first thing I did was looked at the refrigerator. Of course before I even opened the doors, my food triggers list was staring back at me. Okay, I needed to find a healthier way to unwind, so I grabbed my workout DVD. I chose the 4 mile super challenge which is the final workout from my Walk away the Pounds.

I should probably mention that the most I've done so far on that DVD is the 3 mile advanced workout. I'd never done 4 miles and I didn't plan to get through the whole thing anyway. I just wanted to take everything I was feeling and push myself hard. I was amazed when I did the whole 4 miles. It certainly wasn't easy and I had no idea that I'd actually get through the whole thing, but shockingly I did. Yes!

Inspiration story: Janaye Murphy lost 122 pounds ( story)

I Lost Weight Janaye Murphy

Janaye's before weight was 288 pounds

How I Gained It: A little after my 21st birthday, my mom had a stroke and I moved back home to help my dad take care of her. Most of the day I sat around the house with my mom; she had a hard time walking and didn't get out much. I ate whatever I wanted, not worrying about what I was doing to myself. It was a really hard time in my life, and I comforted myself with food. In April 2009, we took my mom on a trip to Hawaii. I didn't recognize myself in the photos. I got on a scale -- I was 288 pounds.
Breaking Point: A few months after we got back from Hawaii, my mom's health got worse: heart problems, renal failure, diabetes, stroke and early Alzheimer's. I just kept thinking she wouldn't want me to end up like her and about how much I was putting myself at risk by being so overweight. At the beginning of August 2010, my mom passed away at 47. That was all the motivation I would ever need.
How I Lost It: I started working out six days a week with walking, yoga, cycling, weights and step aerobics. I stopped eating fast food, most processed foods and soda. People always ask me how I did it. There was no pill, surgery or diet -- it was a life change that requires a lot of motivation. I eat healthy and work out to live longer. There are days when I don't feel like working out, or I'm thinking about eating more than I should, but then I think about my mom and I know she would want me to live a long and healthy life. We fail to realize sometimes that we only get this one body, and we are only cheating ourselves by not taking care of it.

Janaye's current weight is 166 pounds.

Daily Food Journal:

Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal with a sliced pear, flaxseeds and chopped walnuts, decaf
(I usually put berries in my oatmeal, but I was out. I had a pear left in the fruit bowl so I sliced that up instead. I probably won't do it again only because the pear and the oatmeal together was really filling.)

Lunch: peanut butter and bananas on multi grain toast and a side of broccoli (I've been wanting to try peanut butter and bananas for the longest, and I'm glad I did. It was also very good.)

Snack: 1 hard boiled egg

Dinner: baked sweet potato and sautéed kale with garlic, hot cup of green tea with honey

Sweat means your body is getting the movement it needs.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 42

Yesterday, I sat everyone down then had a long talk with both of my daughter's and my husband. I told them that there are certain days during my journey that I feel really strong, but there are other days when I feel extremely weak. I explained that it's times like that, that I'm at my most vulnerable. I told them that unlike the other times that I've 'dieted' in the past and failed miserably, this change in my eating habits today, is for the rest of my life. I asked for their help in beating this addiction.

I received some really great ideas from my blogger friend's and I truly appreciate everyone's advice. I told my family that for the time being, I wouldn't be able to cook some of their favorites because they are trigger foods for me and cause me to binge... thanks Gwen. I also told them that we'll be eating a little different during holiday's and special occasions until I am mentally and physically able to resist them. Once I can get this compulsive eating under control, I can gradually start to make those foods again.

I decided to make a list of all of the foods that I need to stay away from, too... thanks Linda. It's hanging smack in front of the refrigerator where I'll see it every time I open those doors... and the best thing is that it's a reminder for my family, too. I'm sure this list is going to get a lot longer, so every time I think of something else, I'll simply add it on.

