Tag Archives: new year

10 Things You Probably Never Realize About the Formerly Fat Female in Your Life

I don’t mean to stroke my own ego, or maybe I do, but women who have made the choice to lose weight and be healthy are pretty special. We’re different than a lot of other women because we’ve fought a battle with ourselves that makes us stronger, healthier, and more confident; however, it’s important to remember that just because we met our goals we aren’t invincible or even half as confident as we put on. The truth about women who’ve lost a lot of weight is that we are fragile, sensitive, and hard on ourselves. It’s still a mental struggle for us every day to keep weight off or continue to lose it. Here’s what you might not realize is going on in your victoriously fit friend or other half’s brain:

1.) We wear colossal fat goggles. No matter how skinny or fit we feel, we still see a part of our old selves in the mirror. We can’t shake the idea that we should wear black all the time because it’s slimming or that we should wear baggy clothing to camouflage our now smaller or non-existent belly rolls. We’re always a memory away from reliving how we felt as bigger women.

2.) We have an inherent fear of “bad” foods or large amounts of foods. Holiday potlucks give us horrific lucid nightmares. Superbowl parties make us hyperventilate. Sometimes we’re convinced that one big party will make us fat forever.  We fear that eating one cupcake at a birthday party will set us off into a binge that will last for weeks, causing an insatiable lust for all things covered in chocolate or caramel sauce.

3.) We are perfectionists, and we’re our own worst critics. We check in the mirror to make sure that thinner, more svelte figure is still there. We can’t believe it. And even if we do, we’re checking for other imperfections. We look at our behinds to check for dimples, our outer thighs to check for saddle bags, and our waistbands to check for the slightest hint of a muffin top. I’ve even gone home to change in the middle of the workday before because I felt like my pants made me look a little too big.

4.) We need a lot of encouragement even if we put on a facade. We need meaningful validation that our hard work was worth it and that we truly are better than we were before. We don’t just want to hear, “Honey, you’re beautiful.” We want to hear, “I really love what _____ has done for you in  ______ area.” That is a lot easier to believe than a generic blanket statement about our overall appearance. Even then, we have a hard time accepting compliments and may brush it off as a joke.

5.) We can be overbearing and overzealous about our lifestyle. Sometimes we’re so passionate about the changes we’ve made and how much better we feel that we can’t help but blab about it. Sometimes that can be condescending or overwhelming for our friends and family because sometimes they just want to complain about how they’re feeling sluggish rather than have you fix it. We don’t mean to do it either. We’re sorry!

6.) We get really mad when people are lazy. We also hate when they complain about it. This happens to me all the time when someone asks me, “How did you do it?! What’s your secret?” Everyone knows that a secret doesn’t exist, but they’re hoping you’ll tell them that all you did was remove one ingredient from your diet or that you took a pill in order to see results. We know that it’s not that easy, so we get upset with people want to try and make it seem that easy. We know that there is no reward for laziness.

7.) We are not your personal nutrition and exercise encyclopedias. Yes, the occasional question about the healthiest way to cook or the recommended amount of exercise is okay. That makes us feel useful, and we love that you thought of us when you needed someone to ask! However, we don’t love when you think we’re going to customize a nutrition and exercise plan for you and you alone as a favor. That takes a lot of work, and we spent a long time enduring trial and error to find a sweet spot!

8.) We don’t want to watch reality TV shows about losing weight. We don’t want to listen to TV shows that use extreme measures to achieve unsustainable results. We also don’t want to hear about Dr. Oz and his miraculous Acai berries and green tea antioxidants. Anyone who lost weight the old fashioned way doesn’t have time for that kind of asinine crap. Likewise, if you ask us to give you our opinions on The Biggest Loser, get ready for a monologue that never ends.

9.) We still unintentionally bash naturally skinny people in our heads. We’re always going to be a little peeved that we couldn’t be part of that group of people who won the genetic lottery and inherited a super metabolism. Sorry, but we’re not sorry. It’s awesome for you, and you look great, but we secretly want to throttle you. Just know that it’s not personal.

10.) We struggle to love ourselves at any weight, any age, and in any setting. We are constantly striving for the perfection that doesn’t exist. We know that our battle with weight and unhealthy habits is a lifelong struggle, so we must be vigilant. We are always going to have something to work on, but women who have lost a lot of weight still have a hard time doing the most important thing to be healthy: to love themselves.

