The Scale Is Only A Part Of The Story

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As you may or may not know, I had started a new 6 weeks weight loss plan back in mid March after being stalled and not losing for over a year.  This is a real life very sensible plan that shows you how you can eat real food and feel great.  It’s not a diet or pills but something you can carry on with.  It shows you how to safely detox your body from sugar and excess carbs and get rid of those sugar cravings.

In fact, Dave did this with me in March.  He lost in those 6 weeks 7.4 lbs and 7 inches.  During that time, I lost 10 lbs and 17 inches.  We both felt great and had more energy.

After those 6 weeks, I say we lived real life and followed along about 80%.  We enjoyed eating guilt free on occasion and always had our ‘tools’ to get us back on track.  I continued to lose a few more lbs.  Of course, it goes without saying that exercise or walking is key too.

Two weeks ago, I re started again on the new challenge.  I lost 2.4 lbs and a total of 9.5 inches! 😁

The old me from many years ago would have pouted that I ‘only lost 2.4 lbs’  in two weeks.  I know better now.   I know that the scale tells me just one piece of the puzzle.  I know I lost inches.  I know I bought a smaller size jeans yesterday.  I know I feel great.  I know I have a positive mindset now.  That is the whole picture. ❤

Yes, I know it can be scary in your health journey, but with the right plan, tools and people around you, you will have the confidence to succeed. ❤❤

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Mindset Is Everything

mindset is everything

What you think of yourself has far more impact on your life than you realize.

There’s an old saying; “If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

This may not seem to make sense. But look at it this way. When you start a project, whether it’s weight loss, or getting fit, or training for a marathon, when you believe you can do it you put all your energy into it. You are 100% focused. You are driven and setbacks are seen as just obstacles to be overcome, not barriers to stop you.

When you believe you can’t you put much less effort in. You are not focused, you are not dedicated. And at the first setback you are likely to just give up. You see that setback as proof you are right. You can’t do it so why even try.

When I’d had enough of being overweight, when I’d had enough of being on diabetes medication, when I’d had enough of having no energy, I decided to do something about it.  I didn’t think “I’ll give it a go and see what happens.”  I put everything I had into it.  I watched what I ate, I controlled portion sizes, I went walking every day, which soon led to running.  And the weight fell off me.  Now three years later, I’m maintaining my weight loss, I’m off all medication and I intend to stay that way.  I didn’t achieve this by being half hearted.  I made up my mind to do it.  And I did it.

Your mind can be your most powerful ally.  Or your most formidable opponent.
I’d like to leave this with another old saying;  “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

No.

Believe it. Then you will see it.

It’s all in your mind.

Running For Therapy

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When you’re feeling blue,
Here’s what you must do.

Go for a run.
It may not sound like fun.

But when your world is grey
It’ll help brighten your day.

So slip on your running shoes
And chase away the blues.

It will help turn that frown
Completely upside down.

Mother’s Day is a great day when you still have your mother in your life. But when she’s gone it just becomes a reminder of what you have lost. Yesterday was a tough day.  My mum has been gone 21 years this year, but the pain of loss can still rear its head on special occasions.  Like Mothers day.  So I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day.  For everyone who has suffered that loss, I feel your pain.

I was feeling down yesterday until I went for a run.  Five and a half miles.  It did the trick.  There’s something about exercise that boosts your mood.  It must be the endorphins.  Running can serve many purposes.  It can help with weight loss.  It can boost cardiovascular fitness.  And sometimes running can just be plain ol’ therapy.

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Say No To Drugs

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It’s amazing and disgusting how many drug commercials there are on television these days urging you to “ask your doctor about” their latest drug and then reeling off a list of horrible possible side effects. Yes, sometimes Big Pharma is necessary. Yes, some illnesses can only be treated with some kind of medication.
Many of today’s common ailments can be treated by a simple lifestyle change. A good diet and getting off the couch can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help lower the rate of heart disease and reverse diabetes.
I was on Metformin for several years to “treat” my diabetes. It wasn’t until I figured things out three years ago and started losing weight through watching what I eat and running that I actually started to see an improvement. Most times drugs are designed to treat symptoms, not the cause of any disease you may have.
You can presecribe yourself a healthier life simply by changing the way you live. Below is something I tweeted.
“Instead of asking your doctor if the latest “wonder drug” from Big Pharma is good for you, why don’t you ask your doctor if a healthy diet and active lifestyle is good for you. Side effects include well being health and happiness.”

It’s Never Too Late To Start

 

If you think you are too old to start again or why bother, I say ‘you are too young not to start again’.

After struggling with my weight since I was a teenager and trying everything – Slimfast, Weight Watchers, going to the gym, I was a human yo-yo. I would lose a little and then gain more.

In July 2015, after watching my husband Dave lose weight, taking up running, joining My Fitness Pal and getting off his diabetes meds, I decided to join him on our health journey.

I joined MFP, joined and went to the gym regularly and watched what I ate and took my Peak Performance Packs of vitamins and supplements.  In one year, I lost 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes!  I feel great and have more energy!