You know, I love reading about people that finally conquered their weight loss battle. Even though I've never met any of these people, sometimes it just brings tears to my eyes because their stories are so inspiring. They all have these big smiles on their faces in their after pictures because they did it! These wonderful men and woman didn't have a magic diet pill or possess some special ability that the rest of us were born without. These are people just like you and me who were determined to end the constant abuse to their bodies and if they can beat their addiction then so can I. Do you hear that addiction??? You're going down!!! I know that sounds crazy since I just lost control a couple of days ago, but I'm learning and that makes me stronger.

Inspiration picture: April Dixon lost 135 pounds ( story)

I Lost Weight April Dixon

April's before weight was 260 pounds. Her interview is below.

How I Gained It: I had always been overweight throughout my childhood. I was over 100 pounds when I was five years old. The students at school would tease me because of my weight. I would be embarrassed to go out in public because I was paranoid of what others thought of me. I always turned to food for comfort. Food was my best friend that I could always depend on. I used to eat a lot of fast food. Breakfast was my favorite meal. I was over 200 pounds at the age of 10. One day when I was 16 I looked in the mirror and cried. I felt so disgusted because I had allowed myself to get so big. I made a decision to do something about my weight.
How I Lost It: Every day, I walked five miles on the treadmill. I changed my eating habits by taking only small portions of food. For breakfast, I would eat old-fashioned oatmeal without sugar or butter, with two slices of bacon and fruit such as peaches, apples, grapes and bananas. For lunch, I would eat grilled chicken salads and fruit. For dinner, I would eat steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and salads. The only fluid I would drink was water. I continued to exercise every day and sometimes changed my exercise routine. I would do 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic videos, and every week or two, I would weigh myself. Sometimes I would lose five pounds in a week, sometimes more. I had to buy a new wardrobe. I joined a fitness club, and worked out there three days a week lifting weights, running on the treadmill, doing sit-ups and push ups and using the bicycles.
I entered into my senior year in high school 135 pounds lighter! I went from a size 22 to a size six. I've lost 28 inches off my waist and 22 inches off my hips and thighs.I entered into my senior year in high school 135 pounds lighter! There are times when I crave for certain foods, but I learn to control my eating habits. I have kept the weight off for eight years now, and I continue to exercise three days a week.

After picture: April at 125 pounds

Daily Food Journal:
Breakfast: Special K with berries, decaf
Lunch: Roasted garlic hummus on multi grain with lettuce and tomatoes, 1 apple
Snack: fresh strawberries
Dinner: 1 veggie burger (no bun or cheese), 10 almonds and a side of collard greens

Notes: I worked out for a full hour at the gym tonight and all I can say is, aaaahhhh... I needed that. I had the gym to myself again, so I got to watch whatever I wanted on TV.

They had a Walking Dead marathon on all weekend long on AMC, so I just watched that while I was there. Overall, today went well.

STRONG is what happens when you run out of WEAK!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 40

Happy 4th of July everyone! You know, I kept debating about what to cook today and my menu probably changed at least 3 or 4 times. See, my plan was to make all healthy foods, but I also knew that I needed to compromise. I wanted my husband and daughter's to have some things they'd enjoy, too and that's where I went wrong. The problem as usual is, how do I keep from binging, if certain trigger foods are around? 

My plan started out good. I cut soda out of the menu entirely and decided we could do without the dinner rolls and butter, but I did buy a big bag of potato chips... bad idea #1.

I made a pot of collard greens using smoked turkey instead of pork then instead of frying chicken like my daughter wanted, I made that tomato based chicken in the crockpot. Even though I tried to get out of it, the kid's begged me to make macaroni and cheese, so I gave in. Did I mention that I really love macaroni and cheese? Yeah, bad idea #2.

I knew that I needed to keep  the sugar to a minimum, but I also didn't want to deprive my husband and kids. Just because I was watching what I ate didn't mean they should also have to avoid having dessert. Yup, you guessed it... bad idea #3.

