It ain’t over, yet…

It ain’t over, yet…  🙂

Last year at this time, I was miserable.  I had so much extra weight on me.  My self esteem was suffering and I didn’t want to go through “another year” of setting the same old resolution only to get off track by mid-January and lose hope AGAIN.

This year, I was miserable because of health issues.  I’ve had a shoulder injury which has caused some excruciating pain at times and ended me up in the Emergency Room.  I’ve been sedentary since the Wednesday before Christmas and on lots of pain pills and muscle relaxers.  For about a week, I could not even wash dishes, vacuum, lift anything heavier than a fork or do laundry.  (Oh, darn, right??)  I’m realizing what a true gift my health really is.

So, here we are on New Year’s Eve, 2011.  No, I have not hit my initial goal of losing 50 pounds, in fact, over the holidays, I gained about 5 pounds and just in the past week (since the ER visit with my back) I have gained an additional 3.  I’m weighing in somewhere around 164.  So, I have a decision to make.  Do I let it get me down that I’ve gained 8-10 pounds back or do I use that as a springboard to motivate me to keep going forward with more energy and determination?  I choose the springboard.  I found this photo posted on facebook:

This is my motivation.  I haven’t made it to my goal yet but I’m not as far from it as I was this time last year.  My journey began January 18th, 2011.  It does not have an ending point, a destination of sorts.  It will be a lifelong journey for me so I’ve settled in for the long haul.  It’s not a diet.  It’s a mindset.  A lifestyle.  I know at this time of year, there’s the big fitness push, all the TV commercials, all the books on the shelves, all the talk is about getting fit and healthy, getting organized, getting out of debt, etc.  If you do choose to try and live healthier this year, I challenge you, don’t let it be a fad – do it for real this year.

 

I’m starting somewhere around 164 this year, last year I was 204.8.  Some resources I have found useful over the past year:

 

The book GOALS by Tommy Lanham – to step by step this book really helped  me set small attainable goals with a purpose… ones I can actually accomplish!  I can’t tell you what a difference this book has made in my personal journey.  It’s a short, easy read that has the potential to change your life if you let it.

 

A life coach – I have worked with a life coach through most of this journey.  It really helps me stay on track when I know that each week, I have someone asking me, “How’d you do this week?”  “Did you do your 5 workouts?”  “What do you feel you need to do this week?”  My life coach has helped me focus on what’s important and the REASONS I have to lose weight.

 

A sponsor – I have a dear friend of mine who has lost so much weight.  She understands it – she “gets it.”  She didn’t have surgery, do fad diets or starve herself.  She understands how much of an addiction this can be and howhard it is.  I can call her in the middle of Kroger with 2 boxes of HoHo’s in my cart and she will tell me to walk away… ask me how I know!!  🙂  She will be 100% honest and even though she’s 10 hours away, she will kick my butt if I don’t stick to the plan.

 

www.MyFitnessPal.com – this is a website I have been using to track my food intake, count calories and connect with others who have the same goals I have.

 

I have not been doing my devotions and reading my Bible like I should over the past few weeks.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays has gotten me off track spiritually and I really do believe that when I’m off spiritually, every other aspect of my life suffers, including the weight issue.  I’m starting off tomorrow with 3 new books.  Made to Crave, the Made to Crave devotional and The Maker’s Diet.

I’ll keep you posted on my opinion of these books.  I do want to encourage you to read, educate yourself and challenge yourself.  If you immerse yourself in information about health & wellness, you’re much more likely to stick to losing the weight and making healthier choices.

 

Brian Tracy says “You are what you think about most of the time.”  If you think about how much you miss those doughnuts or those sweets, that’s what you will focus on.  Instead, think about health, read about it, start your own blog about it, talk about it with your spouse, family members, friends.  Surround yourself with information and health and it will be a great start to this journey.

So, there you have it.  My renewed commitment to my health, my God and my blog.  🙂  If you want to receive a notification when I post a new blog (typically 2-3 times per month) then click on “Yep, I’m in, sign me up!”   Let me know if you’re on the same journey and let’s cheer each other on!  God bless you this new year!

 

Advertisements

Focus

Focus.  It’s not just a car that Ford makes.  🙂  When you focus on something, it becomes important in your life.  That’s why it is essential to have a goal.  It gives you something to focus on.  I once heard a motivational speaker ask “If you go hunting and you see a field full of deer, do you just randomly shoot hoping to get lucky or do you pick one, focus on it and shoot?”  Any hunter out there will tell you your chances of killing a deer are next to nothing if you try to shoot them all.  You’ve got to have focus.

