Saturday, May 31, 2008

Inspirational Blogger

I just saw this guy on CNN Headline News and he has lost 120 lbs at home!!!! He has a blog set up to help others - thought I would post a link to it here and in the sidebar. Check it out here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Because What's a Little Public Humiliation Amongst Friends?

I was gathering pictures to do this little project and I realized that about 75% of pictures taken of me are variations of this:

Not entirely helpful. But I managed to scrape together a few, mostly of formal events where I had to submit to having my likeness captured on film...
This is my senior prom. I will never forgive my husband for losing one of his contacts the day before and thus ruining all of our pictures with those glasses.

And on our wedding day:
I can remember feeling like a huge fatty fat fat on both of these days. Now, of course, I am much less delusional...

And, finally, after 9 years and 2 kids:

I realize that this is not a great picture for illustrating body changes, but I'm always the one behind the camera. Anyway, this is me, double chins, grapefruits, and all. I don't expect to look like high school Kristen again, but I would like to feel strong and comfortable in my own skin.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Before, Before and After

So, I thought it might be fun to show some pics. Sadly, almost any picture of me (there are less than 20 in our house, probably - I'm the picture TAKER) is in storage in Delaware awaiting our arrival in July. BUT, I managed to scrape up a couple. They're not the best at illustrating my story, but they'll do. I have met a lot of non-believers of the fact that I used to run Cross-Country for the US Air Force Academy (where I went to college), that I even WENT there, or that I used to weigh only 100 lbs. The crazy thing is that when I was that small, NO ONE ever looked at me and would have thought I looked super skinny or anything. I just have a small frame and I'm on 5'1" so I think I was kind of average. By today's standards, I might have even been chunky, I know, it's sick. I've always had hips - too bad they didn't actually help me in the birthing of any of my three children, not for the lack of trying! In advance I apologize for the quality of the first two photos as they're a picture of a picture - no scanner here!!!

Anyway, here is a picture of me when I was at about 100 lbs, plus or minus maybe two. I was a freshman at the Air Force Academy, so of course I got to work out, and work out some more, every day. I was also running cross-country then. It's not the best, but I would say to really look at the shape of my face and my arms and those are the best give-aways when my clothing hides the rolls. In this picture this is NO double chin to be found. Trust me, we had to "pull chins" at the Academy and I used to get yelled at because I couldn't make any rolls by pulling my chin back into my neck (that's what pulling chins is). You had to hold note cards in between your chin and neck and try not to drop them or you would make your classmates have to do push ups with you. That's me on the left lookin' like a boy with my haircut they gave me for "joining" the military.

This is a picture of me when I graduated the Academy and was commissioned an officer after having gained about 15 lbs. After you're a freshman, you don't work out as much. I quit the Cross-Country team to join the falconry team (unless the falcons flew away it wasn't a very physical hobby!), and the meals at the Academy are based on the caloric intake of an EXTREMELY active 18-something male. When you didn't eat all your food you were sent to a counselor for being anorexic, and if you did, you got fat. It's also hard to change eating habits and when you have TWENTY MINUTES to walk in a building, listen to some announcements, be told you can eat, wait for servers to bring your food, serve the food, eat, and leave the building (did I say in TWENTY MINUTES?!?!?) - and that's FOUR THOUSAND cadets all at once doing this - you eat fast, and you eat a lot because your stomach hasn't gotten even the slightest chance to tell your brain it's full. Again, observe my face-shape (the arms are hidden). That IS my hubby in the picture with me for those that don't know. I could pull a chin or two by now (a roll or two).

