Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why you need to EAT to lose weight (and LIVE)!

Yes, you read that correctly.  You need to eat to lose weight, and you need to eat often.  I have come across several blogs and post about women wanting to lose weight, so they decided they are going to fast or severly restrict their caloric intake.  Fasting is fine, if it is for the right reasons, like when you fast to become closer to God, but fasting can cause weight gain, severe health problems, and even death.

Every individual has a basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories a person needs to eat on a daily basis for bodily functions, such as digestion of food, blood circulation, and breathing.  Using a special formula, everyone can find out their BMR.  Click this link to use the BMR calculator.  To learn more about BMR, metabolism, and other items that may affect your weight, click this link.  For example, my BMR is 1,645 calories.  This means, I have to eat 1,645 calories a day to survive.  As your age goes up and your weight goes up or down, your BMR will change, although these changes will be small.

So, when you fast, your body will use the stored fat for energy, which will cause weight loss, and it can be dramatic for some people.  This is great, right?  Absolutely, not.  After fasting, individuals will begin to eat normally again.  Since these individuals have been fasting, their bodies will go into starvation mode, and when they start eating again, their body will store most of the calories that they eat because their body does not know when it is going to get food again, which leads to weight gain.

The best way to lose weight healthily is to create a calorie deficit by eating the right kinds of foods, cutting calories, and exercising.  This means eating whole wheats, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, while drinking water, milk, and other low calorie/sugar drinks, such as Powerade Zero.  In addition to eating healthy, you need to create a calorie deficit.  This means that the calories you eat in addition to the calories you burn during exercise should be less than the calories you need to maintain your current weight.  To find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, click this link.  This link has many other calculators and tips for weight loss and staying healthy.

The main thing to remember is that 1 pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose a pound a week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories.  If you want to lose 2 lbs a week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 7,000 calories. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thankful Tuesday!

I missed out on the post last week, but that is okay.  I am always thankful and gracious for the blessings that I receive from our LORD and SAVIOR!

*I am thankful for the rain and the storms b/c they remind me how powerful our LORD is!

*I am thankful that I received confirmation that all is good with my Associate's Degree application, it has been processed, and I will have my degree in hand in a couple of weeks!

*I am thankful for the weight and inches that I have lost, and for the knowledge, strength, endurance, and health benefits that I have gained through this new journey in my life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Expectations & Realizations (part 1)

So, you want to lose weight?  Yes, of course, would be the response of most of the individuals that I know.  I, too, want to lose weight, and over the past 8 weeks, I have lost several pounds and inches, and I have learned a lot.  I have had many expectations, both in the past and now, with my eating, exercise, and weight loss.  I have also had many realizations from what I used to do, to what I do now, and what I have learned through it all.

Many of the expectations I used to have about weight loss, working out, and eating have gone out the window.  I have completely changed the way I think, act, and live, which has helped me tremendously on my journey to becoming a better, healthier person.  In turn, I am recognizing that many things I used to think were bad, are not (but, some still are), and I am arming myself with the knowledge to create a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle for myself, and hopefully, for others as well.

Expectation #1: I am going to lose weight quickly (over night, in a week, or in a month).
How many times have you jumped straight ahead, full force into a new diet plan or weight loss regimen?  Too many to count, right?  Well, that used to be how I was.  I used to think that the fat would just "melt" right off of me (as you so often hear in commercials about weight loss pills, equipment, or videos).  But, then, a few days, weeks, or months into this new program, I would give up because I was not seeing results.  Has this ever happened to you?

Realization #1:  Weight loss takes time and effort, and results are not seen immediately.
Results will not be seen overnight.  As a matter of fact, depending on your size and how much weight you want to lose, you may not see results within the first month or even a couple of months.  But, trust me, if you are eating right and exercising, the results are there.  Many times you will feel the results more than you will see them.  You will feel stronger, healthier, and happier for sticking with it and changing your life.

Expectation #2:  I need to eat a low-carb (or fat, or sugar) diet to lose weight.
How often have you jumped on the newest fad diet, such as the low-carb diet, the low-fat diet, or the high-protein diet?  How often has this worked for you?  Not very often, huh?  This is because when we restrict ourselves too much, we will want everything that we are not eating, therefore failing with our diet plan because we are eating foods that are considered restricted with the plan we are on.

