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!

 

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The New-“er” Me

I made it!  I made it!  I just overcame my first plateau!  I lost a grand whopping total of 1 whole pound in the previous 2 weigh-ins so I decided to switch the routine up a little bit and jump-start my body into losing more weight and it worked!  Let me share some details.  I do the same workout every morning – I try to burn 350 calories on my elliptical in around 25-28 minutes.  I never eat before a workout (I get insanely sick to my stomach) and I try to stay at or just under the 1200 calories I’m trying to consume each day.  That was the old”er” me.

Well, I decided to do some different workout routines.  I am a part of a walking group that meets on Wednesday nights and I started working out with a lady from my church to a DVD workout program on Monday mornings.  The variety in workouts helped keep me from getting bored this week.  Kinda new for me.  I liked it.

I never, ever eat breakfast before a workout.  It makes me sluggish and sick to my tummy.  But after reading all the information on metabolism, I’m convinced it’s wise to eat a little something before a workout.  I experimented a couple of days and found out that 1/2 of a banana about 15 minutes before a workout didn’t cause much nausea.  Huh… who would’ve thought?  😉  This is me…. getting smarter.

As I reviewed my food journal (logged online at www.myfitnesspal.com – a completely free website, by the way) I noticed I was staying between 1000-1200 calories most days.  For the goals I have set, it is recommended that I keep my calorie intake at 1200 per day.  The body needs 1200 calories just to eat, digest, breathe, keep your heart beating, etc.  So I think my body was holding on to everything I was putting into it because I suddenly stopped the regular weight loss (averaging 1.0 – 1.5 pounds lost per week).  I started eating a bare minimum of 1200 this week and also ate back some of my workout calories.  (1200 +350 for that elliptical workout each day = 1550 calories).  In order for your body to burn calories and lose weight, you have to give it enough energy (calories) to do so.  I know, sounds kind of mixed up, doesn’t it?  But I started eating more and ended up jumping right off that plateau I was stalled at.  This is me…. getting wiser.

Today, my dad had surgery to remove some skin cancer.  During the procedure, my kids and I went out to the stairwell and went from top to bottom (3 flights of stairs) 8 times.  Took me 6 minutes and buddy, my calves are feeling it tonight, but I did it!  There was a day not too long ago (about 3 1/2 months ago, to be exact) that I could’ve walked up the 11 steps from my basement without getting out of breath.  Yes, my extended family visiting in the waiting room must’ve thought I was weird.  The staff at the hospital must’ve thought I was weird.  No, I didn’t have workout clothes on.  Yes, I was concerned I’d be all stinky by the time I was done.  No, apparently, I wasn’t all that concerned because I did it anyway.  And yes, I did get sweaty and stinky.  I don’t care because I did it ANYWAY.  Yep, that’s the new”er” smarter, wiser me.  I kinda like her….. even if she is a little stinky.  🙂

Oh, yeah…. you wanna know my weigh-in this week?  I weighed in at an even 176.0!  I am now 1 pound from the weight I was at on my wedding day almost 11 years ago.  I’m MORE than 1/2 way to my goal.  I started at 204.2 and my goals is 150.  28.2 down in 3 months, 10 days.  26 more pounds to go.  Let’s do this!  Follow this blog by clicking “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” to the upper right hand side of this story.  Let’s do this together!  Find the new”er” you!

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.