Sunday, February 22, 2009

If you have Sprouts near you...check it out

In several states, there is a health food supermarket chain called Sprouts; it's not Whole Foods, it's not Central Market, it's not Trader Joe's; it's not really like any of them, though it sells mostly healthy (but usually not organic) foods. It's not like a "normal" supermarket in that it does not sell a lot of processed foods, and the ones they do sell are usually brands that are not familiar to most people in the U.S. (though they would be to Whole Foods shoppers).

There are 2 main reasons I go to Sprouts, even though the one closest to me is a 15 minute drive and I pass by three supermarkets to get to it. One is produce; it's not always the cheapest for everything, but they publish their ads online so you can see what's on sale. They have some incredible deals on fresh fruits and vegetables. I bought a lot of apples, pears, oranges, onions, avocados, tomatos, etc. for under $10. The other main reason is the bulk aisles; they sell couscous, quinoa, nuts, all sorts of grains, etc. in bulk. The selection is not as good as what you would see at Whole Foods, but again they have most of what MOST people would be looking for. They had bulk couscous for $1.99 a pound. You sometimes see it lower than that around here, but it's difficult to find it cheaper. Couscous isn't really what I would consider a very healthy food; eat a lot of it and the calories really add up, but it's quick and easy to prepare.

Basically if you're finding it tougher to make healthy choices due to this crappy economy and you have a Sprouts near you, check it out; you might be able to stretch that food dollar and keep making those healthy choices. (And no, I don't work for them!)


So far this weekend I am doing well with my eating and exercising. On Friday, my boss and I raided the pizza buffet at Cici's, and I think I ate an entire medium pizza on my own...and dipped the crusts into RANCH DRESSING. Yup. I ate that. I used to do that once a week, minimum. This was my first trip to the Cici's pizza buffet in a couple of months. And I enjoyed it. It was DIVINE. No post-pig out reckoning either; when I stepped on the scale Saturday morning, I weighed the same as what I did Friday morning. (And weighed the same this morning too, DAMMIT!)

Saturday I behaved VERY well, drank lots of water, ate lots of fiber, exercised. Today so far I have been very good....bought nothing but healthy food when I went to the grocery store (I've lost my taste for sweet things, mostly, but I could still eat a whole bag of Lays on my own). Then one of my friends invited me over for dinner tonight; his wife is making Indian I ate a very light lunch in anticipation of the waistline-expanding meal his wife will be making. She's a fantastic cook, but every time I have dinner there I gain a pound or two!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

30% loss achieved!

As of this morning I have lost 30% of my weight! My eventual goal is to lose 42% of my weight, so I'm getting there! I've also seen a new "decade" on the scale...weighed in at 179.6 this morning. Wow! Out of the 180s, at least for today. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The past week

I ate right and exercised all week and gained 2.5 lbs, then had pizza last night and it disappeared, plus some. Weird! Oh well, not complaining. My clothes didn't fit any differently all week, I think it was just water or something.

I also had four...yes, FOUR...cavities drilled this week and my mouth is still a little bit sore! Keeps me from eating crunchy delicious foods like pretzels and chips (and apples).

I also spent my entire tax refund (plus some) on a new computer plus a Blu-Ray player and a really SWEET universal remote. I want to buy a house later this year so from now on, it's save save save and live lean until I move. Won't be hard; I'll just go back to how I was living before, haha!

In terms of weight loss I've now lost 29% of my starting weight and I'm maybe 3 lbs away from hitting 30%. My goal starting out was to lose 42% of my starting weight, or 106 lbs. I've lost 74.6 lbs so I'm well on my way. I feel great! I have so much energy and I feel great about myself, my self-esteem and confidence has had such a boost from this. It's been so worth it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Non-scale victories

This weekend I went to an outlet mall and bought clothes at three stores I have not been into in years: Banana Republic, The Gap, and J. Crew. The max size of most items in these shops is 14, and it's a pretty unforgiving 14. An XL at J. Crew would be an L in most other brands, I think!

I was able to find clothes that fit at all three stores...and the khakis I bought at Banana Republic weren't even 14s. They were 12s. I think they look fantastic. It's been so long since I have been able to wear fashionable, flattering clothes. I'm almost looking forward to going to work to show off my new duds!

The other non-scale victory I had this weekend was when I took my blood pressure on Saturday. It was 128/68, pulse 75. That is a normal healthy reading! If you recall, I was sent to the emergency room last year by a doctor when I clocked a reading of 172/127, approximately (can't recall the exact numbers but they were over 170/120) and a pulse of 120 bpm. That is an astonishingly high reading for anyone. A diastolic of over 120 is a medical emergency. Organ damage can ensue.

Mere months later my blood pressure is NORMAL, NORMAL, NORMAL! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The rich tapestry of my life

Tomorrow I plan on doing some of the errands that have been neglected due to my busy work schedule. Tomorrow morning I plan to wake up early and take my car in for an oil change and a few other routine tinkers. I have to get to the place at 7am on the dot if I want to be out of there before noon, so wish me luck on that one.

After that I am going to meet with a real estate agent to begin the process of HOUSE HUNTING. People say it's really stressful but honestly given the stress I've had in my life over the last two years, it should be a walk in the park and even a lot of fun. Ask me again in a few months.