The point I am trying to make is that it’s never too late!  I started my health journey at the age of 47.

I am now 50 and feel and look better than I did at 30 and 40.

The journey never ends.  Since I have been stuck at the same weight for a year, two weeks ago I started a 6 week plan to re start my metabolism and drastically reduce carbs and sugar.  I can’t wait to weigh and measure myself tomorrow morning.  I am feeling fabulous now!

***Edited on Friday, March 30th to add that in the last two weeks on my new weight loss plan, I lost a total of 4.2 lbs and a total of 8 1/4 inches!  Yes, feeling like I am on fire!  

Never. Quit.

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Never quit.  Whatever you have started, keep pushing forward.

If you stumble, catch your footing and keep going.

If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going.

If you have to crawl, keep going.  Any progress, no matter how minimal, is better than just giving up.

You started this because you cared enough about yourself to get on this road.  Now care enough about yourself to carry on the journey. No matter how arduous it becomes.

One day you will be so grateful to yourself that you didn’t stop.

Until you reach that day… Keep. Going.

 

Nutrition For Life

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I am living proof of this. I have been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, for almost 3 years now.  All because I made simple lifestyle changes through a healthier diet and becoming more active.

So many common illnesses are connected to our modern lifestyle.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes etc.  Our bodies are designed to move.

With Big Pharma being so prolific on our televisions these days, it’s easy to think “I’ll just take a pill and everything will be ok.”  But most medications are not meant to be taken over a long period of time and can end up doing more harm than good.  Also, most medications are designed simply to treat the symptoms, not the cause.  I’m not saying Big Pharma is never the answer.  Some illnesses that are genetic can only be treated with drugs.

There are so many instances where living a healthier lifestyle can drastically improve and even reverse diseases.

I. Am. Living. Proof. Of. This.

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

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I started my health and weight loss journey three years ago this month. Right around the beginning of March. I was a type 2 diabetic and after a check up with the doctor in December 2014, my A1C was 7.2 The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication for my diabetes. I’d been on Metformin since August 2008. I don’t remember what this second medication was, but when we did our research we found it was strongly linked with causing liver problems, even outright liver failure.

Enough was enough.

I didn’t even want to be on any medication never mind another potentially health threatening drug. That winter was brutally cold, but around the beginning of March 2015 the weather turned milder and I went out every day walking. At first two miles, increasing to three. Then I started running, just very short distances at first using a personalized version of Couch To 5k. I hadn’t even heard of C25K at that time. At the time I started running I also joined a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. As I started getting serious about running my weight started to fall off. My fasting sugar numbers also started coming down. At the start of all this my fasting averaged 120. By early April it was dropping into the 60’s. I cut my Metformin dosage in half. My FS was still in the 60’s so on April 21st 2015 I stopped taking Metformn all together, but kept monitoring my daily fasting sugar, which stabilized into the low 70’s to low 80’s.

In about 12 months or so I lost 50 lbs, a total of 60 lbs from my heaviest. All through running and counting calories. No special diet. Especially no gimmicky fad diet. And I didn’t have to give up any of the food I enjoyed. It was all about calories and portion control.

These days people seem to be looking for some magic formula, or a magic pill to help them lose weight without putting in any effort. But it doesn’t work like that. Not if you want to maintain your weight loss. I’ve been maintaining for two years now and I am not going back to who I used to be. Not ever.

I created this group to share my story and to encourage and hopefully inspire anyone else who is looking to do the same and who is not afraid to put in some effort. Losing weight is a simple enough process, though I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It starts and ends with the mind. As the old saying goes…

“If you think you can, you’re right.
If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your mindset will determine your success. Once you get your mind set right and develop a “no-matter-what” attitude, the sky will be the limit. Let me help you get off to the best possible start.

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Google+, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Facebook, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

For more information about our coaching services for groups, 1:1 and 2:2, click here:  Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

The Truth About Dieting

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There is a myth that diets don’t work.  The truth is diets do work.  But only while you’re on them.  It’s what you do when you come off your diet that measures whether you will maintain your weight loss, or see that weight creep back up.

Most people go on a diet after looking in the mirror and seeing they have gained weight, or when their clothes become too tight.  Then they decide to lose weight by going on a diet.  Which is just another word for Denial.  I can’t eat this, it has too much sugar. I can’t eat that because it has too many carbs.  I can’t eat that because it has too much fat.  

So you become more fixated on what you can’t eat.  You eat like a rabbit for as long as you can stand or until you reach your goal.  Then you come off your diet and go back to your old eating habits.  Which…

…is why you gained weight in the first place.  And what do you think is going to happen?  This is the very essence of yo-yo dieting.  It becomes a self perpetuating vicious circle until something changes.

