Weight Loss Journey

I’ve decided once again it is time to get off the extra weight I have accumulated over the last few years. My struggle has been ongoing, I have lost the weight and kept it off for several years, but eventually it finds its way back. In the past I have taken weight off when I joined T.O.P.S (Take Off Pounds Sensibly).  I have tried by cutting back but find myself not being successful for very long and the scale keeps moving up. As I’m no longer working, I’m eating like every day is the weekend and feel miserable and really bad about myself. It’s time to make some changes so I looked up the TOPS website and found a meeting that would work for me.

TOPS is perfect for me, it keep me accountable because you have to weigh-in at every weekly meeting and it helps keep me focused. You can follow your own diet but they have  books if you want more structure.  I’m not following any certain diet, I’m making life style changes that I can do for the rest of my life. The group of ladies and men that I meet with are very kind and supportive and have many good suggestion and ideas.

My plan is to eat less meat, less sugar and increase my vegetables and fruit. My first motto is ‘lean and clean’. I’m increasing my exercising by using my treadmill more and increasing the intensity of my workouts.  My second motto is ‘move it and lose it’.

Week 1

The meeting was great and I know I’m going to like this group, they are very welcoming. The weigh-in was not much fun, the moment of truth with the realization of how much weight I have to lose. I paid the dues to join and left feeling energized  and I know I can do this.

Week 2

I got up early and ready to go to the meeting I am excited to weigh-in because I know I have lost weight. I had a good week and stuck to my eating plan and exercised. I parked my car and went up to the door to find it locked. I banged on it but no one heard me. It’s a very heavy wooded door and everyone is in another room with the door closed. I waited for about a half an hour just incase someone else showed up and they knew how to get in, but know one did. I wanted to let them know I was here so I wrote a note and digging in my purse I found a band-aid and stuck the note to the TOPS sign. I left felt very rejected and feeling sorry for myself.  Maybe they didn’t like me or want me in their group, then I told myself don’t be silly, you’re over reacting.  A few hours later the leader called me and apologized, she said it was an accident that the door was locked and then I felt so much better.

Week 3

I lost 3.5 pounds, Yeah for me!  My eating plan is getting easier, I’m finding new recipes to make that are really good.  I was watching public television and the speaker was saying she does HIT (High Intensity Training) on her treadmill and I thought if she can do it so can I.  I walk for 1.5 minutes and run for 30 seconds after I warm up, I do ten cycles.  I love the feeling of getting stronger.  My goal for next week it to start adding some weights, doing push-ups and squats, and being more supportive of my other TOPS members.

Week 4

I lost 1.5 pounds, I eat pretty healthy and exercised most days. This weeks program was on climbing mountains the excuses we make and lies we tell ourselves to avoid things. That sure hit home. This week will be rough with Easter on Sunday.  My goal is to increase my exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables. As of this week, I lost 5 pounds and my reward was picking out a charm. I love this group

Week 5

Easter was great, we had a brunch which included  eggs Benedict, fruit salad, muffins and mimosa.  A dinner of ham, potato salad, carrots, and chocolate scotcharoos for dessert. I ate more than I planned. I knew this would happen, so I ate very healthy all week and kicked up my exercising.  When it came time to weigh-in I was very nervous, but to my surprise I lost 1.8 pounds.  All my planning  and hard work paid off.

Week 6

I worked out and ate pretty well all week, but on Sunday I was really in the mood to go out for breakfast. We went to a new restaurant called Chompers. The food was good and so unhealthy.  I ate eggs, biscuits and gravy with bacon.  I felt terrible the rest of the day, my stomach hurt and I had to take an acid reducer.  I guess I’m not used to eating like that anymore.  I lost another pound and I felt good about that. My goal for next week is to continue to exercise and try something new like stretching or yoga and try some new recipes.

