Monday, June 4, 2012

A Few Helpful Tricks

Well, like most people now-a-days, my new year's resolution has been to lose weight, and also like most people, it always just sounds good, spoken with genuine good intentions but never followed through. Except this year, though I did get a late start, the last week of April, to be exact. Now, for those of you who do not know me, I am not huge, nor badly overweight. What I am, is a mother of three who, like so many women, added on a few pounds with each pregnancy until they were just not happy with the way they looked any more. It didn't help matters that my last pregnancy was twins, or that I had post partum depression, plus an additional depression coupled with a dangerous drop in platelets, both caused by a reaction to my MS medication. Basically, I am an emotional eater, eating not just when I am hungry but for the sake of food. I LOVE food. I can well be thinking about what to have for supper while I am still eating lunch. This is, of course, not a good thing. It also doesn't help matters that diabetes runs in my family. I do NOT want to encourage that in my own health, rather, I want to do everything I can to prevent it. Now, those things listed above...pregnancy, depression, etc. Those are reasons. I also had plenty of excuses. And I'll be the first to admit, I have a bad lazy streak. And exercise is not something I wake up, stretch my arms and say, "YEA!" about. Nah. I'd rather pour me another bowl of cereal and break out the laptop. But, I'd had enough of not fitting in my old jeans, enough of sighing when I saw myself in a picture, realizing what I REALLY looked like, plus I just wanted to be healthier, and exercise is always something good for people with MS, anyway, so along with my husband, who also wanted to shed a few pounds, I FINALLY got up off my lazy bottom to do something about this. And in five weeks, I've lost 9 lbs. :) Not too shabby for someone addicted to chocolate and who thought they hated exercise. LOL Oh, I'm not done, by any means. I've got about 9 more to go until I'm totally satisfied (though the real test is the old jeans, not so much the scale...) But hey, I'm seeing improvements! I can already fit into shorts that used to BARELY button if I sucked in really hard. I can already wear a couple dresses I haven't worn since before I had the twins. I even fit into a leather jacket I hadn't been able to wear since before my FIRST child!!! (So glad I didn't throw that out!) AND I bought a bathing suit. That I like...and that I didn't cringe when I tried it on in the dressing room. Whoa...that is also something that hasn't happened since before first child. Now, HOW am I doing this? Do I have some sort of gimmick? Some sort of fad diet or fad exercise routine? Nope. Just counting calories and exercising, but I do have a few handy tricks up my sleeve that work for me, and I thought I'd share them for any one else who might be like me and just need that gentle shove to get started. Now, I'm no health expert or anything. These are just trucks that have really helped me. 1. It's an amazing app called LOSE IT. It's free. Download it! Now!!! :) You put in your current height and weight, what your goal is and if you'd like to shoot for half a pound, one pound, or two pounds a week. (I put in one.) Then it calculates how many calories you can have per day and lists it on the log in page where you log in everything you consume and every bit of exercise you do (and yes, house cleaning is on the list. It all counts. LOL) You can even input your own exercise (like I do on the knows my incline and whatnot, so I trust its calorie count better). And, of course, the more you exercise, the more you can eat. It calculates all that automatically for you, too. :) Cool. Also, it's soooo easy to use. My favorite feature is the barcode reader. Say, you have Special K for breakfast, like I did, today. You scan the barcode, then put in how much you ate (1.5cups for me), and it automatically figures it up and adds it in for the day under breakfast. How cool is that?? But the best thing is that it KEEPS YOU HONEST about what you did and your portions. Now, when you take that fifteen minute stroll down to buy that 400 calorie ice cream, you can no longer convince yourself that the walk cancled that out. LOL And it forces you to measure how much peanut butter you've been putting on that graham cracker to either be horrified or pleasantly surprised at how badly or well you are doing with your portions. But either way, it keeps you honest, and that has been more than half my battle right there! (As shows with my bathing suit purchase!) Oh, and on a side note, it doesn't not berrate you or fuss at you if you do not exercise a lot on any given day, like another program my husband tried beforehand. It would dock him "points" or whatever if he did his run fifteen minutes than he had inputted his plan to do so. He got tired of that pretty quickly. 