The other problem with the standard method of dieting is when you focus on what you can’t eat, you set up cravings.  Have you ever noticed how when you go on a diet most of the television commercials seem to focus on food?  And usually high calorie foods.  They’ve always been there but you didn’t notice because you’ve always been able to freely have them when you want.  Then you go on a diet, or a Denial, and suddenly you notice these ads every time they’re shown.  Because you are craving those foods and you’re telling yourself you can’t have them because…diet.  The worst thing is once you come off your diet suddenly you can satisfy all those cravings so you’re most likely to eat these foods over the next week or two because you can.  You could easily regain 5 or 10 pounds in the first week or two just satisfying all those cravings.

Giving up foods because they are high in sugar or carbs is not the ideal way to keep weight off.  It does work, but it has to be sustainable long term.  Portion control and tracking calories is the best and most effective way to not only lose weight, but keep it off.  I’ve been with a calorie tracking app, MyFitnessPal, for three years now.  I’ve successfully lost the weight I wanted to lose and I’m maintaining very well.  Simply because I know how many calories I should be eating daily and how many calories I am eating daily.  I haven’t had to give up a single food item I enjoy.  I also exercise almost daily.  I run, I walk, I work out at the gym.  I’m 100% focused on keeping my healthy lifestyle.  Because that’s the secret of maintaining weight loss.  By making it a lifestyle.  If I go over calorie once in a while it’s ok.  I don’t panic.  I am not going to derail all my efforts because I eat unhealthy once in a while.  And we have to live.  You have celebrations, parties, birthdays, the holiday season.  You have to be able to enjoy life.  And I do.  I eat under calorie probably at least 80% of the time.  And the funny thing is once you’ve been at this healthy lifestyle for a while your binging habits change.  Overeating for me now looks very different to how I used to eat when I was being bad.  You find you don’t want to eat crazy after a while.  You don’t enjoy it and it’s not worth the uncomfortable bloated feeling you get the next day.

There will be people who will say there has to be more to losing weight than eating less and moving more.  They are right, of course.  It’s a psychological battle most of all.  The most critical ingredient is a healthy mindset.  It’s a process and you have to commit to it.  Yes, you can have crazy days if you want, as long as the rest of the time you make a serious effort to stay under calorie.  But you have to be determined and keep your eyes on the goal.  There will be frustration.  There will be times it doesn’t seem to be working.  The scale doesn’t move.  Or worse, the scale ticks up.  That’s when you will be sorely tempted to just give up.  That’s when you need to have other weapons in your fight to lose weight.  Measure yourself once a month.  Measure your waist, your hips.  Compare the numbers each month.  Take photos before you start your journey so you can make comparisons.  Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting.  Nothing boosts your confidence more than dropping a pant size.  All these things will keep you motivated and show you the process is working even when the scale isn’t co-operating.

Be aware there will be temptations along the way.  Someone brings donuts in to work almost daily, or a friend keeps inviting you out to eat at high calorie places all too regularly.  You have to learn to pick your battles and know it’s okay to give in sometimes.  It’s a lifestyle, after all, and you you have to be able to enjoy your life.

You Are Stronger Than You Think!

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The beautiful thing about fitness is how good you feel about yourself on your journey.  It’s not just about the better health you gain along the way.  It’s the things you learn about yourself.  Like you realize you are stronger than you ever imagined you could be.  I just ran five miles.  That’s something I could never have imagined doing two years ago.  For some it might be just a short run.  But for me it’s a reminder of how far I have come and that I can never go back to who I used to be.  And nor will I ever want to.

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The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 50 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally. 


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.

 

running

Why Not Just Start Today?

Chris Before and After with words

Dave Before and After with words

We know that it isn’t easy to start something or if you start something to actually stick with it.  Believe us, we know.  We have been there, tried it and failed.  Yes.  Failed.  So many times we would say, “oh, one day I will try again.”  But, you know what?  Don’t just try.  Just start.  Just do it.  Grab a partner or friend and do this together.  Stick with it.  This isn’t lose 50 lbs in a month quickly.  This is a health journey and it is for life.  It doesn’t matter when you start, it matters that you do.  Remember, the years will be passing by.  The question is: will you be healthier in five years or at the same weight and fitness level that you are now, (or worse)?  We are continuing on our health journey and would love to take you with us!20431268_10155099919073853_1005647030163866610_n

With Inspiration And Determination You Can Get Results

15940461_10154478448933853_3879399576321855286_nHello everyone!  As you can see, this is a blog from me, Christine, Dave’s wife.  I know you have been reading about Dave’s journey into his health, fitness and taking up running.  I promise, he will be getting back to writing.

It’s been about a year since I wrote about my  journey.  I have struggled with my weight since my teenage years.  I have tried everything.  Some worked but as soon as you stop having a focus, guess what, the weight slowly starts creeping up again.  Sure, people always saw me as ‘the life of the party’ as I was always an extrovert.  But, deep down inside I knew what I really looked like.  I mean, I would hate to look at myself in the mirror.  I would wear baggy clothes.  Heck, when you are a size 26-28, I think all clothes are made baggy.

My inspiration, always first to God, is my wonderful loving husband, Dave.  You know his story.  He took up running, watched what he ate and was able to lose a lot of weight, get fit and be off his diabetes medication!

