Tag: weight loss

Facts About Quinoa

With trying to eat healthier, we are trying to broaden our diet. One thing we tried recently was quinoa (pronounced, at least by us, sorta as KEEN-wa). It’s a type┬áof grain, which is good to expand into since nearly every grain we eat is wheat. Wheat is great and all, but it’s not the only grain in town.

Diana tried a black bean/salsa/quinoa recipe that even all of the kids loved, and we’ll definitely be adding it into the rotation to have again soon. Great stuff!

A few quick facts about quinoa for those who haven’t heard of it:

  • It is very high in proteins.
  • In fact, with soy, it is one of the only complete proteins among plants (i.e. it has all of the essential amino acids our body can’t make), and is therefore great for vegetarians. Otherwise vegetarians need to combine, say rice and beans, in order to get complete protein.
  • Also high in fiber, magnesium, and iron.
  • It is easy to prepare. You can cook it just like rice, for example.
  • Easy to digest and, according to Wikipedia, NASA is even considering it for long duration missions.
  • When your cat chews open a bag in the middle of the night, it makes a mess that you would not believe. The grains are so small that it is impossible for any broom known to get them all. Plus, being so small they don’t even stick to bare feet, but sort of embed into your skin and need to be picked out.
  • Quinoa originates from South America.

3 of these facts, I learned recently from our weight loss class. 3 more I learned from Wikipedia. And one I had the joy of learning this morning. Any one guess which?

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Weight Loss – Not with a Bang but with a Whoops!

Final weigh in!! And the results are…

Gained a pound. Whoops!

Ah well, 11 straight weeks of loss, I was bound to screw up at some point. ­čÖé But it was a combination of no longer walking to work now that I’m teaching (some of my old co-workers joked about how it would be quite a walk to work teaching in Alma!), and overeating at a couple meals. I knew I was over-doing it, and now I can see what happened.

But I’m not distraught or anything. I knew I goofed, and it showed. I’ve never really beat myself up over eating, and considering how much I lost, I won’t start now! Besides, with Diana’s loss (she lost a pound – I figured she gave it to me, she’s so kind), we are tied for overall weight loss on the program!

Although, I hesitate to say that the program is over. Technically, we still have our Maintenance Prep tomorrow morning, 2 classes to make up, and then we plan on going to classes for maintenance (they recommend 26 out of the next year to earn “lifetime membership” to their facility). But it was our last weigh-in, so it definitely feels like a big transition.

I feel better than I have felt in years. I keep wanting to slip into eating some junk or over-eating when we have something really yummy, but I’m better about going easy on it. (Maybe we need to have fewer meals that taste good!) I’m still amazed at my blood pressure, which is a nice clear number to track, going from “talking about medication” to “spot-on normal”. Also, final week blood work came back with everything in the normal range.

So, it was definitely worth it, but it is only the beginning. The program didn’t get us totally healthy, but it jump started us in that direction, and that is probably better in the long run. If we can only lose weight while in the program, that doesn’t bode well. We need to be able to continue our weight loss (and more importantly overall healthy improvement) while outside of the program, in our everyday decisions. That’s one of the reasons I never got into journaling (the other reason being because I’m too lazy). I know myself enough, and have had enough past experience to know that journaling does help me to not overeat, but I never keep it up. I need to be able to eat healthier as a habit, not by doing daily math. Hopefully, I’m well on that track now.

Either way, I know I wouldn’t be able to survive the hectic semester without feeling as good as I do, so the immediate benefit has been nice. I can also walk up the 2.5 flights of stairs to 3rd floor of the Academic Center where my office is in Alma without getting winded. It’s the little things that are subtly better, but add up to a great difference.

From here on, I’ll keep updating the weight page – maybe weekly, at least monthly. Plus if anything health-wise pops into my head to discuss, I probably will. Heck, food is a whole lot more complex if you try to eat healthy rather than “off-the-shelf American”. But thanks for listening in through the major first step!

Weight Loss Week 11 – One more week

Almost to the end of the main program and then it’s maintenance! I have pretty much leveled off at losing 1 pound per week now that we are back on food (and I have been walking less). Plus my blood pressure has really stabilized at what I have found online to be pretty much textbook normal. So that’s awesome.

I hope to kick up the exercise a bit again, especially in this final week. If I can manage a 1.5 pound loss, then I’ll manage a 30 pound loss over the program. Less than I hoped, but more that I have ever lost at a time. My 1 pound a week feels slow compared to my numbers in the first part of the program, but it’s still a steady loss. Plus, towards the end here, we have been less strict about our exact exchanges and all that, and have been more of less just “healthy eating”. Doing that and still losing is great.

Sure, we ate out today and I overdid it. But I choose to overdo it, and still “over doing it” was far less than a normal day for me several months ago. It all just needs to be balanced out. Too much of that, means less of this, and more exercise. No guilt. No habitual overeating. Just enjoying a meal (which, by the way, was today’s class topic – slow down and enjoy food again!).

But today we got our last of the Optifast shakes. So the end is near. I will actually miss the shakes and might not mind having some extra stocked up on┬áoccasion. When it’s time for a snack or am in a hurry, it’s easy to just grab one of those. So I have to work on other healthy substitutes for the quick food.