When I first started this journey on January 18, 2011, I weighed 204.4 pounds and was physically and emotionally miserable.  I chose to focus on my weight and becoming healthy again.  I read books that educated me on nutrition (not silly fad diets), I joined www.myfitnesspal.com and educated myself on calories and exercise.  I began working on setting goals, developing healthy habits and making a plan with my life coach, Brian Osher.  I began to move more and eat wisely.  I weighed in every week and blogged weekly about my experiences as the weight began to come off.  Choosing to focus on my journey was as big a decision as committing to eat healthier and start exercising.

I weighed in this morning at 155.4.  To date, that is a loss of 49.0 pounds.  I have so much more energy, I feel fantastic (most days) and my health issues (especially the digestive issues) have all but disappeared.

I’m going to risk sounding negative here but I want to share something.  When people see me and notice the weight loss, they often ask “How did you do it?  I really need to do something about my weight.”  When I tell them (often to their disappointment) that I am eating healthier and exercising, you can almost see them mentally change the channel.  I get excuse after excuse as to why they can’t change their diet:  “My husband likes fatty foods and I don’t want to cook 2 different meals for us every night.”  “I have a hurt (insert body part) and can’t exercise.”  “I just can’t find the time to exercise.”  You know what?  That only tells me that they don’t really want to do something about their weight.  Zig Ziglar says “If you really wanted to be something different than what you are, you would already be making the changes to become what you want.”  You’ve got to get to “That Point.”  If they’re not to that point, I can see why they tune me out.  So forgive me when I answer the “How did you do it?” questions with a quick but polite answer.  If you really want to know more, ask for more details but I won’t offer them.  I’ve been tuned out too many times.

My weight loss has not been easy – I have often equated it to the disease of alcohol addiction, only my disease is food addiction.  When I stopped making excuses, God blessed my efforts and has been faithful.  I know it sounds absolutely crazy but when I lag behind on my devotions or find myself lacking in my prayer life, my weight tends to go up.  I honestly believe that losing weight is as much a physical endeavor as it is emotional, mental and spiritual.

Do you find yourself offering excuse after excuse?  Don’t wait for New Year’s – start now – start tonight.  “If you’re going to make a real and lasting change, you must make changes immediately and enthusiastically!”  – Tommy Lanham

Make this a focus and do something for yourself, the Lord’s temple, your children’s parent, your parent’s child, your spouse…. stop making excuses.  Click on “Sign me up” at the right hand side of this blog & join me as we go through this journey together.  I need you – I need your support and your success stories and your “I just ate a bag of Ding-Dong’s” stories.   Commitment is a balance between formula and freedom.  Let’s be free together!  Come on, we can do this!

 

Goin’ Camping & Canoeing!

You would’ve NEVER seen me going on a camping trip before I lost that weight.  We are also going canoeing the first of next week….  yep… ME!!  Isn’t that crazy?  Just wanted to share.  Losing that weight has not only changed my body but it’s changing my mind and spirit. 

Also wanted to share real quick about a program I’m testing for a software developer.  You know how I shared with all of you about www.myfitnesspal.com and how it’s helped me TREMENDOUSLY in losing weight?  Well, I wanted to share about another site: www.ProductiveBalance.com.  This site has really taken the stress factor out of my life.  If I have 4-5 things to do on my list for today, I put them in order of prirority (by assigning points) and linking them to my core values (which Productive Balance helped me set up, too). At the end of the day, I can see where the things I checked off as accomplished affect my life as a whole.

Example: I put 15 minutes with each kid (I call them Mommy Minutes) each night as an action item on my to-do list and attach it to my core value of
“family relationships.” At the end of the week, I can look back at how much I worked towards building up that core value and which values I have neglected.
Helps me figure out where to spend more time to maintain balance.

I also homeschool & am setting up sessions (to-do lists) for each of my kiddos to keep them on track.  It’s highly recommended for kids with ADD/ADHD, too.

Productive Balance has been great in my weight loss journey. I add my workouts as high priority items and if I miss them or half way do them, I see
that on the charts and I know where I need to focus in the future. Fantastic tool. If you’re interested in trying it – try it free for 2 weeks and tell them
Tammy Lanham sent you, you’ll receive a special offer. (I know…. I carry that kind of clout!! HAHA!!) If nothing else, it’ll really help you develop your core
values. We’ve all got them but most of us have never written them down and really looked at them.  I was leary about the $8 per month but once I started
using it, I found I would pay 2x or 3x that, now.  It’s been fantastic.  Just wanted to share.