Food and Exercise Diary Flubbs: Deceptive Logging

You remember in school how the teacher would tell you that cheating gets you nowhere because it doesn’t help you learn? You cheat on your homework and when it is time for the test, you fail miserably because you failed to actually gain any knowledge while copying answers? I was the kid in school who always got copied.

Using a food and diary log is pretty much the same way. If you omit items from your diary in order to look better to your peers on My Fitness Pal or elsewhere, you’re only hurting yourself. You’re not accurately logging, and that will hurt you because you’re not going to see the results you want. You have to be honest. Likewise, overestimating calorie burns just because the automated form in My Fitness Pal estimates that you burned 1,200 calories cleaning your house for an hour and a half is going to hinder you in your goals.

I know that food is enticing, but we can’t enter false information and expect for these things to physically become a reality. If you enter that you burned 1,200 calories shoveling snow for an hour and you actually only burned about 400, you really only burned 400. That snow wasn’t tiny, extremely dense lead shavings. Sorry, folks, but putting it in your log doesn’t make it magically true.

The logging is your homework, the weigh in is the test, and you’re going to fail if you falsify that information. If what other people think about your diary bothers you, make it private. It’s not mandatory to have a public diary on My Fitness Pal. This is something that BLOWS my mind.

I don’t know where My Fitness Pal gets some of their information for estimating calorie burn, but you can pretty much be sure that you didn’t burn more than 10 calories a minute while exercising. Trust me, if you were burning more than 10 calories a minute, you’d be drenched in perspiration and your heart would be coming out of your chest.

I know it’s hard to put in real effort because you’ve been used to being lazy or maybe you’re uninspired, but you’re only going to be disappointed when the scale doesn’t reflect the “awesome dedication” that you allegedly put in over the week. There is no way around the fact that this is a numbers game. If you want to see results, you have to do the work and be honest with yourself about it.

There are no shortcuts in losing weight. None.

5 Ways to Dine Out (Without Ruining Your Diet!)

One of the things I’ve always struggled with while trying to become a healthier individual and lose weight is eating at restaurants. We’ve never been particularly wealthy, so we don’t go out very often; dining out is special for us, and we like to make it count. We like to splurge when we go out because it’s something fun and different. I used to make date nights my “cheat meal” for the week, and that “cheat meal” turned in a disastrous cheat week.  I have cheat meals every once in a while now, but usually it’s a cheat item like a frozen yogurt with Reese’s and I just call it food, not a cheat. That’s a discussion for another post. My love and I are having a lunch date today, and it got me thinking about how to decide where to go and what to order.

There are many ways that I combat overeating and falling off the wagon at restaurants, but these five are pretty standard every time I go out.

1.) Decline the bread basket at the table. One of my favorite places to grab some grilled protein with veggies is Logan’s Roadhouse. Oh my gods. I love Logan’s. I also love their rolls a little too much. I’m from the South, and there’s probably nothing more delicious with dinner than a big ol’ buttered yeast roll. Logan’s knows what’s up. Anyway, I try to let the server know before I even eat that I don’t want any rolls on the table. Of course, they look at me like I’m possessed by a demon or something, but it’s effective. If you really want bread and it’s just going to make you feel like you missed out for the next week, take some bread, but don’t eat the whole loaf of sourdough with olive oil and herbs at Zio’s. A little, not a lot. You’re about to fill your tummy with the real deal! Leave some room.

2.) Look up the nutritional information and choose your entree before you arrive. Put the blinders on. You won’t even have to look at the menu and be enticed by all the pictures of non-edible items dressed up to look like delicious food. (Seriously, that’s why a Big Mac doesn’t look like a Big Mac when you get it at the window.) Before I go out to eat anywhere, I find a menu and as much nutritional information as possible to make a good decision. I look for meals high in protein and lower in carbs and saturated fats. Most chain restaurants are catering to those who want to change their lifestyles now by offering a low calorie menu or a portion of the menu affiliated with Weight Watchers.

