February Wrap Up

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On January 31st, I was 290.4, this morning I was 286.4, that is a 4 pound loss for the month!  It is modest, but I am happy with it since one of those weeks was a candyfest.

Here are the measurements:

Hello waistline!!

I was looking at my last wrap up post and noticed I made goals and then didn't look at them again... Lets see how I did.

February Goals

It is a short month so I want to keep it reasonable.  Just 5 pounds from my lowest January weight of 288.6 - so I will be happy as a clam at 283.  If I work hard enough, maybe I will even break into the 270's.  That would be great!
Oh me and my ambition with no follow through... I missed the mark by 3.4 pounds.

I'd like to be solidly back in the 22/2X size range.  Most of my clothes are in that size but about 50% are too tight for the moment, and I was gifted some 3X sizes at Christmas, so I should be covered (literally, lol) with enough clothes to not need to get anything bigger (or smaller) for this month and likely next.
I haven't gone through and tried on my clothes to know for sure how everything is fitting, but I feel more or less the same size as a month ago.  

HOWEVER - I am wearing the same shirt today as I was during my first weigh-in:

I can see a teeny bit of progress I think.

Move.  I need to add activity to my routine.  I know it will help the results move along and help my body get back into a nicer shape even if the scale doesn't move much.  
Haven't gotten activity in, but it is 100% happening in March.

I can't be mad at you, February!

March Goals

Keep my Lenten sacrifices of not eating pizza at all and forgoing desserts during the week.  I know this will be helpful in my weight loss efforts

Exercise 4 times per week.  I am leaving my options open whether to get on the rower, do some youtube yoga, swing the kettle bell.  Time to get moving!

I really want to challenge myself and am setting a goal to weigh 279 or less by the end of next month.  I have been losing about a pound a week, and I realize 7.4 pounds is nearly double.  I haven't been 'trying' very hard either, so to mix things up I want to really focus and be disciplined.  I won't be crushed if I don't hit the goal, but I think if I do everything (mostly) right, I can do a lot better than a pound a week.

Go through my clothing and find what is fitting and not.  Donate what I don't want.

Review the goals weekly and not only on March 31.

Weekly Weigh In #8

Monday, February 27, 2017

This week was better.  I am down from last week, thank God.  It is still a bit discouraging, thinking it is only week 8 and I am working on re-losing pounds I already lost a few weeks ago.  They say weight loss isn't linear, so I guess I should take that to heart.

I ate reasonably well all week, though I did feel like my appetite for sugar was still in full force.  It feels like the Trucility shot works better some weeks versus others.  

Here are the wins for the week:

I wanted to eat ALL THE SWEETS, but I was able to not
I am not the best person for self discipline.  I am very in tune with my cravings, and I like to do what I can to say 'YES' to what I want.  A person who is good at weight management will appease their sweet tooth by having some fruit, or make a chocolate rice cake, but I am not there yet.  I will just buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's and figure out how to make it work.  I made it work though ;)  And other times I just distracted myself to where the feeling passed and then it was time for bed.  My night time eating habits are the true problem area.

Moving in the right direction
While I am bummed that this month wasn't a major success, a loss is a good thing, just need to keep my eye on the prize!

Looking forward to March
And Lent.  Lent is the time I really get it together for the Lord, it is the extra boost to keep myself focused, humbled and obedient.  I haven't solidified my plans for my Lenten sacrifice but I am leaning towards pizza, and probably dairy.  Aaron has decided beef and pork are out for himself so light dinners will be on the menu for the next 40 days.  

Things to work on:

I've fallen out of love with tracking
I'm not sure what happened, or if anything specific changed my attitude.  I don't hate tracking, nor have I given up on it as a practice.  Truth be told, I have found it extremely helpful to be able to review the week before I write these recap posts.  I just haven't been on it as tightly as I have in weeks past.  I don't want to get out of the habit, or forget to log stuff as the day goes on.  Yesterday I was all tucked in bed ready to drift into dreamland when I was like ::record scratch:: I forgot to track my food!  I logged in and got everything in there without breaking my 56 day streak, but man that was close.  Also when I went scrolling, I noticed I forgot to log Friday dinner.  I don't want to get into this lax habit, so I need to be better about remembering.