Have a fantastic weekend…

God bless!

 

It’s Not Failure…right?

I feel like I’ve done pretty well on controlling my eating habits and not eating when I’m emotional.  But apparently, from the results of the weigh in today, something went wrong, right?  I’m not sure.  The more I get “into” this weight loss thing, the more I am learning it’s a science, a passion, a lifestyle, a struggle all rolled up into one.  I’m not sure it’s anything I did “wrong” but it may be that my body is just not responding right now.  I let Jillian Michael’s almost destroy me so you’d think that would be very helpful in my weight loss journey.  Wrong – that’s where the science comes in.  I worked my muscles hard this week and after some research, I found out that your muscles hold on to water when they’ve been worked so hard.  The water apparently helps muscles in the healing process.  And guess what?  Water adds to your weight… and this week, I’ve had other reasons I’m retaining water…. ugh.

So there you have it – this week’s weigh in is 170.2 – up 2 pounds from last week.  My first weight GAIN since I started this journey in January.  This is where the importance of my sponsor, Terri and my life coach, Brian come in.  They are vital in this struggle and they hold me accountable and won’t let me quit.  In the past, I’ve said stuff like “Well, I lost 30+ pounds, I fit in my clothes better.  I’ve done pretty good.”  and then I would slowly return to my old lifestyle.  I have a feeling that Brian and Terri won’t allow that to happen.  This is a change in the way I view food, the way I see life and how I take care of my body.  Honestly, I get a little irked when people comment, “Oh, you’re on a diet, aren’t you?”  IT IS NOT A DIET!  It’s completely different and I can never, ever see myself going back to the way I was living.  I’m fighting this addiction to food and I will fight it every day for the rest of my life… it’s not going to stop when I reach my goal weight.

My amazing friend Tanya Torp writes in her blog:

It has taken me a long time to get to this point.  I’ve stopped and started more diets and workout routines than the number of flavors at Baskin Robbins.  I’ve had at least 6 die hard workout buddies who claim to have the same goal of  seeking a healthy lifestyle  as me quit faster than you can say “Pastry sale at Magees Bakery”.  One by one they offered accountability and partnership and as soon as I really started to lose weight and hit my stride…they decided perhaps this “workout” thing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Not one of them is exercising to this day.  I have allowed myself to even use them as an excuse for not getting healthy. “Poor me.  I can’t exercise without an accountability partner so I might as well do nothing”. Yes, it really does sound lame written out like that doesn’t it?

So, why do I do it if  I dread it?  Why bother working out at all?  I come from a family plagued by obesity.  I grew up watching my mom try every diet and exercise program available from eating only hot dogs and cabbage for one diet, to some soup only menu thing that smelled awful, followed by the  Atkins craze, SlimFast, and Weight Watchers.  I saw her succeed with Jazzercise only to end up right back in the same cycle that I have learned to perpetuate.  Get excited, get dedicated, practice extreme discipline, get bored, get busy, and fizzle out.  Guilt.  Shame.  Giving up completely. And then, we begin all over again.  But, I want something different this time.  I want to live without the diabetes that is breathing down my back begging permission to access my body while holding a sign saying “But, I run in your family.  It’s only a matter of time”.  I want to have babies and run and jump with them.  At 36 years old,  I am careening into my 40′s  never having worn a bikini in my life .  I want to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded.  And, as much as I dread the idea of what my husband calls “real camping”, he adores it and I want to share it with him…peeing in the woods and all .  I’m no “sissy” so-to-speak.  I have survived Africa and all manner of living situations.  I just happen to think it is not a crime to be comfortable when camping.  A nice KOA with some port-o-potties, a blow-up bed, perhaps some showers.  Is that too much to ask? Well,  it’s not “real camping” to hubby until compasses, survival skills, and leaves are involved.   But, huffing and puffing up some obscure mountain kinda takes the picturesque romance right out of the whole thing.