Week 7

I lost another pound, I’m feeling good about my weight loss.  My energy level is dropping in the afternoon because my blood pressure is getting to low.  I talked to my doctor and I will cut my blood pressure medication in half.  One of the side effects of losing weight is lower blood pressure, this means I can lower my dose or get off of medications, a side affect I can live with! (I monitor my blood pressure every day)

Week 8

I had a couple of rough days, I keep thinking of places I could go eat that would make me happy for the moment, but I know I would hate myself later. Fish-n-chips and cupcakes keep calling my name, but somehow I resisted. I lost 2.5 pounds, I was amazed.  Losing the pounds was much better than any junk food would have tasted.

Week 9

I lost another pound, Yeah!  I have been struggling more, I don’t think my desire for sweets will ever go away.  In the evening I really want sugar.  Eating an orange or strawberries helps, but it’s not a chocolate bar.  I know I will have sweets on Mother’s Day, I can wait.

Week 10

What a tough week, it was full of stress.  I was hungry all week and no matter what I ate, I never felt satisfied.  Our community had a police officer shot to death and even though I didn’t know him personally my daughter did, as well as many of my Facebook friends. It was on the news daily and was such a tragedy for this tight-knit community.  I realized on Monday morning that was why I had such bad week.  Being stressed I wanted to turn to food for comfort, but I struggled to resist.  I still lost a pound, but my heart wasn’t  in it.  My goal for next week is to kick up the exercise and focus on my goal of 24 more pounds to lose. Thank God for TOPS.

Week 11

Why are weekends so hard?  I’m way better than I was 4 months ago so that’s a big improvement.  I lost another pound at my weigh-in this morning, I’ve lost a total of 14.7 lbs so far!  The TOPS group is so supportive it really makes a difference, I would have never done this without them.  Next week is Memorial Day weekend and we have been invited to a family function with lots of food and drinks.  I will make sure I have eaten something healthy before I go so I’m not starving and will try to eat only one dessert.

Week 12

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 12 weeks.  Although I’m still losing, I have had to really focus on eating healthy.  Each week brings it’s own set of challenges, my allergies have been bad and I have felt so tired so have not exercised much.  There is a lot going on in my life right now and these are the times I used to turn to junk food.  I have not done that so I feel I’m making process in that area.  On Sunday I got the news that my brother was in the hospital with chest pains but I did not want to turn to food for comfort.  My goal for next week is to continue to work on a list of my best diet tips that have helped me with my weight loss, I hope to publish it soon.  My plan is to exercise everyday next week.

Week 13

I lost 1.8 pounds this week I have lost more than 10 percent of my body weight, hooray!  It was a pretty good week. I have been so busy with yard work, getting my flowers planted and weeds pulled that I haven’t thought much about food until Saturday. We went to a fund raiser for a soccer team, it was breakfast at Applebee’s.  Everyone got a plate of 2 small pancakes, 2 sausage links and scrambled eggs.  I ate the pancakes, sausage and a couple bites of eggs. I left feeling like I wanted more to eat and had to fight the urge to eat junk food all day.  What we don’t do for charity!  It helps that I don’t have junk food in the house.  I increased my water and put my energy into a project I’m working on.  Next weeks goals are to clean, clean, clean since my sister is coming to visit at the end of June. Finish edging the flower beds and pull more weeds to get them all in tip top shape. Keep up the exercise and try a new vegetable dish.  Send a card to a TOPS member who is thinking of giving up.

Week 14

This week  I lost 1.2 pounds, it seems the closer I get to my goal the harder it is to lose.  I have not been motivated to work out as much as I should. I had a really good morning routine down and I have kind of gotten way from that.  I would drink a large glass of water while writing down what I wanted to accomplish for the day and then get on the treadmill.  I am finding it easier to eat healthy and I’m not craving sweets as much.  I have fruit in the evening and find that very satisfying, I also have a small glass of red wine most evenings. Next weeks goal is to get back into a good morning routine.

Week 15-16

I’ve lost almost 2 pounds in the last two weeks. I have had some real challenges that have put my new life style changes to the test. I attended three different events that all involved food that I don’t normal eat anymore. First, I cooked Tapas on the patio for my husband as a pre-tasting for a get together I’m having later this summer. The food was fabulous, but I didn’t over-eat. Then I attended a bridal shower with lots of yummy sweets and finally a birthday party. For the first time I felt like I had control over what I was eating, the food did not control me. I still have about 16 pounds to lose and that seems like so much, but I don’t think of that number, it’s 5 pounds at a time.

