When it was getting close to transitioning to real food I was bit anxious and very excited. I was anxious because knowing about nutrition and healthy choices and selecting them are two different things. I have been down the healthy road before but this time I have the knowledge and support needed to truly eat healthy and implement portion controls. I was excited because it has been 16 weeks since I tasted real food and I was ready. It was amazing that for 4 months I was never hungry but I was looking forward that first oz of chicken.
Preparing for Transition
To prepare I bought several 1 and 2 cups contains and portion control plate fillers. I also bought a lunch bag that came with pre-portioned containers. I planned to grill most of the meat and decided to use extra virgin olive oil for a cooking base when needed. I bought a digital measuring scale, more measuring spoons, and measuring cups.
To balance the added calories my husband and I decided to add hiking to our fitness program. We hiked every saturday at either Del Valle or Muir woods. The hikes started off with 2 miles then gradually progressed to 8 until the hiking season was over.
The food would replace products week by week. When we started the program we had six products per day; so for the first week we had 4 ounces of lean protein and 1/2 cup of veggies as one product replacement. We continued this process until real food replaced all products.
I grill, measured and portioned the meat for the week on sundays. I also prepared a low fat egg casserole for breakfast. For lunch I walked down to Subway and ordered a 6″ wheat chicken sandwich or a salad or just went home and made a healthy lunch. My husband took his pre-portioned containers to work and used them at the salad bar. This helped him accurately measure his portions. I still ate six times a day; three main meals and two small snacks. For my first snack I had protein, veggies and fruit. My favorite snack is peanut butter with carrots. My second snack was a protein bar or protein shake after my workouts.
I worked with my trainer two days a week, worked out at the gym at least three times a week and hiked on saturdays. I started to really notice how my endurance increased and workouts were easier. Unfortunately I stopped losing weight and was stuck for about three weeks. I noticed I was hungry multiple times a day so I increased my calories; which restarted my weight-loss. Ken and I also participated in three 5K marathons which was a first for both of us.
During this phase I was able to test and modify combinations of foods and exercise to see which strategy fit my goals. In this phase I realized I was healthy. I was not hypertensive or pre-diabetic. My back didn’t hurt and walking up stairs was a breeze. Even though I originally had a weight goal, after I reviewed my success I accepted this healthier me and changed my focus. My current goal is toning and weight-maintenance. You will able to read about the maintenance phase in my next installment.
Below are pictures of me during the transition phase
It has been exactly one year since I began my weight-loss journey. I can remember starting the class and thinking where will I be in one year? Will I accomplish my goals, will I still be on track? Will I even be successful? Yes, I had the determination and yes I believed I needed to make this transformation to avoid and reduce my impending health issues but I had attempted weight-loss countless times and failed in every attempt. Thankfully, yes I have achieved my goals and set new ones. I have removed all health issues and risks. I have reduced my body fat% to normal ranges (for my age), my BMI is under 30, I have increased my metabolism to “very active”. I have lost over 115 pounds and I have dropped a mind-blowing 10 dress sizes.
Before the Journey
Before I started on this journey I was very obese. I could not stand-up straight because my back would hurt. When I had to walk, I always wore my backpack to counter-balance my weight and to help support my back. I use to breathe heavily while just sitting still. I would snore so loud I would wake myself up. I got migrates often and it seemed like I was always sick. I was not physically active often and nutrition was just a word I heard when I went to the doctor. My health was on a downward spiral because I was pre diabetic and hypertensive. I started to have a side pain and nausea often because of the foods I ate. My husband’s health was also deteriorating and he was knocking at death’s door. In fact, we had to postpone our original start date for the program because he had a critical medical emergency that nearly turned fatal.
Unfortunately, I let my health push me into a corner but one year ago I finally came back swinging. We both joined the Kaiser Weight-loss Management Program which I truly believe was a lifeline.
First Phase – 16 weeks Active Phase
Before we started I removed all food from my home and briefed our support team. We officially started the program Nov 26, 2014. For 16 weeks we had meal replacements which included four shakes and two proteins bars; totaling only 960 calories. This was a far cry from the 3000 calories I probably consumed on an average day. We had to eat 2 -3 hours a day and drink at least one gallon of water.
The first week was tough with the lack of food, eating every 2-3 hours, and drinking all that water. I stayed focus and successfully completed the week. My success resulted in a 10 pound weight-loss. As the saying goes, the proof was in the puddling. The classes were structured to provide information and group support. We learned about nutrition, fitness and developed our health tool-box. The weekly check-ups (Weight and blood-pressure) kept us accountable. The monthly doctor checks ensured we were on the right track.