I’m going to tell you a big secret.  Fat people know they’re fat.  Or at least I should say we know “we’re” fat.  It is no surprise to us.  It is also no surprise to the 40 Billion dollar a year diet industry selling us miracles like some Snake Skin Oil salesmen in some old Western.  They literally thrive on obesity.  Diet pills.  Diet meals. Exercise equipment most people in their right minds know will never work.  But, desperation breeds blindness and before you know it some infomercial promises become hopes to be dashed.  Radio spots on popular stations offer us “Lose weight fast” dreams and millions of people fall for it a year.  The truth of why I get up early every morning is that the only thing that will work long term is slow consistency and that just ain’t all that sexy.  Eating less.  Eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.  Burning more calories than you take in.  And, building muscle are slow and painful processes that net real results…in time. I do this because I refuse to believe a risky surgery is worth more than merely taking care of what God has already given me.  I do this because all of the excuses in the world have finally caught up with me and they want to hog tie me to the railroad track of heart disease, diabetes, or other debilitating diseases and I say “I don’t even think so sucka”!

To read more of Tanya’s amazing blog, visit:  http://thetorps.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/one-day-youre-gonna-run/

So, back to work…  going to a week of church camp where someone else will be cooking and I will have little time to exercise, journal or eat right.  Please pray for me…  I’ll be back in 2 weeks with an update!

 

The Value of a Goal

I know I say it every week but – Wow!  What a week!  The cravings have come back with vengence.  Since I’m an emotional eater, I immediately thought about a possible trigger.  What’s been bringing on these cravings?  Why do I want to eat and I don’t mean just a Little Debbie cake, I want to eat the whole box!  (And I’m not exaggerating.)  The only thing I could think of was the lack of sleep over Easter weekend.  I had an excessive amount of work to do and really got overwhelmed in addition to the fact that we were up very early all weekend.  So, now I know.  I eat when I’m emotional and when I’m dead tired.  Do you want to know the really cool thing???  3 months ago, before I started this journey, I would not have given it a second thought.  I would’ve eaten that entire box of Swiss Roll Cakes (my absolute worst weakness) and not wondered about triggers or anything else.  I would’ve stuffed my face until I was miserable.

I’m making progress.  I’ve been at this for 14 weeks and have lost a total of 25.4 pounds.  This past week, I only lost .2.  I was disappointed at first but then I thought about this journey as a whole.  It’s not a race, it’s a marathon and as long as I’m still moving ahead, I’m winning.  It’s when I sit down and give up that I’ve lost.  Sure, I’ve lost some momentum and gotten a little frustrated, but I’m still here.  I’m still going.

Last week, in my call with Brian, my life coach, I mentioned some things I needed to work on… one being wanting to spend more time with my children.  Then I proceeded to give him every reason under the sun that I was “too busy.”  His exact words:  “Blah!  Blah!  End of discussion.  Just do it!”  Don’t you just love him?  Geesh!  I feel very blessed that I have found somebody who knows me well enough he feels he can kick my rear end into gear.  This week, I told him I was fighting those cravings and I felt I was losing some momentum.  “The one thing that always works is focusing on all your reasons.  Your reasons will always outweigh those temptations.”  (Brian Osher)  He’s a pretty smart guy, isn’t he?  So I’m compiling all my reasons for losing weight into a list this week so it’s convenient to review when I’m losing some momentum.  More words of encouragement from Brian:

“Get tough.  Step up.  God made us to do hard things.”

“Think about what got you committed in the first place.  Plan for the obstacles.”

“Get back to the basics, get fired up and make it happen.”

I write all this stuff down in a journal every week to review and keep me going.  Journaling has helped tremendously.  So has www.myfitnesspal.com where I journal my food and exercise daily.  I joined a challenge on that website 2 weeks ago to burn 3500 calories through exercise in 1 week.  Since I typically burn 1800 calories in workouts, I wasn’t sure I would be able to reach 3500 but I set that goal and worked towards it.  At the end of the week, I did not reach the goal.  I burned 3000 calories and I discovered the value of a goal.  Sure, I didn’t reach it BUT if I had not joined the challenge and set that goal, I would’ve still been burning 1800 calories. 

So with the help of my life coach, I set another goal this week.  I weighed in this week at 178.8.  My goal this week is to lose 1.8 pounds.  I typically don’t set a weekly weight loss goal but this week, it seemed necessary to help me gain some momentum.  When I lose 1.8 pounds, I will be EXACTLY at the 1/2 way point…. that’s a good reward.  Ahhhhh, the value of a goal…. 🙂

If you want to keep up with my posts on here, click “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” to the upper right hand side of this blog.  Be aware, you’ll also get some posts about money saving strategies…  See you soon!

