It’s never too late


Last year I started a journey of getting myself in better shape.  It started last February when I had a physical, and let’s just say I was not in the greatest of shape.  I had high blood pressure,  high cholesterol, and my doctor said I was obese.  Curse you BMI chart!

I knew before I made the appointment that my cholesterol was probably bad, and that I would be ok this time if they put me on medication.  That is of course what happened.  20 mg of pravastatin was my new nightly routine.

Three months later I went back for a checkup, and the medicine was working.  My cholesterol was headed in the right direction, but that’s all that had changed.  Even though I had lost two pounds in these three months (I wasn’t really trying) she again said that I needed to get my weight under control.  And for whatever reason, I was ready to listen this time.  She gave me good suggestions on what to eat.  I told her I was running a 5K a few times a week.  She said try working yourself up to a 6K, and see what happens.  That little bit of prodding, with a lot of encouraging words from my family, and I was ready to make a difference.

I had heard one of my co-workers talk about My Fitness Pal weeks prior, so I downloaded it on my iPhone.  I really had no idea how much I needed to lose weight, and this really made it easy.  The first meal I ate normally, just to see how I was doing.  Well, let me tell you that if you have two donuts and a ginger ale for breakfast that your day is shot!

Seeing that I had already gone over my sugar for the day was the first key that I had to change how I was eating.  You’d think being vegetarian would automatically make you a healthy eater, but you know what?  Junk food and snacking is vegetarian.  So, there’s that.

I started in May at 239 lbs., and had lost nine pounds in the first week.  That was a HUGE motivation to continue.  I think the app was letting me eat close to 2200 calories a day at this point, and that’s actually quite a bit of food.  It’s amazing what you can eat if you stop the endless snacking.

I set my first goal at 200, and met that on August 25th.  I thought that wasn’t too bad, and set my second goal at 185.  Two months later I was there.  I just wanted to feel what I was like to be in the 170s, so I set a third goal at 179.  Another two months later, and I had hit that.

Created by MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

I’m still tracking my food, weighing myself daily, and exercising six days a week.  My calorie goal is on maintain now, and I’m in a healthy place.  For once my biometric results aren’t in the high risk category!

Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 10.32.11 AM

So, it IS possible.  Set yourself a goal, stick to it, and reward yourself.  Feel GOOD about yourself.  Heck, order a Birchbox subscription if it helps.

My tools for success

  • MyFitnessPal – Super easy calorie tracking for iOS, Android and the web.  Friend me, stivems.
  • Runkeeper – Smartphone app that tracks walking, running, and other types of exercise.  Integrates with the app above to sync your workouts.
  • Fitbit Zip – If you walk a lot you’ll be surprised at how many calories you burn during the day.  Also integrates with MyFitnessPal to deduct calories when you aren’t tracking exercise.
  • Fitbit Aria – Yes, it’s a scale, and yes, it’s expensive.  Look past that for a second.  You need to get in the habit of weighing everyday.  YOU are in control of your weight.  NOT some machine that you step on for 10 seconds.  Weighing every day lets you see the little successes as they happen.  If you only weigh once a week you may have picked the day that your body weight fluctuated a pound or two up, and then you could get discouraged.  Plus, this is a wifi scale, and will sync your weight to the Fitbit app, which will sync back to MyFitnessPal.  See, it’s only happy ecosystem =)
  • Exercise – Get in the habit of doing something.  If you use MFP to track you’ll see it can be hard to stay under goal without exercise.  Yoga should be a part of your regimen, but that doesn’t mean it’s all you have to do.  If doing yoga six days a week works, that’s fantastic.  For me, I used a combination of running, lifting weights via P90X and yoga.
  • Go prepared – If you’re going to eat out, then look up the nutritional info before you go.  I’ll even lookup restaurants in the parking lot on my phone before I go inside if I haven’t been there.  It’s not hard to eat out if you’re prepared.
  • Cheat meal – Don’t go hog wild, but going over on occasion isn’t going to kill you.  You deserve to treat yourself.  In fact, make yourself some croissants, and enjoy!  Just be sure to track it 😉