This is me NOW (in April). Unfortunately, at approximately 155 lbs. While for most people that's only a little bit of weight to lose, for someone of my height, it's a lot. Also, for ME, it's like adding on HALF of my original body weight. So, I have feet problems, joint problems, back problems, and all of that stuff when I work out now, which makes something I really used to enjoy doing not so fun. Luckily, I still don't have a giant a double-chin or anything, but I can pull two or three (make two or three rolls as described above with photo one) and my face is much rounder. I also weigh the most I ever have post-baby. I do really well, I think, with buying clothes that hide my size. I do wear a size 16 by the way, just in case you don't believe it from the pictures. I'm almost as wide as I am tall ;)

Anyway, if any of you other ladies would like to post before and after pics, whether to show as I did, my gain, or perhaps to show your weight loss (Rachel), I would love to see!!! I feel like this is kind of cathartic in a way. Admitting my size, showing what I've let myself become, and now using public humiliation as a way to really stick to my goals. Let's see what I can do now!!!

More info about Nurtisystem

Marie asked me a question about desserts so I thought I'd tell you more about the plan.

Basically, they send you breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Breakfast- they have individual pancake mixes, cereal, granola bars and then you can get their powdered eggs but Mike said they are gross. They also have some breakfast pastries which Mike loves. I haven't tried any yet. So, with breakfast, whatever you eat, you add a fruit and a protein. You can have 1 whole egg or 2 egg whites. Or, you can have cheese as a protein/dairy. For the fruit, you can have one small item or you can have 8 oz of fruit juice. It seems like so little but when you actually put it on a plate it looks like SO much.

Lunch- Soups, pastas, kind of chef boy-ar-dee like. They also have granola bars and graham bars for lunch. mmmmm the fudge graham bar is good. With lunch you add a small salad and again some protein or dairy. I usually add chicken to my salad with dressing.

Snack- you are totally on your own for this one. Snacks are fruit and protein/dairy. I generally have a pear or apple and some cheese. Sometimes I have lunch meat instead. You can have 1 oz of lunch meat as long as that serving is under 5 grams of fat. The Carl Buddig packs of meat are 22 oz, but they are only 7 grams of fat so I usually have one of those if I have meat at my snack.

Dinner- there are so many entrees it's crazy, they have mac and cheese and pasta dishes and pizza- and the pizza is good- if you add fresh cheese instead of what comes with it. You add a salad (plain!) and 2 veggies to dinner and then you are set.

Dessert- there are dessert bars, cookies, pretzel-type desserts, chips, etc. They have a chocolate cake, but it is really gross. We haven't tried the pudding yet.

So, that's basically Nutrisystem. You can go to the website and read more about it. It is expensive, but right now to get started it is totally worth it.

As far as workouts, I've been working with a trainer once a week. She gives me a workout to do twice a week for weights and then I do cardio two or three times a week. It depends on how sore I am from the workout!! Tonight is my last session until I can afford more, so I'll basically just make sure I am following one of the workouts she's given me every time I go in for weights. So far I have really enjoyed working with her. She's not one of those trainers who yells at you all the time. She never yelled at me in fact. Which is good. I don't do well with yelling.

Anyway, this is pretty long. I better go!!


Rachel's Story

Hi everyone! I'm Rachel, one of Kristen's friends, and I'm really excited to participate in this blog. So to start off here's my story. Like a lot of women I've struggled with my body and how I see myself. In college I gained a bunch of weight, and then when serving a mission for my church to Panama I lost 35 lbs. Because I was dying of thirst all the time and with the culture shock I had trouble eating for a few months... plus walking EVERYWHERE for hours a day helped.

When I returned home I gained 5lbs (American food and less exercise) but I was determined to keep the weight off. It felt wonderful being at my ideal weight. I had never felt better about myself before. It was a wonderful year.

Then I got married (unfortunately to an emotionally/mentally abusive man) and after three months was pregnant. My ex pressured me to work out when I was pregnant, to make sure I didn't gain extra weight, which didn't help. He was abusive about my weight and as I was miserable and very unhappy I went back to my old friend- food.

Five and a half years later I left him. Too bad I couldn't leave my extra 40lbs behind when I left, but they were determined to follow me. I went through a huge rebellious stage (along with some depression) and ate SO much junk food for the next 2 years.

