Monday, August 08, 2005

And The Research Shows...

I'm feeling pretty vocal today. Today's topic is all about research because I heard two interesting stories, and in ways, they seem to almost contradict each other.

You can't eat a high-fat diet because that the hormone cholecystokinin doesn't work probably, therefore your body keeps feeling hungry. You can read the story here.

On the other hand, research has shown that those who drink diet drinks are more likely to gain weight because it isn't filling.

But then there's that research that shows if you don't wash off the pesticides that may still be on your fruits and vegetables before eating them, that can lead to a variety of different health outcomes. AND, let's not even talk about how bad those natural sugars and carbohydrates are in fruit! ::in case you can't see me, I'm rolling my eyes::

So I've come to this conclusion: You are never going to do absolutely everything that you should be doing based on research. Research can contradict itself. Not to mention how the news reports this research! You only get half the facts and it is not always interpreted correctly.

The best bet: Eat anything in moderation.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Losing Inches But Not Weight

I have not updated this blog in a long time, so I figured it was about time to. As in the title of this post - I have lost inches but not weight; I have actually gained a little bit of weight. I'm not freaking out just yet because I do think it may be muscle since I am still losing inches. The first two major changes I have noticed has been my legs and my bust (truly weirded out on that one). I still feel great, I still work out quite a bit, and my best friend and I are trying to do a canoeing trip this week which I hope we can still do (I've been having car problems...).

So here's the scoop. Since June 12, 2005, I have lost 2 inches around the waist, 2.5 inches around the hips, 7.25 inches around the thigh (left), 3.75 inches around my upper bust, 2 inches around my lower bust, 1.5 inches around my arm (left), and 0.5 inches around my neck. I also think my feet have shrunk width wise.

This week was the first week my parents got to see the *newer* me. My mom's ecstatic and has told *everyone*, but she doesn't seem to understand the concept that *this* is *NOT* a diet. AND, everyone wants to know *how much* I've lost. Does it truly matter? I'm happier, more confident, but more importantly, love going out and being more physically active.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bad Week

This week was just a horrible week for me. My body completely crashed this week; I was lucky to be able to go on our walks at work...and the gym...well that hasn't happened yet this week. I feel like crap, and I did not eat all the right foods. Actually, I think part of my body crash was because I could not keep up with my calorie needs. I was burning too much too quickly.

I know the true saying goes: One step forward, two steps back. Well, this week I'm developing the mentality, one step back, two steps forward. I'm not going to lie, I am slightly bummed because I doubt I'll make the weight that I want to before I go home in the next couple of weeks (if I do, then I am definitely losing too much too quickly).

Now I know. I need to stay away from pizza and ice cream at all costs.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Motivating Factor For Me

As my profile states, I'm an epidemiologist. I know it's a fancy word for those who study epidemics. My speciality lies in chronic diseases and health behaviors. I coordinate a survey in the State of Michigan called the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. It is a telephone survey that samples the population in Michigan and asks a variety of questions on chronic diseases and health behaviors.

Here's few statistics concerning our nation in 2004 (these estimates are state medians which include D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico; and excludes Hawaii and Guam):
1. It is estimated that 23.2% of the nation was obese (BMI > 29.9).
2. 23.6% of men were obese, 22.5% of women.
3. This estimate steadily increased with age, from 13.5% of those aged 18-24 to 29.3% of those aged 55-64.
4. Those who have lower income levels were more likely to be obese than those with higher income levels, the same trend is seen with educational levels.
Between 1990 and 2004, the percentage of adults in our nation who were obese nearly doubled from 11.6% to 23.2%. You can see a graph of this current trend through 2002 here.