Empty Gas Tank

This has been a good week!  I’m still working out on my eliptical 20 minutes every day (except Sundays) and I’m using myfitnesspal.com (it’s FREE) to track my calories and exercise.  I’m making good food choices and incorporated some new flavors into my eating habits (recently discovered asparagus – oh my goodness – how good that stuff is!).  I have lost 24 pounds in 12 weeks!  I’ve lost 3.2 pounds just this week.

One of the things I’m noticing is that I’m focusing a LOT on my exercise routine, my health habits and eating habits.  When I first started working with Brian Osher, my life coach, a couple of years ago, he shared with me his idea that life is a bunch of gas tanks.  We work hard to keep those gas tanks from running empty (by keeping balanced) but sometimes we get low in one of the tanks and our lives start running rough.  I’ve been working very hard to keep my health tank full and the rewards are visible and fulfilling.  I also think I’ve been neglecting some other tanks of mine and they’re getting low.  One tank I’m worried about is my relationship with my children tank.   When I mentioned this to Brian, he said, “So change it!”  Don’t you just love the honesty of my life coach???  🙂

By nature, I cannot sit still.  I HAVE to have lots going on and a big to-do list where everything is scheduled.  I schedule school with my children every day (they’re homeschooled) but I have a hard time remembering to schedule Mommy time with my children.  So this week, in addition to keeping my eyes on my health tank, I’m working on refilling my kid tank.  I’m actually scheduling time in my calendar to sit down and play with my children.  I now know it won’t happen unless I make it a priority and schedule it.

So that’s it for this week – what tanks are you neglecting?  What can you do right now to start refilling that particular tank?  See you again next week….

Step by Step – 5 Steps I’ve Taken in this Journey

So last week, I was all ready to blog about gaining weight – I thought it had been a tough week and had prepared to blog about a gain.  Then I got on the scale and 183.6!  I had lost 0.8 – which is enough to put me at 20.8 pounds lost since I started this journey 10 weeks ago!  Yay!!

This is a crazy journey, people.  Instead of changing my eating patterns, I’ve had to understand my old eating patterns and develop new ones.  If I simply change what I’m doing, then at the end of this when I reach my goal weight of 150, I will go back to my “regular” patterns and thus, back to my “regular” overweight self.  I’m changing the way I think about food and I’ve stopped “rewarding” myself or worse, “comforting” myself with food.  I’m changing my relationship with food – I know… it sounds like a cliche but it’s true.

I’ve had so many of you contact me this week telling me you want to start on your own journey – don’t you dare let me hear you call it a diet.  That word is now a 4-letter word in my world and it is not to be uttered in my presence!  🙂  Anyway, this journey for me has been a tough one – I still have 33 pounds to go.  Here’s a step by step list of what I did to get started…

1.  I got a life coach. (best investment of this entire journey).  My coach, Brian Osher, helps me set attainable goals which motivate me to strive harder to reach the next goal.  He also holds me accountable.  If I set a goal to work out everyday and I miss a day due to laziness or not making my workout a priority, he will not let me off the hook.  In fact, he kicks my butt.  For those of you who have never worked with a  life coach, they typically set up weekly sessions over the phone.  The sessions are typically 30-40 minutes long and at the end, you have a list of 1-3 small steps you’re focusing on this week to help you reach your ultimate goal.  For the most part, coaching sessions are less expensive than counseling sessions.  Several of you have asked why my husband wasn’t coaching me (he’s a life coach, too).  My answer is simply this:  how would you like to live with the person who would kick your butt if you did something to sabotage your goals?  🙂  Tommy Lanham is a fantastic coach with a wonderful Christian world view who has helped me develop my business and coached me in other areas but we both agreed he was too “close” to this situation and it would be better to get someone else for this particular journey.

2.  I got a sponsor. (just like in AA – it’s that person I call in the middle of the night when I’m craving brownies or I’m at the grocery store with a cart full of ding-dongs…  true example by the way.)  It has to be a person (same gender as you) whom you trust, who will understand the addiction you’re fighting and support you no matter what.  They also have to be tough enough to hold you accountable.  In my opinion, when I was looking for a sponsor, I wanted someone who was thin and had fought the fight of losing weight and I wanted someone of like faith.  It’s kind of hard asking a skinny girl who has always been skinny to help you lose weight.  They typically just can’t identify with you.

