Week Twelve - FINALStarting Goal: My goal is to lose 41 pounds. I don't remember the last time I weighed under 200 pounds. Do you feel that you accomplished your goal? I did not accomplish my goal to lose 41 lbs in this challenge. I am fighting the urge to feel like a failure because of it, and instead focus on the things that I did do. We completely changed our eating habits, and I am attending regular classes at the YMCA, this is something that was so intimidating to me and I did it. I feel like I have done the hardest part, now I just have to keep doing it! What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future are to stay with the exercise program and lose 1-2 lbs per week. I celebrate my 40th birthday next June and plan to be at least 70lbs lighter by then. What would you tell someone starting their own Healthy Challenge? I would tell someone starting their own Healthy Challenge to stay positive, get support, try to put themselves first once in a while, and most important, to remember that success is only getting up one more time than you fall down. Don't let one slip up set you back!
Week ElevenThis week my biggest challenge is staying motivated even though I know my weightloss isn't where I had hoped as we end this competition. I had a slight gain this week and just feel horrible about it. So it is tempting to just say, "okay let's be done with it, why keep trying so hard, it's almost the end" I am just trying to keep my routine up as we round this last curve. I am proud this week that although I was feeling pretty down and out that I didn't give in. In the past, I have been pretty quick to throw in the towel. This is a game of life though and I am accomplishing so much. the scale has not been nice, but I still feel good. Linda Huskey and I did a Power Pump class this week and even though I have done the class weekly, the instructor focused on some new areas and I was so sore! It felt great; I look forward to feeling my muscles burn at the end of a class. My goal for the upcoming week is to stay on my diet. We are heading to the beach on vacation and this will be a huge temptation. I've gotten through others, so I am confident that I will get through this. I have a workout plan in place and have packed healthy meals for the family. No chips and cookies this time, we will all be eating healthy together. The kids and hubby are used to it now, so I figure why change it just because we are going to be on vacation? A few days at the beach isn't a license to eat Pop tarts. My thoughts on the challenge so far: I really hope that there are people out there who have followed the twelve week journey of the amazing people taking part in this challenge. I hope that someone has been inspired to make a change in their own life. I hope the Herald keeps track of the contestants and does a follow-up with us a year later to see how much further we progressed and what we were able to accomplish after the challenge. I am going to miss reading up on how my fellow contestants are doing. I would love it if the group wanted to keep in touch through updates and encouragement with each other. It's been an incredible opportunity. I am blessed to have been chosen to take part in it. Thank you.
Week TenMost challenging, this week was being out of town with extended family. A lot of hours in the car, big get togethers, etc. One night we went out and I made some poor choices for my diet. I felt sick all night too. It is amazing to me how much I used to be able to eat compared to now. A pretty small portion will fill me up and I need to remember that. My biggest accomplishment this week was sticking with my exercise routine before we left town. I continue to exercise at an intense pace. I need to work on my diet as my weight is really not where I want it to be and that is so frustrating! I am really focusing on my workouts and not so much on the weight. I didn't do this to myself in 10 weeks, so I know I can't fix it in 10 weeks. We are still working on building better habits at this point. My goal for this week is to stay the course. Stay healthy and consistent. Simple homemade healthy meals and daily workouts will get me though. Linda Huskey and I are doing a cycling/power pump class on Tuesday which is my new favorite. My thoughts on the challenge so far: It's been a good 10 weeks. This week I felt sort of in a slump, like it wasn't real anymore. I was tempted to fall into old habits and did make the mistake of overeating one night which snapped me back to reality. I feel my best when I eat my best. This is a great lesson and I hope never to forget it.
