The Paper Anniversary

Today (…or maybe it was last Sunday like I wrote in my previous entry. I have different dates written down everywhere.) marks my one-year weight loss anniversary.

My total weight loss to date is 62.3 lbs. Leaving me with only 35.4 lbs. to lose by my 30th birthday – June 30, 2013.
(Yep, I’m giving myself plenty of time. It seemed like a reasonable goal when I started with 98 lbs. to lose.)
I’ve gone down 2-3 pant and shirt sizes. I wish I would’ve kept track of my inches, but I never could seem to get the tape in the right places for it to be accurate. Here’s the best visual I have for you:

Any person that’s lost a reasonable amount of weight will tell you that it’s life changing, and it is. Everything you’ve heard is true – you feel physically better and have more energy, your health problem decrease and your confidence grows.

What a general audience doesn’t hear about is the small victories, that honestly, if you’re not overweight, you won’t understand.
– Your hips not catching on the arms of chairs.
– Being able to take a decent photo without making it an aerial shot.
– Crossing your legs without feeling like it a strength exercise keeping one over the other.
– A defined clavicle. (Okay, this may only be a big deal to me, but I love it.)

My biggest accomplishment thus far is fitting into my formal from my senior year (2001) to watch my friend, Jessi, dance at a charity event.

If you’ve followed my journey at all or even just scroll through the posts on this blog, you’ll see that I’ve used various methods to lose the weight from juicing to HCG to the Insanity workout program and have had varied results.
Here’s the deal guys, one diet may work for you that doesn’t work for someone else. Some people love to exercise; for others it’s easier to watch what they eat. Every person’s body works differently – only you know what works best for you. It’s a trial and error process, so don’t be discouraged. We’ve all been there. If you’re determined to do it, you can.

The two biggest tips I have for you are these: educate yourself and surround yourself with encouraging people.
It confuses me when people make an effort to “eat better” when they don’t research any of the foods they put in their body. Just because you’re ordering a salad does not necessarily mean you’re eating healthy. Learn about foods. Research  exercise programs before starting them to make sure you’re doing what’s most effective to reach your goal. If you choose to take a supplement or medication, make sure you know the risks and that your body will not react badly to them. Whatever it is, be knowledgeable.
I cannot over-stress the importance of a support system. I already wrote an entry on it, so I won’t linger, but for those who want the cliff notes, there’s is absolutely no way I could’ve done this without the people in my life telling me daily (literally) that I could do it. If you don’t have anyone like that around you, contact me. I’m an excellent cheerleader.

One thing I never expected from this experience is people I love coming to me and telling me that I’m an inspiration to them. Until now, I don’t know that I’d ever inspired anyone to do anything.
The bitter truth of it is that a year ago, I hated what I had let myself become. I hated looking in the mirror and I very literally had a meltdown, sobbing in the bathroom when forced to take pictures for one of my jobs. (The before picture at the top of the page was taken that day, actually.) What I’m saying is that I get it. I really do. You may think, “Even before you were still smaller than me,” but it’s all about mentality. And, my friends, I was about as depressed as you can get.
Honestly, it’s not all peaches and cream, but you can do it. You’ll mess up. You’ll get discouraged. It’ll suck some days… but it’s so worth it.
Your health is worth it. The people you love are worth it. Your happiness is worth it.
Do it.


The Wonderful World of Juicing

Today begins day 4 of my juice Reboot. Obviously I’m no expert on juicing or it’s many benefits, but there are a few things I’d like to share as a novice to those of you thinking of starting the program:

Okay, just to back up quickly – I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead that motivated me to try a juice diet. When doing research about juicing, I found the official site he (Joe Cross – the filmmaker) started to help new juicers. Check it out:

1. You can eat on most of the Reboot plans
Unlike the diet Joe chose in the film, most of the plans listed are not restricted to juice-only. You can have fresh fruit and vegetables, but unfortunately, no meat. Essentially, you’re a vegetarian for the length of your plan. Not only that, but you’re encouraged to keep veggies and fruit as raw as possible to retain as many nutrients as possible. I know it sounds like a bummer, but if you find the right recipes (like the avacado/corn salsa I ate last night… Nom nom nom!) you’ll find yourself full and satisfied.
P.S. Did you know you don’t have to cook corn on the cob? It’s delicious fresh!

2. It’s a mental thing
I love meat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the cause of vegetarians and I respect them, but meat is delicious. The thing about meat though, is that it’s not necessary to get the nutrients we need. Yes, it has it’s benefits but today’s meat is also so pumped full of chemicals and force fed unnaturally that I think we consume a lot of toxins in the meat we eat. I know I sound like a whacko, but try grass fed beef compared to normal beef. The difference is astonishing to me.
But I digress, the point is that we’re trained to think we need meat – we don’t. It’s a huge hurdle to get over. I won’t sit here and lie to you either, I’ve had chicken twice now and I’m only starting my fourth day. Just a heads up, this may be the toughest thing to get past if you want to follow the diet correctly.
Oh, one last mental hurdle to go over – natural juice looks disgusting and most of it has kind of a funky smell. Drink it anyway! In my experience, it’s not as bad as it looks… or smells.

