Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten On Tuesday


Ten...well 15 Things I've Learned Since I Began My Weight Loss Challenge

Since beginning my weight loss challenge seven weeks ago, my mind has been opened to many new things.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Vegetables are my friend, not my enemy!
Growing up, I didn't eat vegetables at all.  My grandmother forced my mother to eat them, making her hate them; so we weren't forced to eat them.  Unfortunately that meant we didn't eat ANY.  I've discovered the best side dishes in the world involve asparagus, red and green bell peppers, and red potatos.  I also LOVE tomatos, but aren't they considered a fruit?  Hardly any calories, but full of taste, they help fill your stomach up and provide you with the nutrition you need.

2.  You have to splurge occasionally or you will go insane..and there is such a thing as "healthy" junk food!
We all know how much I love Dove chocolate.  I still eat it, but only occasionally.  Instead of buying bags of it like I used to, I now buy the candy bar, break it into two or three helpings, and put them into individual bags.  Then I can have two or three days worth of glorious chocolate without eating 1,000s of calories in one sitting. 

100 calorie bags of Pop Secret popcorn are FANTASTIC.  I've been eating them for years now.  They are light and don't have all the garbage on them that other bagged popcorn has.  One time I couldn't find Pop Secret in the store, so I bought the "normal" Orville Redenbacher kind.  I wanted to throw up!  It was so full of grease and butter, it was disgusting.

I've also found healthier ways to eat ice cream.  Weight Watchers sells 100 calorie English Toffee Crunch bars and they are SO GOOD!  Healthy Choice also offers a delicious, low calorie chocolate bar.

3.  While eating out, it is possible to eat healthy and not leave the restaurant starving
On our anniversary we decided to go out to eat.  I did a lot of research before we decided to go to Applebees.  They have a Weight Watchers menu that offers dishes that are a total of only 550 calories...that is amazing.  I was able to eat steak, covered in a fantastic sauce, and steamed vegetables.  This is when I was introduced to red potatoes and became hooked on them.

Before I go out to eat, I always check the nutrition content on websites.  I love that feature and I'm thrilled to see so many restaurants have it.  I went to McDonalds the other day, and my dinner was about 800 calories.  That's a bit much, but I hadn't eaten a lot that day, so I had the calories to spare.

Another way to cut calories when you're in a restaurant....DON'T DRINK SODA!  Just keep drinking water.  Not only will it help fill up your stomach, but it can help you not order an appetizer, which is always difficult for me.

4.  It's amazing all the foods you discover you love when healthy eating is your goal
I've never been a real fan of fish....unless it was a fish stick!  My mom eats salmon all the time, but I always thought it smelled horrible; and I do mean horrible.  Then I began loosing weight.  Salmon is very healthy, and doesn't have many calories in it at all.  I found a seasoning that tastes great, and now salmon has become a staple to my new eating habits.

5.  Exercise seems like a horrible chore at first, but once you make it a routine, you feel empty if you haven't done it
When I started out, I wanted to DIE.  My body ached, I couldn't breathe, I felt like a moron!  But over the past seven weeks something interesting has happened.  Not only has it become easier to exercise (which is expected), but if I don't exercise, I'm finding that I WANT to!  I mentioned in another post that last week after spending the day at my sister's house I came home and found myself bored.  I hadn't exercised that day, so at 7pm I laced up my shoes and put my hour in.  Not only did I feel great, but I felt like I accomplished something good.  And the next day the scale went down.

6.  Water is the greatest gift in the world...and your bladder will adjust!
Water is a great way to be refreshed, and fill up your stomach.  I have two liter bottles that I fill up throughout the day.  When I wake up in the morning, I begin drinking water.  Instead of milk with breakfast, it's water.  I'm usually able to drink a liter of water before I exercise around 9 or 10am.  I drink another liter during and after my exercise so that by the time I'm done, I've already fufilled my water intake for the day.  I'm sure that will change once school starts, but for now, it's great.  I also keep a water bottle with me after dinner.  Instead of munching on junk food, I continue filling up on water. 