3.) Don’t drink your calories. We add so many unnecessary calories, chemicals, and sugars to our meals by choosing soft drinks over water or tea at restaurants. I usually order unsweet tea and sweeten it myself so that I know how much sugar is actually in it. The same is true for alcoholic beverages; they contain an ungodly amount of sugar! Look up the nutritional value of your favorite drinks before you go and see what you can fit into your lifestyle. Just like the new, healthier entree options, most chains now offer “skinny” margaritas and cocktails. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

4.) If all of that falls through and you’re at the only joint in town that literally has no dish under 1,000 calories and doesn’t accommodate healthy eaters, don’t be afraid to order something that doesn’t exist on the menu. Order a la carte. Don’t be afraid to ask for something because you think you’ll be an inconvenience. You’re paying them to serve you great food! I’ve been known to go to Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants and order soup and a chicken taco with a corn tortilla, plus a side of black beans. The only person who can decide what you eat is you!

5.) Relax! Even if you find yourself with few options or if you have a misunderstanding and accidentally order and eat the wrong thing, you’ll be fine. Yeah, if you overeat at dinner you will probably weigh in a little heavier, but it’s likely that the weight is nothing but water retained by high sodium meals found at most restaurants. Just don’t let that mistake turn into a “screw it” mentality. Stressing leads to weight gain anyway. Live a little.

I’m considering sharing some of this information with my coworkers and colleagues in our next newsletter, but we’ll see. There are a few other ideas on the table.

By the way, if you’re one of the few people reading this and you’ve got a question I’ve never addressed, ask away! I’d love to start an FAQ from my personal experiences.

Happy Friday!

Installing a Pacemaker to get rid of your Pacemaker?

It came to my attention that recently the FDA approved a device that is essentially a pacemaker for your stomach and esophagus which sends electrical pulses to interrupt hunger pangs. The device has been tested in real live humans, and the FDA approved it. There are multiple reasons that this device and its approval are completely flabbergasting me and enraging me. The approval of this device was conceived in greed and will exacerbate the laziness and instant gratification mindset of our entire nation. In a place where 3/4 of the population is overweight or obese, this device is a far cry from the solutions needed to make our nation healthy.

The first problem with this device is that it most likely made multiple people affiliated with the FDA a little richer. It’s no secret that the FDA has repeatedly made decisions that do not benefit the public’s health while it does benefit their members’ wallets. Check out Food Inc. and tell me that you don’t think the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries had anything to do with this or the thousand other ways the FDA presumes to treat obesity without attacking the source of the problem: what we eat. Someone was paid well to pass this design and approve its use.

How do I make the assumption that the approval of the device was the product of corporate greed? In an experiment testing the effectiveness of the device, called Maestro, the placebo device performed almost as well as Maestro as far as total body weight lost in 100 patients. NBC news stated, “The FDA wanted the device to be 10 percent better, on average, than a placebo but has approved it anyway.” The experiment was safe enough, but did have many adverse side effects that are usually included in any Pepto Bismol advertisement. Well, yeah, an electrical device that pulses through your stomach and esophagus when you decide you feel hungry… wonder why? Seriously.

Let’s talk about how effective this device would be at sustainably reducing weight in its hosts. NBC wrote that the device would only be available to those who had tried weight loss programs and failed with a BMI of at least 35 to 45 points, but they would also only qualify if they also had an obesity-related health issue like heart disease or diabetes. Okay, cool, we’re narrowing it down, but this device will do jack-diddly-squat for heart disease and diabetes. The device only controls hunger pangs, not the actual kind of food you put in your mouth. If you only eat 500 calories a day but that 500 calories is always a nice greasy burger, you’re still going to have heart disease. Hate to break it to you, but skinny people get heart disease and die of heart attacks too! The device also wouldn’t stop you from eating only 500 calories worth of doughnuts a day and remaining diabetic. One more blow to your lower abdomen: skinny people are diabetic too! This device, this Maestro, only addresses calorie intake and not actual health. It will literally do NOTHING for someone who isn’t consciously making the decision to eat healthier foods.

This device also only intercepts hunger signals, not depression or boredom, so emotional eating and boredom binging are totally still on the table. Not only that, but Maestro is controllable by its host, so you can choose when you’d like to be hungry. Presumably, anyone could develop an eating disorder and use Maestro to reject their basic instincts saying, “hey, feed me before I eat all the necessary visceral fat around your vital organs and send you to the ER!” The device will not address any issues with food addiction or overeating. It will simply allow its hosts to ignore hunger. That is useless.

Needless to say, someone just invested a whole lot of money into something that will be completely obsolete and will cure nothing. Sure, it may help some people lose weight for a while, but it won’t teach them how to make better food choices or how to plan meals for weight loss.