This is the 2nd time that this has happened during my journey and I know there's no one to blame but myself. It's just that I've watched my husband and daughter's eat all kinds of goodies in front of me and I continued to do well 38 out of these 40 days, so why did I give myself permission to give in today? I hadn't planned to until I poured the chips in the bowl and sat them on the table and even then, I was only going to have a couple. I don't know but, somehow a couple turned into a few, which turned into a handful, which turned into two handfuls. Then I kind of lost track. Tomorrow I just want to focus... really focus on doing better. There's a lot of leftovers in the fridge, but the only thing I plan to eat is the collard greens, they can have the rest of it.

Inspiration picture: Stacey Morris ( story)

I Lost Weight

Stacey's before weight was 345 pounds... her interview is below.

How I Gained It: My designated food groups were fat, white carbs and salt: French fries, potato chips, Italian bread soaked in butter, cheeseburgers and fried chicken. Cream cheese was my all-time favorite source of protein. No need for salmon or spinach, thank you very much. My mission was to seek out food that tasted good and helped me escape the feelings of turmoil over a stressful job, unhappy relationship and the deep sorrow over slowly losing my father to Alzheimer's disease.
How I Lost It: I began doing DDPYOGA workouts regularly. The routines began to strengthen my lethargic and sedentary body. They're also a cardio workout and got my heart and lungs in better condition. I gave up gluten and cow dairy. As much as I adore bread and cheese, I was willing to give it a try and amazed at how much better I felt -- the weight also started coming off like never before. The last thing I wanted, however, was to be doing anything that felt like a diet, so I set about putting habits into place I could live with. No food was permanently off limits. But at the same time, I had to acknowledge that a steady stream of junk food was doing me no favors. I agreed to have treats like fried chicken when I was truly craving it, and not when I wanted to fill an emotional hole. The lighter I became, the more I wanted to do. Nine months into my new way of life and 100 pounds lighter, I trained for and participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. To this day, I love long-distance walking, as well as weight-training, Pilates and all forms of yoga.
Today, I love food, possibly more than ever, because I eat with awareness and not in a trance. And I love other things, like climbing a few flights of stairs without sounding like a locomotive, wearing high heels instead of flat sandals, slipping into the back seat of a compact car and mentoring others who are on a similar path. This is Stacey today after losing 185 pounds.

Stay strong and have a great day.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 37

Yeah! Body slam that craving for French fries. I got a real kick out of the above picture. I have to admit, when I started this blog, I had no idea what an impact it would make in my life. I just love being part of such a supportive online community and I find that I really enjoy visiting other blogs. I can easily spend an hour or two following some wonderful people as they tell stories of their own journeys. There are so many people out there that are so open and honest as they strive to live healthier lifestyles. They've also shared some great tips and delicious recipes and it's all so inspiring. It truly keeps me motivated. Just knowing that I'm not alone in this weight loss battle is so encouraging.

When I was blog hopping, I found the chart below on Linda Claxson's blog. I thought it was pretty cool and she was nice enough to allow me use it. You can visit her at (I just love the title of her blog.) I'm going to wait until this weekend to weigh myself, though. Weekly weigh ins are less stressful for me and I was going nuts before when I was jumping on the scale every morning.

Inspiration picture: Matthew Briggs before weight was 434 pounds.

Breaking Point: In 2009, after we'd returned from a Christmas party, my stepmom tagged me in some photos on Facebook. I was stunned by the one of me and my father (above). I'd fooled myself into thinking I wasn't that much bigger than him -- but the truth was, I was actually twice his size. That night, my dad asked me the simplest question: "Are you happy?" I had to admit that I wasn't. I didn't really have a life; I would go to work and come home. I wanted to change, but I didn't know how.