Blood Pressure Concerns
I see my endocrinologist at minimum twice a year and my BP is always normal.  I check my BP at the grocery store with their little machine by the pharmacy about every other week.  It reads high typically, but the machine is at the end of the store, plus the cuff doesn't fit my giant arm very well.  So I figure it is high due to me just getting done pushing a heavy cart up and down the store.  Well on Saturday I went in the 'out' door to avoid children selling things and was by the BP machine at the beginning of the trip.  It still read high.  I would be hard pressed to think of a family member who doesn't take meds for high blood pressure (even my 20 something younger brother), so I am wondering if my time has come.  I am going to research some natural ways to address the problem and hopefully more weight loss will help too.  I don't want to be killed by the silent killer.  Plus we are trying to make a baby, so we want as healthy a start as we can get!

Looking sloppy, like I stayed up too late watching the Oscars...

Feeling a little less puffy this week, and hoping to break past the 286.4 pound mark which was my lowest weigh in thus far.  I think I can do it!  

This week I want to keep in my calorie goals while trying to cut down on the dessert and fast food intake.  I also want to make some plans for March and how to make it a really productive month!

Weekly Weigh In #7

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

This week way waaaaaaay off the rails.  After coming off the good loss the week before, I decided to be lenient on myself this week. MISTAKE.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day and we had a beautiful meal planned.  Steak.  Scallops.  Mushroom Parmesan Flat Bread.  It is a holiday though, so I thought it fine to have a celebratory day and not fuss over the calories.  I still tracked everything, but didn't care if I went over.  Aaron bought me a pretty decent sized Russel Stover collection of chocolates, and I think that is what did me in for the week.

Guys, I can not control myself around candy.  I ate all this candy within a span of three days.  Then I was still needing a candy fix so I bought MORE candy over the weekend (it was discounted, how could I say no??).  THEN when it was all gone, I found a friggin bag of holiday M&Ms which I planned to bake with over Christmas and ate the whole giant bag of those.
Seriously, Natalie?

Oh plus, my co-worker's wife teaches elementary school and was showered with boxes upon boxes of treats which got 'donated' to us.  Every time I got out of my chair-whether to use the restroom, make a photocopy, I'd pass by the kitchen and grab a candy.  (Those did not get tracked, shame on me.)

So SHOCKER, I was 289 pounds this morning.  ::sobs::

So fine, we had our fun and crazy week, it is time to get focused.  It doesn't help that my body is gearing up for it to be lady time next week so my PMSing self wants to eat all the food in sight everywhere.

Anyway, here is the recap:

I hit my 50 day streak of logging in daily to My Fitness Pal

My MFP friends are just the sweetest too.  Always there with an encouraging word for even the most mundane of little wins.

This is really the only good to come out of the week, I am not going to pretend like it was better than it was!


I overate and basically got off plan all week

Maybe it was all the candy and steaks but I just did not care a flip about losing weight this week.  I ate everything and not even Trulicity and high blood sugar readings were going to stop me.

I think, for now, I need to approach my 'triggering' foods like quitting smoking.  I quit smoking about 3 years ago and it was probably the most difficult achievement requiring willpower I have under my belt.  Nicotine is incredibly addictive, so if you even have just one cigarette, you have to start the process of weening yourself off it all over again.  That is the main component of being successful, just like AA or anything else.  If you have a smoke or a drink, you go back to day one.  Breaking the streak is what stops your success in its tracks.

With Lent fast approaching, this may be a good time to start a streak of not eating sugary stuff that will send me into a tailspin of failure.

I also need to celebrate a successful week in other ways than giving myself license to loosen up and eat whatever I feel.

I may be down but I'm not out.  Let's get back on track and make this a good week!  Yay!

Consistency - The Metric that Matters

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In one of the many weight loss related Facebook groups that I belong, I read an interesting little article that discusses the very approach I am taking with my weight loss program. Link.

As the sun rises and sets eat day, the little choices we make every day will turn into our life, and also our size.

When the light-bulb finally went off in my own head, I recognized that the way I eat was wrong.  It feels right, and satisfies my cravings at mostly every turn, and I even talk myself into believing it is a reasonable way to eat.  The truth of the matter is that my diet was pushing me towards 300 pounds, regardless of my feelings towards it.

Diets are the Worst.

This is when I fell into a brief moment of despair. I knew the routine.  I'd diligently do SouthBeach dieting for a month, then fall back into my old ways.  I'd resolve to home cooking all our meals from scratch, then a week later be exhausted from work and commuting and polish off half a large Papa John's pizza and think nothing of it.  I know me.  I know I can't stick with things once the gung-ho attitude fizzles away.  So logically, I thought to cut out the middle man (the diet) and just give up.  I'll always be fat.  Maybe I just won't have children.  I will live a shortened lifespan and have to take a cocktail of pills and shots forever.  Oh, well.  I just can't do this, and I am tired of lying to myself and thinking that I can.