This time, money, and energy would have been better spent by the FDA in trying to figure out how to get their heads out of their asses and their hands out of agriculture and pharmacy’s pockets long enough to figure out that they’re killing us all one dollar at a time.

Gee, thanks.

Weight Loss Tips: It’s not Black and White!

After a few years of living a healthier lifestyle and attempting to lose weight, I began to see each day as either inherently good or bad. The choices I made, whether or not I worked out, and how much I ate became the be-all-end-all distinction between whether I hated myself that day or not. If I decided to have a doughnut, the whole day became an, “aw, what the hell?” kind of day. The trouble with this kind of thinking is that I often lose sight of my goals halfway through the day. I eat healthy foods until my afternoon snack and shit really hits the fan when I get sleepy around 3 p.m.

To combat this pattern, I started a logging method that is incredibly simple and easy. It’s completely effortless, and it helps me put things into perspective.

I log my food and exercise online in a journal that is pretty detailed. I look at macros and micro-nutrients like sugar and sodium daily and weekly. Looking at all of those numbers can get pretty overwhelming when I’m trying to decide if my day was good or bad or somewhere in between. Information overload makes it difficult for me to see what I need to work on to get better and be healthier. To streamline that process and develop a thought process that allows me to identify gray areas on which I need to work, I use a color-coded monthly planner. It sounds complicated, but it’s totally not.

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At the end of each day, I cross off the entire day in a color that relates to my intake and activities. If I was over my calories AND did not do my planned activity, I cross the square out in red. If I was either under and inactive or over and active, I cross the square in pink. If I was both under on calories and did my planned activity, I cross the square in green. You can see here that I’ve been pretty well motivated during January; trust me you DO NOT want to see December. It’s practically all red. I’m human. Sue me.

I also log my losses so I can see that my efforts bring progress when I get green and pink. I’m a super visual learner, and visuals have always helped me to grasp difficult concepts.

The point is to associate a “gray” day with a color that is somewhat pleasant to you so that you can look at it as a toss-up or an okay day that could have been better rather than an OHMYGOSHI’MSUCHAFATCOW day. So far, this method has been extremely effective for me, and I wanted to share it.

Sharing Weight Loss “Secrets” — 5 Ways to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

I recently asked the newsletter committee at work about adding a section on health and well-being in our monthly newsletter; not only did they agree that it would be a good idea, but they asked me to head it up! This is exciting for me because I love to write, teach, and share my experiences. The newsletter article is being featured in our December/January edition, so I decided to pick something relevant and relateable to my coworkers who probably aren’t as obsessed with being healthy as I am but want to pick up some healthy habits. I’d like to share it here with you!

5 Ways to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

Over the past 4 years, I’ve made health and fitness a huge part of my life. I’ve lost 87 pounds, and I’ve formed some realistic healthy habits along the way. Soon, I hope to get my master’s in health promotion. Since this is such a passion of mine, I want to share what I’ve learned with everyone.

weight loss progress

The New Year is upon us, and surely we’re all making our lists of resolutions. Here are some tips to help you keep your resolutions and fulfill your health or fitness goals:

      1. Start Realistically. Most new resolution makers want to hit it hard first thing, but the best way to make lasting healthy habits is to work in one thing at a time. When we change too many unhealthy habits at once, we are more likely to fail. Start by making small changes and scaffolding healthy habits over time to create a solid foundation for lifelong habits.
      2. Be Aware. People who log calorie intake are much more likely to consume less junk because they can easily see how much they have consumed throughout the day. Online communities like MyFitnessPal can double as a food and exercise log, as well as a buddy system.
      3. Water, Water, Water! Water helps the digestive system, makes skin look better, and helps regulate body temperature. Those who are well hydrated tend to have fewer health problems and are less likely to feel hungry throughout the day. Drink up!
      4. Get an Accountability Buddy. Find a friend who has the same goals as you and keep one another accountable. Have your buddy walk with you during lunch, watch out for you when you reach for unhealthy snacks, and be a support system for you when cravings come.
      5. Reward Yourself. Set goals with rewards for encouragement. Warning: Don’t reward yourself with foods, especially unhealthy foods! This is counter-productive. Instead, buy new tennis shoes, buy tickets to a concert, or buy new clothes. You’ll enjoy treating yourself and receiving positive reinforcement for your efforts.

For me, all five of the tips above were and are what kept me in the weight loss game for so long. I hope these tips are helpful for those reading this as well!