I saw how focus and determined he was.  And he kept sticking to it.  I first joined My Fitness Pal in June 2015 and started logging everything I ate and drank and the exercise I did.  Hey, walking counts!  I realized, it is about portion control.  You can eat almost what you like, as long as you don’t go over the calories they say you should have daily.  (You would think that because I have been a vegetarian for 25 years that I would weigh 100 lbs!  No, that isn’t the case!)  Then, in mid July 2015, we joined Planet Fitness.  Guess what?  I fell ‘in love’ with the weight strengthening machines.  At that Planet Fitness, I worked out on 16 machines.  We joined a new PF where we moved to and I do 18 machines.  I started with being able to do 20-25 lbs on the machines and now, I average 150 lbs!!  I also have a love/hate relationship with the darn Elliptical machine.

I do try to walk whenever I can.  In the winter, when it is too cold to go out, you will find me jogging in place watching a TV show or dancing around.  I hope no one is watching me through the windows!

It has been a struggle during the last 1 1/2 years.  Sure, frustration kicks in when you are staying at the same weight, or you might fluctuate between 2-3 lbs like a yo-yo.  Then, Dave took my photo last week, (the one on the right), and I actually really liked how I looked!  I realized the frustrations are all well worth it!

Sometimes, I still look at myself in the mirror and I guess I might see a glimpse of who I was.  I remind myself, that the only thing that changed is me on the outside.  I am still the nice and extroverted person on the inside.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2005.  The one on the right was from last week.  That’s 75 lbs lost, numerous inches, and a total of 5 -6 pant sizes down!!  And I lost 60 lbs and 4 pant sizes just in the last 1 1/2 years.  It took a lot of determination, sweat, patience and my husband Dave, who was my inspiration!

It doesn’t matter how old you are to finally do something and stick to it!  (Can you believe I just turned 49!  I feel like I am 29 years old.)  I am still on my journey.  I want to inspire others, especially women who struggle with their weight.  Lets do this and get healthy!

Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

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I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Seeing Is Believing!

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So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

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I’ve been on a health and weight loss journey for the past year.  In that year I have lost over 30 lbs, gotten off Metformin, a diabetes medication, and gone from not being able to run a block without breaking out into a cold sweat to being able to run 4 miles with no adverse affects.

I have learned a few things along the way.

1.  Be patient.  This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.  We all want instant results.  But I didn’t gain the weight in a day or in a week and I won’t lose it that quickly either.  Nor will you.  There are many fad diets out there.  Juice diets, shake diets intermittent fasting, etc.  They almost always promise quick results.  They almost always cost money and almost always are not worth it.  They may help you lose weight initially but when you come off them if you go back to your old eating habits you’re just going to gain that weight back again.  All I did was join a site called MyFitnessPal.com and log my calories.  Every day.  It sounds like a chore but in truth it just takes a few minutes a day.  It keeps me accountable.  I keep track of what I’m eating.  More important, it works!  And it doesn’t cost me a thing.  It taught me so much about my eating habits and how to keep my eating under control.

2.  A bad day shouldn’t derail you.  We all have bad days where we just want to binge.  If you have a day like that just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again tomorrow.

3.  It’s all about calories.  If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  It’s pure science.  If the weight isn’t coming off there may be a prevalent medical condition that is derailing you.  If you aren’t losing weight but you’re convinced you’re doing everything right get yourself checked out by your doctor.

4.  Weightloss is a simple process.  But it isn’t easy.  It takes determination.  Discipline. Patience.  Have I said that word already.  You will learn.  Patience is key.  But if you want it badly enough you will achieve it.

5.  Dieting is simple.  Keeping the weight off is the challenge.  This is the journey I’m about to embark on.  I’ve lost the weight.  I’m determined to keep it off.  Never go back!

6.  The most effective way to diet is not to go on a diet.  Sound confusing?  How many people do you know who go on a diet?  Then come off the diet and go back to their old eating habits and wonder why they’re gaining weight again?  If it’s your old eating habits that caused you to gain weight then of course you’ll regain the weight if you go back.

7.  The scale can lie!  When we want to lose weight we want to see the number on the scale drop like a stone!  Sometimes we hit a plateau and the scale stubbornly refuses to budge.  Don’t get disheartened and give up.  Look for other signs of success.  Look for NSV’s (non-scale victories).  Even when the number doesn’t drop other things are happening.  Maybe your clothes are fitting better.  Or getting looser.  Maybe your collar bones are starting to pop out, or your hip bones.  Maybe you find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before.  Walk further or run without getting out of breath.  These are all signs you are on the right track.  Just keep doing everything right and the scale will start to drop again.

Through the past year I have learned a lot about myself.  I have patience and if I want something bad enough I can achieve it.  That’s very empowering.