Overall, the program has been good, but like many things, it started dramatically and ends quietly. It really dominated our lives at the beginning (for obvious reasons), but now, it’s becoming more of an after thought. Partly that’s due to actually eating meals and real food again. Another part is the vast amount my schedule has filled up with school going now. (Is it a bad sign that only week is down, and it already feels like a marathon?)

But whatever the reason, 1 week from today is our final weigh-in and doctor visit. We will attend a couple classes as make-up sessions, and then have to go to some more to get “lifetime membership” (basically allows us to get products in the future, schedule meetings with staff there, etc.). So there’s plenty more in store, but it’ll be quieter and less dominating. I hope that’s a sign that it’s a settled lifestyle change. The changes from the program are more habit than challenge. It will be a different kind of difficult, sure, but I am confident that, like a lot of other things in my life right now, it’s the beginning transition to a great things.

Various

Worried about weekly weigh-in, but Diana still lost 2 pounds, and I lost exactly 1. Plus I posted my record low blood pressure. Take THAT Mr. Dr. Man recommending blood pressure meds.

Got up yesterday for my first day of being a full time student/professor and not having a desk job. I guess I watch to many movies because it felt like such a new beginning should be more profound, you know? Like I should at least have a musical montage 80’s style. But I just snoozed the alarm twice and then made pancakes for the kids.

Today was the first day of class at Alma. I’ll see about going into more detail on that later (although perhaps not too much, students these days have that Google thing). ­čśë But overall, it went much faster than I thought it would, I rambled more than I wanted but less than I feared, and it went alright. The white out blizzard there and back was not fun, however. But I am home safe.

Hopefully something more substantial tomorrow since I have been running crazy getting everything ready for this week.

Weight Loss Week 9 – Leveling off but feeling great

Forgot to update yesterday, but since I had the day off, I attended Diana’s weight loss class. Diana is still rocking the weight loss with 3.5 pounds lost in 2 weeks (we skipped last week since we were busy and/or recovering from Christmas). I slowed down and only lost just over a half pound. It’s still a loss, but incorporating real food back in is definitely tricky (Christmas didn’t help either). But, my blood pressure is also about the lowest it’s ever been, so I’m quite happy.

Overall, I wish I had written more before we started, because it is hard to really compare how we feel. The overall health improvement has been staggering. Beyond just having less mass, the lower blood pressure and more balanced nutrition (including pretty much no caffeine for a couple months now) is really making me feel great compared to how much I had to drag myself around previously. My energy levels are higher than they have been in a long time. I have more focus. After the kids are tucked into bed, I’m not totally wiped out and vegetative! Woohoo!

I’m sure the job change is also helping. This week’s class was on self-esteem and they had a little mini “rate yourself” quiz, and the results I wrote down yesterday are a far cry from what I would have written a few months ago. The health improvement is a big part of that, but being able to finally leave a career I really don’t like to focus on school is certainly a major factor as well. For the first time in years, maybe even a decade, rather than just feeling like I’m helping the kids to move forward, I feel like I am moving forward and improving in my life.

That is a great feeling, and I heartily recommend people find their own paths to that feeling, even a taste of it for a day.

Weight Loss Week 7 – Mixed News

Well, I’m still losing and have lost exactly 26 pounds overall! However, I had my body composition test since I lost over 25 so far. For future reference, when they say “Do your strength training or else half the weight you lose will be muscle”, they are right. I did plenty of walking for good aerobic exercise, but very little resistance exercise to keep my muscles regenerating. Consequently, I have lost a lot of weight, but only 14 lbs is fat loss. 10 lbs is muscle (I think the remaining 2 are just water since there is less of my to hydrate, and believe it or not, properly hydrated half of our weight is water.)

So, tonight I am definitely starting my resistance exercises with a┬ávengeance. It may slow down my weight loss (which is already slowing a bit with introducing real food), but I’d prefer most of my weight loss to be actual fat.

But my pants are too big and people keep telling me I look slimmer, so I’m certainly not complaining. Even if I have lost some muscle, I still have lost a lot of fat and now weigh less than I have in the past decade. That was one goal for me since when Diana was pregnant with Samantha, I put on A LOT of weight – even more than Diana and she was growing a person. Not surprisingly, that was when my insulin levels went through the roof, but I managed to lose a good amount of weight over time and got down to 225.

Of course over the years I crept slowly back up, but have finally dropped below my post-Samantha lowest weight. My next goal is to get past my pre-Samantha weight of 190.

Also, other good news is my blood pressure is still lowering. My┬ásystolic┬á(top number) is the lowest I’ve ever seen it with 110, and the┬ádiastolic┬á(bottom) is staying in the 70’s, which works for me. Much better than the 145/100 I had at my last physical. It’s close to a 30 point drop in both values. Definitely a good sign.

Add belts to my list

If any of my family is still Christmas shopping for me – add belts to the list.

I kept having to hike up my pants today, so I gave the next belt notch a try. Sure enough, I’m down a second notch on my belt, which unfortunately is the smallest (at least on the belt I wear the most, but I think the others are the same size).

I have no clue how belt sizes work, but my waist is probably down to 38 or maybe 36. However, I’m sure you have all bought wonderful gifts for me already, well before you spent money on others. ­čśë I have no problem poking my own holes in my belts to get more use out of them. I just wanted to share that fun little belt notch milestone.