Realization #2:  I can eat carbs, fats, and sugars.  I just have to eat them in moderation and eat the right kinds.
Carbs and fats can be good for you, if you are eating the right kinds.  Complex carbs fill you up and turn into energy to help you maintain daily bodily functions, while most simple carbs turn into sugar, which in turn causes you to gain fat and weight.  Complex carbs are brown rice, wheat bread, and vegetables.  Some simple carbs that can help you lose weight because they help you fill full are fruits and dairy products.  To read more about why carbs are good for you, check out this article.

Expectaion #3:  This is going to be easy b/c I know what I need to do and how to do it.
So, you think it is going to be easy in the beginning.  But, as you progress through your diet plan or weight loss program, you start to lose motivation and struggle while working out.  You really want to give up, at this point, but you shouldn't.  Everyone goes through struggles and wants to give up at one point or another, even me.  To read about some of my struggles, check out this blog post.

Realization #3:  Changing your life for the better may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
So, you had some struggles, you ate something you shouldn't have, or you skipped your workout today.  This means you should just give up, right?  Absolutely not.  Just because you slip up, don't quit.  You have to motivate yourself and push through the slip ups and mistakes.  Never give up.  Read this blog post to learn more about slip ups & staying motivated.

*So that this blog post does not get too long, I am breaking it down into more than one post (note the title), and I will continue to post my (our) expectations & realizations about weight loss, dieting, and exercise.*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I have lost 15.2 lbs total, as of May 21, 2011! (Updated Picture)!

Since my cousin insisted, and I love to please my family, I have posted this updated pic of my weight loss.  The pic on the left is from November 6, 2010, and I was in the 190's.  The pic on the right is from today, May 21, 2011, and I have lost 15.2 lbs, so I am at 183.6 lbs.  I have also lost of 15 inches (total) off my body! :)

I have 4 more pounds to lose before I will be considered overweight, not obese anymore, and I will have lost 10% of my original body weight!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 8 Calorie Deficit, Exercise Journals, Measurements, & Totals for eight weeks!

For this week, I had some pretty stressful events in my life, which did affect me physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I did not workout as much as I would have liked to, but I am not giving up just because I missed a couple of days of exercise.

During this past week, I only worked out on three days, mainly because of the stress, sickness, and time restraints that were placed on me this week.  In addition, it is getting harder on me now to burn calories and get my heart rate up to what it needs to be for calorie and fat burning results, but I did lose over a pound, so I cannot complain too much because weight lost is always good for me! :)

I did eat a little more than I would have liked to this week.  So, my calorie deficit was only a little over 3,500, which is a pound of weight loss, so that is still good.
Over the past 8 weeks, I have lost over 13 lbs and 14 inches off my body.  It is such an amazing feeling to see these numbers and to feel and see the results on my body.  I have lost 4.5 inches off my waist alone, and I can tell the difference, majorly!  I am slowly shrinking, as are most of my numbers, including body fat percentage, bmi, weight loss, and most of the areas I am measuring.  I did not lose any inches over the past four weeks in my butt or chest area, but that is fine.  Also, I gained a half inch in my arms, but believe me, that is from lifting weights and gaining muscle, so I am STOKED!

In eight weeks, I have accomplished a lot more than I could ever write about or express in words.  But, for the items I can write about, here goes:
*I have gained so much strength, endurance, and confidence (which is the best)!
*I am able to jog and run now, which I could not do when I first started.
*I am continually surprising myself with how much I can do, including jogging for longer periods of time, climbing stairs faster and easier, and lifting heavier weights than I thought I could.

Listed below are the miles that I have tracked throughout the past 8 weeks, not including weight lifting, stretching, and other random exercises!

Walking/Jogging (Outdoors) = 68.9 miles
Treadmill = 4.5 miles
Bike = 4.1 miles
Total Miles = 77.5
Plus, countless miles on the stairmill and elliptical!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My struggle through relationships and love!

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to get married, settle down in my own home, and have children.  This was my dream as a little girl, and as I got older, it did not change, like others' dreams did.  I still want to find my soulmate, buy a house, and have the perfect little family.  Although, I know perfect is not possible, I believe with all my heart that the rest is.

I thought that by the time I was in my early 20's, I would be married, and already have at least one child.  Well, that has not happened so far.  I am 24, and I am not even in a relationship right now.  Sometimes I think, where did I go wrong?  What did I do to mess up my future and dream?