As many of you  know I start each day off with a smoothie and I have had lots of questions about how I make it and what I put in it, so I’m including my smoothie recipe with pictures under the Recipes section on my blog.
Next weeks goals are to continue what I’ve been doing, its working! My sister is coming to visit for two weeks and she loves to walk, so I’m sure I will be doing lots of that.

Week 17

I lost 1.6 pounds this week which I felt really good about. The closer I get to my goal, the harder it is to lose. I find myself weighing on the scale more and my weight bounces around, I get frustrated. I have to remind myself that it’s normal and to take one day at a time.  I have to work more at positive self-talk, why is it so much easier to be negative. I have been walking a lot even though it is so hot here. One of the ladies at TOPs is going to start a new contest that runs for four weeks, each week you give something up, change a bad habit or do something nice for yourself. You continue with the new changes for the whole 4 weeks and each week add a new one, it should be a great contest. I have already given up so much it’s going to be hard to find something new to give up, maybe I’ll just do something nice for me. I can see a nice massage in my future!

Week 18

I lost just a few ounces this week. I was a little disappointed because I thought I’d lost more, but on the bright side it was still a lose. At TOPs we voted in new officers this week and in August we will have a ceremony to honor them. I volunteered to help with it and I’m not sure what I got myself into. The new pyramid contest started at TOPs, the rules are to make a change each week, continue with the change and add another one each week for the four weeks. The person who loses the most weight wins. In my first week I’m going to do something special for myself. I have already made so many changes in my diet since starting this journey I don’t have much more to take away. Week two, mindful eating. Week three ? (any suggestions) Week four, give up my glass of wine that I sometimes have in the evening or walk an extra mile each time I walk. My sister and I have discovered many wonderful walking trails we have in our neighborhood. I usually walk on the treadmill, but being outdoors is so nice. My goal this week is to continue to walk the trails and of course eat healthy.

Week 19

What a crazy week, time has just flown by. My sister went back home to California and it was sad to see her go, I can’t believe how fast two weeks went. I was so surprised that I lost 1.7 pounds this week, I thought it was only going to be a few ounces. I love surprises like that! One of the ladies asked me how much weight I’d lost and I told her I didn’t know and I haven’t really thought about it. I got out my calculator and it added up to 24.7 pounds that I have lost. I have been so focused on my goal weight, it made me realize that it is important to look back and celebrate how far I have come, not only in weight loss but other areas of my life. I went to the doctor and got my goal weight slip, that is one of the requirements for TOPS, now it is in writing and is official. For the contest we are doing at TOPS this week I’m going to drink a glass of water before each meal as suggested by one of my readers (Thank You). Next week is going to be a challenge, I have an anniversary, birthday, class reunion, and a wedding reception to attend which means lots of food. I do have a plan in place so I will see how it works out.

Week 20

What a busy week. I had what seemed the whole summer of activities in one week, and of course it involved lots of food. I had my plan in place not to gain any weight. We combined our anniversary and my birthday into one event and went to the park for a picnic with our daughter and grandkids. I packed a picnic lunch of roasted shrimp cocktail, quinoa salad, chips and salsa, grapes, and cupcakes. It was a lot of fun and exactly what I had planned to keep the calories down but still enjoy ourselves.

Since I would be making appetizers for a friends granddaughters wedding reception on Saturday, my friend picked me up to go shopping for supplies and when we sure finished she suggested going out to lunch for my birthday, well who could resist that? So she took me to Beverly’s which happens to be one of my favorite restaurants. I had the express lunch which consists of small portions of soup, Caesar salad, open face sandwich and dessert. It was wonderful and so nice to spend time with my best friend. We both just marveled at the beautiful view of the lake and how much we love living in Coeur d’Alene. This was not in my plan, but so worth every bite and every calorie. Sometimes you just have to live a little!