I snapped out of it and cleaned up the crumpled plates and ripped streamers from my pity party of one.  I reflected upon my feelings and the root of this anguish I was experiencing.  I was right about one thing - history has shown that 100% of the time I will quit a diet.  So I knew a traditional diet was out.  It would be a waste of time and I am not in the mood for wasting more time.  Something about turning 35 and thinking things will only get harder from here, makes you want to solve stuff once and for all.

If You Do Anything, Make it Something You Can do Forever

Do you watch the TLC show My Big Fat Fabulous Life ?  Well last season, Whitney, the show's obese protagonist goes head to head with a comedienne over weight issues and the body positivity movement.  A particular point in the exchange Whitney proclaims 'I've done it before, I've lost 100 pounds!' and the comedienne shoots right back 'Well you aren't there now!'  Regardless of my opinions of the body positive movement, the comedienne has a point.  If you couldn't keep the weight off, does the success of your 100 pound weight loss even matter?  It is a little like blogging too.  If I write one epic post, then leave the blog dormant for a year, what good is that?

So in typical Natalie Hinkley fashion, I dipped only a toe in at first, which is my preferred avenue of procrastination.  I decided only to track my food on the My Fitness Pal app.  I was going to eat whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, but I had to commit to tracking everything 100%.

It was the New Year, so I was excited about being healthy, so I thought I bet I can stay pretty close to the calories MFP says I should have to lose weight.  So I had an egg Mcmuffin for breakfast instead of a bacon egg and cheese biscuit.  Saves about 150 calories.  Egg Mcmuffins aren't as tasty as bacon egg and cheese biscuits, but I totally wouldn't turn my nose up at one.  Every day since, I get my morning Mcmuffin, and I am on day 45.

Then when I realized that getting fast food every day for lunch leaves me only about 300-400 calories for dinner.  So I started bringing my lunch.  I don't even get fancy about it, I just grab about 500 calories of snacks and fruit on my way out the door.  I am not one to get up early and prepare lunch, I just like sleep too much.  So my lunch is usually an apple I cut up at work with a jif-to-go peanut butter cup, a stick of string cheese, and some pretzels or nuts.  Everything is grab and go.  Food is my love language, so I would rather save up calories for a nice dinner I share with my husband than to use them up while I sit at my desk and read twitter for an hour.

These are all changes I made to things that I wasn't giving much thought to in the first place.  When I made my breakfast and lunch selections all I concerned myself with was, what would taste good right now? 

The Little Things Add Up 

What I am learning is that tracking and making little tweaks to stay with my calorie budget on most* days is actually working and I am losing weight!

*When I say 'most' I will do my darnedest during the week and relax a bit on the weekend.  Or if I have an over indulgent day or two (such as Valentine's Day and all the candy!) I will be more strict on myself to get it back in control so that the week on average is still resulting in a loss.

Nothing I have done thus far has felt drastic.  Even when I knew we were going out for dinner and I really wanted the 1200 calorie entree and I powered through the lightest of lunches to be able to go nuts at dinner, it was just one day.  Plus if it is Saturday and we want to go get ice-cream or the giant pretzel at the mall, I just have it.  This is what reasonably cutting back while still enjoying life looks like.

Rethinking Big Goals

In the past, I would get hung up on what was possible.  If the Biggest Loser Contestants can lose 150 pounds in a year, then maybe I could too?  I'd make monthly goals on January 1 that would have me at goal weight by Christmas morning.  I hate telling myself not to dream big or be optimistic, but look where it has gotten me?  I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life.  Dreaming big and having supersized goals is not the solution for me.  

The new approach is to not worry about the goal at all right now.  My motto is consistency at all costs, and let the chips (or pounds) fall as they may.  It very well may take me three years to get to my goal weight.  It may even take ten.  I've even considered the thought that maybe I will make every 'I'm willing to do this forever' change and still be overweight.

I assume if I am losing weight and feeling happier with how I look, my attitudes towards what I am willing to do will adjust.  It is something I decided I will evaluate at the point of hitting a plateau.  If I am stuck at 250 for two weeks, maybe getting rid of the egg muffins will be something I am willing to do.  Who is to say?  I certainly don't need to get rid of them now, so I will cross that bridge if and when I get there.

