Thursday, November 15, 2012

1 year later = 66 pounds lighter

It's been a slow couple months in terms of weight loss. We moved yet again, making that 5 times in my 6 years of marriage and adjusting to a new place and living out of boxes (with kids) just makes it a little hard to focus on me and my health. But I finally found the time to start up some new exercise routines. I found the local Y (and its great child drop-off program) and am making my way several times a week over there. The least intimidating thing to do at the gym is treadmills and elliptical, but I have to say I really hate those machines, and hey, they didn't help me lose any of this weight thus far so why start that now? So I've mostly been loitering over near the free weights, though it's not easy to sit down at an Olympic weight station. It takes some cojones to plop down and bench press 65 pounds in a male-centric area of the gym! But I have to say, after that- its a little easier to stroll over to the Smith machine, throw two 25er's on the end and do my squats, and shoot, by the time I wrap things up with two 45er's on the hammer leg press I'm really just showing off. Just kidding, it's been hard to stay confident through out my  public weight training workouts. But the alternative of doing nothing and regaining all this fat motivates me to keep going.

*Not me. Yet

Speaking of 'all this fat' I should let it be known-- today marks a pretty special day for me. It seems I only blog on special occasions now, life's so busy. Well anyways, 1 year ago, November 15, 2011 I made a decision to take control of my body and its reckless eating habits. I am 66 pounds lighter now and am quite proud of myself. I am more than halfway to goal at this point and will take a very slow weight loss every month if that's how it's gonna be.

Aside from the YMCA I have taken up the sandbag at home. What is a sandbag you ask? Well, it's this heavy duty duffel bag with a bunch of handles and yup you guessed it, filled with sand. You just dance and grunt with it and before you know it you are sweating profusely. Nice workout to do in front of the TV.

* Pink. Because. 

A far as eating habits go, I am cleaning up the sloppiness that occurs when one goes through a moving experience. You know, convenience foods, less plants, lots of carbohydrates and junk. Halloween was a little killer too. I mean, what was I suppose to do with all those mini York Peppermint Patties the kids got? I obsessively counted every bite, all the way up to 2000 calorie days, so I was very conscious of my over-eating but yeah, it messed me up a bit. I am back on it though - eating real food, lots of plants, trying to increase protein (something I struggle with) and decrease crap calories.

* New, sportier Carrie! (With Eva accessory.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

34 and there's so much more...

I've been a quiet blogger because there really has not been much to report. I've been hanging out in the 190's now for a couple months- can't seem to get unstuck, ( I just sent Gabe out for bacon, I'm sure that doesn't help). However, it is my birthday today- bacon, red wine and a chocolate mud cake from wholefoods were my only food request. I'll work it around fruits, vegetables and lean protein and all will be well. I guess I can tell you about my birthday goal- well the diet/health related one:

By age 35 I would like to be in the 130's- yes, a bit ambitious (especially after reading this NY times article a friend sent me). Yeah, it's going to be hard. If you get a chance, check out the calculator the writer talks about and enter your data. With a 700 calorie deficit (as applied to my normal 1500 calorie plan) it will take me like 2 years to get to goal. I would need to drop calories down to 1100 to see better results. That's if the calorie is a calorie theory really holds up (I'm not completely betting on that). I will say, after this tug-o-war with me and my body, with regards to releasing excess weight, something is definitely going on. Something scientific, you know? So to get it done in a year vs. two I am hoping on just upping my exercise regime- I really DON'T want to cut calories.

Okay, I haven't been very specific on this blog as to what I do, how I lost 60 pounds this past year, mainly because I switch things around a lot, so its hard to say what actually helps or doesn't. And well, also because my weight loss is incredibly S-L-O-W, yeah not exactly a selling point. But here goes- I have been tracking calories daily for about 6 months , I shoot for 1400-1500. Macro-nutrients usually break down evenly 33/33/33. I just started liquid fish oil supplementation and a multi vitamin. (2 weeks into that). My anytime meal is protein, vegetables, fruit and limited fat. Starchy carbs are reserved for post-workout, so basically i have to earn a potato or piece of bread (however, I do sneak crackers in 'anytime' snacks, so i'm sure that is sabotaging things). I take it easy on cheese- seriously addicted to that, as well as nuts. I do eat them everyday, just limited to a 1 oz. serving of either. I eat a lot of egg whites- I know,  it is silly to throw out yolks, but I throw out the yolk so that I can have some other fat later ( like butter! actually very rarely, most often the trade is avocado). But anyway, it's strictly a food trade agreement. So eggs and a green smoothie are my everyday breakfast. Lean protein and vegetables are my mainstay for lunch and dinner. You know- lots of salads, roasted vegetables, beans, salmon or chicken. Its basic and boring.