I have had many relationships, some long, some short.  My most recent relationship was almost 4.5 years long, and we lived together for the first 3.5 years.  It was never perfect, but I thought that we would be together forever, at first.  Then, it got crazy between us, and we were headed in completely different directions.  I wanted to settle down, and he, well he wanted other things.  Again, I wondered why this was happening, and what I had done wrong (even though I broke off our relationship)?

But, then I think about it, and I realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life, right now.  I realize that my plan was not God's plan, and His plan is always the best plan for our lives.

After I broke up with my most recent boyfriend, I went back to college.  If I had not been single, I would not have been able to complete what I did through school because of the relationship.  In addition, I would not be as close to God as I am now, if I were still in a relationship.

I have learned so much through the past year of being single.  I now know that I can accomplish anything, as long as it is God's will, and I have Him on my side.  I know that I do not need a guy in my life for me to be happy and loved.  I know that I am a strong, independent woman, and I have learned to trust in God, ALWAYS, no matter what is happening in my life at the time.

I have been through struggles, I have had my ups and downs, but I now have faith in God, and I am happy where I am at the moment.  Although, I am still praying for my soulmate, but I am waiting on God's time, not mine!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have you ever just wanted to give up? *I have*

If you have ever just wanted to give up, I know the feeling.  Have you ever tried and failed, or tried and gave up quickly?  Well, it is time to stop quitting, giving up, and push yourself to the limits! 

Yesterday, I just could not get motivated at first.  I went to the gym with all hopes of doing HIIT for an hour.  I had a plan, and I was going to put it to action.  First, I was going to get on the stairmill, then the bike, then the treadmill or elliptical.  Well, I did do this, but not for an hour.

I started with a 10 minute hill interval on the stairmill.  Well, I did fine & felt great, until I got on the bike.  I had the intention of doing 20 minutes on the bike, but I could not do it.  I did almost 10 minutes on the bike before I got off, so physically, emotionally, and mentally drained.  I just felt that I could not go any further. 

But, I went on and got on the elliptical.  I told myself, "I am going to do at least a 30 minute workout, and I have only done about 20 minutes!"  So, I set the elliptical for 20 minutes, in hopes that I could push through the yucky feeling I was having, and I did (for the most part)!  I finished the 20 minutes on the elliptical, and I did feel a little better afterwards.

After finishing my workout, I was drenched in sweat from the pure mental and emotional effort that went into my workout.  In addition, I was worn out and exhausted.  After I got home, I cooked supper, ate, and was extremely tired and sleepy by 6:30 P.M.  That is crazy!  But, I forced myself to stay up until at least 9 P.M., and by that time, I was not as tired as before, so I watched one of my recorded shows, and I went to bed around 11:30 last night.

So, the point of the story is, sometimes we are not just physically drained and exhausted, it can become emotional and mental.  And, emotional and physical exhaustion can wear you down and make you feel extremely tired, sick, and sleepy!  If you ever feel this way, try to push through and motivate yourself to keep going & never, ever give up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thankful Tuesday!

It's back!  I cannot believe it has been a week, it has gone by so fast.  I am super excited, though, to list more blessings that I have to be thankful for.  The Lord is always there for me, even when I am not there for myself.  So, I am still thankful for all the things that were listed in my last Thankful Tuesday post, which can be found here.  In addition to these blessings, I have many more this week, including:

* I have now lost a total of 12.4 lbs.  Thank you, Lord! (To read about my recent weight loss, click here.)

* I live in a country where I am free to be me, free to serve and worship the Lord, and free to go to church, say pretty much what I want, and free to live.

* I have recently finished (on Sunday) my last two classes for my Associate's Degree in Elementary Education.  I am just waiting on my final grades, so that I can apply for my degree.

These three items are the main blessings I am thankful for today, but there are many, many more, and I will probably update this post to include those as the day goes on!

Thank you Lord for all your blessings, even those I do not recognize at first!

Week 7 Calorie Deficit & Exercise Journals!