As time passed I went through a lot of healing. Then last summer when my mom asked me if I wanted to go walking with her I agreed, although it was after I had said "no" a few times first. It was great and after awhile I started to go bike riding a few times a month too. Three or four months later I was looking at some recent pictures of myself when I realized I'd lost weight without even knowing it. Sure enough when I weighed myself I'd lost 15lbs. Wow, how did that happen? My need for junk food had slowly gone away when I started walking.

Cold weather was upon us and I decided to join a gym. I paid for a personal trainer but that ended up being a waste of money as I only went a few times and hated it. My neighbor was going to the same gym and invited me to come to some classes with her. When I'd joined the gym I hadn't been interested in taking classes as my past experiences with aerobics hadn't been positive, so I was feeling resistant when she asked. Tuesday morning was a step class and Thursday morning was a kick boxing class, so that sounded okay, until I found out they were at 6:00 a.m.! Fortunately I didn't feel that I could say no when I'd just joined the gym. Eight months later I am still going to the early morning classes and LOVE them. It was hard at first, I felt awkward and stupid around the other women who didn't seem to have trouble following the instructor, but after several weeks of perseverance I'm one of the regular students and feel great with my progress. I never would have thought I would be working out so early in the morning but it's actually great as I can come home, shower, and get ready for the day.

As for food I started to count calories last September. I had done Weight Watchers in the past and although I lost weight I hadn't been able to t keep it off, whereas counting calories has really worked for me. (Remind me to upload my spreadsheet of calories to share with any who are interested.) I've been on and off with counting calories but when I've consistently done it I've consistently lost weight. It's slow, but it works.

So after a year of walking, exercising, and counting calories (off and on) I've been able to lose 35lbs. My current goal is to lose another 5lbs by July 4th and after that I'll set another small goal. So, don't give up on your goals! It's hard but it's worth it.

I always thought it was impossible for me to really lose weight but now I know that was a lie. You can do it, just set small goals and then do them. When you achieve your small goal you make another small goal and then do it. For me it started with walking 30 minutes a day, then later eating less junk food, then counting calories, then joining a gym, etc. It can't happen all at once and sometimes it's easy to get discouraged but as you stick to your goals you'll eventually see results and once you see results it will pump you up to keep moving forward. So believe you can do it- because you can!


I was thinking of adding some music to the blog, but I wanted to get some input from everyone before I did. So, check out this link, see what songs I've added and then let me know what you think. Let me know what songs make you feel good, or get you all pumped up, or which ones you despise and would rather not be forced to listen to on a regular basis.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Pilsbury Doughboy's got Nothing on Me

My 4 year old has given up naptime. It's horrible. I have been racking my brain trying to think of activities that are quiet enough not to wake up the sleeping 2 year old and that are fun enough to keep her entertained. For some crazy reason, we settled on making bread in the breadmaker. I'm sure that some of you already see the fatal flaw in my plan. In the last 3 days, I have eaten almost two and a half loaves of bread. It would be three, but the kids whine if I don't share. Apparently, I have no self-control. So, obviously, we need a new naptime plan. Any suggestions?
On a less humiliating note, I have managed to get in all of my walking so far this week. My friend got me a pedometer for Christmas and I love it! It counts steps, miles, aerobic steps, and kcals burned. As far as fitness equipment goes, it's pretty low-maintenance and portable:) And I can really see how small changes in my routine add up. What is your favorite fitness/nutrition product?

The joys of Nutrisystem

I miss cooking. I really do. With Nutrisystem, cooking consists of putting something in the microwave or boiling water and letting it rehydrate the food. Yeah. So, making a cake for a work birthday was so exciting for me!!! ha ha ha