3.  I read good books. And I don’t mean grab a good romance novel, either.  Find something that interests you in the field of weight loss and read it – grab an inspirational biography of someone who has lost weight.  Read an informational book.  Avoid the “diet” books but read anything that’s motivational or inspirational.  One of the books I have read during this journey was “Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss” book – I found it on the clearance rack for $2.  It was DEFINITELY worth the read.  That’s where I found out that 1 biscuit (one regular, plain old biscuit) was equal in calories to 14 slices of toast WITH jelly!  That book completely challenged the way I looked at food and what I “thought” was healthy.

4.  I did something. With the help of my life coach, I found small, attainable things that could do that would get me moving.  I started taking an evening walk, I found out I enjoyed the eliptical machine (yeah, the one that’s been in my basement for a year), I found out that when I take laundry down the basement steps, I could go back up & down those steps 2-3 times without dying!  Little steps to get started but you’ve gotta do SOMETHING!

5.  I journal.  I write down in a journal things that I read, things I hear on TV or in Sunday’s sermon or things I read in my Bible that inspire me and make me want to keep going.  Then on bad days, I read through that journal.  When I am craving chocolate, I read those thoughts written in those pages and they strengthen me.  I also journal my conversations with my coach and write my action steps each week in there.

I also journal every bite that goes into my mouth.  It was incredibly hard to do and I tried it for 2 months without success.  I would either lose the paper, forget what I ate or just lose interest.  UNTIL I found www.myfitnesspal.com – it’s a FREE website that helps you track your food & exercise and it lays a foundation for you, letting you know the ideal amount of calories, sugar, sodium, fat, etc. for you.  It’s set up a little like facebook – you have a “wall” and you make friends (search for me if you want – my username is TammyLanham) and you can encouarge each other, see what other people are eating and ask questions in the forums.  It’s been a wonderful tool for me.  Did I mention it’s FREE?  🙂

So there you go – the 5 steps I have taken thus far.  I’ve lost 21 pounds in 10 weeks and have 33 more pounds to go.  Are you with me?!?  Click the “Yep, I’m in!” button to the upper right hand side of this blog to join me and others on this journey.  In about 2 weeks, I’ll have a HUGE announcement, an exceptional benefit for those of you (ONLY) who are following this blog.  So sign up, share this on your facebook page & get ready to jump in!  Let’s take this journey together!  (Be aware, I also blog about extreme couponing on this blog so you may get some pictures of me hanging out of dumpsters and walking out of the grocery store with almost free groceries… something I’m sure you don’t want to miss so sign up now!)

This was Christmas Day, 2010 at 204.4 pounds.

 

This is April 10, 2011 at 183.6 pounds.

 

 

“Mom, you’re shrinking!”

It’s been a challenging week on several levels.  I am really getting tired of my exercise routine and it’s becoming more difficult to find the energy and desire to get up and do it.  I have worked out every single day on my eliptical (with maybe 3-4 exceptions – those days, I did a yoga session) since January 18th.  I’m so glad it’s beginning to get warm outside so I can walk in the local park or just go outside and play with my kids.  I prefer doing my workout in the mornings before the kids get up, then I get my shower and devotions in while it is still quiet.  This is really tough because I am not a morning person (ask my husband, he’ll tell you!)  As most of you who read this regularly know, I work with a life coach.  My session with Brian Osher this week helped me to see where I need to get up earlier to avoid the stresses of rushing through my workout/shower/devotion time.  So, I have been doing just that.  I’ve been in bed by midnight (on weeknights) and up by 7:30 (8:00 this morning).  I’m typically a night owl and up until around 2 a.m. but then we sleep until 8:30 or 9:00, even 9:30 some days.  I can tell you, this has been a transition for me but I think it’s worth the “pain” of getting up earlier.  I feel much better during the day and I’m not as stressed (I eat when I’m stressed).

So, now for the weigh-in…This week, I weighed in at 184.4!  I’m .2 away from having lost 20 pounds!!  I’m down 2.4 since last week.  This is the most weight I have ever lost and I feel terrific!  I no longer reward or comfort myself with food, I see it as fuel, that’s it.  Yummy fuel, yes… but fuel.  As we were doing the Bible lesson with our kids before bed the other night, my son looked at me and said “Mom!  You’re shrinking!”  Oh, what joy that child gave me!  I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite kid but at that instant….   hmmmmmm…….  (JUST KIDDING!!)