Even though I am only down about 7 pounds so far, I am so very proud that I have been consistent with my tracking and calorie counting.  If I can keep it up, then I should be about 241 on Christmas morning.  It is not flashy catch me on the front page of reader's digest amount of weight loss, but that is fine.  Going about it in the ways I have before would mean I am 300+ for the year 2018, and I am not about that life.

Weekly Weigh In #6

Monday, February 13, 2017

This week was FABULOUS!!  It is amazing how results happen when you do what you are supposed to do...  This week I am down 2.8 pounds from last week, and that is an increase from my lowest weight of the week.  I typically weigh myself every day just because I like to know the immediate results of my eating from the day before.  The beneficial thing is that when the scale goes up and I know I ate bad, I will get back in control instead of not knowing for a whole week.  Everyone is different though, and if you are the type to get crazy over the number on the scale, just weigh weekly or monthly, or not at all!

Wins for the week:

I lost 2.8 pounds!

I made a deal with myself last week.  I said "Natalie.  If you don't stay within your calorie range on the My Fitness Pal app, which is plenty generous, then you have to get up early and get on the rowing machine the following day. The choice is yours, but you aren't getting away scot free anymore."  Would you believe it, it worked?!  I stayed within my goals all week!  I had a 'pic or it didn't happen' moment too where I was at 284.8.

Do you like my Microsoft Paint pedicure?

What?!  It was great, and I felt really happy that I was able to stay accountable to myself.  That was a totally new feeling.

'Cheat' weekends weren't so bad

I got indulgent on Saturday.  Aaron bought cookies and we went to Chick-fil-a of breakfast, and I ended up about 500 calories over the limit.  I let myself go a little crazy on Saturdays because that is when I take my new Trulicity shot.  Friday and Saturday are the days I have the biggest appetite because the drug from the previous week has pretty much worn off and the new shot hasn't kicked in yet.  Sundays are the days I am usually not feeling so hot and eating 2 bites of anything feels like I am Thanksgiving level fullness.  So I get plenty of good eating in on Saturday and by Sunday it corrects itself.

Regardless of drug issues, I am making good choices about portions and food choices for the most part.  We spend a lot of meals eating out over the weekend (need to work on that) but I didn't go for anything terrible like fried stuff or things covered in a mountain of cheese (<3).  Even still, I am sure this paired with the not drinking as much water as I do during the week is why I am always up a bit on the scale come Monday morning.  I can't be mad about it though!

Expanding wardrobe

Okay, so I am not swimming in my clothes or anything at this point but I can fit back into shirts that were getting a little snug.  The shirt today, which I affectionately call my pioneer woman shirt (lol), was in the 'do not wear' pile because it doesn't have any stretch.  I could get it on my body, but if I needed to reach forward I would have  hulked right out of it.  But today I tried it on and it was back to fitting well.  Yay!  Tonight I may need to go through my closet and see what else may fit.

The week went well and I lost a great deal of weight, so I don't want to focus on the negatives too much.  However, this very well could have been a fluke, so it is good to know the whole picture, yes?

The ugly:

We ate out SO MUCH

I just wasn't into meal planning or grocery shopping last week.  I blame trulicity.  While it is a wonderful thing and helping me so much, it is tough just wanting to lay around on Sunday because my stomach feels whack.  I have stuff to do here.  So we got Pei Wei, then we ate sandwiches, then we decided to use out Chili's gift card, then I picked up tacos, then it was Friday, so we got a pizza.

I am not one to diss eating out, I love it.  But we should be reasonable.  Restaurant food is pretty sodium filled and you can never really be certain if your calorie counts are going to be accurate.  Not to mention I knew we'd be eating out so I would kind of starve myself all morning so I'd have 1000 calories left for dinner.  Whatever, right?  Except it is hard on my body to eat so much at once and also late in the day.  It really reflected in my AM blood sugar readings.  They were on the higher side of normal all week.

Too much sugar on the weekends

I wish my indulgences weren't so predictable.  Granted, I get housework and walking while shopping done, so maybe it gets burned off.  I didn't notice much of an increase in my blood sugar levels, but I know eating 4 mini candy bars in one sitting isn't good for me.  I am not a macros tracker person, but this is the one metric that I need to watch.