It was difficult at first, and my bladder wanted to explode, but my body has adjusted.  I've always enjoyed water, so I've never felt like I was drowning myself.

(Oh, I wish this was my weight!)

7.  Once the scale starts to move down, eating junk food just doesn't seem worth it anymore
I've found that as I started loosing weight, when I would go to eat REAL junk food, I'd suddenly remember how hard I worked to loose that weight.  The junk food didn't look as tempting anymore.  Again, this doesn't happen all the time.  But when I do splurge on "real" junk food, I get smaller portions instead.  A mini blizzard from Dairy Queen, the smallest cup of ice cream from Cold Stone.  Let's face it:  a girl has to have to good stuff once in a while!

8.  Exercising with weights (aka Circuit Training) is the greatest discovery since sliced bread!
I began using The Firm during week six of my challenge.  From 7/11/2011 until today (7/18/2011), I've lost 3 pounds.  That's 3 pounds in one week...it's also the most weight I've lost in one week since my very first week.  You burn more calories when you use weights, and you begin to sculpt your body.  Needless to say, I'll never use another program again!

9.  Fat free/Low Calorie doesn't mean it has no taste
I was afraid to try fat free sour cream, fat free cream cheese, and skim milk.  I always joked that skim milk was just water.  But when I tried them, I discovered that they didn't taste any different than the regular versions that are packed with calories and fat!  And since I wasn't eating big portions of these products like I did before my challenge, my taste buds easily accepted the new version.

10. Calorie counting is extremely important
Not everyone may feel this way, and that's fine.  I've found that if I don't keep track of my calorie/fat intake for each day, it's too easy to go over the alotted amount, halting my weight loss.  I've also discovered that by paying attention to the calories and serving size of the foods I eat, I make better decisions about what goes into my mouth.

11. Chew your food until it's almost mush in your mouth
Believe it or not, but doing this will help you eat slower, which in turn makes you feel full faster.  As a whole, people inhale their food and eat too much of it.  We're advised not to eat while watching TV because we'll keep eating; sit at the table as a family when you eat because it encourages conversation that will help you eat slower.  Your stomach and brain need about 20 minutes to talk with each other before you finally start to feel full.  Help the process by really chewing up your food.  You'll find that you aren't eating as much.

12. Whether you weigh yourself daily or weekly, do it at the same time
This will differ for every person.  I weigh myself first thing in the morning, before I've had anything to eat or drink.  Out of curiousity I've tried weighing myself in the afternoon...it wasn't pretty.  From first thing in the morning til the afternoon I'd put on about two, maybe three pounds!  I decided, for the sake of my sanity, that it was best to stick with the early morning weigh in!

13. When you step on the scale, assume that you've probably gained weight. 
I weight myself each and every day.  Some people might think this isn't healthy.  I've found that it helps motivate me.  If I've gained weight, I look back at what I ate the day before.  Doing this helps keep me honest and away from junk food.  The LAST thing I want is the scale to creep up.  But if it does, I'm the one to blame.  And by keeping the mentality that the scale will probably go up, I'm not as disappointed if it does, and I feel even better if I've lost weight!

14. Loosing weight is the "easy" part, maintaining is the struggle
How many times have we all been here; we loose a significant amount of weight, only to find that we can't fit into our clothing anymore?  (I've been there PLENTY of times!)  What we forget is that this isn't just a diet, it's a lifestyle change.  Once we hit our goal weight, if we stop exercising and eating correctly, the weight will all come back! 

15. There's no rush to weight loss. 
Set realistic goals and be prepared to revisit them throughout the journey.  The hardest part of all this is the fact that I want to be 60 pounds lighter RIGHT NOW!  All that mentality does is frustrate me because that simply isn't going to happen.  Taking it slow is better, and will help me maintain in the future.

I'm officially done preaching, but I hope this was helpful in some way!