Next event was the class reunion, my husbands 45th, where did all the years go, can this even be possible?  It was held at a restaurant on the outside patio, the weather was perfect and such a delight to see so many people. I had one drink and nibbled on my husbands food just as I had planned.

The last event was the wedding reception and since I was making appetizers and very busy with the preparation, food was the farthest thing from my mind, I even forgot to drink my smoothie! The reception was lovely and everything was perfect, I didn’t eat too much. (Maybe one more cookie than I should have.)

I did not exercise as much as I would like and that was my down-fall. I weighed before I went to my meeting and according to my scale I had lost a little, but according to the scale at TOPS I stayed the same as last week, which is called a turtle. So glad that week is behind me and I was please I didn’t gain any weight. What I did gain is the knowledge that planning is so important. Next week I have to kick up the exercising.

Week 21

I lost 1.4 pounds this week and I am thrilled!. This week was much calmer, without so much activity. Next week we will be installing a new officer at TOPS and I’m helping with that. I’m in charge of decorating and I have made some center pieces for the tables and will pick up roses from Costco on Sunday. I did have one day this week that I was so hungry all day and I couldn’t get food out of my mind. I really wanted cookies and thought about making some, but didn’t have all the ingredients that I needed. Thank goodness I didn’t have any in the house or I would have eaten them all! I have not had a day like that in a long time. I’m 10 pounds from my goal weight and according to the BMI chart, I’m not over weight any longer. That is a good feeling.

Next week I will be adding some free printable charts for a Food Journal and Body Measurements to simplymeandmyblog.com

Week 22

We had our officer installation at TOPS and I did the decorating, I think it turned out nice. I got a lot of compliments on how great it looked. We also had a potluck after the meeting, I brought a black bean salad which is very health and low calorie. It was the lowest calorie dish there! I thought because we were a weight loss group low cal would be the best option, not true.  Everything was so delicious, but it was not diet food. It was a reminder that it is ok to have a splurge meal every now and then. I got an award for ‘consistent loser’ which was a nice surprise. I lost a pound this week which I was pleased with because the closer I get to my goal the harder it is, but thats ok because I know I will get there. Each week we take turns giving a program, talk or lesson. Next week I have to give the program of my choice, lucky me! (I hate this sort of thing). I don’t like talking in front of others, but I guess i’ll get through it. I’m planning on doing something were everyone is involved and sharing their success’s and failures. This weeks goals are drinking lots of water, walking, and working on the program I have to present.

Week 23 & 24

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and my weight loss has been thrown off track. At my last weigh-in I lost 1.4 pounds, but since then my loss has stopped and I have gained about 2 pounds that I can’t seem to lose. It’s down a few ounces and then back up. That has made it hard to keep focus. My husband has had several days off and I find myself not eating as healthy as I should be. I have been walking, but it has been so smoky from all the surrounding forest fires and this has really effected how I feel. I have missed a couple days of exercising, on the news they recommend not exercising outside because of the poor air quality. We also had a family reunion last Saturday and it was so fun to see everyone and the food was delicious and of course, I ate too much. My next weigh-in is on Monday and I’m sure I will have my first weight gain since I started this journey, but that’s OK, I am human. My plan is to get back on track by starting to journal my food with my free printable ‘Weekly Food Journal’ and add an extra day of walking.

Week 25

I had not been to TOPS for 2 weeks so when I went back and had to weigh in I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did lose, but only a half a pound. That makes me 8 pounds from my goal. I’m not in a good place and it just seems difficult to get motivated. I started journaling my food, but I only did it for a couple days. I have been in this place before only to start putting the weigh back on, but I not doing that this time. My blood pressure has been higher than normal and that is a signal I need to watch my sodium intake. The chips and chinese food are not cutting it. I have to remember to celebrate the 30 pounds that I have lose and not give up. Today was a good day, I feel like I’m back in control. It’s ok to have a cheat meal, but not a cheat week!

