Jan 152013
 

Did you miss Part One of the FAQ? Check it out here. This will be an ongoing series as I get emails and comments with questions from readers. If I haven’t answered something, just leave a comment below.

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I just found your blog recently. Where should I start reading?

My blog has evolved a lot since it’s inception in 2010. In the beginning I didn’t really have a vision for this website, partly because I didn’t really think anyone would read it! As it grew, my style changed. I got away from the “This is What I Ate” type of posts. I was personally bored writing them, so I assumed readers were bored reading them. I do post recipes here and there. As a result of this evolution, I think a lot of my newer posts are probably better. Here are some suggestions:

My first Blog Post

My Fat History - this is sort of an “About Me” type of page.

How I Lost 110 Pounds - answers the basic questions about how I lost the weight.

Best Of 

Why Wednesday – Why You Should Lose Weight Slowly

Lap Swimming Etiquette

Swimming Tips for Beginners

Polar Heart Rate Monitor Tutorial

Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

My Thoughts on The Four Hour Body Week

My 100 Pound Anniversary

Fitness and Finding Love

Don’t Break the Bank Getting in Shape

I Can Barely Walk, But I Can Definitely Swim

How to Plan Some Awesome Meals

How often do you weigh in on the scale? Do you still record your weight and calories at myfitness pal?

I weigh myself once a month. I’m at the stage right now where I don’t fluctuate in my weight very much beyond a pound of water retention. I use the monthly weigh-in just to check in with myself. Even though I don’t see a change in the scale, I still want to be aware. I went scale-free last summer and it really helped me to not care about that number on the scale as much. It did wonders for my self-esteem!

Yes, I still use MyFitnessPal to record my weight, my food intake and my exercise. I also track on the site Cronometer. It’s a great website to log foods and analyze trends in eating and nutrients. Even though I am in maintenance mode and not trying to lose, I still have to do what worked to lose the weight. I will always count my calories. I may not be restricting in order to lose, but I still have to be accountable to myself.

I may not talk about it much on my blog anymore since I don’t post my weigh-in or post my food as often, but I still do it. It’s a MUST. I have to be accountable if I’m going to keep the weight off long term.

What do you do if you start seeing an upward trend on the scale? ( like a gradual, slow gain).

This doesn’t happen often anymore. Like I said above, I’m maintaining and my weight doesn’t change much. It may fluctuate a few pounds during that time of the month, but I don’t count that. Month in and month out I’ve been the same weight —somewhere in the 144′s (144.4, 144.6, etc).

There was one time after I reached goal weight where I did gain weight. I started taking a medication that unfortunately caused weight gain. Sadly, I didn’t put two and two together until almost a year had passed and I’d gained 15 pounds. As I saw those numbers tick up on the scale, I ignored them. I was running all the time, I was training for Hood to Coast, and I blamed the numbers going up on that. It wasn’t until I realized that the drugs caused weight gain and that gaining 15 pounds even though I was counting my calories AND exercising 5 days a week was NOT NORMAL, that I stopped the medication. I lost weight pretty quickly and it reaffirmed that the medication was packing on the pounds.

Now, medication-free and doing all the “right” things, if I saw a gain I’d pay attention. First, I would measure my body and see if I was gaining muscle. Second, I’d start being more careful with measuring my food and not “eye-balling” it. Lastly, I would pay attention to my sugar intake. Am I drinking more alcohol more frequently?

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Am I digging into the Candy Room at work more often? Am I having too much dessert too often? 

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When you first started swimming how did you get into the swim suit? Were you embarrassed by your thighs or butt?

I knew that swimming was the right exercise for me as a way to lose weight. First, it was something I’d always loved doing as a kid and as a teen so I knew I’d stick with it. Second, swimming was a good activity for an obese person with sore joints.

Getting into that swim suit was the only option. I had to in order to lose the weight. I just knew it was something I had to overcome. No matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable it was, I had to do it. Something that helped was wearing a swim suit that had a skirt attached to it like this one:

The suit I had was nowhere near as cute as that one. But it had a skirt that covered some of my thigh region–the part I was most self-conscious about. That helped. And honestly, once I was in the pool it wasn’t even an issue because no one could see me under water. :)

It looks like you like beer. Isn’t that high in calories?