Anyway, I am down to 1200-1500 calories a day, and it has actually been OK. I think the key is what you are eating instead of how much. Did you know that eating an apple actually wakes you up better than caffeine??? Now, if it could just taste like a Mt Dew I would be set! Eating a huge salad adds about 10 calories- if you just eat lettuce!!! Adding other things to it is great for lunch. Costco has these pre-cooked chicken strips that are SO juicy and delicious. Add 1 oz of those, any other veggie that you want (up to a cup) and dressing. I use regular dressing, because you do need a little fat during the day. Plus, it motivates me to actually eat the salad. Fat free is soooo gross. If you want to use a light dressing there is a brand called Ken's that is totally delicious and you can't tell that their ranch is lite. It's that good! Since I have been eating these salads for lunch I am not having afternoon cravings. Another benefit is when I eat salad for lunch I feel full, but I don't get that pesky afternoon bloat that makes you feel SO sluggish and gross!! Yeah, every once in a while I cave and have my Three Musketeers, but that's like once a week, and then I don't have my dessert bar after dinner. I actually save calories that day!!!

You know what feels good? Getting a new swim suit two sizes smaller than the one you had before and putting it on a week later only to find it fits even better than when you bought it! That happened today. I finally found a cute swimsuit last week- at Walmart of all places- and it was a little tight, but not so much that I needed the bigger size. So I put it on today to go swimming with Ellexa and it was looser than last week. I hadn't worn it yet because the day after we bought it that nice cold snap came through AZ and I couldn't get in the pool since it was raining. It was a great feeling to see that I have lost weight even though we had a very food filled weekend. I tried to hold back and did pretty well, but having a MONSTER steak put in front of me that even just 2 months ago I would have eaten all of and finding after about 5 delicious bites that I was almost completely full already was quite a surprise. So, portion control DOES work.

Great things that come with weight loss:
1. New swim suits
2. Having your friend tell you that you shouldn't wear that shirt because it's too big for you now.
3. Looking in the mirror and seeing yourself getting smaller.
4. Realizing your pants are loose enough now that you don't have to unbutton your them after you eat.
5. Being able to breathe while you are walking... and keep talking the whole time.
6. Having your significant other look and you and go " mmmmmm, you look really good in that!"

So, I have a pretty hefty goal ahead of me. I've already lost 14 (maybe more!!) of the 100 lb loss goal I have. It's pretty encouraging to know that I started Nutrisystem on April 14th and workouts a week later and have lost that much already. As long as it keeps coming off I'll be happy with it. I am really hoping that my skin shrinks with me! That's a scary thought I've had, which I think is part of why it took so long for me to decide to start losing... what if I am left with alot of extra skin? Cross your fingers that I still have good elasticity!!!

My goal every week is to keep moving. Get up every hour and walk around for three or four minutes, even if it is just around the cubicles for a minute and back to my desk. It keeps me alert, I can totally make it look like I am doing something of I have to, and it has actually increased my productivity. Another goal is to stay happy! I have found that the happier I am during the day the less likely I am to cheat. So, I keep pictures of my nieces and nephews on my desk and when I start feeling stressed take a minute to look at their happy faces and I feel so much better!!

OK, so I hope some of this is helpful. Try to stay focused and make small changes every day!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let's make this Official

I think that Marie definitely has a good idea with the goals, maybe we should take it one step farther: every week we could post 2 goals, one fitness and one nutrition and then post the results the next week. If two goals seems overwhelming, well, we don't need to try and change our whole lives in a week. Just make simple, manageable stepping-stone type goals. Maybe this will help take the focus off the pounds we have to lose (which tends to dishearten me and make me reach for the Oreos) and put it on little changes we can make that can have a big effect.
Also, I've set it up for most of you to be able to post, the invites are in your e-mail. If you haven't gotten one, it's because all of my snooping couldn't unearth you e-mail address but mine is in the side column, please e-mail me so we can get this going. I'm really excited that you are all here and I hope that we all feel that this is a comfortable place to talk, whine, and share.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Goals, Anyone?

I definitely don't want to hijack this blog or anything. Kristen asked me what I thought of her idea for a forum where we could discuss the successes and pitfalls along our weight-loss journeys. So, that was the bit of motivation I needed to refocus on my own journey.

