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A New Kind of Challenge for 2011
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A New Kind of Challenge for 2011

Here's something I've been thinking about, and have decided to commit to doing things, for myself, a different way, this year.

As many of you know, I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis/hypothyroidism, which makes it extremely difficult, if not downright impossible, at times, to lose weight, because it slows the metabolism. I also have hypertension, high cholesterol, and recent blood sugar levels indicate that I'm probably headed for type II diabetes (which also makes it hard to lose); in addition, I've recently learned that I have a bladder issue, caused partially by being overweight; this all means that I'm really headed for trouble, if I don't make some serious changes soon.

I have tried exercising, changing my diet, etc, but nothing works because I tend to get discouraged and don't stay committed long enough. I'm like everyone else - I want the weight to "fall off", even knowing that it's not going to happen, unless I make it.

I've mentioned in other posts, that my doctor recommended the Miami Mediterranean Diet, and I bought the book.  It's really a good diet; however, the recipes don't fit my taste or lifestyle.  In addition, to that, the recipes were all for multiple portions (most served 4-8), and since my husband would not eat that type of food, I'd either have to do the math to cut the recipes down or eat the same meals for days on end.  I'd like to say, that for those who have the time to do the cooking, and would like to get their family on a healthy eating plan, this would be an excellent way to go. I might even try some of the recipes, or adapt them to suit myself .............

When I post to newcomers to the community, I tell them to make "small changes", rather than try to remake their entire life style, which is a daunting task to say the least; whereas small changes are doable.

Those changes might be anything from drinking water instead of soda; having a salad for lunch instead of candy bars; taking a daily walk, rather than sitting in front of the TV.  

It's time for me to start taking my own advice.  I have decided to "challenge" myself with making one small change each week, until I feel like I'm doing everything possible to lose, and keep off, the excess weight.  I invite anyone who is interested to join me in this.  I also invite you to help hold me accountable.

One of the biggest issues I have with my weight, is maintaining proper portion sizes.  I don't believe that we have to deprive ourselves of certain foods, in order to lose weight; I believe that we should be able to eat almost anything we want, so long as we plan for it and keep the portions within reason. I believe that managing my portion sizes better would go a long way toward starting me on the right path.  

My "commitment" for this week is to go out today, to get a kitchen scale, and a good set of measuring cups and spoons, so I can start measuring my portions.  The only thing that will be allowed on an "unlimited" basis will be most veggies and some fruits, along with water, of course.  

This does sound like a daunting task, when taken in its entirety; however, the goal here is go in small steps.  The purchase of the scale and utensils will be the first step.  No, I'm not going to just let it sit on the counter...... lol.  I will begin weighing/measuring right away; I'm just not committing to weighing/measuring EVERYTHING right away.  

If you care to join me, just pick something you want to change, post it, and let's get to work.

Wish me luck...........



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12 Comments Post a Comment
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649848_tn?1357751184
I bought my scale; too bad I haven't eaten anything at home, to use it on, but I will tonight.  I'm going to fix some whole grain pasta, and for once, I'll cook the 2 oz suggested serving!!  

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I have started a goal of amping up my exercise. Every other week, I'm trying to burn 3500 calories. My "off week" will still involve exercise, but I'll relax a little more on physical activity and focus on limiting my portions instead.

I have a lot of other goals I can work towards if I'm able to maintain this, such as:  Stop snacking late at night, cut back on sugar, cut back on sodium (I hate the thought of cutting back on sodium!), eat slower, eat more vegetables and fruit.

Like you, I struggle with weight loss. It's been especially hard lately and seems to get more difficult as the months past. It's like my metabolism is winding to a stop.

So I've set more realistic goals for myself, and I wonder if this may also help motivate you as well.

I don't reward myself for weight loss, but I reward myself for healthy behavior. For instance, I have a new workout outfit hanging in my room. If I can make it a month doing my 3500 calorie a week rotation, I get to wear the new outfit. (My current workout clothes are almost in shreds, so I need to conquer this or I may be in trouble.)

Next month, I come up with a new goal and a new reward.

This may get your mind more focused on the new healthy habits instead of just the weight loss. Healthy habits are a great thing even if the reward of weight loss itself is elusive to some of us.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Do you have hypothyroidism?  That was certainly my downfall.  

I am really trying to watch my portion sizes.  Went to breakfast with my aunt this morning, and while there weren't a lot of things on the menu that are conducive to losing weight; I ordered the "best" stuff I could, then only ate 1/2.  I was pretty proud of myself; and actually left the table filled up.

I was going to add exercise in for this week, so another thing in my favor right now, is that my "winter neighbor" is here from Oregon for the next 3+ months.  She loves to walk, so we go everyday after I get home from work, for about 30-45 minutes.  We don't go really fast, but we do go at a pretty good clip; enough to get me sweating most of the time.

At Christmas and between Christmas and New Year's, I had weighed in the neighborhood of 151-152 ------------------ horrible, I know; but this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I was back to 146.2.  

I'm determined to try not to give up this time.  
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1356580_tn?1294266917
Excellent work on getting your weight back down!