2. Hot dogs are your friends. At least, they are if you are eating Oscar Meyer's 98% fat free hotdogs. These babies have only 40 calories a piece!!! Now, by no means do you need to eat them every day, and hot dogs aren't exactly health food, but say, if you know you're going out to eat for supper, have a low calorie hot dog for lunch. Or use them to help make your cookout more figure friendly while everyone else is chowing down on that hamburger! (Turkey burgers help with that, too, btw, which is fine for me, as I like them better. I'm not a big beef person, myself.) I love hotdogs, and this was a big help to me. 3. Skinny Cow candy. YUM! It's every bit as good as a REAL candy bar, just as big (that's the clencher for me, too), and like, 1/3 of the calories. A real candy bar for 120 calories? Yes, please. In fact, I often save up my calories for one of these as the end of the day for a well deserved reward. YUM YUM YUM! 4. Portions sooo count! And so does the calorie count of any given food. So, be smart. For example...Now while I hate Kix, I happen to adore Honey Kix, even when I'm not on a diet, and while most cereals are about 3/4 cup for a serving, the Honey Kix will let you have 1 1/4 cups for about the same calorie count. Add your skim milk, and you're good to go. 5. Exercise. This is the kicker for most of us. Ugh. Exercise??? When do I have time? Well, to quote Dr. Oz (though I'd already figured this out, to be honest), the best kind of exercise for you is the kind you WILL ACTUALLY DO!!! So...I like to dance. I like video games. JUST DANCE!!! Love it. I have every version of it, and change it up by doing different songs, different versions, plus I have some dance workout videos. Denise Austin's dance workout and The Bollywood Booty are two of my favorites. And dancing, I have found, is one of the BEST ways to burn a lot of calories quickly, if you actually get up and go at it energetically. I also like the treadmill because I can watch TV, read a book, play on the laptop, all while I'm walking. :) I'm a multitasker. I have been known to earn swagbucks on the laptop while burning calories at the same time. LOL My kids favorite is to pile up on my bed and watch cartoons in MAMA'S room while I walk on the treadmill (I very rarely run). Hey, whatever works. We also do family bike rides, sometimes going as much as 10 miles on a nice Saturday afternoon. We really enjoy these and get family time as well as exercise. A great combo. We also do walks together, sometimes, too. 6. Substitute. For exampke, applesauce for oil in brownies and cakes, when you do have to make that special dessert for somewhere, though I advise only doing half, if you want it to have a better texture. But that's personal preference. Oh, and don't eat 6 brownies or 3 slices of cake in one evening. :) 7. Homemade is always healthier, or at least it is with EVERYTHING I've tested so far. Did you know my own homemade vanilla ice cream has only about 70 calories per 1/2 cup serving? And that's using 1% milk, 2% evap. milk and real sugar. The sugar free ones at the store have at least 80 calories per same size serving. And while I do indulge in diet drinks occasionally, I try to steer away from artificial sweetners as much as possible. And I don't have ice cream every night, anyway. My cheese pizza, by the way, also only has about 70 calories per slice, though that is cheese. You would have to add more for pepperoni or ham or whatever. But still, that's normal non-diet ingredients. Not too shabby, and it's very good besides. 8. Diet A&W Root beer is the best diet drink I've tried. So good I dont' feel like I'm actually drinking diet drinks, and I soooo need my carbonated beverage every so often...and especially with pizza. Anyway, as I said, I am no expert nor do I claim to be. I just know these are things that have helped me out and got me started. Already I'm seeing an improvement and feel better, besides. :) Anyway, good luck to any of you in the same boat, and maybe some of these tricks can help you, too. :)

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