Week NineThis week I am most proud of the intensity of my workouts. The walks I used to take around the neighborhood thinking I was exercising seem pretty funny now. By the end of my workout, I am dripping with sweat and pretty worn out. Even if it is on my own treadmill at home. This is such a new feeling for me and it is really great, I love the way I feel after a hard workout! As far as diet, as I have said before I won't do anything so drastic that it would be short term. I am going for long term changes here so it has got to be easy for me to maintain. Following the advice of chef/nutritionist, Ellie Kreiger, I have divided my food into three categories, the things we eat everyday (fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low fat dairy, 100% whole wheat grains) These are my staples, I live by them. Next are my sometimes foods (cheese, lean red meats, store bought non fat lattes) and then my hardly ever foods (dessert, pastries, fast food, full fat cheeses, butter) I would have put fast food and pastries on my never list, but I have opted not to have a "never" list. Although I have not indulged in these foods and don't really plan to, I think that a "never" list is not realistic. My biggest challenge this week was the fair. I love the corn dogs and funnel cakes. Just the smell of the fair can make my mouth water. I certainly wasn't going to miss the fun though, so I had a healthy breakfast, took water with me to drink and planned ahead what I would eat at the fair. I did great and felt SO happy that night. I am really trying to ask myself when I have a craving, "how are you going to feel later if you decide to eat that." The couple of times I have splurged during this challenge, I have felt really horrible, even a little sick. I don't want to do that to myself, so am just trying to be mindful of the decisions I make. My goal for next week: We will be heading out of town for my Grandfather's memorial service. When family gets together, in grief, or in celebration, we eat. I will go prepared with my own snacks, not let myself get too hungry and plan ahead if we go out. Instead of staying with family, I opted to book a hotel that has a workout room that I can use. My thoughts on the challenge so far are simply that I am grateful for the opportunity. I have no doubt that I will continue to lose weight after this challenge. I have come to terms with the fact that a healthy lifestyle may never come naturally to me. I will always have to be mindful of what I eat and make sure I am getting enough exercise. This is not something I will be cured of, but more like something I will manage for the rest of my life. Because of the challenge and the good people at the Mill Creek YMCA, I now have the tools I need to manage my weight. I would encourage anyone who wants to lose a little weight to get together with a group and do a 12 week challenge. Report what worked for you and what your struggles are. I know what it is like to feel ashamed and tired and depressed about the way you look and feel, I want everyone to know what it feels like to break through those barriers. Don't wait, get a group together and take your health and your life in your hands. You are worth it!
Week EightWhat did I find most challenging this week? With the amount of exercise I was doing, I found that I was really hungry! The good thing is that it doesn't take as much to fill me up, so a snack of a handful of grapes and some string cheese was good enough. My husband and I also went out for a special dinner and it was hard to make a good choice in a restaurant. I looked at the menu online ahead of time so I was prepared, I didn't go to the restaurant completely starved, stayed away from the bread basket, and brought half of my meal home for his lunch the next day. It was still a total splurge night, and something that we will do occasionally, but I was prepared enough that I don't have to feel guilty about it. What am I most proud of this week? I accomplished my goal of four classes at the Y. I also accomplished my goal of walking/running on my treadmill early in the morning on the days that I work and can't make it into the gym. I felt so incredible having gotten my work out done first thing, this is definitely something I want to make a habit of! My goals for next week? 3-4 more classes at the gym and I may try out the kick boxing class for something new! Also to get right back to logging my food everyday. I notice that the days when I don't do this are my higher calorie days. I know that people who always keep logs of what they eat have better long term success with maintaining weight loss. My thoughts on the Healthy Challenge so far: I can't believe how much better I feel. Although my weight loss is not where I wanted it to be, my friends are telling me they can see a difference! The biggest physical change for me is how deeply I sleep. I have suffered from insomnia for many years. This has changed 100% and this week in particular which was my most intense week of exercise has been my best sleep yet. I have a new confidence in myself that I've never had before. I am already starting to make plans and set new goals for the fall and winter months when I won't have this challenge to keep me on track and when it is easy to slip into sweats, make a hearty homemade pot pie and stay in with the fire on. That isn't going to happen at my house this year. (Well, not often anyway!) I've researched year round hikes and am thinking about adopting a dog so I can have a walking buddy! My healthy tip for the week: Try a whole wheat tortilla in place of bread for a sandwich. About 80 calories and high in protein and fiber, these really fill you up. You can have fun with the fillings too. We've tried leftover chicken and black beans, shrimp, and veggie. I have even filled them with pizza toppings and sauce for a lower calorie option to crust. Sort of a pizza quesadilla!
