I’d Say It Works…

Three weeks ago, the day right after Christmas, Jason and I got right back to work losing weight. As you know, because he’s been writing the last few blog posts, Jason’s been kicking my butt on weekly loss since then. This isn’t to say I haven’t been losing a decent amount of weight. He’s just been losing so much more!

  • Jason -0.8; -86.6 total; -8.2 since Christmas
  • Jenny -2.6; -62 total; -7.8 since Christmas

As you can see, Jason didn’t lose as much this week, but he’s still kicking my butt! In fact, when you average out the last three weeks, Jason has a -2.7 average to my -2.6. And I’m not complaining. Before the holidays, my weekly average had settled in around -1.4. It wasn’t bad. It was consistent and I was working hard to get back to where I had been two years ago.

What’s significant this time around? Simple Start. The first week getting back to healthy eating, a decent loss is kind of expected. For the last two out of three weeks, though, we’ve been doing the new Simple Start introduction to Weight Watchers that Jason has already talked about.

So, I’m going to talk about what happens after your two week Simple Start.

After the two weeks, you basically have a choice to make. You can:

  • Continue with a similar program by doing Simply Filling, which includes more food choices than Simple Start (basically anything that is a Power Food, designated in their literature and apps with a green triangle)
  • You can switch to tracking, which doesn’t limit what kinds of food you eat, but you have to weigh/measure and track everything (which Weight Watchers can teach you about)
  • Get the best of both worlds by doing a combination! This is what we’re going to do, so it’s what I’m going to talk about most.

Back in the day when Jason and I first joined Weight Watchers, they had the Points program (tracking) and something called Core (eat specific foods until satisfied). The trick was, while you could change from one to the other, they wanted you to do so one full week at a time. Not the case anymore. The current versions of these programs are Points Plus and Simply Filling. The awesome part is that you can switch between these day to day during the same week!

Something that Jason and I noticed is that while we did really well five days out of seven, two days each week, we were just so done with the limited food list. I needed real cheese & sugar and we went off plan. Not terrible, but enough that I wonder if we might have done even better than the over 5 lbs we each lost during the two weeks of Simple Start. I need to get back in control. I need to get back to solid meal planning that we can stick with.

So this week? My meal plan is going to include mostly Simply Filling meals, because it really has helped us get off to a great start this year! Instead of getting tired of my meal plan, though, we’re also going to plan at least two days where we’ll switch to tracking, so that we can work in some meals that, while not unhealthy, don’t work as well for Simply Filling, to keep things fresh and interesting. This way, I still get to enjoy the things that Simply Filling doesn’t like, but I get to be in control, instead of feeling like I “broke my diet” by eating forbidden foods.

This is why Weight Watchers works. It gives you the flexibility you need to find a way that is sustainable so that it can become a lifestyle NOT a diet. It’s about finding what works for you over the long haul, not just to get to goal. In my life, I need to eat mainly healthy foods. But life happens and I need to know how to handle it by tracking when needed in order to make the plan work around my life, so I don’t get frustrated and go completely off-plan.

So what do I think about Simple Start? It works! We lost weight! But I am so glad that Weight Watchers isn’t only Simple Start. I’m glad they have a plan I can adjust to fit my life.

Holiday Maintenance Mode

In years past we’ve taken “Holiday Hiatuses” and learned to regret them. In fact the last “Holiday Hiatus” we took was the trigger that began our year and a half of being off-plan. It was really difficult to get our momentum going again and I am literally back down to losing the weight I had gained over that six week period of indulgence. I’ve managed to lose most of the subsequent weight I had gained following the hiatus, but I’m still working on the last 7lbs of the 11.6 I gained during the holidays two years ago.

This year? We’re not gaining. Just not gonna happen.

Our first holiday season on Weight Watchers, we did really well, even managing to lose weight. We would love to continue to lose weight this holiday season as well. So far, we’ve managed to avoid any weight gains, and just now encountered our first plateau (a swear word as far as Jason is concerned).

This week:

  • Jason 0.0 (-82.6)
  • Jenny -0.8 (-58.0)

Yep. I managed a small loss, which is why I’m blogging today. Jason stayed the same, which he hates so he’s not exactly in the right frame of mind to write an inspiring blog post. But I think that it’s not a good idea to stay in that mindset. This isn’t a plateau. This is holiday maintenance. So many people believe it’s impossible to avoid gaining weight over the holidays. We’re proof that if you don’t watch it, that’s exactly what will happen. Most people believe it’s impossible to lose weight over the holidays.

