Getting into an exercise routine

I have written numerous times about trying to lose weight by counting calories. (Check out those posts here, herehere and here.) And it does work. Each time I have watched what I ate and counted my calories, I have lost weight. The problem comes when I reach my desired weight and stop counting. I slowly go back to my bad habits of eating when I am not hungry or eating whatever I want rather than making smart choices.

So as you can imagine, I weighed myself earlier this summer and realized I am at a weight I would rather not be. I would love to lose 5 lbs or better yet 10. Sigh. I think many women always feel that way. And while I know counting calories works, I just wasn’t ready to do that again since we were about to go on vacation, which means more eating out.

Instead, I decided to start watching what I ate (but not going so far as to drastically cut the calories) and concentrating on eating only when hungry and not when I had a craving for something sweet (or salty or whatever.) I also decided it was time to start exercising.

I used to not really worry about working out because I walked a lot. I would walk the kids to and from school EVERY day in my heeled sandals. But for some reason – laziness, the fact it is so hot here in Texas, or the kids just liked when I drove to pick them up – I stopped walking as much. I use to walk any time I needed to go to the school for meetings or the PTA, and suddenly I seem to be driving to the school all the time rather than walking.

So my plan was to start exercising more at home. Now I don’t like running and find walking boring – plus like I said I live in Texas, and it is HOT (104 degrees this past weekend). Heck, I really don’t enjoy exercising at all. I don’t get that rush of endorphins that some people talk about after their workout. Anyway, I have some DVDs with 10-minute workouts that I use to do so I thought I would start with that.

The problem with exercising is that in the past, I have never stuck with it for long. I would usually start off the New Year with plans to exercise, but then I would end up getting sick and get out of the routine. Or life just got busy and exercising wasn’t a top priority. Heck, I can’t even make writing a top priority, and I love that.

So in July, I made two changes. I made both exercise and writing top priorities. Instead of putting off writing until I have time, I have been doing it first. I have set a minimum I want to do and have been pretty good about following through. I have not only finished my first draft of my latest novel I am well into draft two because of my dedication. (Of course, course my PTA responsibilities pick up this month, so we will see if I can keep this up.)

The other change was to start doing 20-minute workouts three days a week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday). My husband also purchased a stationary bike with the hopes that we both would use it. I have been trying to use it three times a week and using it if I don’t get to my DVD workout. It is pretty easy to use while watching TV.

I must say I have been doing pretty well with this new exercise routine. Of course like my writing goal, I have to see if I can maintain this routine when PTA responsibilities pickup.

Now has this exercise plan helped at all with weight loss? Not so far. I know I need to get better at watching what I eat, but it is hard during the summer when the kids and I are out and about. Maybe after school starts and I get i a school-time routine, I will add counting calories back into my life. Until then, I will just keep exercising and writing.

Counting calories to lose weight – again

Woman holding her mouth uid 1461141Plenty of people make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. And many people will have failed to stick with their resolution a few short months or even weeks later. Losing weight can be hard. Heck, change of any kind can be hard.

I am not one who likes to make resolutions as I know how hard it is to stick to them, but I am determined to lose some weight.

As I look back at my former posts, I found this issue began three years ago when after the New Year, I posted that I would like to lose about 5 pounds. At the time, I wasn’t that concerned about the weight and dieting even though I had noticed a slow weight gain over the years. I just vowed to do better.

livestrongYep, it didn’t work because in September of that same year, I posted for the first time about counting calories. I had been to the doctor in July, and their scale showed me over 130 pounds. Now I didn’t just need to lose 5 pounds, I needed to lose 10! It was then that I knew if I didn’t do something, I would keep gaining weight. So I began counting calories with the help of the MyPlate app. (See the post for details on the app and counting calories.)

And with counting calories, I did lose weight. By the end of October of 2013, I posted that I lost 13 pounds in just 12 weeks! Yeah! And the good thing is that I really didn’t feel like I was dieting. It was all about making better choices and watching portion sizes.

That didn’t last long as the holidays hit. I ended up gaining 4 pounds over November and December. I again started counting calories to adjust my weight.

Fast forward to 2015. I knew this past Fall that I probably had been putting on some pounds when my jeans felt tighter. We had gone on a family cruise during the summer, and I ate whatever I wanted there. And before I knew it, there were lunches out with my hubby and family birthday celebrations, and then it was the holidays.

So when I stepped on the scale after Christmas, I found myself 13 pounds heavier than I wanted to be! (Make that 18 pounds if I went back to my original goal of 120 pounds from three years ago.) Yikes!

Needless to say I want to lose those pounds so I am back to counting calories. Now that I have done this before, I find it easier. I have hit my calorie mark every day within 100 calories. If anything I am more often under by a few calories rather than over. It is the times we eat out that really don’t help with counting calories.

I have been doing this for almost 5 weeks, and I have lost 6 pounds so far. But looking back at my history, I know it isn’t the losing of the weight that is my problem. It is keeping it off.

