January – A Month of Beginnings

So far, January has been all about beginnings and fresh starts.  I guess that’s pretty normal for the month at the beginning of a new year.  One of the things that’s begun this month is I’ve started back on Weight Watchers.  Well, that actually happened at the end of December, but I didn’t have my first weigh-in until January.  I did great my first week back!  I lost 4 lbs that first weigh-in and didn’t feel like I struggled at all the previous week getting there.  The new Weight Watchers program really guides you towards healthier food choices that help you to make better choices and feel fuller.  I’m hoping that this time I finally learn better eating habits that I can use the rest of my life.

The plan is theoretically the same – you still get a set number of Points – now called Points Plus – that you’re supposed to eat per day, plus a weekly allowance on top of that that you can choose to use on splurges, hungrier days, etc.  Points are calculated differently now, though, and help guide you towards healthier and more filling foods.  The best way that I can illustrate that is with “the banana example” (lol).  On the previous program, a banana was 2 points.  So was a sugar free chocolate pudding cup.  Now, rationally I always knew that the banana was a healthier choice because it carried with it more nutrients and fiber and would be more filling in the end.  But…  for the same amount of points I could have chocolate.  So I almost always went for the “fake food” chocolate.  Now, with the new plan, a sugar free chocolate pudding cup is still 2 points, but a banana is 0 points.  So what would I choose now?  The banana.

On top of many “better-for-you” foods becoming lower in points, many of the “not-so-better-for-you” foods became higher in points, as did many “staple” foods.  The daily and weekly points allowances also increased, though, so it’s pretty easy to fit in a lot of “good-for-you” foods and still have room for plenty of “ok-for-you” foods.

They also slightly modified the way that you could use Activity Points; letting you use them any time during the week that you earned them rather than having them “expire” that day.   This has helped me to become super-motivated to work out, since I’m not beholden to using those points the day that I earn them and can save them up for the weekend, for example, when we might go out and have some drinks.

Overall, I like the changes to the new plan and I feel like I’m making healthier choices.  In the past, I’d always recommended Weight Watchers because it was so easy – you just track what you eat and stay on target and you lose.  Now I feel even better about recommending it because not only is it still really easy, but by following the plan you’ll also make healthier choices and develop good eating habits that should keep you from slipping back into the bad habits that got you to a place where you needed to lose weight in the first place.  Oh – and I’ve had another weigh-in since the beginning of the month and had another 2.8lb loss, so I’m totally 6.8lbs down in the first 2 weeks.  How can you not love a program that helps you do that?!

Another thing I’ve started this month is working out with EA Active 2 on our PS3.  EA Active 2 is a “virtual personal trainer” game that uses sensors that strap onto your arms and right leg to monitor your movements and your heart rate.  I really enjoy working out with it because it’s not JUST getting on the elliptical and doing the same repetitive movement until your workout time has elapsed or JUST lifting weights.  It’s a video game that runs you through different drills and “exercise stations” – kind of like working out with a real personal trainer – and so you’re constantly changing up what you’re doing to keep things interesting.  Now, unlike having a real personal trainer, it can’t modify exercises to accommodate injuries and it can’t really tell if you’ve got your form perfect.  But it’s still a fun way to get a good workout in, without having to leave the house.  There is also an online portal that you can join to track your progress online and join exercise groups.  I haven’t played with that part of it too much yet, but it sounds cool.  I ended up getting it for the PS3 rather than for the Wii because the PS3 version allows for completely hands-free exercises, so you can easily add in free-weights rather than using the included resistance band and you don’t have to hold a wii-mote during cardio exercises and feel your hands making it all sweaty (gross).  Also, supposedly they will add downloadable content to the PS3 version in the future.  There isn’t any yet, but I figured I’d go with the system that allowed for a little future-proofing.

Another new beginning – and a very exciting one – is for Dodi and her husband, Scott, who welcomed into the world their first baby on Friday, the 14th!  I was fortunate enough to get to meet Emma Margaret on Saturday and am happy to report that she is a truly adorable little peanut!  Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, but let me just tell you: she’s cute.  She’s got impish dark blue eyes behind long eyelashes and tons of blonde hair that already comes down past her ears!  I’m so happy for Dodi and Scott – congrats guys!

And now it’s time for another new beginning: me beginning to get back to work today!

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Wake up Call

So, everyone who starts a weight loss program has a moment that makes them realize that it’s time to do something about their weight.  I’ve (obviously) known for a while that I need to lose weight, but for me, this time, the moment that pushed me back to Weight Watchers came in the form of a wake up call.  Well, not really a wake up call, but a call that came in the morning. From my doctor’s office.  First thing in the morning, right after I got to my desk at work… So it kind of was a wake-up call (because I’m not a morning person).

“Hello, Alison?” came the female voice on the line.

“Hi, yes, this is Alison.”

“Hi!  This is [your new doctor].  I just wanted to let you know that we received your lab results from your previous doctor’s office and they look fine…  I did want to point out, though, that you’ve gained 16 lbs from when you were weighed at that office in September to when you were weighed at this office in November.”

“Oh…” I said.  And then when she didn’t say anything right away I said, “Well, I go up and down a lot…”

I know that she was implying that maybe it was related to a potential thyroid problem (she brought it up in conjunction with the lab results that were taken after I found the cyst on my thyroid) but I don’t think that’s the case.  I know that I’ve been sloth-like and eating everything in site.  And those were the thoughts that I had while hanging up the phone and sitting down at my desk.  First thing in the morning.  Great way to start a day!  So, since I was sitting in front of my computer, I went to WeightWatchers.com and signed back up.