Week SevenMy biggest challenge this week was time and motivation to exercise. I spent the first part of the week in Yakima with my Grandfather who was very sick and didn't want to leave him to go and work out. I had thoughts of getting out and walking during the day, but I never did it. I came home and was dealing with a lot of sadness. I was so emotionally drained I didn't feel like moving much at all. I got some motivational messages from a couple of other contestants (Thank you Cindee and Linda, your support made such a difference) Grandpa passed away this afternoon and I know he'd be so proud to see the changes I am making. He'd want me to finish this challenge strong. I may have been down for a few days, but not out, I will finish strong in his honor! What was I most proud of this week? Really proud that during a tough time, I never turned to food for comfort or convenience. We were out of town, really busy and still ate fairly healthy. My family was a huge help and we made healthy decisions together. This made me understand that I will no longer use food as a crutch, I don't need it. If I decide to splurge and have a cookie one day it will be because I want a cookie, and not because I am numbing some other feeling. Also, I am proud that I have been doing some running. NOT a lot, I am talking a couple of minutes at a time, but it's new to me and I think it is really great! My goal for the upcoming week is to hit it HARD! I have to make up for lost ground here. I am really happy with the changes I've made as far as a healthy lifestyle goes, but I think I need to step it up to have a chance to win this challenge. I will be starting my day with a work out and doing another during the course of the day. I had gotten away from the classes I was starting to enjoy at the Y and am committed to taking 3-4 classes in the next week. Bring it week 8. I am ready. This challenge has been healthy for me in many ways. In the beginning, I had to learn to modify my diet to be healthy for me, satisfying for my husband, delicious for my children and fit into my budget, oh and it has to be easy. (And yes, we all eat the same thing, I am no short order cook!) I had to challenge myself to do things physically that I was intimidated to do. I have learned to find healthy outlets for my stress, I feel so much better because of this. The biggest change recently is that I am learning not to compare myself to others. This is huge for me. I am so happy for the other contestants, but I don't need to feel inadequate if I am not doing as much or more than each and every one of them. This is MY journey and although we are in a competition, a journey to good health is so personal. I will set my own goals and compare them only with my own progress in the coming weeks. I will carry the lesson I have learned here and use it in other aspects of my life. Another great thing about the challenge is that I am pretty sure I have made some friends who I will keep in contact with after the challenge is over. That is a beautiful thing!
Week SixWhat did I find most challenging this week? I let myself get a bit too hungry a few times and had cravings for things that weren't very good for me. It would have been so easy to hit a drive through! I never did, but it was really tempting. What am I most proud of this week? It's been an emotional week. My Grandfather in Eastern Washington is not well and I really want to be with him. My work is busy and I haven't been sleeping well so was tired. Wednesday night, I pretty much had a meltdown when I was out running errands. Something set me off and all the stress of the week just came tumbling down. I was sad, tired and really angry. It was late and I was really hungry. I was trying to figure out where the anger I was feeling was coming from. I then had sort of an a-ha moment. I realized that I was mad because I didn't want the healthy dinner I had planned to eat that night. I wanted to use food as a drug, something comforting to numb the pain and I was ticked off because I knew I was headed home to eat salmon salad. I had to ask myself, "how are you going to feel if you get a burger and fries?" I headed home and had my salmon and was really glad in the end. What do I hope to accomplish this week? I will be in Yakima with my Grandfather and not have access to the YMCA. I hope to stay active and eat healthy. I know it is going to be a challenge and I am going to have my game plan ready before I head over there. My thoughts on the Healthy Challenge so far: I am still a bit frustrated that my weight loss isn't showing in numbers the way I would like. I feel sort of stuck. If I were just doing this on my own, I would be really proud, but this is for competition, so I feel I need to be doing much better than I am! If I were not a part of the challenge, I would never have pushed myself so hard in my work outs this week though, so that makes me really proud. I am excited to start the 2nd half of this challenge strong!
