Friday, July 31, 2009

Using Clothing as Inspiration

One of the tips I've seen offered for keeping true to weight loss goals (especially for women) is to focus on a specific outfit you want to wear. This can be something you already have that you can no longer wear (lots of conference suits for me) or something that you don't own yet but promise yourself you'll buy when you hit a certain size. I've already told myself that I'm not buying any more new clothes until I drop a size or two. My dream is to drop three sizes, but I think I might be satisfied with two if I've hit my goal weight by then. I think I was in my first year of college the last time I could fit into a pair of jeans that were three sizes smaller than what I wear now.

Speaking of jeans -- they can serve as a motivator and way to visually gauge weight loss. Find a pair of jeans you have that fit snugly, perhaps are even a little uncomfortable. Try them on every so often and see if they're getting looser. And remember, sometimes you might be losing inches when the scales aren't moving.

Today's reading -- I read a few quick success stories by women who'd lost weight in Fitness magazine. One of them suggested the tip for using an outfit to track your progress instead of a scale.

Today's progress:

Same weight. I think I'll go to weighing only every 2-3 days.

Calorie intake: 1,403.32

Exercise: 45 minutes walking & 10 sit-ups

Steps: 10,244
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I Heart My Scale & Inspiration

Today was the first time in a long time that I haven't cursed my scale's very existence. You see, for the first time in a long time, it inched downward! I've dropped two pounds. Yay! I'm so inspired to keep up this exercise/calorie counting/thinking about fitness all the time routine.

It was driven home to me even more today why getting into shape now is extremely important. My mom has a bevy of health issues, and after talking with people at her health clinic today, it appears she's going to be dealing with even more -- of yet another variety. I don't want to go into specifics, especially not until we see a specialist, but I appreciate any good wishes sent my mom's way. She's had a rough couple of years health-wise.

I have a revision deadline on Monday that necessitated a lot of in the chair computer time today. If I got workout points for typing, I'd be a supermodel. :) After several hours of work and the news about Mom, I really didn't want to face cooking. But I did make some smart choices when hubby and I went out to dinner. We went to Logan's Roadhouse and I got grilled shrimp, grilled zucchini, probably 2 tablespoons or less of rice pilaf, maybe six sauteed mushroom slices, and half a roll with only a smidge of butter. Gone was the loaded baked potato I used to order. Also gone was me scarfing down two rolls because I love bread. By making the smarter choices, I had such a low overall calorie count for the day that when I got hungry a few hours later, I was able to eat a Weight Watchers Fudge Bar.

I have a good friend who finds watching The Biggest Loser very inspiring. When it comes on for another season, I'm going to watch it too for my own inspiration. I love reading stories about people who have made positive changes in their lives and who are reaping the rewards of their hard work. Here is such a story, from Prevention magazine's site.

Today's progress:

Calorie intake: 1,130.12

Exercise: 40 minutes of step aerobics while laughing at Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

Steps: 10,240

Total pounds left to lose until weight goal: 38
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


One of the common excuses for exercising is, "I don't have time." Let's put aside the fact that if people don't exercise, they could end up with even less time life-wise. I can understand the dilemma though, especially for writers who are on deadline -- especially those who have day jobs and children on top of everything else. I don't have a full-time outside job anymore and don't have kiddos, but my days are still jam packed. Therefore, I am a great fan of multitasking. When I exercise, I'm almost always doing something else at the same time. I get the exercise in without the silly guilt of time away from other tasks. Some examples:

~ When I ride the recumbent bike or walk on the treadmill, I read at the same time. This could be magazines I subscribe to, a book I'm reading, or manuscript pages.

~ When I do aerobics, I watch something on DVD or on the TiVo. This definitely makes aerobics more fun, and they go by more quickly. Lately, I've been doing step aerobics while watching episodes of the first season of True Blood. Someday I'll look like Sookie (aka Anna Paquin) in a pair of shorts. :)

~ When I go walking around the neighborhood, I listen to a podcast (usually PotterCast -- for Harry Potter fans) or a writing conference workshop. I did this tonight for 50 minutes before it got dark.

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to read an article or part of a book about healthier living each day. While at the grocery store today, I bought an issue of Fitness magazine, an issue of WeightWatchers magazine, and a book called Walk Off Weight put out by Prevention magazine. Just on the opening page "From the Editors," they cited a University of Virginia study in which women who walked for shorter time periods but faster three times a week in combination with two longer, moderate-paced walks each week lost five times more abdominal weight than those who walked at a moderate speed five times a week. There were also benefits in decreasing waistlines, smaller thighs, and the loss of body fat and weight. Hmm, guess what I'm going to try. :)

Today's progress:

Oops, forgot to weigh again. I blame the lack of brain function when I get up in the mornings. I just wrote "Weigh before breakfast!" on the dry erase board on the front of the fridge.

Calorie intake: 1,334.5 -- Learned that one of my favorite lunch items, a Chick fil A sandwich with cheese has 512.5 calories! Good thing the rest of my day was pretty low-cal. Also tried the zero-calorie Coke Zero. Ugh. Not a fan. Hate the taste of aspartame. That's why I don't like diet drinks.