After that I am going to the OUTLET MALL, yippee yay yay yay! At this outlet mall they have stores like J. Crew, The Gap, Aeropostale, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, etc. These are all brands that were off-limits to me at my beginning size. Now that I'm a lot thinner (not thin, but THINNER) I finally have the nerve to walk into these places and try clothes on. They also have Bass, Cole Haan, and Nine West shoes plus a Coach outlet store. I think I may be in shopping heaven tomorrow. I'm looking forward to having some cute new duds for spring. All of my clothes are too big for me, and since it's February and I'm in the South, warmer weather is just around the corner. I also need to buy new workout clothes because mine are all too large. I even need new underwear and new shoes. Everything is too big for me. I didn't anticipate my FEET getting smaller, but they did! Yikes. Shoes are expensive. That outlet mall has a Lane Bryant, too, but I won't be going in there. I've EARNED not going in there!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Are Americans really the fattest people on earth?

Short answer: No. There are several nations where the percentage of overweight/obese adults is higher than it is here, but most of them are small island nations in the Pacific that most Americans have never heard of. Are we the fattest developed nation on earth? Yes, for now.

I lived in the UK for many years and the overweight/obesity statistics there varied wildly, giving a range of 50/60 (male/female) prevalence for overweight/obesity all the way up to 60/70%. Most statistics put the UK just behind the US in terms of overweight/obesity prevalence, but I saw the occasional statistic that put the UK ahead.

You can safely say that about 30% of Americans are clinically obese and about 24-25% of British people are clinically obese. I fully believe that American obesity rates will plateau in the coming years and the British will catch up to us along with the Mexicans, the French, the Canadians, and the Australians.

When Americans go to the UK, they almost always go to London and stay in London, never leaving the city except perhaps to visit Stonehenge or Windsor Castle. London is the UK's slimmest city so if you never travel to Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, etc. you get a skewed picture of how big British people really are. They're huge. They're gigantic. They are just as big as we are. When I came back here to one of America's fattest cities in one of America's fattest states, I had anticipated people here being much bigger than people in my small city in northern Britain. I was shocked by how NOT fat people here were compared to their British counterparts. Don't get me wrong, we are a VERY fat nation...but so are the British!

Basically the British have found a silver lining in their skyrocketing obesity rates, and that is that they are not as fat as we are. YET. They have children under 10 developing type II diabetes at astounding rates, they have controversies with gastric bypass surgery on the NHS, they have controversies with the NHS having to buy new equipment (beds, hoists, etc) for super-obese patients...there were even stories about how crematoriums could not accomodate the new extra-wide coffins manufactured for the more "zaftig deceased" British.

Sound familiar? It should.

So, my fellow Americans, take heart in knowing that while we are fat, so are Europeans, Canadians, Australians, and Central Americans. When Europeans lecture you and expound on their theories as to why we are so fat...ignore them. What do they know? Their obesity rates are rising much faster than ours are (because they are catching up to us). If they knew how to fight obesity, they wouldn't be so obese themselves.

Listen to your DOCTORS, and don't feel bad when other countries point the finger. Eat healthy food. Ditch fast food. Exercise. Count calories. Live a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your children. And don't be ashamed. Just take action. A lot of us are in the same boat. There is no magic pill, no silver bullet. It's environment and lifestyle, pure and simple. Our bodies are not adapted to the abundance of food and sedentary lifestyles that we lead. Listen to your body, not cackling foreigners calling you fat. Take it slow and steady. We can take off the extra pounds. We MUST take off the extra pounds. We are at the point now where the fat is more than an aesthetic issue. We are at the point where it threatens to shorten the average life expectancy of our country. We are at the point where it will add billions in extra healthcare-related expenses to our yearly budgets. We all pay for it. We are all responsible.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Adjusting Your Thinking

I have been morbidly obese for so many years...almost 1/3 of my life...that it is difficult for me to begin thinking as someone who is merely overweight. When I look in the mirror I expect to see a morbidly obese person staring back at me. When I look at photos of myself I expect to see an extremely fat person smiling out from the photograph. I don't recognize myself anymore.

I no longer have to worry about wearing out the crotches in my pants before the pants themselves wear out. That's something a lot of obese people deal with...the crotches and inner thighs of our pants wear out quickly because of the constant friction from our thighs rubbing together when we walk. My thighs no longer rub together when I walk.

I haven't had a "non-obese summer" in a long time, but summer in the South can be very unpleasant when you endure it wearing long sleeves and long pants the whole time. Plus, you have to dust powder on your body to keep from chafing...anywhere where you rub together (thighs, upper arms, fat rolls around the middle, etc.) you have to powder yourself or you'll pay for it later. I remember taking a vacation to a warm destination several years ago and after 2 days there I was laying on the bed in my underwear with my inner thighs rubbed raw from friction and chafing from simply WALKING and SWEATING with my thunder thighs rubbing together.

I had to plan my life, my wardrobe, everything around these problems. Chafing. Occasional incontinence. (Yes, I said incontinence.) Bringing little containers of powder with me so I could re-powder at work in the middle of the day. It's just unbelievable.