I am seeing a difference.  My size 20’s are in a stack to put in a yard sale.  In fact, I wore a size 16 pant to church on Sunday!!  I’m never going back (and if I do, I will be completely miserable squeezing into smaller sizes because I refuse to buy larger ones).  You’ll know if I gain because I’ll be walking around with big splits in pants that are too small!!  This is not a diet – I’m not changing the food or denying myself anything.  www.myfitnesspal.com has been a blessing – it allows me to track my food and exercise each day and tells me what my boundaries should be (how many calories, sugar, fat, etc. I should have).  It’s completely free… I urge you to check it out.

So, that’s my week.  How was yours?  Follow this blog or share it with friends… Click the “Yep, I’m in, Sign me up!” button on the righthand side of this page and enter your email.  You’ll get a notice everytime I write something here.  Be aware, you’ll also get updates when I find good deals (I just happen to dabble a little in coupons!)

Missing: 50 Sticks of Butter

FINALLY!!  I see progress!  Last week I was the photographer for Johnson Bible College’s 2011 Homecoming in Knoxville, TN.  With the travelling, it was hectic so I didn’t get to blog or check in.  I had very little sleep and ate when I could (mostly at the school cafeteria buffet) so I was a little nervous about this week’s weigh-in.  Just to catch you up, I weighed in at 196.0 two weeks ago.  This week, I weighed in at 191.8 – that’s a 4.2 pound weight loss in 2 weeks!  I’ve lost 12.4 pounds since I began this journey in January… that equals 50 sticks of butter!  🙂 

I’ll tell you what I think made the difference – the food.  I know… duh, Tammy… right?  I’ve been working out and not really paying much attention to WHAT I was eating.  I paid close attention to the portions and I ate pretty healthy anyway, or so I thought.  I eat lots of fruits & veggies and whole grain pastas and breads.  Did you know that 1 biscuit w/ a small pat of butter is equal in calories to 14 pieces of whole wheat bread WITH jelly??  I had no idea!  I’ve been eating whole wheat bread for years now but did you know the kind I was buying (those nicely wrapped, wide loaves) bread that “cost” 200 calories per slice.  That means a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread was costing me nearly 500 calories!  Just by looking at labels this past week, I’ve become quite educated.  Now I buy the 100% whole wheat bread slices that “cost” me 35 calories per slice. 

I’ve been reading a book called “Dr. Shapiro’s Picture-Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan” that I found at 1/2 Price books on clearance for $2.  (Because you KNOW I’m all about saving money…)  Might end up being the best $2 I’ve ever spent.  The book is full of photographs that show the comparison between what you thought was healthy and what really is healthy.  One page shows a biscuit w/ butter and the next shows the 14 slices of toast w/ jelly.  I’m very visual so this helped me see the difference.  One rainbow cookie = four scoops of sorbet, etc.  Very eye-opening. 

It also challenges you to keep a journal and changes your relationship with food.  I am very impressed.  I am still working out at least 20 minutes a day (except on Sunday) and having weekly calls with my life coach Brian Osher.  If you’ve never worked with a life coach, I suggest you give it a try.  The first session is complimentary so you have nothing to lose.  I check in regularly with Brian and my sponsor Terri Newcomb.  They’ve both been very beneficial in this process and I don’t know what I’d do without either of them.  “God doesn’t give up on us when we fail.  He lovingly starts over, eliminating the flaw and adding the elements of the Spirit, the accountability of friends and the guidance of the Word to start shaping us again.”  Thank you my friends for helping me get through this.  We’ve still got a long way to go and I have no doubt that you’re in this for the long haul. 

My husband, Tommy Lanham, is a speaker and one of his messages last week was about getting cooked in the squat.  I know… sounds a little nuts.  He told of a story when a little boy went to his neighbor’s home for dinner as often as he could.  One night he noticed the biscuits were flat asked the cook “What happened to the biscuits?”  She replied “They squatted to rise and got cooked in the squat.”  That has stuck with me.  I lost a lot of momentum a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t seeing any progress on the scales.  I was frustrated but I kept going because of sheer determination – not because I was motivated by any means.  I almost got cooked in the squat but this week, I saw the rise.   

Keep going, folks… a lot of you have committed to do this with me – don’t get cooked in the squat…. wait for the rise.  It’s amazing when it happens!  Be sure to click “Yep! I’m in” or “Follow this blog” (to the right of this article) so you’ll get a notification each time I update (should be weekly).  “Like” the article and share it on facebook if you have friends who may benefit from it.  Thanks guys for your support.