That's the rundown for this week!  Here are the progress pics:

This week I am going to stay the course but try to eat home cooked instead of all the take out.  Aaron and I's Valentines plans are low key, just going to cook a nice meal at home and hopefully not eat a bunch of candy.  The fact that I am in very close striking range of being a full 10 pounds down in keeping my willpower strong.  Here is hoping I have another successful week!

Weekly Weigh In #5

Monday, February 6, 2017

As I am writing this at approximately 10 AM the day following Superbowl Sunday, I am STILL FULL from all the stuffing of my face that happened yesterday evening.  Indigestion aside, I regret nothing!  This week went so-so.  I was not the best eater.  I didn't start exercising.  I think I am due for a good recommitting to my goals sesh.  The tracking doesn't get old really, but I am far too lenient on myself for going over my calorie goals.  I log my food and see I am over a couple hundred calories and just shrug at the screen, like 'who cares?'.  

Wins for the week:

I had one good day.

Last Tuesday I was under my calorie goal by 18 calories!  Focusing on the positive here.

Back in the 280's

Now that my hormonal related bloating is behind me, I am feeling it in my clothes and the scale.  My bad eating for the week didn't help matters, but seeing a decrease in the scale is just motivation to keep up the good work I am doing.  

The house is pretty much dessert free

This is giving me great hope for the week.  The girl scout cookie plague that fell upon our household has been eaten lifted.  I haven't bought any junk at the store.  I even made my favorite dessert ever, dirt cake, for the Superbowl gathering at my brother's house and just ate one bowl and left the rest with him.  With temptation stifled I will be better equipped to navigate the week without problems.

Setbacks and Challenges:

The house is dessert free because I ate all the dessert.

Dessert is my trigger food.  If there are cookies or candy around, I will eat them all until they are gone.  My inner voice starts innocently enough with just wanting a little sweet treat to end the meal.  It isn't like I go into full cookie monster mode and am just cramming cookies into my face at alarming speeds.  Reflecting on the times overindulging happens, I go into the dessert eating process with no real plans to control myself.  I think deep down I just tell myself to be 'carefree' and enjoy myself before I even eat one bite.  I don't store the cookies away in the kitchen and just get three on a plate and go sit down and enjoy them.  No, I grab the entire box and bring it to sit on the sofa with me.  Then it is just repeating the cookie into my mouth motion until I either run out of cookies or get too full to go further.  It is mindless, it feels compulsive and it becomes a calorie bomb that ruins the entire day of positive work.  

I don't know that now is the best time to try to figure out my compulsive dessert eating problem, but rather keep them out of the house so I am not in a position to worry about it.  I want to be a person who doesn't feel the need to eat dessert at the end of the day.  

I over-ate every day except one.

It is hard to be mad about this since I technically lost weight this week.  I get too lenient on myself and tell myself 'aside from Sunday, you were still below the calories to maintain your current size, so it is okay.  A deficit is a deficit'.  

Here is the math on that, in case you are curious for your own sake (don't be Natalie and use it for making excuses...)

1. Find your BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate.  This is the amount of calories you burn in a day with no activity at all aside from your body processes like keeping your heart beating and your lungs working, etc.

2. Determine your calorie needs with the Harris Benedict Formula. This will factor in your activity levels.  Someone who runs daily is going to need more calories to maintain their weight than someone sitting in an office all day.  I calculate my number at the sedentary level, obviously.

2043.75 x 1.2 = 2452.50 

So in order to maintain 289 pounds as a 5'3" 35 year old sedentary female, I need to eat an average of 2452 calories a day.  

The goal calories that My Fitness Pal calculated for me is 1720, so when I eat 2200 for the day, I figure I still won't gain weight based on the math.  Also why I am 6 weeks into the year and only down 4 pounds, which isn't so impressive.  

I need to find a way to be kind and forgiving of myself when I have setbacks without being so lax that I just end up spinning my wheels and not going anywhere.  I am trying to brainstorm a little reward I can get myself for staying in my calorie ranges all week, or some sort of 'punishment' if I am continuously going over.  Maybe I will force myself to get up early and get on the rowing machine if I eat too much the day before, and if I do well all week then next Monday I will buy something from my amazon wish list.  That may not be sustainable in my budget every week, but something to motivate me to stay on track.  Hopefully with some more pounds down next week I wont need to have such tactics to get me to do what I am supposed to do!

Isn't dark blue on dark blue super slimming??  
Please send style help.  I leave the house thinking this looks fine.