Before And After

before and after

Sometimes when you look in the mirror it’s hard to see just how far you have come when you’re looking to lose weight.  The best way to really judge your progress is take photographs.  If you’re starting out on a weight loss journey I’d advise you to take several photos before you start.  It’s always good to have something to compare.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  The photo on the right just a couple of months ago.   Here I can really see the difference.  I’m almost at the weight I want to be.  It’s time to start maintenance.  I have made a vow to never again look like I did in the pic on the left.  I wasted 20 years of my life looking like that.

Never again!

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Getting off diabetes medication.  Losing over 30 lbs.  Getting fit.  Running.  And this is just the beginning.  I intend to start lifting weights more now.  I’ve lost the weight.  Now I want to tone myself up and get myself in better shape.  The weight loss journey may be ending.  But the healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

My Home Workout Routine

I thought I’d share my home workout routine.

I start with this one.  I don’t know what to call it so I’ll share the video the idea came from.  It’s the very first exercise.  I can testify you really feel it in your abdominal area.  I do 10 of them.

Then I do 10 leg raises, where you lie flat on your back and raise your legs, then lower them so your feet are just off the floor.

Then still lying flat on my back I lift the weights straight up and slowly lower them.  Again I do ten of these.

Still lying on my back  I lift the weights and stretch my arms behind me, before slowly lifting them back up and down to my side.  For the last one I also lift my feet off the floor slightly for a count of ten seconds.  Another set of ten.

I do five sets of each of those routines.

I then move off my back for the next round.  On all fours I stretch my left leg back out so it’s straight out behind me and back down for a count of ten then do the same with my right.  This works on your glutes and thighs.

Then a 50 second plank.  I’m working up to doing a minute plank.

Then ten push ups.

Again, five sets of this section.

For the final round I’m upright.  I do ten squats (although I’m going to increase the number.)

Ten bicep curls.

I lift the weights from my side straight outwards and back down.  Ten of these.

Then what I call my stretch and bend.  Where I lift the weights straight up above my head then bend to touch the weights to the floor.  You guessed it, I do ten!

Then it’s twenty Jumping Jacks.

Then I run up and down the stairs ten times.

Once more I do these in five sets.

The whole routine takes me one hour.

I finish with a delicious protein shake.

This is especially good when I can’t get to the gym or go for a run.

Plateau’s And How To Bust Them

“Weight loss is not linear.”  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read those words on the MyFitnessPal forums.  And it’s so true.  Most people when trying to lose weight are ruled by the number shown on the scale.

The scale doesn’t move for a few days, or weeks.

Frustration.

The scale goes up a pound.

Freak out and reach for the nearest donut.  This is obviously not working!

But the scale doesn’t tell the full story.

And the scale lies.

I’m close to my goal weight now.  For the past two weeks or so I’ve been fluctuating up and down a pound.  Then I gained an extra pound.

I did not worry about it.  I did not stress out.  And I did not reach for a donut.

It’s all part of the game.

There are other ways to see the changes happening to your body.  Changes that are often more motivating than the number on the scale.

Your clothes start to fit better.

You can see changes in your face.

You start to feel bones you never felt before.  Or not for a long time, anyway.  Collar bones, hip bones.

If you work out, your fitness level starts to increase.  You find you can do things you couldn’t do before.  You can go longer.  You have more energy.

These are the things you need to look for when you’re on a weight loss / health journey. These are the things I used to keep myself motivated when the scale didn’t move.  No matter how frustrating a plateau can be, just keep doing the right activities.  Keep exercising.  Keep counting calories.  Plateau’s are just tests of your willpower and your determination to succeed.

My weight had gone up two pounds.  My wife and I went to a Zumba class on Saturday.  We had an hour of intense movement. And yesterday we had pizza for dinner.  Sunday I dropped a pound.  Today I’m another pound less so I’m back to my lowest weight since I started my journey a year ago.  In fact we’ve both lost two pounds!  Sometimes plateau’s happen because we get into a bit of a rut.  Our bodies get used to our routine.  The old saying, “a change is as good as a rest” is especially true when it comes to a healthy lifestyle.  Doing something different seems to shock the body into getting back on track.  Now I’m looking forward to resuming my weight loss.  I only want to lose another five pounds or so and then I’ll be in maintenance.

For those of you who are frustrated if your scale isn’t moving I hope this helps motivate you to keep on track.  And to stay away from those donuts.  Unless you can fit one into your weight loss plan, that is.

Zumba

One Incredible Year!

Chris before and after

before and after

The Runner.jpgWhat a year it has been, health-wise.  I started my health journey around the beginning of March 2015 after my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second diabetes drug.  I’d already been taking Metformin since August 2008.  That second drug is strongly linked with causing liver damage.  I knew enough was enough.  It was time to take my health seriously.

After a brutally cold winter, March finally ushered in milder temperatures and off I went.  I walked at least an hour every day.  I slowly introduced running, using a variation of Couch To 5K.  My first major milestone was running my first mile.  By late April I was able to stop taking Metformin.  In June my A1C was 5.8.  In October it was 5.5 and I was told I was out of diabetic range.  I’ve lost nearly 40 lbs in the past year through a combination of counting calories and running.