Week FiveThis week my biggest challenge was making exercise a part of my morning routine. This was my goal for last week and it didn't happen. I'd really like to say I am one of those who gets up and jumps on my treadmill to start my day with a 45 minute cardio workout. But I don't. Not yet anyway! My biggest accomplishment this week was simply realizing that weight loss is not only a possibility for me, it is a definite. I am in control of my life and nothing can change that. I feel so strong right now, mentally and physically. I think that once you really believe that you can make a healthy change, the hardest part of the battle has been won. I attended a baby shower and yes had a few extra calories, but I was really in control of what I ate and felt good about my choices. I got all of my cardio workouts in this week. I tried out the on-site workout room at my office, which is small, but it is exciting to me because in addition to my lunchtime walks, I can get some of the strength training that I am missing in during my work week. Exercising on my breaks at the office is so ideal for me because it doesn't keep me away from my family. I also feel really energized at work and am not tempted to indulge in office snacking when I have had a great work out during lunch. My husband and I took our girls to an outdoor concert at a park 3.5 miles from our home and we decided to take our bikes. What a perfect night out! I was a little intimidated by how much bigger a hill looks when you are biking vs. driving, but I made it up the hill without stopping! Sunday, I had to work, so we didn't get to do a big family hike or bike ride. I wanted to be active with the kids, so we went out in the yard for a nice long game of tag! I kid you not, that was probably one of the best aerobic workouts I had this week! The great thing is that in addition to the classes I am loving at the Y and the workouts during my day at work that our family time together is really active. The things we are choosing to do for fun are burning calories. Riding my bike to the park that night, I finally felt like the kind of wife and mom I always wanted to be. That fit woman buried under all of the fat and the shame is starting to dig her way out! My goal for the upcoming week, is to sign up for the Iron Girl 5k next month in Seattle. This should not be a big challenge, because I am working out so much. I will be walking this race, not running it. I am going to do it together with my mom, who also battles with her weight. I think it will be good to do as a team because I really want fitness to be a part of life for my ENTIRE family. I need my mom around for many more years and to be able to do these kinds of events together is such a gift. I am also thinking about a 10k in October. This year a 5k, and a 10k and next year a triathlon? My thoughts on the Healthy Challenge so far: Again I have to say that I am so motivated by the competitors in this challenge. It is incredible to see what normal everyday people can do when they have motivation to do it. In five weeks, I have changed the relationship I have with food. I no longer reach for a cookie when I am stressed or feeling sad, or bored, instead I think, “I am not hungry, I am …” I am learning to actually identify the feeling I am having and working through it, instead of using food as a way to numb something I may not want to deal with. I am paying attention to things other than calories and fat, I look at sodium and fiber and what kind of fat is in food. My avocado may have a few more calories than an ounce of cheese, but it has heart healthy monounsaturated fat, so it is a better choice, and the avocado in my sandwich or wrap gives the same creamy texture that I would get from cheese or mayonnaise. I love to cook and to me, it is really fun to make delicious food that is healthy. I took the summer off of school, but in the fall I will go back and am going for a degree in nutrition. This is a goal I have had for awhile, but until this challenge, I didn't share that with many people because I was afraid that someone would look at me and wonder what business a 200 pound woman has getting a nutrition degree. I am no longer embarrassed to tell people about that goal, I think it's a great thing and I look forward to the day when I can tell someone, “hey I do understand, I have been there and yes, you can lose weight and live a healthy life. YES YOU CAN!”
Week FourWhat did I find most challenging this week? For the first time since the challenge started, my diet was more of a struggle for me than my exercise plan. I was tempted all week and finally, I had a mid week slump and ended up ordering out for pizza. This was good and bad. Bad because obviously, pizza isn't in the weight loss plan, but good because I had two pieces and stopped, logged the calories in my food journal and although it was a high-calorie day, it wasn't a major pig out and it reminded me that hey, this is real life and pizza happens. I made up for it with a great workout. What accomplishment was I most proud of this week? I accomplished my goal of 4 times in the gym. My last visit was about 8pm, but after pizza night, I was going to make sure I made it to the Y! I've been pushing myself harder during both my cardio and weight workouts and it feels great! As far as diet, I have added a few vegetarian meals each week. In the past, for me, a vegetarian meal would have been cheese tortellini smothered with more cheese and a salad with creamy dressing. Now high fiber and healthy grains, beans and veggies make a great lunch. I am doing this mostly at lunch because my husband is not quite on board with the meatless dinners yet. What are my goals for next week? To start doing some exercise every morning. I work part time and on my days off, my girls and I head to the Y around 9AM. (membership at the Y includes child care during your workout and my girls love going!) I want to start each day that we don't go to the Y with a great cardio work out first thing in the morning, either on my treadmill or even with a video. If I get it in early in the day, I can still do a work out later, but if something comes up, at least I know I've done something healthy for myself that day. My thoughts about week four of the Healthy Challenge: To be honest, for as hard as I am working and as healthy as I am eating, I expected the pounds to be absolutely melting off. While I am losing weight, it is slower than I had hoped. I am trying not to get too upset about this however, because I feel fantastic. Weight loss is as psychological as it is physical and for the first time in my life I believe I can do this! Reading the updates of the other contestants is very motivating for me. Our lives are all so different and everyone is doing an amazing job of making time for themselves, they make me want to do more too. I am coming to terms with the fact that making healthy changes does not have to be about starvation or deprivation. Do I fall off occasionally? Absolutely, but it is not about falling down, it's about getting up and that is something that I have finally been able to embrace.