I know from having done Weight Watchers multiple times (and it does work, I just can't squeeze the silly meetings and tedious point tracking into my life) that it's really important to set some goals for weight loss. Whoever's out there - I know at least Kristen is - how about we set some goals? With Weight Watchers they have you first set a goal of 10% weight loss. I agree with that as a good -multiple week/possibly month goal. BUT, I want a shorter term one. One that I can go out and buy myself a treat like a new book, or a pair of flip flops, or something inedible that will make me happy, for reaching. Does this sound like a good idea? I know that I do best when I have a purpose. Losing weight is a good purpose, but it's so general and scary to think of HOW MUCH I have to lose.

Besides a weight-loss goal, what about we agree to work out x-number of days a week and see how well we can follow through with that? I know life, kids, jobs, husbands, and all kinds of other things make it hard to get out for a walk/run or much less to the gym, but let's commit to something!!!

Also, any ideas for the actual "eating" part of the weight loss? I don't really want to count points....

Thoughts ladies and gents?

My Story

I've never really been entirely comfortable with my body. As a child, I was awkward and clumsy, my limbs seeming to work against me at every turn. Then I entered puberty early and my body started to attract attention that I wasn't mature enough to understand. To make matters worse, I grew up in a family of very petite, thin women. And not. So, I've never been one of those people who feel comfortable in their own skin. My body image has always been a bit askew: as a teenager I felt heavy when I was, in retrospect, quite slender. Now, years and 2 kids later, I feel positively obese. And while I have lots of ambition to lose weight and get in shape, I have very little follow through. I do really well for a while and then something happens and throws up a roadblock. Anyway, I'm hoping that having a venue to discuss the struggles and frustration as well as the feeling of accomplishment that comes with getting healthy will help keep me motivated and focused. So, tell me, what helps you stay on track?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I hate food!

Well, not really. In fact, not at all! That's my problem. Does anyone else have this problem? I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, resolve to not eat garbage, do pretty well, then I eat some garbage and then I also realize that I can eat as much or more than my husband, who's over a foot taller than me!!! I can eat a lot and I'm NEVER full! I was wondering the other day if I could eat a whole carton (what are they, a half-gallon?) of ice cream, but I DIDN'T TRY - not for lack of contemplating it though!!! Anyway, I'm so tired of being fat - I even get to the gym at least every other day, which is good considering I often have to drag all three kids with me! BUT, I come home and am starving and so I EAT!!! I want to be a runner again. I want people to look at me and BELIEVE me when I say I used to run. I want to WIN races again, not have my goal be to finish them without walking! So, that's my ranting for the day. I don't really know what to do. I'm a VERY strong person, but I think I subconsciously don't WANT to be strong with "dieting" because it means I don't get to eat, which is so comforting, yummy, and fills needs that I evidently have that aren't being met.

On a side note, I'm sitting here listening to the hubby tell his brother that "did you know that ****** (his sister) decided that we're all going to give nice portraits to our parents this Christmas?" Well, I HATE pictures!!!! Another reason being fat stinks!

Okay, I'll be quite, but I'm loving the idea of having a place to vent, but more importantly, a place to hopefully get suggestions and ideas from others who don't have to just skip a meal to lose 10 pounds, or are already so anorexic that when they talk about being fat I think to myself that they would fit inside one of my legs!!!

Have a great weekend!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Citizens of the Internet

Does your refrigerator mock you? Do you hear it's siren song enticing you to partake of it's delicious contents, breaking down your iron(ish) will power? Yeah, mine too. It's evil. So I created this blog. Come, be a part of the Refrigerator Resistance and fight the Cold Power. How does it work? Anyone who interested can e-mail me and ask for authorship rights or you can just participate through the comments, if you're not quite up for that kind of commitment. We can talk about our successes, utter failures, and stumbling blocks. We can whine about our kids and husbands and skinny friends who don't understand how hard we have it. Use your real name, or not. Post as often as you like. Really, it will be great. So, join me, friends, and let us put an end to the tyranny of the refrigerator.

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