My wife watched my dedication and it inspired her to join me in July.  We joined a gym and we love working out together.  She has lost 40 lbs and she is addicted to lifting weights.  We’re both in this for life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents lately.  They both died way too young.   My dad passed away aged just 38.  He had a brain hemorrhage.  It was so sudden.  My mum died from leukemia at age 54.   Losing your parents so young makes you think of your own mortality.  Neither of us want to die young.  So going on this health journey is the best decision we could have made for our health.  We want to grow old together.

Being active is addictive.  I did an hour workout this morning.  Planks, squats, push-ups, leg raises, weight exercises and running up and down the stairs.  It was energizing!  I’ve actually done this same routine for the past 8 days.  I did each exercise in 5 sets.  For the planks I raised each one from 30 seconds to 45 seconds.  The last plank was for a full minute.  Each week I’m going to slowly raise the bar.  That stops the workout becoming stale.

If you need to lose a few pounds, or if you just want more energy I highly recommend some kind of exercise.  Your body will thank you for it.  It isn’t easy.  It requires commitment, dedication.  But the more you push yourself the better you feel.  And exercise becomes so addictive.  I can’t imagine not doing some sort of activity at least 4 or 5 times a week.  If I miss a few days I feel the difference.  My body becomes sluggish, lethargic.  And it can be a very sociable thing.  I’ve met a great bunch of people on Twitter.  Especially runners.  They are a great group of people and really encourage each other.  If motivation doesn’t come easy for you, finding someone to work out with might be the answer.  Christine and I motivate and push each other.  Accountability can be a powerful motivator.  I’m grateful that the doctor wanted to put me on a drug that’s linked with causing other major health issues.  Whether he intended to or not, he gave me all the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and get moving.

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Chris before and after

(The following blog is from my wife, Christine.)

I know many of you have been following our journey into health.  Especially Dave’s personal journey to losing weight, getting fit, taking up running and getting off his diabetes and heart medications.  I thought that it is time I finally wrote from my own perspective.

Last July, I’d just about had it and decided to lose weight and get fit at age 47!  I know that many people would agree with this.  Heck, so do I!  Sure, I have struggled with my weight since before time, (well if it *was* before time I would weigh nothing!) Ok, so it was as far as I can remember well into my teen years!

At first, I was only 30 to 40 pounds overweight.  Not so shabby!  I looked good in those size 14 jeans!   But, with the years and the stresses of life, came the stretches of fat!  Yes, I have tried most things.  Yes, even Weight Watchers.  Yes, I lost weight but then guess what?  Ah, you guessed correct!  More years, more stress and more stretches of the dreaded three letter word that begins with ‘F’!  (At least, I didn’t say a four letter word that begins with ‘F’! *grins*)

Fast forward to last July.  One day I will write a bit more about my struggles and life.  Now, I am very happily married to Dave, for nearly eleven years.  In the last year I have seen him take real charge of his health and fitness, kicking his diabetic and heart medications to the curb!  I have never been more proud of him than when he wrote his first novel.  He has taken up running and uses My Fitness Pal to log everything.  He has lost weight and is fit!  I am watching him and loving what I see and more importantly, what our doctor said to him, ‘you do not need to take your diabetes and heart medications anymore!’ I want the doctor to tell me I don’t need to take my high blood pressure meds anymore.  I want to look good and feel great!  I want to join my wonderful husband in our journey together in getting healthy!

Dave was my inspiration!

It isn’t easy, (who said life is easy?), but using a calorie tracker, My Fitness Pal, joining a gym, eating healthier, taking the Peak Performance Pack and of course with Dave by my side doing this with me, I have lost a total of 69 lbs and 8 inches from my waist and 6 inches from my hips. I am down 5 pant sizes. I am turning my fat into muscle and I feel great!

Dave was going through some old photos and found one of me from October 2005. I was at my cousin’s daughter’s one year old birthday party and dancing away. (This photo on the right is from Dec 2015.)

For other people struggling with their weight, it is never too late to get started! I am willing to help anyone who asks.

So, stay tuned.  The best is yet to come!

When Your Need Is Greater Than Your Want?

 

inspiration_PNG

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the health journey I’m on.  About how far I have come in less than a year.  And how much easier it has been than I thought it would be.  As a teenager I was a skinny little thing.  People used to try to fatten me up and just give up!  Then in my mid twenties I started to gain weight.  I didn’t notice at first.  Then when I did notice, I didn’t find the will to do anything about it.  I feel like I wasted two decades, the best two decades in my opinion, being overweight, when apparently I didn’t need to be.  Because when I found the willpower to actually change my health it came easily.  Okay, I shouldn’t exactly say easily.  After all, I’ve put a lot of sweat and effort into my transformation.  No tears, though!  But as I gained the weight I always thought it would be too hard.  I made a few half-hearted attempts to lose the weight.  I’d go on a diet.  It always ended in failure.  I just couldn’t find the motivation to see it through.