3. Express yourself
It sounds silly to say you can express yourself through food, but any chef will tell you they consider what they do an art. You may not be a chef (I certainly am not), but I there’s something satisfying about making something that tastes good and is good for you. With anything you try, but especially with the actual juice making, be creative! I looked up a ton of juice recipes, but haven’t used a single one. I put what I like into my juices and each one has been rather tasty.

4. How to juice
Juicing was intimidating to me. Here I am with a bunch of veggies – half of which I don’t really like – and a monstrosity of a machine that I’ve never used before. It’s not as scary as it seems. It’s actually kind of fun. Once you taste your first concoction, you’ll see that it’s way more difficult in your head than it truly is.

Here’s a quick guide of my latest juice:

My ingredients, chopped and ready to go: 4 carrots, a handful of spinach, kale and broccoli, 2 oranges, 5 strawberries and 4 apples

Juicer – locked and loaded!

Finished product – about 20 oz worth of delicious, albeit disgusting looking juice.
(Please excuse my poorly painted nails.)

Tip: Taste your juice when you get done blending it to make sure you don’t need to add more of anything to make it drinkable. Always mix it before drinking! Also, know that it will taste 90% better once it’s been refrigerated.

5. If at first you don’t succeed…
The Reboot isn’t an easy plan to follow, but you can do it. Like I said, I’ve eaten chicken 2 out of 3 days I’ve been on it so far… What I didn’t mention is that I’ve also had some popcorn, Raisinettes and chips and dip. I’m far from perfect on this venture so far, but that’s okay. I’m trying. I may slip up here and there, but I’m making smarter choices about what I eat and there hasn’t been a day I’ve missed having at least one glass of juice. If nothing else, I’m getting more nutrients than I was before and that’s a good thing. Not to mention that I’ve also exercised two of my three days. Despite my short comings, I’m seeing results – 5 lbs lost to be exact. Now I’m back to where I was before my binge weekend. 🙂
Do your best, stick with it and don’t beat yourself up too much if you make a mistake. Healthy eating starts one day at a time.

To Your Health

Is “delicious” food more important to you than your health?

You may have gathered by now that I love movies. What you may have missed is that I’m a sucker for a good documentary. I’ve seen films on everything from spelling bees to the West Memphis 3, but the subject I watch the most documentaries about is food. Food, Inc., Super Size Me, Forks Over Knives, Dive!, Fat Head – I could go on. My most recent food doc viewing was a movie called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Listen, I know documentaries are biased. The entire point of documentaries is to teach you someone’s opinion about a certain topic. Still, I find it interesting to hear other people’s view points as long as they’re presented well. (Unlike Super Size Me. So you’re telling me if I eat at McDonald’s every day and go out of my way to do as little physical activity as possible it’ll be detrimental to my health? No kidding. Did you really need to make a documentary to prove that theory?) Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead struck a chord with  me for a few reasons and I highly recommend it to those with an open mind about dieting and health. However, I’m not writing this post to talk about films, rather the thoughts this particular movie brought up.

1. How important is health to you, really? 
Throughout the movie, Joe Cross asks people across the country what they think about their health. In most cases, people admitted that they don’t believe they’re very healthy. The average self-admitted life expectancy for the overweight people questioned was around 55. FIFTY-FIVE! That would make me at almost 29, over the hill. Wow. In my mind, I feel I’ve got a good 53 – 55 years left in me. I was shocked so many people believe they’ll die so young.
After hearing their responses, Joe would then ask if these people would consider doing something to become healthier and extend their life. Overwhelmingly the response was no. Why? “I just don’t have the will power to do it.” How incredibly sad.

2. There’s only one thing you can control…
Most people said they were incapable of living healthy because they simply don’t have the will power to do it. I call BS. You’re lazy and you don’t want to do it. There’s a clear difference. I’m not trying to point fingers here. Lord knows I’ve used the same excuse hundreds of times, but let’s be honest here – we could if we wanted to.
It’s funny how, in a society like ours, we complain so often that we can’t control things in our lives, yet the one thing we have full control over, we don’t want to take responsibility for. If we would just change the way we eat and take 30 minutes out of our day 4 – 5 times a week to be active in one way or another, we could completely change our lives.

3. Why not try?
Juicing for 61 days is extreme. Of course, Joe never asks viewers to go to that extreme. What he does challenge you to do is try it… and not for 61 days, for 10. He also made that valid point that even if you only make it through 3 days, at least you tried.That counts for something.
Okay Mr. Cross, I’ll try it. A 10-day juice fast. I don’t know if I’ll make it all 10 days; I don’t even know if I’ll make it 3 days, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I’m aware that it’s expensive and I understand concerns about getting the nutrients I need to be healthy, but I am doing my research on the recipes I will need on a daily basis to maintain a good nutrition level. If at any point my body gives me signs that it cannot handle a juice-only diet, I’ll stop. Plain and simple.

So again I ask, what is your health worth to you? Is giving up fried, starchy foods and sitting on the couch all evening, every evening worth seeing your kids grow up? Is it worth saving yourself thousands of dollars in medical bills and painful illness? Is it worth feeling good about yourself?
You and you alone have the power to stay the same or make a change.