So, I do not think I did too bad this past week, especially since I was not tracking everything on a daily basis.  I did write it all down, though, and I entered it into my spreadsheets yesterday.  I did stay below 2,000 calories everyday, but there were a couple of days that I was over my 1,800 calorie goal that I wanted to meet.  Not too shabby!  And, to top it all off, I have lost a total of 12.4 pounds.  I thought that I was going to be stuck at 188 forever, because normally I lose 10 lbs, then I give up or quit because I usually hit a plateau.  Well, not this time!  I pushed right on through, and proved to myself and others, that this time, it is not just a diet or weight loss plan to me, it is my life, and I am determined to become happier, healthier, stronger, and more full of energy!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the beautiful mothers, I want to say thank you and Happy Mother's Day!  Our service today at church was about six great women and mothers in the Bible, and it was amazing.  Mothers are made in the image of God, as is everyone, but Moms lead their children in God's path and will!

Thank you to my Mom for always being there for me, supporting me, and pushing me to do my best.  I love you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National Day of Prayer 2011

Today, May 5th, is the National Day of Prayer.  It always occurs on the first Thursday in May, which happens to be Cinco de Mayo.  I thought about today and how so many people will be celebrating by going to bars and drinking, even if they are not of Hispanic origin or from Mexico.  Well, I just found out that today is National Day of Prayer, and this is a much better way to celebrate today.

The link to the website is under National Day of Prayer.  Through this website, you can learn the history behind the day, the mission, and how you can get involved.

Today, I will be praying for many items, including the nation, the government, the current education system, and many other personal requests that I know about.  Please join me today & PRAY!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thankful Tuesday!

So, I was reading my cousins' blogs, which can be found under Pink Pixie and By His Grace, and they turned me onto Thankful Tuesdays!  I just cannot resist the opportunity to praise and thank our LORD for all HE has done for me!

I am so thankful for all my blessings, and I try to thank the Lord each and every day for all I have and even for the things I do not have.

So, for this week, I am extremely thankful for:

*My family and friends - They are the greatest and the support that I receive from them is amazing.

*I have lost 10 lbs, which without God, would not have been possible, because I do not have the strength to do it on my own.

*I have food, clothes, a roof over my head, and a warm or cool (whichever I prefer) bed to sleep in.

*I am a full-time student, and I am about to finish my last two classes (on Sunday) for my Associate's Degree in Elementary Education!

*I attend an awesome church, with a terrific Pastor, who understands that we are all sinners, he does not judge, and he always tries to make you laugh.

Well, I could go on and on about how much I am blessed by the Lord, but I will leave this post as is for now!  Believe me, next week, I will have much more to post as my blessings, that I do not deserve, but the Lord loves me anyway!

My new workout plan!

For every day, I have come up with some names for my workouts to make it more interesting!  Tell me what you think.

Muscle Madness Monday (Legs)
Tortuous Tuesday (HIIT)
Wicked Wednesday (Abs/Core/Back)
Tremendous Thursday (Cardio)
Fit-girl Friday (Upper Body - Arms/Shoulders/Chest)
Super Saturday (Stairmill)
Sweet & Sour Sunday (Cheat Day)

These are just general workouts, but I usually do cardio everyday except Sunday, so that I can keep my heart rate up, even while I am doing major muscle workouts.  I hope that these will keep me more motivated to do my workouts throughout the week!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Has my hard work paid off?

That is the ultimate question!  I sure hope so.  For the past six weeks, I have carefully documented every bite I have taken.  I have logged every food and drink that has entered my body.  Well, let's hope that it has worked, because for this week I am putting it to the test.  I am not going to record any of my food and drink intake this week into my spreadsheets.  I am still writing it down and acknowledging what I eat and drink, but I do not know how many calories I have taken in, and I will not know for this week, until Sunday night or Monday morning.

So, I believe I have done well so far.  I know which foods are healthiest and healthier for me, and I know about how much I need to eat on a daily basis to be within my calorie range.  I have lost around 10 lbs, although I do have fluctuations in my weight.  Normally, I get to the 10 lbs lost area, and I give up, but that will not happen this time.  I am so determined to have a better, happier, and healthier lifestyle, so I will not give up.  I will go through struggles, weight plateaus, cravings, and pain, but I will make it through!  I have an awesome support system with friends and family, and I have God on my side, and I know His will always prevails!

Wish me luck, and please pray that I have learned what I need to know to make it through without having to continuously document everything that I eat on a daily basis!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 6 Exercise Journals & Calorie Deficit!

This week I had a rehearsal and wedding to attend, so I did eat some things that I shouldn't have, but it is okay.  I am still having some weight fluctuations, also, but I feel so much better every week that I continue on my journey to become happier and healthier!