Then in December 2014, while sitting in the doctor’s office, I faced a tough choice.  My A1C was 7.2.  The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication.  I’d already been taking Metformin since 2008.  When Christine and I researched this second drug and found it’s strongly linked with causing liver damage I knew I had to make a change.  I vowed to never take this drug.  Up to this point I’d only wanted to lose weight.  Now my want had become a need.  And it turned out to be pretty simple.  Not easy.  Not with all the running miles I put in.  But it was simple.  I started walking, walking led to running.  And I counted calories.  I’m so glad I joined MyFitnessPal.  It’s a great app that lets you track your calories.  It even lets you track your exercise.  It definitely made my efforts easier to log.  Losing weight comes down to one simple equation.  Calories out have to be greater than calories in.  In other words to lose weight you have to be eating less calories than you’re burning.  Exercise is a great way of boosting your calories out.  Running especially burns a lot of calories.

I guess the bottom line in all this is need will always trump want.  Wanting to lose weight through reasons of simple vanity wasn’t enough to motivate me to succeed.  What ever you attempt to do in life will always be much more successful if you NEED it more than you WANT it.  Need is a great motivator.  And when it’s a health need, that’s the greatest motivator of all.  From being on the verge of taking two drugs for diabetes, I’ve been off ALL medication for ten months now.  I stopped taking Metformin in April 2015 when I realized my fasting sugar was actually getting too low.

If that visit to the doctor hadn’t taken place, if he hadn’t decided to put me on a drug that could potentially harm my health even more,  I might still be overweight.  And I might still be on Metformin.  Now I’m fitter than I was even in my twenties.  Now I’ve dropped from size 40 pants to size 32.  My weight is more or less where I want it to be.

I still have a need.  My diabetes is under control.  But I’m still diabetic.  I don’t think that will ever change.  We went out to eat Saturday night.  I ate more than I have been recently.  I also had fries.  My sugar two hours later was 168.  Which isn’t bad.  A year ago it would probably have been 200 or higher.  My fasting sugar was 91.  Which a year ago I would have been thrilled with.  But it’s a sign of how far I’ve come that I wasn’t happy with that number.  These days my fasting is always in the 70’s and low to mid 80’s.  Now, 91 is still just about at the normal range.  But I wasn’t happy.  So yesterday I made conscious efforts to eat less, to eat healthier.  My fasting this morning was 75.  Much better.  But it served as a reminder that I have to be vigilant.  That I still have to be conscious of not over eating and I still have to be active.  It’s easy to imagine that if I spent a week eating like that my sugar would be into the 100’s.  It’s all good, though.  It just reminds me I still have a need.  And as long as that need is there I will have all the motivation to keep on this healthy lifestyle.

Whatever you want to do in life, whatever you want to achieve, make sure your need is as great as your want and you can achieve miracles.  Just like I have.

Heart Health Awareness

So February is National Heart Health Awareness month.  In honor of that this blog is to help raise awareness of one of the biggest killers in North America.  High blood pressure is known as the Silent Killer.  There are no symptoms.  Millions of people across the country have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.  High blood pressure can lead to strokes.  It’s also the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks.  Poor diet and lack of exercise are the biggest cause of high blood pressure.

I’ve blogged extensively about how I’ve managed to get my diabetes under control through diet and exercise.  What I haven’t talked about so much is a few years ago I had heart palpitations and was on a heart medication.  For several months even walking up the block was enough to have my heart racing.  My resting heart rate was in the 90’s, often higher.  Exercise and weight loss were the key to getting healthy.  My resting heart rate now averages in the 60’s.  No more medication.  No more palpitations.  No more fear.  Once I took up running everything just fell into place.  I’m almost at my goal weight and am healthier now than I was when I was in my 20’s.

Christine has had high blood pressure for several years.  She’s on medication.  She has joined me on my health journey.  She works out at the gym.  She walks.  Her blood pressure has improved.  She was taken off one of her medications.  We’re working on getting her off the other.  She has lost 68 lbs so far.  I’m incredibly proud of what she has achieved so far.

If you’re overweight or if you’re simply inactive invest in your health now.  Once your health starts to go you’re on a slippery slope.  Your body will thank you for it later.

We are fortunate to be able to shop with a  Wellness company that has several products that give our heart health an additional boost.  Products like Provex CV, designed to naturally lower blood pressure.  FiberWise, fiber in a drink.  Delicious, too!  Phytomega, designed to help lower  cholesterol.  The Peak Performance Heart Health pack is a range of vitamins and supplements designed to keep your heart ticking along nicely.

We are partnering with Bankers Healthcare Group on this post today, a group dedicated to getting awareness of heart health to the general public.  We are proud to be associated with such a great cause.  I hope I have given you the inspiration to get healthy.  Because life is not much fun when you don’t have good health.  It can also get pretty expensive too, with doctors bills, surgery, etc.  It’s worth investing a few dollars to get healthy and save thousands on surgery.

This is their site if you want to learn more about them.

