Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting Healthy - For Realz This Time!

In early September 2010 I wrote my heart out on this blog, and it basically boiled down to the fact that I was overweight (obese if you want to be technical!) and sick of it - ready to do all it took to change my ways. You can read the whole (though brief) series here. In eight weeks I lost 8 pounds. Slow but steady. Then came week 9 - and the aftermath of Halloween - i.e. - CANDY. I lost all self control and within about a month I gained back all of the weight. Craziness.

Fastforward to mid-March 2011. My 5'3" frame was hauling around 182 pounds. 13 pounds into the obese category if computing BMI. Not good. I couldn't take it anymore. Beyond sick of myself was putting it lightly. So this time I got serious. No-excuses-take-no-prisoners-serious. It's been 6 months now and I haven't looked back. I honestly think Jason is sometimes taken aback - seriously amazed and bewildered - that I haven't dropped the ball on this for the umpteenth time. In the last 180 days I have lost 23 pounds. I'm now down to 159 pounds. Just about one pound/week. Occasionally I am bummed because it seems like the weight is coming off S.O. S.L.O.W. But then I snap out of it and think of how far I've come. I still have about 20 pounds to lose, and that will just put me into the high end of normal on the BMI scale.

The keys to my weight loss? Very basic stuff everyone already knows but often just doesn't have the willpower to put it into place. There's a saying that goes something like this, "People won't change until the pain of not changing is worse than the change itself." This is so true. Here's a few things I've done that helped me lessen the pain...
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. This can not be overstated. I exercise 6 days a week - 7 if I can find the time. And on the days I don't - Jason will attest to this - I'm not the nicest person ever. I have seriously trained my body to crave it. Even if it is something as simple as taking a brisk 2 mile walk, it helps me stay on track.
  • Don't Over-Eat; But Do Eat More, Smaller Meals Per Day. OK, this is like Losing Weight 101. But it is so true. I just don't pig out anymore. If I want crackers, I don't open a box and sit on the couch and chow down. Now I open the box, pull out 4 crackers, and put the box away immediately. It really seems to help me. I also usually eat about 4-5 smaller meals (or even large snacks) per day instead of 3 larger meals. This means I get to plan my next meal only 2 or 3 hours out instead of 5 or 6! That's exciting stuff! Especially for someone who likes to think about food.
  • I've eaten the same breakfast 99% of the last 180 days, and I eat a salad about 6 days a week. My delectable breakfast bowl consists of (from the bottom up) mixed fruit (think pears and bananas, or a variety of berries); plain low-fat yogurt; dry oatmeal or a high fiber, low sugar cereal; raisins or dried cranberries; almonds; and cinnamon. I have yet to tire of this. It is that good. And lunch or dinner (but not both) is a dark green (almost always spinach) salad. But with loads of other goodness added on top: whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, black beans, sauteed onions & walnuts, cucumbers, feta, low-fat dressing, etc., etc. Jason partakes of these salads as well, and again - we have yet to tire of them. Not even close.
The payoff for all of this "work?" As if the 23 pounds aren't enough? I'll let the labs speak for themselves:
  • Cholesterol: 8/05/2010 - 198; 9/19/2011 - 164
  • Triglycerides: 2010 - 110; 2011 - 62
  • HDL: 2010 - 51; 2011 - 50
  • LDL: 2010 - 125; 2011 - 101
  • Risk Ratio: 2010 - 2.45; 2011 - 2.03
My heart was literally jumping for joy when I read these numbers. A 34 point drop in my total cholesterol?!?! An almost 50 point drop in my triglycerides?!?! This less eating, more exercise thing really DOES work! Go figure! Here's to staying the course. I have no intention of dropping the ball this time. My health is too precious. -Carrie

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heritage Harvest Festival Follow-Up

Last year I pined over my inability to attend the Heritage Harvest Festival held at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello near Charlottesville, VA. Well this year I am happy to report that numerous members of my family made the trek, and my brother just wrote a post about it over at Point 09 Acres. Take a gander at his post - lots of great pictures of Jefferson's gardens.