And we are doing just that.

True, Jason didn’t have a loss this week, but he sure did last week. We had two holiday dinners and he had a business trip this last week. We weren’t really on plan. But I managed to lose and Jason maintained. That’s good this time of year. This coming week is relatively free of holiday events for us (besides a ladies get together for me, during which there will be treat/recipe exchange – wish me luck, or even better share some of your healthy treats recipes with me!) so it’s a great week for us to focus on staying on our meal plan, hitting the gym (and our dumbbell sets at home) hard, and finding non-food ways to get in the holiday spirit.

We’ve got this – and so do you.

What are your plans for staying on track? Also, I was serious about sharing healthy treat recipes. Give ’em to me!

Squats Are Evil

Seriously.

Wanting some more competitive scores on Fitocracy (points are skewed very heavily towards weight training vs cardio), Jason picked up a couple of weight sets at the store. Mine is a 3, 5, 8lb set and we got to work Saturday morning. If you’d like to see the details of my first strength workout, you can click here. I basically did up to 10 reps each of squats (10, 6, 6), bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder presses, one-arm rows in each of the three weights.

It felt good and I was confident in what I accomplished, so I told him we should do another workout. But not just another workout, we should do MOAR! We shouldn’t just step up the weight, but add two more sets of each to step back down. That workout is detailed here. I rocked it for a newb!

Until I woke up the next morning.

You see, the most recent experience I had had with squats was freshman P.E. in high school. I remembered nothing about pain. Of course, I also hadn’t done 72 weighted squats in one day in my life ever before that either. I died. My legs wouldn’t work. The most frustrating and disconcerting thing was that not only did it hurt to walk, but my legs kept trying to go out from underneath me. My thigh muscles were revolting to such a degree that they just refused to help my knees go the right direction. I hated feeling like I had traded one successful day for what would end up being four days of hardly being able to function.

I drank water, I stretched, I rested my legs and worked my arms, I whimpered and hobbled a lot.

I knew I was retaining water while I healed, so I was starting to get worried about this week’s weigh-in,  especially since I knew it had also impacted the amount of cardio I had just gotten used to doing. I just put my head down, focused on healing and getting in the activity I could do (dumbbells work on arms/shoulders).

Turns out I didn’t need to worry.

  • Jenny -1.8 (-54.8 total)
  • Jason -1.2 (-78 total)

I have exactly 10 more pounds to lose before I’m back to where I was before everything went haywire in our lives two years ago. It’s my goal to lose it by the end of the year. If I work hard, don’t get too caught up in the holidays and make sure I can focus, I feel like I can meet that goal.

I am happy to say that although I still think squats are evil, I haven’t sworn them off entirely. I’ve started working some body weight squats into my evening strength training (6 last night!) and my muscles have healed enough that I was able to complete my usual morning walk at pretty close to my normal pace. This is very good news, as I am starting to train to participate in a local Holiday 5K Fun Run/Walk (as a walker) to benefit Habitat for Humanity in three weeks. This means starting to get up earlier to increase my walk by 50% since I don’t have time to increase distance where my alarm is currently set to go off. But you know what? I can do this.

What goals do you have for the holiday season?

Solo… Again

I’m beginning to think he’s doing it on purpose.

Do you realize that Jason hasn’t blogged for a month and a half? His last post was 8-30. Usually, the person with the best weigh-in result in the one who writes that week’s results blog post. When we tied a few weeks back, he decided that I should be the one to blog. This week, I’m blogging by default because I’m the only one who weighed in. Jason is traveling on business and while he planned to find a local meeting last night, he ended up not leaving work until after 7pm, so it just didn’t happen. He might see if he can find a place to weigh in on Saturday, but I think the most likely scenario is that he’ll just skip this week and weigh in next week. I told him that he owes me. Regardless of weigh in results next week, it’s his turn to blog!

So, here is the result from my weigh in last night:

  • Jenny: -2.0 (-30.4 since back on plan, -50.8 overall)

I am, admittedly, still re-losing weight that I gained during our year and a half of false starts and excuses. Before we de-railed, I had earned my 10% keychain, 25lb medallion, stay and succeed medallion and my 50lb medallion. I was working hard towards my 75lb medallion, but hadn’t earned it yet. I’ve kept my keychain and medallions off to the side since basically losing all right to claim it with having gained back nearly 45lbs of what I had lost. When you re-gain weight, Weight Watchers doesn’t take back the recognition you had earned, because really, you did earn it. I just didn’t feel worthy of it any more.

