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.


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?


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


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.


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.



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!

Feb 072012


It’s so overwhelming when we first start trying to lose weight. Exercise, food, how many calories do I eat, where do I track this stuff? It doesn’t HAVE to be hard. It can be really easy.

CRON-O-Meter is free to use and you can log in instantly. Adding your foods is super easy and extremely comprehensive.  And if you are like me and eat a lot of the same foods, you can copy and paste the information into other days.

  • Foods: Log everything you eat and get a comprehensive view of your nutrition.
  • Exercises: Log how much time you spend in physical activities, and we’ll keep track of how many extra calories you’ve burned.
  • Biometrics: Record measurements like your weight, body temperature, blood pressure, and cholesterol to track trends over time.

What is really cool about this program and what sets it apart from other tracking sites, is the break down and analysis. Maybe I’m just a super nerd but I LOVED seeing the break down of calories and where they are coming from (fat, protein, carbs, alcohol). If you are doing a special diet this is especially important because it can guide you through it. For example, are you doing Atkins? Or Low Carb? Then you want to know how much carbohydrates you’re consuming and what foods they are coming from.  (Remember my rude awakening during the Slow Carb Diet about how much carbohydrates were in fruit?? Grrrr!)

The nutrition report is comprehensive (and pretty!). You can choose daily reports or do weekly averages (way cool).

When entering the food, you also have the option for entering in recipes. This is especially useful if you have some favorites that you make a lot. One of the downsides to apps like MyFitnessPal was that this feature isn’t there. I can add foods but it’s a huge pain in the butt. Cron-o-Meter was so much easier!

Ask The Oracle

I LOVE this feature! You can do a search to find the best sources for things. For example, say I am deficient in iron (which I am). I can search for iron rich foods that I should be eating more of. Apparently I should be eating lentils, spinach and clams!

“The results can be ranked in three different ways: Highest amount Per Calorie, highest amount per Gram, and by The Oracle. The last option ranks foods according to a wide variety of factors. Ranking by nutrient density per calorie isn’t always a great way to find good foods to add to your diet to shore up a nutrient deficiency.”

Very cool. I love feeling smarter about food. :) This is available with an upgraded membership–which starts at just $5.99. So not much damage to the wallet there!

How Much Weight Do I Want To Lose?

This is often the hard part for people just starting out. I had no idea the actual NUMBERS and stuff when I first started out. I just decided to eat less than 2,000 calories a day. But using this program helps you with that.

” Setting a weight goal will calculate the target calories you need to reach your goal based on your current vitals. For example, say your sedentary body requires 2500 calories per day to maintain your current weight. If your goal is to slowly lose weight at around one pound per week, you will need to target a net daily average calories of around 2000 calories per day.”

Awesome. Figure it out FOR me, computer!!

If I want to lose 1/2 a pound a week, I need to eat 1693 calories a day. Doesn’t sound too bad. I’m not sure yet if I can achieve that. I’m usually between 1800-2200 depending on if I exercise that day. But I’m willing to give it a try.

Sign Up Now

If you’re interested in trying this excellent program to get started on your weight loss goals, check it out! Just click on the link in my bar.

And thank you to my new sponsor. I love sharing new weight loss ideas with my readers!

QUESTION: What features are important to you in weight loss tracking programs?