Bankers Healthcare Group

BHG_heart_health

 

Keeping Your Resolve

Zig Ziglar

Yes, I know I already posted a blog today but sometimes a topic for a blog comes to you and you just have to get it out there.  So I was thinking, it’s the season of the Resolutioners.  Those people who pack a gym for anything from 2 weeks to 2 months, determined to get healthy.  Then they quickly drop away.  But why do people find it so hard to stick to something that they know will do them good?

The first thing is you just can’t put a date on something like this.  If you decide, probably some time in December, that on January 1st you’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, work out, get a new job, whatever your resolution is, when that date rolls around you’re going to feel obligated to do it.  Because you said you would.  So this new thing comes from a sense of “I have to do it because I said I would.  It doesn’t really come from a sense of I want to do it, even though you probably DID want to do it when you made the resolution.  Basically it quickly becomes a chore.  Something you HAVE to do.  And nobody enjoys doing chores?

Am I right?

My becoming a runner didn’t come from a new years resolution.  I didn’t even plan to become a runner.  It just happened.  The running evolved slowly.   I used to walk laps around a small park just five minutes from home.  Then I began to run the last lap.  Then the last two laps.  Before long I was running more than walking.  By the time I called myself a runner I already had the habit of running.  Now I can just lace up my shoes and go out the door without really thinking about it.  I found I actually like running so keeping it going hasn’t been a chore.

If you’re going to wait for motivation to strike before getting out there and exercising, you’re not going to exercise very often.  Motivation is what gets you started.  But it’s fleeting and unreliable.

HABIT is what keeps you going.  When I started exercising last March it came from necessity.  Being diabetic and having the doctor wanting to put you on a second drug – one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems – is a great motivator!  I went out to my local park every day, whatever the weather.  No excuses.

Timing is everything!  You can start every January 1st and give up by February or March 1st.  Until one year it clicks.  That one year your desire for change becomes stronger than your force of habit that keeps you doing what you always did.  When that spark happens you become unstoppable.  The doctor wanting to put me on a medication that could cause other serious health issues was a powerful enough spark to get me out of my comfort zone and make me change my habits drastically.  If that hadn’t happened I wonder if I would have lost that weight and started running.

If you’re the type who makes resolutions every year but can’t seem to keep them, you need to change your inner dialog.  Stop telling yourself I HAVE to do this.  Start saying I WANT to do this.  I WILL do this.  When you feel you WANT to do something you will find it much easier to keep it going.  Let’s face it we’ll always prioritize what we want to do over what we have to do.  It’s just human nature.

And look for the little victories.  When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to become obsessed with the scale.  If that scale doesn’t budge or, the horror, the scale starts to go up, it’s all too easy to just say “I can’t do this” and quit.  But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.  People often go through a slight weight gain when they first start exercising.  But it usually comes off pretty quick.  It can be from water weight.  Pay less attention to what the scale tells you and more attention to how your clothes are fitting, or how you look in the mirror.  Clothes start to become loose, you can drop sizes pretty quick.  Your collar bone starts to poke through.  And your hip bones.  Nothing motivates more effectively than seeing success.  I was lucky.  Once I started running the pounds just seemed to fall away.  I went from size 38 jeans to size 32 in about 8 months.  If I didn’t have the success I had, then I can’t say for certain I would have stayed the course.  I became a runner for specific reasons.  To lose weight.  To get fit.  To get off diabetes medication.  The last one I achieved in just two months.  The rest fell into place.  Now I’m a runner for life because I SAW the results and I KNOW what running has done for me.

What running is continuing to do for me.

Whatever your resolution is try to pick something you can enjoy.       Not everyone will enjoy running.  Maybe you like to walk, run, dance, play football, play basketball.  Basically, just move.  Any movement beats sitting on the couch.   Maybe this year you will find your spark.  When that happens you will be unstoppable!

New Year, New Goals!

So 2015 has passed and is one for the record books.  It was a mixed year with a lot of stress and I had to go through eye surgery to remove cataracts twice.  But from a health point of view, other than the eye surgery, it has been a very good year.  We’ve both lost weight and we’ve both gotten much more active.  Now it’s time to ramp it up.

In order to make sure I don’t lose my focus I have set myself a goal of running 700 miles this year.  As someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s the equivalent of me running to Pittsburgh and back!  It’s a daunting number but my runs are starting to get longer now so I know it’s doable.  I’ve already run twice this year.  I ran 6 miles on January 1st, to start the year off right.  And then on the 3rd I ran 8 miles.  So I only have 686 miles to go.

Christine loves working out at the gym.  When she first started going she could only lift 20 lbs.  Now on some of the machines she can lift 90 or even 100 lbs!  I’m going to have to work to keep up with her!  While I also use the weight machines, I spend more time doing cardio, especially the Dreadmill.  For some reason I have a block with that.  I ran 4 miles on it last week and that took everything I had.  I can run further outside than I can on the treadmill.  Maybe it has something to do with boredom.  I need to buy something so I can listen to music while on the treadmill.

We both want to wish our followers a Happy New Year and we look forward to sharing our health journeys over the coming year.  Do you have goals set for the year ahead?  We’d love to hear them!