Tomorrow is my first weigh-in day since being back on the program.  I know that you’re not supposed to weigh yourself in between weigh-in days, but I weigh myself multiple times every day.  I only “count” the morning weigh-in in my head, though because you always weigh the lightest first thing in the morning because you’re always supposed to weigh yourself around the same time every day for the most accurate tracking results.  So, unofficially, I’ve lost about 4 lbs my first week back.  You always lose the most in your first couple of weeks (when you have the most to lose and you’re making the most drastic changes), so I know that I won’t be able to keep THAT pace up, but I’m hoping to keep it on the higher end of the healthy weight loss per week scale of 1 to 2 lbs per week.

I figure that if I give myself 3 months to lose weight (which will put us firmly in the “safe zone” to conceive and be covered by the Short Term Disability Insurance that we just bought (and just became effective as of January 1st), which requires a 10 month waiting period before covering pregnancy related disabilities), and if I really focus and work on it, I could lose close to 30 lbs.  That would not, unfortunately, put me at my goal weight, but it would put me close to half way there and it would bring my BMI out of the “obese” (OMG) category.  (I can’t wait for the day for my Wii Fit to stop telling me, “That’s obese!” when it measures my weight!)  I’m trying to think of it as “My Zero Trimester” (and that’s keeping me pretty motivated!).  I know that it may take us a while to be successful when we’re actually starting to try to conceive again, but hopefully I can keep myself from getting frustrated on that front and keep myself motivated on the weight loss front by focusing on every month that it doesn’t happen is at least a month that can put me closer to my goal weight.

So, as my brilliant friend, Cuch, said in a recent Facebook status: “Assault on the new year!!!! Charge!!!”

Losing Weight to Procreate!

Over the past 9 years or so, I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve written proclaiming that I’m back on the wagon with Weight Watchers and that this time is the time that I’m going to stick to it!

I guess going up and down so many times like that could make someone cynical.  It could make them give up… But I’m not going to let that happen.  I know that I need to just get back in the game and “give it the old college try”.  I know that I can lose the weight that I gained back since our wedding and I know that I have to do it to be healthy!

I also know that I should do it before we take the plunge back into “Trying to Conceive (TTC) Land” (which we’re planning on doing early 2011).  But, I also know that I’m not patient and so I will give it my best shot to lose as much as I can before I get pregnant.  I don’t want to be a fat pregnant lady and I’d like to minimize all health risks I possibly can to be able to have a normal, healthy baby!  And if I get pregnant before I’m back to my Weight Watchers goal weight?  Well, I’m not going to be too sad about it – I’ll just try to continue to maintain healthy nutrition and exercise habits throughout the pregnancy and hopefully pick back up after the baby comes.  And if I don’t get pregnant before I hit goal?  Well, at least I won’t be a fat pregnant lady when the time eventually does come!

So where am I at right now?  Well, it’s been almost a year exactly since I found out that I miscarried after 3 months of bliss and excitement about getting pregnant.  2010 was a rough year – I don’t think that I really realized until it was almost over how much I was emotionally affected by the loss of the pregnancy.  I feel like I have some perspective now and have a healthier attitude in general about getting pregnant again.  Last Spring/Summer I was so focused on just getting pregnant again right away so that I could ease the pain of the loss.  Now I’m able to take a bit of a more rational approach and really address some things that should be taken care of before we start a family.  I’ll work on losing weight.  We’ve got short-term disability insurance in place for when I’ll go out on maternity leave.  We’re both in secure jobs that we don’t loathe.

I’m looking forward to starting this journey (these journeys) and starting a new year.  I know that we may experience some setbacks… but at least I know that we’ve lived through them before.  I’ve always found that, with my weight loss in the past, being able to look at concrete evidence of my success at something gives me confidence to keep moving forward.  Everything will work out in the end the way that it’s meant to be.  It’s funny for me to say that, since that statement used to frustrate me in the past.  I’d get angry and ask how things will work out or claim that things only worked out because I obsessively searched for solutions.  I’m able to see now, though, that I was trying to control things too much and there are just some things that are out of your hands.  I think (hope) that with my new perspective I will be more successful with my weight loss goals than I have been in the past.  I think I’ll be able to be less hard on myself and be able to accept less than perfection.

So far, I’m on Day 2 of being back on program with Weight Watchers and things have been really easy.  I think I’ll really like the new PointsPlus plan.  I know that New Year’s Eve is coming up and may be a challenge for me, but I will just need to keep reminding myself: everything in moderation, and it’s all about balance.  If I use up my weekly allowance that night, it’s OK: that’s what it’s there for.  I will just need to make sure to balance it out with the next few days of staying on track and within my daily allowance.  We’re getting a new combination elliptical and exercise bike machine delivered today and I’m looking forward to being able to get a good cardio workout in without even needing to leave the house.  Our buying that machine and canceling our gym membership is more evidence that my attitude is changing – instead of expecting perfect behavior of getting up early to go to the gym, I’ve realized it’s never going to happen and giving in to investing in making it easier to get in a workout at home.

It’s a new day, (almost) a new year – and I’m feeling good!