I work with these numbers daily for Michigan. I can tell you that people who are obese are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis. There has been a new push to reduce the burden of obesity and of chronic disease across the nation and within our department. Our department's philosophy is "Eat Better, Move More." (That slogan may be reversed.) I'm trying to do both.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tip #2: Exercise

I am now physically active for at least five days a week for 50 minutes or more. I think this has tremendously helped me in my weight loss. When I hit the gym (4-5 times per week), I burn at least 600 calories. At work, I walk with coworkers on breaks, and have estimated that I burn 420 calories if I walk both breaks, or 210 calories for the one break. I have also estimated that at work, we walk about 1.15 miles for each break.

It all adds up. The more active you are, the more weight you can potentially lose. My appetite has increased due to my new metabolism levels. I just feel great after a great workout at the gym, if I hit that next level.

Here's a few tips I have learned and picked up. To burn fat, your heart rates needs to be raised 55-65% (for training 65-85%). I also learned that for me, the best time to work out at the gym is in the morning, I feel better, healthier, and I get more out of my workout. I am also not as intimidated in the morning - there are not as many people, and the crowd is usually an older crowd that is more encouraging. Find the best time that is suitable for you.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Tip #1: Portion Sizes

When I actually started measuring out what I ate, I was floored!!! I didn't realize how many servings I was truly eating! I now measure everything out and eat individual servings of all items and types of food. This alone has decreased the amount of food I eat.

I also have the tendency to stay away from junk food. Recently, I splurged and bought a "Big Size" fritos bag down in our cafeteria at work. Without realizing it, I polished the bag off. AFTERWARDS, I looked at the nutritional content and was stunned, there was actually 4.5 servings in that bag!!! If I remember correctly, there was 10 grams of fat per serving! EW! And yet we regularly eat one of these bags? I'll never make that mistake again!

So here's the tip I have learned to keep my portion sizes to one serving. Once I get home from the grocery store, I will break apart any big items into the correct number of servings. A big bag of baby carrots, a set of grapes, even Baked Lays! Everything gets bagged individually, that way, I know one bag is all I get at that sitting!

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's a Lifestyle Change

I am obese. I think that is the first time I have said that out loud. Looking at me, you would know, but I was always in self-denial about my weight issues. Nearly 2 ½ years ago, my former doctor talked with me about the option of having gastric bypass surgery. That was never an option for me. I wouldn’t allow it. I would rather have my obesity kill me before going that route. So we talked about diet plans (that I didn’t follow) and exercising (that I didn’t follow through on). I lost a little weight, but not a lot. Heck, I don’t think I’ve lost more than 10 pounds on any diet.

I don’t know how I stumbled upon Norris Chumley’s website, but he gave me a new hope, knowing that he lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off. I started receiving his weekly newsletter about a year and a half to two years ago. I desperately hoped to find some inspiration or motivation amongst his words, some little key to his success of losing weight. But I was doing this all wrong. I was desperately hoping to find inspiration in Norris Chumley’s words, when I really should have been finding inspiration and encouragement in God’s words. It is when I became intimate with God about my weight issues; I finally started to lose weight. It is through Him I have lost 27.9 pounds since the beginning of the year, 21.9 pounds since April 25, 2005 and I can proudly say I have kept that amount of weight off, and I am still losing weight. Yesterday I wore pants that I purchased for a trip in September of 2004 and at that time, they barely fit; now they nearly fall off my hips. I can climb the flight of stairs to my office without being out of breath by the time I reach the second floor. And, I feel healthier than ever before.

This time, it is different. It is not a diet; it is a lifestyle change. I can eat whatever I want to eat when I want to eat it…only if I am hunger. My cravings mean I am lacking something of nutritional value, and pretty much all junk food and processed food has been removed from my apartment. I no longer eat because I am bored; I sew, quilt, cross-stitch, write, or go for walks when I’m bored. I no longer eat when I am depressed; instead I go for a long drive, walk, or talk to a close friend. I no longer acknowledge the negative comments from people’s mouth, but only hear the encouragement of my close friends and fellow gym members. Everyone close knows I am serious about this journey. I had given up hope for a long time because on TV you always hear about obese people only losing weight through gastric bypass surgery. I am here to prove that weight loss can be done without going that route.