Ordering food at a restaurant is my biggest fear. I usually have to work up to it and plan days ahead if I'm going out to eat. If it's a last minute decision, I will ask for nutritional information when I walk in. Some restaurants have it, some don't.'

But your idea is a great one, and if I get into a pickle, eating only half of what's in front of me is a great idea.

Next week is my 3500 calories/week challenge. I hope I can stick to it. I really want that new workout outfit. I may start making it a weekly challenge instead of every other week. I felt great doing it last week.

Let me know how the walking goes. It's probably the best exercise in existence.

P.S. As for hypothyroidism, it's something I've been considering. I keep a calorie diary and log in faithfully everyday. The weight gain is not consistent with my calorie intake and exercise. I've also tried cutting calories drastically in order to lose weight, but I ended up feeling so sick and weak, I could barely function.

My weight gain usually starts with water retention. My legs swell up, sometimes painfully so, and the weight jumps a couple of pounds overnight, then sticks around forever. It's been a source of a lot of frustration lately.

Right now, I'm in preparation mode before seeing my doctor. I'm combining my calorie and exercise information for the last year, so I'm well-armed.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Well, I did get my weight down, but it bounced back up a tad, but then I've been doing that for the past 3 yrs - lose 3 pounds, gain 2, lose 4 pounds, gain 5, etc, and like you, it's not consistent with my intake/exercise.  

I've tried drastically cutting calories too, but it doesn't work, as I end up with my blood sugar dropping way too low, which leaves me weak, light headed, shaky and nauseous; plus, when I do finally eat a full meal, I am so hungry, I gorge myself. I don't believe one should ever be hungry while trying to lose weight.

Weight gain, swelling, muscle/joint aches, etc are classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, and yes, once gained, the weight seems twice as hard to get rid of.

Based on my own experience, I'd advise you to make an appointment with your doctor for thyroid testing; make sure he tests for Free T3 and Free T4, as well as TSH, and don't accept "normal" for an answer. All too often, we see people who are "supposedly" normal, or in range, who really do have thyroid issues, but can't get diagnosed.  Make sure you get a copy of the lab report for your own records.  

In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck with your 3500 calorie burn.  What type of exercises are you doing to accomplish that?  How long do you spend at it, each day?
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1356580_tn?1294266917
I think most eating plans, even the ones that are working, can lead to the weight going up, then down, then up again, then down a lot, up a little, etc.

Probably what you're experiencing, however, is water retention inherent of your disease, but that's really frustrating!  And it tends to kill motivation.

I can't do a low calorie diet, either, for similar reasons. For me, I feel anemic and barely able to function. I tried a silly "cleanse diet," and it wiped me out. Apart from being hungry nearly every waking hour, I felt as if my limbs all weighed 1000 lbs. I couldn't climb the stairs without my heart racing, which is unusual for me.

And I gained back everything I lost, of course.

My goal is something like 1900 - 2100 calories a day with exercise. I can live with this. It can be a challenge when going out to eat, but as long as I plan ahead, I can usually find a satisfying meal that fits within my calorie budget.

You should not be hungry while dieting. You should be able to eat to the point of satisfaction, not just edging off hunger for 30 minutes. But our appetites can determine our level of hunger as well, so we can decrease our appetite and feel satisfied on less, but that takes some work and patience.

No one should ever jump into cutting calories drastically, but instead slowly decrease them by maybe as little as 50 calories every 7 days, or a few bits less of each meal. I also think there is a point when the calories are too low, so low that you will feel hungry no matter what. If you're starving your body, I don't think your appetite will ever adjust to make the feeling of starvation comfortable.

Here is my plan for my 3500 challenge this week (bear with me, I get a little excited when talking exercise):

Monday:  I started today by spending 1 hour on the stepper/elliptical trainer. (It's like an elliptical, but with more resistance), then another 40 minutes on a regular elliptical trainer. (100 minutes total - 1100 calories burned according to the machines.)

Tuesday:  I will do strength/circuit training. An example of this would be 16 reps of weighted squats, followed by a minute of jumping rope as fast as I can go, followed by 16 reps on the rower for back strength and to give my legs a short break. Then I start again until I've done this rotation 5 times. I move on to free weights and do clean and jerk, mixed with jumping rope, mixed with chin ups (with support weight, of course; I'm too much of a wimp to lift my body right now).

My goal is to wear out my muscles and to get my heart rate up. It sounds like work, but it's actually really fun. (Calories burned 650 - 90 minutes)

Wednesday: A cardio day, so I'm on the "stepper" for 60 minutes to burn 800, although I may try out the treadmill and do some jogging to mix things up a bit.

Thursday: Strength-training, with as little cardio as possible so I don't rob from the muscle-building effect. (I usually burn 400 for 60 minutes of work.)

Friday is my biggest road block, since it's a busy day, and I don't find a lot of time to burn calories. But I may try to go outside and jog in the cold. If not that, then there's a 4pm Zumba class I'll try to attend that day. I need to burn at least 250 calories on Friday to reach my goal.  So 30 minutes of high intensity cardio or 45 minutes of lower intensity work.