Why yes it is! Especially if you like the IPAs that I drink almost exclusively. IPAs are often between 180-220 calories a pop. That’s quite a bit. I follow my “90/10 Rule“, which means I eat in a healthy way most of the time, but I splurge and indulge, too. It’s called enjoying everything in moderation! Even beer! If that means I only have 1 beer once in awhile, that’s okay by me. Because I’m not DENYING myself anything. I’m not on a diet. I made a lifestyle change.

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What kind of camera do you have?

I have a Canon Rebel and I LOVE IT! It’s my “precious.”  I love my camera so much. It’s a great camera, takes wonderful pictures–while I am still learning how to use it. I took one camera class but for the most part I’ve been teaching myself with just practice, practice, practice. I use LightRoom to edit my photos.

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How often would you run when you trained for a race? Did you give yourself days off for rest? How many? Did you cross train during that time? I just started running and wondering if I could run more than 3x/week.

Great questions! I was running 3 days a week on average when I was running a lot. In the beginning I had to give myself a few days in between my runs because my thighs would be really sore. But as I conditioned my body and got better at running, I could run two days in a row if I wanted to.

I did a lot of cross-training simply because I’d always done it. I swam two days a week no matter what because swimming was how I lost my weight and I loved doing it. I tried to fit in a yoga class here and there as well. I also spent one day a week doing cardio at the gym (stair-master usually).

If you’re just starting out with running, I really suggest following a plan for beginners. Increasing mileage, speed or frequency too much too soon leads to injury or over-training. While I did not follow a “program,” I have heard really good things about the Couch to 5k Program. It’s worth a try. Good luck!

QUESTION: I love getting reader mail, so ask away if you have any questions!

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Jul 112012
 

Being accountable, even only to yourself, is how you stay on the path to weight loss and successful maintenance. It’s a very different beast to kind of “count/guess” in your head and to actually write it down. Seeing it in black and white can often be the shock of reality that is needed. At least, it was for me.

If you need to catch up on some old posts on how to lose weight, here are some links:

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. How do I track my food and fitness? Do I track every day? Yes, nearly every day. Every once in awhile I take a few days off from counting, sometimes when I’m on vacation I take a few days off but not too many. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a break. Sometimes our brain just needs a break!

Tracking Fitness

I see people on Twitter  posing this question often: how do you track your workouts? When I’m in the gym lifting weights, I see a lot of the serious people with a little journal keeping track of what they’re doing. I’m incredibly impressed that they can do this. It lasts about a week for me. I just didn’t want to track which machines I used, how much weight I lifted, etc. (Don’t tell Suzanne!)

I *do* however keep track of mileage for running and biking. I use simple Excel spreadsheets, nothing fancy, and just keep a log there. It helps a lot when I am training for an event. I keep track of my individual mileage as well as my weekly total.

Tracking Food

When I first started counting my calories I wrote it down on paper in a little journal. Not very high-tech. Eventually I got an iPhone and started exploring the apps that are available out there. My favorite is by far the Cronometer because of the in-depth analysis it gives me.

I want to make sure I am doing the right things, eating the things my body NEEDS and kind of assess what I’m eating too much of (um…sugar, carbs…dammit….). The Cronometer gives me good feedback for that.

Eating out at restaurants is one of my weak points and I’m sure you guys struggle with that, too. It’s difficult to go to a restaurant and stay on a plan when you have no idea how many calories are in something. Some of those weight loss apps have restaurant information. Check it out.

The single biggest factor in keeping the weight off is TRACKING. Keeping track of my food has helped me so so much I cannot even stress that enough. It has to be done consistently to work, too. It’s not like tracking food one or two days a week will do the trick. In order for a lifestyle change to be effective and stick, it needs to be a healthy habit!

QUESTION: How do you track everything?

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