Week ThreeWhat did I find most challenging this week? Time time and again, time! Like most working moms, it seems like my life is all about time, or the lack of it. I feel guilty because I know that by going to the gym in the evening, I miss tucking my little ones into bed. But the other side of this is that if I don't change my lifestyle, I won't be around to share anything with them. It is not realistic for me to get into the gym seven days a week, and if I tried to do it, it would be for a short period of time, but not something I could sustain long term. I can commit to four days per week, and on the other days, doing some good walks, taking stairs several times a day, and hiking and biking with my family a few times each week. Also, a good 30 minute dance party in the living room is fun for everyone and it gets my heart pumping! What accomplishment was I most proud of this week? I took a couple of classes at the Mill Creek YMCA that I really liked, one was Zumba. I never understood what all the hype about Zumba was. Well now I know! It was a total blast! I got an incredible workout and loved every minute of it! I've never sweated so much to a Latin beat without tequila shots being involved! I will definitely be going back for more! Also, in our home we eat almost nothing pre-packaged. Partially Hydrogenated Oil, you are no longer welcome here! I've been wanting to make this change for awhile and with some careful planning, I can do it on my budget and within my limited timeline. Instead of grilling four chicken breasts on a Sunday afternoon, I grill eight, and tonight's grilled chicken is tomorrow's Southwest chicken wraps, or BBQ chicken salad. Instead of take out, I keep frozen shrimp or cut up chicken in the freezer along with veggies and can throw a stir fry together in about 15 minutes. Whole wheat pita bread with some tomato/basil sauce, chopped veggies and low fat cheese is a fantastic pizza and the kids love to make their own. My three year old said to me this week, after making her own pizza, “I really love mushrooms!” I could not be happier. What am I hoping to accomplish this week.. I really want to focus on my cardio this week. I enjoy resistance training more than cardio, so I need to really pay attention and get that cardio in somehow EVERYDAY! I won't lie, if I slack somewhere, it is going to be the cardio. I want to bump it up from 30 minutes to 45 minutes minimum everyday. What are my thoughts on the Healthy Challenge? I am glad it is a 12 week challenge because I am more committed to it than I would ever be on my own. Last week, my energy level was pretty low and I had a hard time making it to the gym. My trainer told me that I am absolutely going to have ups and downs on this journey and that many people give up during the down times. Because I am a part of this challenge, giving up of course is not an option. This week, I feel more energetic than I have in a long time. My diet is great, my sugar cravings were gone, my exercise is good and my weight is coming off; slower than I would like, but consistently. I feel less stressed and am sleeping better. I feel like I am turning a corner and rearranging my life in a way that I can continue forever. In the past, going to a baby shower, or a family reunion, or a dinner out was an excuse to go off of a diet. I'd think, “the wedding is Saturday and I can't eat healthy at a wedding, so I will just start Monday.” As you all know, Monday comes and goes and nothing changes. Now, I am finding ways to fit these events into my life, I can pre-plan what I will eat so that my calorie intake is within my range. That being said, what I do want people to know is that it does not take a challenge to start a healthy lifestyle. Every person has a right to feel good and to live a healthy life. I don't want anyone to put it off any longer. If I can go to an exercise class, or take the stairs, or stop eating packaged convenience foods, I swear to you anyone can do it. We all just have to love ourselves enough to know we are worth the effort and believe in ourselves enough to know that it is absolutely possible.