Tough Week

What a week!  I had a run in with a nasty tummy virus last week and felt just awful.  I STILL worked out!!  That’s usually the first thing to go when I lose my drive & intensity.  I stop working out regularly, I stop thinking about what I’m eating and eventually, I’m back to my old ways.  So I was really concerned this week about falling back into my old patterns.  I’ve been listening to a set of audios called “Self Talk for Weight Loss” by Shad Helmstetter.  What a motivational boost!  I listen to the first 2 tapes (they have it on CD, too) every morning.  The first is called “Believing in Incredible You.”  Helps get me ready to face the day and motivates me to be my best. 

I’ve been trying to eat healthy and watch my portions but the nausea was awful during that virus so I haven’t eaten very balanced all week.  I’m getting back on track after my call with my life coach, Brian Osher.  Let me stress the importance of a life coach – they’re amazing to work with.  If I didn’t have the accountability and motivation that my life coach provides, I would’ve been done with this “journey” before the end of January.  He helps me clearly establish the vision, find the direction and pave the path to get there.  He also has threatened to kick my rear end anytime I may need it so that fear is always there, too!!  😉  Thank goodness he lives in California!  hehe! 

My sponsor, Terri has been amazing.  She’s very uplifting and is constantly sending me new healthy recipes.  If you’re thinking about doing this, working with a life coach is a very important tool in your toolbox.  I think having a sponsor is also extremely vital.  Be sure to choose someone who has already fought this fight and has come out on top of it.  Terri is a great friend who has fought this battle for 5 years.  She checks in with me and is there day or night when I’m having cravings or emotional issues that drive me to want to eat the entire kitchen…. literally.  Just like the old saying:  “Don’t take financial advice from poor people.”  I say “Don’t take weight loss advice from overweight people.”

I’ve made a few changes this week – I’ve increased the workouts to 20 minutes each day but I have decided not to work out on Sunday.  Sunday is my “free day” to not work out or watch too closely what I’m eating.  I’ve been working out every day but recently, on Sundays, I’m finding myself working out at 11:30 p.m. just to get it in.  So I removed that stress from my life and gave myself a “relax” day in there.  I’ve also decided to only weigh in every 2 weeks (yes, in part because I can tell I have probably gained and didn’t want to face the scale this week… just being honest) and I had a friend tell me that he only had a “breakthrough” on the scale about once every 10 – 14 days.  Weighing in every 2 weeks gives me more time and will help me not get as discouraged if I’m not seeing much change week to week.  I took my measurements so I can see the physical changes even if there may not be much change with the numbers on the scale.    I’ve also made another change… I have been hearing about the positive health benefits of fasting one day a week.  This week, it seemed that statistics and stories about it showed up on the radio, in the book I’m reading and in my devotional time, so what’s God trying to tell me?  🙂  So I did it.  I fasted one day this week (not the entire day, just from midnight to about 6:00 p.m.).  Wow – I’m amazed at how focused I was and how it helped me renew my committment to this journey.  I’m committing to making this a once a week practice.  It was very hard but I think it was very beneficial to my physical self as well as my spiritual self.  I challenge you to look into it and try it.  If you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’re going to get the results you’ve always gotten.  So why not try a change?  There are ways to fast even if you have special dietary needs, etc…  Look for a way you CAN do it instead of making excuses as to why you can’t.  Maybe just fast from certain foods… but do something different.  It moved me completely out of my comfort zone. 

I’ve been “sober” now for 26 days – the thought of overeating is gross… 🙂  If you’re doing this with me or you want to make that committment, click the “Yep, sign me up” button on the right hand side at the top of this page.  Send me a message sharing your story (totally confidential) and we’ll go through this together.  It’s amazing what a community of support and encouragement does for someone in a fight like this one. 

I leave you with these words of encouargement from this morning’s devotion:  God had plans for the Israelites beyond their comprehension when all they had on their minds was survival.  The promise was clear and strong, but the path to deliverance would not be easy.  God’s great promises often involve great challlenges to test our faith in and our loyalty to Him.  I must reflect on His greatness and remember how He worked in the lives of men and women who trusted Him with their lives, their hopes, and their futures.  Proverbs 4:25 says “Keep your eyes straight ahead, avoid sideshow distractions.”  Write that verse down on an index card & put it in your pocket, on your fridge, on the bathroom mirror… God will bring that verse to mind when you are tempted.   Thanks for listening to my babbling for one more week… 🙂  You guys are blessings in my life.