Now, I can claim everything on my keychain.

2013-10-18 11.51.56

I’ve earned it, not once, but twice over. When you backslide as much as I did, it’s hard to admit failure and have the strength to move past it. It’s much easier to just feel like a failure and not try. Trust me, that attitude cost me about two years of progress on making my health better: the year and a half of ignoring it and a little over another half year catching up. It hasn’t been pretty, facing that reality, but I feel like I finally have the right attitude. I am proud of what I have accomplished since the beginning of the summer when we got back on plan. I’ve lost over 30lbs in 4-1/2 months! I’m hitting the healthy weight loss average right where all the doctors say you should be: 1-2 lbs/week (my average is 1.5). I’m losing at a better/steadier rate than during our first very successful year on Weight Watchers. Back then, I bounced between big losses and small gains. This year, it’s been a pretty steady, consistent rate of loss. It feels healthy, natural and right.

My next big milestone: Getting back to the weight I was before I let life distract me. I have exactly 14lbs to lose to get there. With my current average, I can do this by the end of the year. I’d really like to start 2014 without any of this hanging over my head (or around my hips). This time, I’m losing weight one realistic goal at a time.

For my gamer friends, let’s /dance to celebrate!

Perspective – Lose For Good

With Jason’s disappointment at staying the same again this week (I lost 0.8) I think it’s a really good time to talk about perspective. And Lose For Good.

Every year, Weight Watchers runs a Lose For Good campaign. You’ve probably seen me post or tweet with the hashtag, especially when I was sharing the Lose For Good gift that they sent to me. During this time, Weight Watchers donates up to $500,000 to specific charities based on the number of pounds lost during the campaign as well as social media actions taken on 9/23 for the Lose-A-Palooza media blitz to promote the charities associated with the Lose For Good campaign. In addition to the national campaign, Weight Watchers encourages each local meeting or group to bring in non-perishable food to donate to a local food bank. They encourage each member to bring in one pound of food for each pound of weight they have lost during the 4-week campaign.

Of course any extra is always encouraged.

Last year, Jason and I weren’t really on plan, so we didn’t participate. The year before, though, we had been on plan for a whole year and had made some very significant strides in our weight loss. We donated 116 pounds of food for our combined total weight loss at the time. The first time around, I was totally kicking Jason’s butt on the scale. More than half of our total pounds lost came from my weight tracker.

This year we’re donating 122 pounds of food.

This is the highest combined total for weight loss that we have experienced as a couple. We make no secret about the mistakes that we made last year. I paid for them quite a bit more than Jason did and I’m still working to pay off that “debt” to myself. Jason, however, is losing new weight and has been for quite some time. Instead of me being over half the weight loss that we’re counting for the Lose For Good donation, Jason has done the lion’s share. He is almost 75 pounds of that total on his own.

So while he may be disappointed in staying the same two weeks in a row, what he has done is incredible. It’s inspiring. Even more so, he’s getting smaller and people are noticing! We ran into an old co-worker of his at the store. “Hey, I used to know someone who looked like you, but he was a bigger guy!” At his Granny’s birthday party. “Oooooh, you look so good son!”  Seeing an old friend at the meeting that hadn’t been there for a while, “Oh, you look so good. You’re doing GOOD, aren’t you?”

While the number on the scale does matter for Lose For Good. It’s hardly the only thing that matters in this journey. Inches matter. Fitness matters. Clothes fitting smaller matter. People who you don’t see everyday noticing the difference matters. Sometimes we just need to ignore the number for a while, focus on tracking, eating well, exercising and letting our bodies find balance as they change.

Sometimes we just need a shift in perspective.

Weightloss Super Heroes

I’ve never thought of myself as a Weightloss Super Hero.

A recent experience has me thinking a lot about what it takes to be a super hero. Whenever I think of Weightloss Super Heroes I know, I think of my sister, who is rocking it over in the Fitocracy community, my twitter friend Chelsea who is a crossfit superstar (the girl is a beast, seriously) and my friend B.J. over at Geek Fitness. Each one of them would tell you that they’re still a work in progress (with fitness, isn’t everybody?) but they are leaps and bounds ahead of where I am and they are constant sources of awe and inspiration.