Week TwoThis week, I had two challenges that stood out. First, I REALLY craved sugar. I managed to stay away from it for the most part, but it was harder this week than last. My mother brought cookies over for my kids. Big soft delicious cookies. Okay, I had a BITE of one, but that is okay. I admit that I would have given in though so I packaged them up and sent them to our daycare. I am not to the point (yet) where I can have cookies in my house for days on end and not be tempted by them! Second, was a lack of energy. I had expected to feel very energetic with my healthy eating and exercise program, but I was pretty tired in the beginning of the week. I exercised regularly, but I admit, not to the level I need to be at. I really need to step it up this next week! I am really proud that I stuck with my diet this week. At lunchtime, my coworkers love to get take out. Our office is filled with the aroma of Thai food, burgers, teriyaki and many other tempting, high calorie lunches. I was content with my planned, healthy lunches and I saved money too! We have replaced our Sunday morning coffee and pastries with a family outing. A hike or a bike ride. This week, we actually did both! We are having a great time together and the entire family is getting exercise. And we skip the usual burgers that we would normally go for after an activity and brought our lunch to the trail. It was fantastic! The other thing that has helped me through a hard week is realizing that I tend to eat mindlessly when I am stressed. So I have been focusing on what I need to do to manage my stress in healthier ways. So far I have been getting up early to have a few minutes of alone time everyday, and doing small things, like remembering to breath, or keeping my shoulders relaxed. I can't believe what a difference it makes in the way I feel at the end of the day. My goals for next week are to spend 4 days at the Y, either in a class, or doing my own work out, and to get my workout in every day that I am not at the Y. Also to add a yoga class to help manage that stress! I think that week two of the Healthy Challenge was an adjustment for me, physically and mentally. My body is getting used to the fact that it isn't going to get it's 3pm sugar rush, and as a result, I think I felt a bit more tired, which made it a bit harder to be motivated to be active. I pushed through it though and am really glad I did! I am looking forward to meeting with my trainer at the Y next week and getting a set routine in place. I am not only trying to see what I can do for the next ten weeks, I am trying to make changes that I can stick with my entire life.
Week OneWhat did I find most challenging this week? This sounds so Cliche, but my biggest challenge was finding time to exercise. Two small kids, a job I commute over an hour each way to just doesn't leave a lot of time. I do some walking on my lunch break, but the heat this week slowed me down a bit. I did do a couple walks and also made it into the YMCA twice, and got out for a bike ride once. The other challenge was going out to eat for our wedding anniversary. I looked at the restaurant menu online and planned ahead for a healthy dinner, but it is still so tempting when they bring the bread basket! Knowing what to do, and actually making the choice to do it are very different things. What accomplishment was I most proud of this week? I took TWO group exercise classes at the YMCA. It was a bit intimidating as an out of shape person to walk into an exercise class where most of the people in the class are regulars. I was so nervous! The classes were both cardio and strength combined and I won't lie, they were really difficult to get through. I got an awesome work out both times and felt really proud. The most important thing I learned is that I could not expect that I would be able to keep up with those who have been doing the class for awhile, but most of the classes at the YMCA can be modified to any fitness level, so even though I was going at a slower pace, it was still a great work out for me. What are your goals for next week? I have my eye on another class I'd like to try. I really like group exercise. I am a people person and I find that the classes push me a bit harder than I would push myself . (if any of the other contestants would like to join me as a newbee in the class, I'd love for you to have them contact me to set something up, it might be nice to have someone to do it with) I want to make sure on the days that I am unable to make it to the Y, that I am finding ways to be active, walking, biking, etc. I've been easing up on my coffee habit because I like sugary sweetener in my coffee which is adding too many calories to my day. I will allow myself one on Saturday, but just the one. sum up your thoughts on the first week of Healthy Challenge: I am so grateful for this opportunity. Being a part of this challenge gave me incentive to try some new things at the Y, and to really push myself to get out there and be active. I wish I'd made the decisions to do these things on my own years ago. I lost 4 pounds this week and I feel great about my activity level (okay maybe I AM a bit sore, but it's a good sore, right?) and good nutrition choices this week and am looking forward to next week!
Beginning of Challenge:
Goal: My goal is to lose 41 pounds. I don't remember the last time I weighed under 200 pounds.
Weight: 241 lbs
Height: 5' 2''