Week 26

I gained a pound at my last weigh-in and everyone at TOPS was so supportive they reminded me that this was my first gain and how well I have done. They are such an amazing group, I got a nice card in the mail reminding me that my gain was just a bump in the road and that I was an inspiration. How sweet was that, it helps me not be so hard on myself. My back has been bothering me so I have had to decrease my exercise. It is much better after seeing my wonderful massage therapist Katie Knap. I swear she can work miracles. She gave me some stretches to do along with ice and heating instruction. In just a couple days it improved by 90 percent so next week I’ll be back to a regular exercise routine. We will soon be getting hardwood floors in our house so I have so much to do to get ready.  Saturday I will pack up dishes and breakables and Sunday move furniture to the garage so that should help with my exercise and hopefully next week I will have a loss.

Week 27 & 28

The struggle is real! It has been a busy two weeks and not all of that has been good for my healthy life style change. It has always amazed me how a little change can throw me off track.  My brother came for a short visit it was great to see him, I hate the fact that I live so far away from the rest of my family. During his visit I ate terrible, but it was only for a couple of days. Next we had to get ready for the installation of our new hardwood floors.

We moved all the furniture out of the first floor, and ripped out all the carpet. We did that on a Sunday because that was the day we could get help moving everything. Of course we were all starving  so we ordered pizza for everyone, I planned on eating just one piece, but I ended up eating two. I have not had pizza in a long time, it just doesn’t work with weight loss. Living with the house all torn up is quite stressful.  Saturday the installer, David, started the floors and Monday he finished so most of that time I spent out of the house which involved making some unhealthy food choices. Now that I look back I could have done so much better, but I didn’t make a solid  plan and for me that is extremely important. I missed one of my weigh-ins because I had to be home to let David in and pay him when he was finished, but I know the weigh-in would not have been good.

The floors are finished and they are beautiful and life has returned to normal. On my last weight-in I lost a little so I feel like I’m getting back on track. I was on the TOPS website and saw a video about being a perfectionist and what it does to us. One point that hit home was that if we think we have failed at what we attempting to do, we go off the deep end, for example if it pertains to food once we know we have eaten something that wasn’t on our diet we say we blew it and eat everything in sight. I wish I could find the speakers name and book that he has published because I think it would be something I could relate to. I will continue to look for it. This week I will recommit to eating healthier and exercise outside more and it should show up on the scale.

Weight Loss Weeks 29 & 30

My weight loss has stalled, I go up a pound or two and then down. I feel like I’m losing my grip on the battle. I keep asking myself why has this gotten so difficult, a few months earlier I felt like I had it all under control. This time  of year has always been a struggle. It all starts with Halloween and continues through New Year with all the celebration centered around food, and I find myself asking why and searching for answers. After doing some research I feel like I have found an answer.

The average person gains about 2 to 4 pounds during the winter months. Well, I’m not average because I have been known to put on a good 20 pounds or more during the winter. We are genetically programmed to increase fat storage in the fall to survive through the winter of feast or famine. For our ancestors this was important for survival, but for us the famine never comes. This phenomenon is known as thrifty gene hypothesis.

As the days become shorter and we live in so much darkness the hormone melatonin increases and we feel sleepy and it also plays a role in our appetite. That explains why I just want to hibernate during the winter and eat comfort foods. In the winter it’s cold, wet, dark and we tend to develop lower levels of happiness, it’s called ennui. We use comfort foods for a pick-me-up. Well that pretty much describes me. The researchers suggest to increase Vitamin D by eating oily fish, get 20 minutes of sunlight exposure on our skin. Keep a food journal, think about everything you put in your mouth and ask yourself why you are eating, and exercise throughout the winter.

It was such a help to discover this. I think I have always known this and have used it as an excuse, but the research put it all into perspective. Because knowledge is power, I know how to combat this battle and survive the winter months without my usual weight gain. I will eat to live, not live to eat.

Of course I will celebrate all the holidays, but I can make better choices, like no seconds, chew gum so I will not snack while I’m cooking, and send the leftovers home with my guests. I will try some new tricks to stay motivated. Go to my meetings for accountability and support. Continue to exercise and I might purchase a happy light and see if that helps with the lack of sunshine that prevails during the long winter months in the Northwest.

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