How I Lost It: My stepmom had been a member of Slimming World, and asked if I wanted to come along to find out about it. I'd never heard of it, and I was a bit skeptical -- especially when I found out there were all of these foods that you can eat in unlimited amounts. I kept it simple to start, eating meat and two vegetables or pasta dishes while making my own sauce. In the first week, I lost 12 and a half pounds. When you eat all this food, you're thinking, "There's not a chance I've lost any weight. I've been eating three full meals a day." But I started losing about 15 pounds a month on average. I've now rediscovered a love of cooking; my signature dish is homemade chicken curry and rice. I also snack on lots of fresh fruit during the day. As for my energy level, I did my first half-marathon this year and I hope to do the New York marathon next year. I actually enjoy going to the gym now!

This is Matthew after losing 245 pounds. (According to the chart, he lost Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

Daily Food Journal:
Breakfast: Special K with berries. decaf
Lunch: Tuna on multigrain, 1 kiwi
Snack: 6 saltine crackers, 1 Tbs peanut butter
Dinner: 1 Veggie burger, roasted carrots and hot tea with honey
Notes: Tonight, my exercise was cleaning the apartment. I figured I'd better get some of the chores started before the holiday. I don't like to be overwhelmed and have to do everything the day before. So after dinner I went ahead and cleaned and mopped the kitchen and bathroom. Then I vacuumed the whole apartment (holding my stomach in the whole time... great ab workout), and dusted. I'll save the laundry for tomorrow.

Workout like your life depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 35

Ever since my endocrinologist lowered the dosage on one of my medications, I keep thinking the worse. In the mornings when I check my meter, I get so nervous that it's hard to keep my fingers from shaking. Even though I've eliminated sweets, I feel like my glucose is going to be right back in the 200's again. My doctor wants me to monitor my glucose every day for one week and fax her the results on Wednesday. So I'm keeping that in mind as I sit in my usual spot in the kitchen and prepare to do what has become a very familiar routine.

I grab my meter, testing strip, lancing device and alcohol swabs. I put the test strip in the meter then decide which finger gets pricked today. I grab the alcohol swab, take a couple of swipes on the chosen finger. Okay, here I go...

Yeah!!! I'm under 100... just barely, but I AM under 100 and that's with the decrease in my medications. This is good!!!

Inspiration picture: This is another weight loss success story from London's newspaper, The Huffington Post that featured. Tameika Gentles lost 90 pounds. I've also included some of her interview below.

Tameika Gentles

The Plan Of Attack: Through a lot of hard work and dedication, I lost 90 pounds in less than one year (between nine to 10 months to be exact). No supplements, no trainers, no surgery — just pure hard work. I went in with a plan. I refused to fall for those quick fixes any more. With this mentality, I steadily lost two to three pounds per week. I educated myself profusely, slowly started revamping my diet, and got active. I started with my favourite sports, volleyball and squash. By doing this the right way, I have been able to keep the weight off five years later.
The Food Element: It took a while to develop a well-balanced diet, but I did. It was the only way I was able to see the weight come off and stay off. I started with the obvious – slowly cut out sweets, soda, junk food, pop, and I dine out less and consume smaller portions. This was not an easy process and I’m still learning today. It was gradual and took time, but I was patient through it all and have now developed a lifestyle that works for me.
For those who are beginning their journey, who have fallen off their journey, or are well on their way, I have one piece of advice: Do this for you. We have one life to live and one body to live in. We are privileged to live in a society where we hold the power and have the resources to stay healthy. Don’t wait until it’s too late, let's take advantage of what's in our control today. Tameika's before picture is below.

And this is her now.

Daily Food Journal:
Breakfast: Special K with berries, decaf
Lunch: Roasted garlic hummus on whole wheat with lettuce and tomatoes, 1 apple
Snack: 6 crackers, 1Tbs peanut butter

Dinner: 1 baked piece of chicken, roasted vegetables, hot cup of green tea with honey
Snack: Walnuts

Notes: I did the walking workout again. Whew! I'm trying to get to the point where I'm not so out of breath during the workout. Anyway, today went well.  

Clear your mind of "CAN'T"