So this time, I vow that once I meet my goal weight that I will continue to count calories for at least two weeks (I prefer a month) so that I can get a good idea how much I should be eating each day. Only time will tell if that works. I may just have to step on the scale more often so that I can make adjustments sooner rather than finding out I am much heavier than I want to be and starting all over each time with a bigger weight loss goal.


Shedding that holiday weight

For those who regularly read my blog, you know that at the end of July, I began counting calories to lose weight. And it worked. I was down to my goal weight by Halloween having lost 13 pounds. So in November I stopped counting calories and began maintaining my new weight. I knew it would be hard during the holidays.

Bread and desserts with Santa cakeIn fact, from Thanksgiving to New Years, I gained about four pounds. It isn’t just going to holiday parties (I only went to one and hosted one), but the fact that we have such tempting things in the house – Texas Gold bars, Pumpkin Crunch, brownies, cupcakes and Christmas cookies.

I knew I would probably gain a few pounds and honestly I didn’t weigh myself until after Christmas. It might have been better if I had been weighing myself weekly as whenever I notice my weight rising, it is an extra incentive to watch what I eat. But it is too late for that now; the damage has already been done.

Starting New Year’s Day, I began watching my portion sizes and trying to stop munching on something when I wasn’t hungry. Yes, that ugly old habit reared its head again. But holiday food is just so tempting it is hard to remember that because a frosted Christmas cookie sounds good doesn’t mean I need to eat it.

Of course, it is easier not to eat junk food when it isn’t in the house. Now that the kids are back in school, and we have returned to familiar patterns, I think it will be easy to keep less snacks in the house and shed that holiday weight.

For the first week, I didn’t count calories. I just watched my portion sizes and tried to make better eating choices. No longer was I going to McDonald’s because I was out with kids during lunchtime. As soon as school started, it was back to having a Healthy Choice Frozen meals or my favorite – egg rolls from the grocery store deli (just 200 calories for 2, and they fill me up easily) for lunch.

Last Monday I started using the Livingstrong app on my phone again. It is hard to go back to counting calories, but at least I know that this will work. I figure to lose four pounds, I will be doing this until around Valentine’s Day. Hopefully, before I know it, I can move back to maintaining my weight as we head into Spring and shorts-wearing weather. And in Texas that comes early. It will be here before I know it.

Counting calories to lose weight

Woman holding her mouth uid 1461141Way back in January, I mentioned in a post that I wouldn’t mind losing 5 pounds. At the time, I weighed around 128. In July, I went to the doctor, and their scale showed me weighing 134! Needless to say, I realized that day I needed to do something.

I am getting older and know my metabolism is changing. (I will be 41 later this month.) I also realize people don’t get fat overnight. The weight just slowly creeps up on them. I figure I need to do something about this now or end up overweight as a few of my friends have become as they have gotten older.

When I was married 18 years ago, I weighed 104. Now there is no way that I am going back to that weight. My body has changed in those years. After all, I did have two kids. But I would like to get back down to 120. I think that is a perfectly realistic goal and appropriate for someone who is 5’ 2″.

I know that most diets don’t work. You need to change HOW you eat. You need to make lifestyle changes. Looking at my diet, I realized that a lot of my problem was portion control and eating when I wasn’t really hungry. To me, it made sense that I should work on counting calories as a way to lose weight. If I cut out eating the ice cream and snacking when the kids did, I should easily be able to shed a few pounds.

I checked several calorie counters out there, and they said to maintain my current weight, I needed to eat 1800 calories. To lose a pound a week, they suggest cutting 500 calories a day which sounded like a lot to me. Of course, I really had no clue how many I was currently eating. So I began counting my calories. I chose to do this with the help of an app from I chose the free version of MyPlate. It has many of the foods – including restaurant meals – already listed in it, or you can manually enter your food.

Part of the trick of counting your calories is knowing how much you are eating. I, like most people, just pour cereal in my bowl and dig in. But doing this means you really have no clue if you are eating one serving or two. So I began measuring my food. It was eye-opening to say the least. How does 10 chips really make a serving? Who knew that EACH flour tortilla was 100 calories? And that there are 500 calories in a small McDonald’s milkshake?

So for the past month I have been measuring my food and counting my calories. The app has suggested 1319 as my target goal for calories per day. I have been over every day. Basically, this only gives you 400 calories per meal with 119 for snacks. While breakfast is easy to keep under 400, lunch and dinner are hard to do. But I have kept my calorie count to less than 1600 each day (200 under the amount to maintain my weight.) I figure with this count I may not be losing a pound a week but half a pound a week. That is fine with me. I am not in a hurry, and I don’t want to feel like I am starving.

As for August 30 (five weeks into my calorie counting experiment), I have lost 7 and a half pounds. I have been feeling pretty good about this plan. Once I meet my weight loss goal, I will change the app to “maintain weight” and count calories for a while until I have a good idea of how much I can eat and not gain weight. Now that the kids are back in school, I am hoping to begin exercising again. With these changes, I am confident I can meet and maintain my ideal weight.