Saturday is another strength day, and I usually burn about 300 - 400 calories on that day for 60 minutes of work.

Sunday I take off or got for a 20 minute walk, weather permitting.
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1536914_tn?1302705194
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a month ago, and this is what has made me motivated to loose weight. I will be your buddy and help if you would like. I have to measure everything i eat. It is challenging at first, but gets easier. The hospital put me on a 1800 calorie diet. personally, I have put myself on a 1200 calorie diet. The hospital said I need to watch my carbs, for breakfast they said to eat 2 to 3 net carbs, lunch 3 to 4 net carbs, and dinner is 4 to 5 net carbs. each net carb is around 15 carbs. so if it has 30 carbs in it, that means its 2 net carbs. I hope that makes sense. anyway. in doing this i have lost 20 lbs. So i am here for support. just add me as a friend, and good luck
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1356580_tn?1294266917
Why did you decide on a 1200 calorie diet? Cutting too many calories can wreck weight loss. It can also be dangerous.

I suggest going back on the 1800 calorie diet. You will still lose weight, but you'll also be healthier, happier, and probably better able to maintain this diet in the long run. If you feel the need for self-punishment, then lower it by 100 calories a day, but don't go below that.

Otherwise, everything else about carbs is true, but not all carbs are bad.

Try researching the glycemic index. Eating low GI foods can be an excellent way of losing weight and controlling diabetes. You can find a list of low glycemic index foods with a simple internet search.

Welcome, and good luck!

And now for a report on my exercise goal:

I burned 620 yesterday, which was below my goal. I was not feeling well and started off somewhat anemic and listless. But I pushed through it and made up for some of my lack of zeal by adding extra time to my routine.

I burned 820 today on the stepper today, despite a four-hour-long extra meeting at work. It shortened the free time of my day by a lot, but it was well worth it.

That leaves 960 to burn in 3 days. However, a medical situation came up with my sister, and I may have to leave town on Friday. In order to make up for the loss of exercise on Friday, I may go the extra mile tomorrow to make up for it. We'll see how that goes.
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1356580_tn?1294266917
Update on my 3500 calories/week challenge:

I did 30 minutes of circuit training this morning, followed by 30 minutes of weight-lifting, then 20 minutes of leg lifts and stomach crunches, then I took a 45 minute pilates class on a whim

I managed to burn 600 calories today. Only 360 calories to go!
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649848_tn?1357751184
I'm sorry to hear about your sister's medical situation - I hope it's not terribly serious; or that it can be resolved easily.  

Congratulations on your calorie burn; you seem to be getting the job done.  I do have a question, though. To have access to all those exercise machines, you must be going to a gym?  Are you going by the calorie counter on the machines you use?  I've read in several articles, that  they often have the "calories burned" counter set higher than what it really should be -- in other words, the counter says you burned more than you actually did.  I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.  

I admire your determination and wish I had that much time to dedicate to an exercise program.

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649848_tn?1357751184
I agree that placing yourself on a 1200 calorie diet, is not good.  I'm assuming that "the hospital" was a dietician, nutritionist or doctor, who would be able to calculate the appropriate number of calories for you.  Not everyone can go on a 1200 calorie diet, lose weight, and be healthy.  

Your body needs a certain amount of calories in order to survive, called Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) - that's the calories you need just to keep your body processes - heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, brain, as well as other organs - operating properly.  If you cut your calories below what you need to keep your body functioning, you will soon get ill because your organs can't function without nourishment. Therefore, if you don't eat enough food, your body may go into "starvation mode" and hold onto fat, because it realizes that there's not enough food coming in to sustain it.  

With diabetes, it's critical that you keep your blood sugars level; if you don't eat enough food, you won't be able to do that and your levels will be bouncing all over.  

I agree about the low glycemic diet -- that's what I'm trying to maintain because, while I haven't yet been diagnosed with diabetes, I feel that I'm certainly pre-diabetic and if I lose weight and watch my diet maybe I can prevent the diagnosis.

Best of luck to you - and of course you're my friend.  We will support each other.


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1356580_tn?1294266917
I agree the calories on the machines are out of proportion to what I find out by researching it online. I usually compare what the machine says with online calorie calculators, then--just to be safe--I cut even more calories off my totals and round down.

I do belong to a gym, mostly for the strength-training and to give my joints a rest from too much jogging on pavement. Once my knees, ankles, etc, are healed, I want to get back into jogging again.

My sister is okay so far, but we're waiting to see what happens. She was pregnant with severe anemia, and it looks like she's going to lose her baby. :(

Update on my week:

Friday I tried to jog outside, but ran into snow and ice--as usual. So I got out the shovel and shoveled snow 50 minutes, burning a total of 325.

Saturday, the gym was crowded, but I managed to squeeze in some strength-training and worked on the treadmill to burn 395 calories.

That brings my total calories burned to 3870.

Next week, I may try for 3500 again, although I may be more busy, so it'll be harder. But I think I can do it. Then I may try something even more ambitious, like 4000 calories a week.
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