During class, the facilitator advised us to increase our fitness level. The second week my husband and I joined a local gym and began an early morning workout routine. On the weekend we would do at least 2 hours of cardio. I got over the looks and stares when we were working out. Even when we walked or rode our bikes the stares and snickers were ridiculous. How ironic, when you are obese people talk bad about you; when you are doing something about it people are laughing at you. I was so focused on my goals that nonsense couldn’t deter me. In the second week I dropped 7 pounds. Adding fitness helped increase my weight-loss. Every week I lost at least 5 pounds or more.
To ensure we were getting the most out of our workouts we hired a personal trainer. She worked with my husband first in individual sessions then worked with me. To maximize a workout, she taught us to include both cardio and strength training. This helped us not only increase our fitness but also save time in the gym by not waste energy on a two hour cardio session. She taught us about circuit training which guards against getting stuck on a plateau.
After 16 weeks on the program I lost 70 pounds and my husband lost over 100. We were both excited and scared to start on the next phase which was transition back to real food. You will be able to read about Phase two in the next installment of my 1 year progress report.
Here are the photos included in Phase One
Week Four was challenging to say the least. I had some life obstacles to overcome and the stress impacted my journey to a healthier me. Ok, that was a poetic answer to a failed week four. I was so tired and stressed from work that I only worked out two days last week. I didn’t follow my new guide to eating and instead ate what I could. Thankfully, I didn’t eat junk food, though I was tempted. I just didn’t eat fruits and veggies with every meal. The funny thing is the damn scale hasn’t moved so that is both good and bad. Good, I didn’t slip to far back. Bad, I really need to change my routine. While it is amazing that I am getting into shape I still need to shed pounds. I know my journey will be a long one but my formula just isn’t right. I do believe I need to balance my diet and exercise differently. Working out five days a week in the gym doesn’t seem to be the answer because I have to eat a lot of food to ensure balance. At this stage in my life that is just too much, so time for a new strategy.
With four weeks under my belt, I do have results I can use. Such as; when I am eating fruits and veggies I am energetic and light on my feet. Without eating the fruits and veggies with every meal, I feel drained and tired. So fruits and veggies are a must. Working out has gotten easier; I don’t feel beat after 65 minutes of Cardio. Therefore, it is time to change my routine to include more walking and cycling. I also have to add more strength training into my routine to aid with weight-loss and muscle tone.
Even though I haven’t had the weight-loss I had hoped for my health and overall well-being has improved. Of course, my back doesn’t hurt. I know I repeat this all the time but if you are heavy and your back hurts when you walk, when you stand for long periods, or when you are going upstairs, you can appreciate the fact the I “Yell” my back doesn’t hurt. My endurance has also improved. When I first started on the elliptical I think I worked out for maybe 30 minutes before I got winded and stopped. Today, I do 65 minutes with no problem. I am only limited by my feet that start to go numb or hurt. This is the reason I cannot get on the treadmill because my feet would hurt for days.
Going forward, for the next four weeks, I am going to try to manage my weight-loss with diet being primary and fitness being secondary. I am going to limit my meat and fat consumption and increase dairy, fruit and vegetables. I will reduce the amount of time I spent in the gym to three days a week. I will do aerobic dance, walk and ride my bike on the off days. My goal is to include a well-rounded fitness plan with a healthy diet.
The following are the results from Week 4.
Week 4. Starting Sunday 3/24/13 to Saturday 3/30/13
1. Workout at the Gym Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sat. Include strength training on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Failed.
2. Weigh in on and take measurements on Sunday March 31 for the 1 months results.
Lost 7 pounds in four weeks.
3. Stay between 1930 – 2280 calories a day. Failed
4. Do not eat any junk food or drink any sodas, including diet soda. Success
5. Add a fruit and veggie to every meal. Failed
6. Do not eat any red meat. Success
7. Drink at least five glasses of water a day. Failed
8. Remove White Jasmine Rice from diet . Failed
9. Add more Dairy to my daily meal. Success
Week 5. Starting Sunday 3/31/13 to Saturday 4/6/13
1. Workout at the Gym Sunday, Wednesday, and Sat. Include strength training on Sunday, Wednesday, and Sat. Walk on the off days.
2. Stay off the scale.
3. Stay between 1680-2030 calories a day. (Because of my planned fitness)
4. Do not eat any junk food or drink any sodas, including diet soda.
5. Add a fruit and veggie to every meal.
6. Do not eat any red meat.
7. Drink at least five glasses of water a day.
8. Remove White Jasmine Rice from diet .
9. Add more Dairy to my daily meal.
I started this week off with moderate intensity for 60 mins and low intensity for the 5 minute cool down.
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