Exercise: 50 minutes walking (165.5 calories burned)

Steps: 10,225 -- About 6,000 of these steps came during my walk tonight. But the other 4,000+ steps burned some calories, just don't know how many. I just read online that 10,000 steps a day could possibly burn 300-400 calories, but that depends on the terrain -- whether you're hiking up hills or just walking around the house.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Help! I'm eating out.

Anyone who knows me also knows that cooking is not something I particularly enjoy. I love to eat out or get takeout. I'm sure lots of writers can relate, especially when you're on deadline like I am this week. But eating out can be disastrous when trying to make a lifestyle change that includes losing weight. Eating out is possible, however, if you plan a little and go in with a certain mindset. Here are some tips:

1. Avoid fast food when at all possible. Sometimes this is difficult if you're on the road. If you find yourself somewhere like the golden arches, at the very least look at the menu for better options than the biggest burger they offer. For instance, at McDonald's a Caesar salad with grilled chicken has 220 calories and 6 grams of fat while a Big Mac has 560 calories and 30 grams of fat.

2. When you go out to eat, order your meal and a takeout box at the same time. When your meal arrives, cut everything in half and put half in the takeout box. Eat the other half. Not only does this help prevent you from overeating, but you've saved money by making two meals out of one. I love doing this since I work from home because I don't have to spend more than a couple of minutes heating up the leftovers for lunch the next day.

3. If I eat a salad, I want ranch dressing. But instead of pouring it on the salad, from now on I'm going to make sure it's on the side and just dip my fork into the dressing before each bite. Way fewer calories consumed that way.

A wonderful resource for figuring out how many calories, grams of fat, grams of fiber and amount of carbs menu items at restaurants have is Dottie's Weight Loss Zone. Be sure to check the other parts of Dottie's site too for tips and inspiration. A lot of it is geared toward those doing Weight Watchers, but it's also useful for anyone who isn't.

One of my other goals is to read an article or part of a book each day about living a healthier life. Today, I read the tips Dottie has on her site labeled Secrets to My Success.

Today's Progress:

Forgot to weigh this morning before I ate breakfast. Must leave note for myself on nightstand or on fridge.

Calorie intake: 1,378

Exercise: 55 minutes mowing the lawn (burned 437.4 calories), 15 minutes housework--laundry, vacuuming, etc. (burned 56.3 calories), 20 minutes walking (66.2 calories burned)

Steps: 10,102
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting healthy

By starting this blog and making my efforts to live a healthier life public, I'm hoping that having to put my ups and downs out here for the whole world to see will keep me on track. And, in the process, I hope that I can help fellow writers (or others with sedentary desk jobs) to take steps to become healthier too.

Why do I think I need to make the extra effort? Several reasons:

1. I weigh a bit more each year from all the hours in the chair and not enough going for walks or doing aerobics.

2. Both of my parents have had heart attacks; my dad's also had a stroke; diabetes and anxiety run in my family; and living a healthier life will hopefully keep these things at bay.

3. I turn 40 next year. I hear it becomes much more difficult to lose weight and get fit after 40.

4. I worked a long time to become a published author. Kicking the bucket now just as I'm getting started as a published author would really bite. I still want to be writing and publishing books when I'm in my 90s! :)

5. I don't want to be depressed when I go clothes shopping.

6. Exercising and making smart eating choices makes me feel better, and I want to feel good physically and mentally.

So I'll be sharing my progress over the days and weeks and months to come as well as some tips and useful Web sites, books, etc. Basically anything I think will serve as inspiration. I hope you'll share your own ups and downs, your own tips and inspirational stories. And while my focus will be on fellow writers and others who have desk jobs, you don't have to fall into those categories to take part -- just anyone who wants to live a healthier life.

So, goals:

1. Lose 35-40 pounds. I have a healthy target weight in mind. I'd love to lose this by next July, when the Romance Writers of America National Conference will be here in Nashville. I plan to weigh each morning and post about how far I am from my target weight.

2. Wear my pedometer every day, and make sure I get in 10,000 steps. According to The Walking Site, an average sedentary person may only get in 1,000-3,000 steps a day. I've been wearing the pedometer lately, and I notice that on an average day with no exercise, I get in about 3,000 steps. So getting in those extra 7,000 steps requires me to get off my tookus and move. The Walking Site says that walking 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles.

3. Don't drink Coke. I like Coca-Cola -- the real stuff. Not diet (bleh!), not caffeine-free. So it's best that I just cut it out altogether. After a few days, it's actually not that hard. I pretty much just drink water all the time.

4. Much harder for me is giving up sweets. I have an enormous sweet tooth. But I'm limiting the intake and looking at options with fewer calories.

5. Figure out what my max caloric intake needs to be each day in order to lose weight.

6. Portion control. No seconds.

Today's progress:

Calorie intake: 1,584 (Just did some research and figured that I can take in 1,994 calories a day and maintain my current weight. But I want to shed pounds, so I'll go for less than that.)

Exercise: 1 hour of mowing the lawn (Calories burned = 437.4)

Steps: 10,051 (Calories burned = 198.8; estimate since all this walking isn't done at one time and therefore I can't judge the mph rate at which I was walking)
Continue Reading...

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