Ok, so this is where I bust out my nerd card. I really started thinking about super heroes as I tried to get to sleep last night. Most of the comic book super heroes (with the notable exceptions of the Tony Starks and Bruce Waynes, who start as billionaires with unlimited resources) start as average, everyday Joes (and Janes) who discover that they have a super power, mutation or fantastic alien genetics. They learn what they can do, try to harness it through trial and error and eventually find a way to help other people with their newfound power.

Like I said, I’ve never thought of myself as a Weightloss Super Hero. I aspire to it. I think maybe I’ll be one in a couple more years, when I have a better handle on this whole health thing. But then a couple of weeks ago, Weight Watchers contacted me via twitter. They had been watching my tweets (blog shares, food photos, meal planning, cheerleading stuff I do all the time) and loved what they saw. They asked for my address to send me a gift. I didn’t expect something as fun as this:

Maybe I had the beginnings of a super hero in me after all. I’ve thought a lot about this over the last couple of days. What did Weight Watchers see in me that I hadn’t seen in myself?

Three years ago, we started this blog as a way to chronicle our journey. We made it public, but I didn’t really think anyone would read it, much less find inspiration here. It was created as a place to be honest about every aspect of our journey, even if we weren’t proud of the results. It was a way to be publicly accountable in a way that just attending meetings and sharing with co-workers wouldn’t give us. Jason and I met online. So much of our identities and connections were here in the ether of the inter-webs. This is where we knew our friends were, where we knew some support could be found.

I never expected as much support as we’ve received. Even through our 18 months of false starts and kitchen remodels. Even through the back-sliding and weight gaining that resulted from it. Even more than the support, the feedback we’ve had on the blog has been incredible and uplifting. It happened again yesterday. Someone told me how much our blog inspired them.

It made me feel like a super hero.

Maybe that’s my Weightloss Super Power. This is an incredibly personal topic and journey. It is often embarrassing to share just how much work there is to do. It’s hard to share disappointment and regret. But I love to inspire. When I was a teenager, I loved being a cheerleader. There was a Freshman squad that didn’t do the tumbling that was required of the JV and Varsity squads. That suited me just fine, because I’ve never really loved athletics. What I did love was getting the crowd riled up and leading the spectators in cheers. I loved the contagious enthusiasm.

The funny thing is that even though the successes we have shared on this blog have been inspiring, I also learned that the honesty we’ve committed to here has also been inspiring. It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Everyone struggles. If we only shared our successes, this blog would be pretty flat and one-sided. We’re real here. You know I’m Jenny and Jason is my husband and our journey has been far from perfect.

You know you’re not alone.

We don’t present perfection. No weightloss journey is perfect in it’s course. One slip-up or a million, doesn’t mean failure. It means you’re human. Maybe our Weightloss Super Power is Truth, even when it is embarrassing or makes us angry. We share it, and when we share it we find a way to be motivated or inspired by our shortcomings and share that inspiration with you.

Jason wasn’t happy about his weigh in results last night. While I lost 1.6 (making my current total 48.0) he stayed the same with a total of 73.2. He hadn’t tracked consistently this week and he’s so close to a significant milestone, he was really disappointed in the lack of progress.

But you know what he did? This morning, when the alarm was going off and his wife was mumbling about not wanting to get up, that we’d get going really well at the gym the next week, he got up. He is determined to have a loss next week and he knows that he needs to step up his activity to get there. Disappointed, he still got up, put on his gym clothes, tied on his shoes, and harnessed the dogs. He had time for a walk/run with the dogs and still made it back in time to fix our breakfast:

2013-09-28 09.54.35

He was my Super Hero this morning, and not just for the breakfast.

He inspires me.

And the Winner is…

Daisey!

Since she can’t type very well, I’m posting this week’s results on her behalf.

“Mama and Papa are totally starving me. I have to make sure I’m around when they put the food in my bowl or I won’t get anything to eat. One time, Mama started picking up my bowl WHILE I WAS STILL EATING! In a panic, I tried to cram as much in my mouth as possible. Of course I had to put it all down on the floor to eat it. I was very glad I gobbled it up fast enough that Sister didn’t steal it when she walked through the kitchen after finishing her own bowl (MUCH LARGER bowl, I’ll have you know). Mama gave my bowl back after Sister was safely locked away in the den. I don’t know why she made me panic for no reason, but I made sure I finished my bowl FAST, in case she took it away again.”

  • Jason -1.0
  • Jenny -1.8
  • Daisey -2.5

“Squirrel!”

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