Exercise: I really hate exercise. I mean, really, really hate it.  My dream is to live in a bikeable community like Davis, CA or Boulder, Colorado (except on the east coast- hey, i said DREAM okay) and yeah, I would bike everywhere, so there would be no need to really "go exercise". We would live car-less and slim. haha, so back to reality- I work-out 3 x's a week. 25 minutes top, not a minute more. I do a circuit of heavy ass lifting. A pair of 20 pound dumbells and a 35 pound kettlebell- that's what I use. I just started adding in some body resistant exercise (think pushup). And for my birthday Gabe got me this thing called the JUNGLE GYM- its basically bands you attach to a bar or doorway and use your body for resistance training. Very excited to switch things around again. Okay, and we do walk- with three kids its a slow walk, though, not really getting the heart rate up. I walk about 3 x's a week maybe 30-45 minutes each time?

That's it folks, that's what I've been doing this past year. I will say that on this very day, one year ago I was awaiting my third child (Frida George was born on August 20), and I was 270 pounds of baby and fat- walking all over the place trying to get her to come out already! Its been a long year and a very productive one. I am at the lowest adult weight I have ever been in my life and I feel incredibly strong (a combo of the weightlifting and chunky babies i'm sure).

                                                      So here's to another one! Cheers!

 editor's note - Carrie looks beautiful, and she's got fitness model shoulders. That is all.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

199 Pounds on the Scale - Take One Down, Pass it Around

Lots of people (you know who you are) want to see some before and after pictures. This isn't a true "after" - I'm halfway to my goal weight. So just consider it an update, or a teaser.

It was hard finding "before" pictures, since I tend to hide behind other people in pictures.Typical fat girl behavior, I know. But digging through the archives I found some intentional "before" pictures I made for a work-out plan that got derailed. Might as well make some use of them.

Before: around 255lbs
After: 199lbs

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Fat Monkey

We're not animal lovers, so we never would have come across this article on our own, so thanks very much to Emuel for sending it to us.

 Of course, the most important part of this article for us is the section on obesity – we're scared of cancer, but we're dealing with obesity first (and don't make us think about cutting). What this article has to tell us about how our human obesity corresponds to animal eating behaviors makes the issue so much more than food, which is encouraging and discouraging at the same time. It's must easier to think it's just about food, but then – no, no, no – it's biology. It's not just diet and exercise – it's instinct, and gut flora, and access to food, and light pollution (really? Then there's just no hope).

* Just give up. Someone will bring you bananas.

 Losing weight has never been about just diet and exercise – it's always bigger than The View makes it out to be. (Seriously, didn't The Fat Show a few weeks ago make anyone else mad?) I wish it was easy, which is probably why people gravitate toward true believer diets.

 But this is stuff we don't want to think about. We don't want to believe that cancer is as old as the dinosaurs. We would prefer to believe that it's Teflon, or the microwave, or animal products, or GMO corn. We all know newborns get cancer, but it's easier to assign blame (either to individual behavior or environment), just like it's easier to say “gluttony” instead of “instinct.” So many modern diets like to brag “You don't have to count calories!” But the article tells us “we're all hardwired to consume resources in excess of daily requirements.” That's instinct – you can't fight instinct. If you're not counting calories, you're going to eat all you make available to yourself.

 And there are your individual psychological issues too, like the stresses that prompt comfort eating. It's almost like you need to see a therapist before you start dieting, because there's so much that has to do with your behavior. To just get a diet book and think you're going to be fixed is na├»ve.

 Then there's light pollution. Yet another reason we're getting fat – our circadian rhythms are off. It make me think of the streetlight outside shining in our window, the cell phone at the edge of the bed. Sitting up until midnight reading weight-loss blogs – oh. Uh oh. Maybe you should just turn off the computer right now and go to bed. Has anyone tried the Amish diet yet? – no artificial light, no vehicles, hard work for our food. What if we had to give up the light? Maybe I'd even out to my natural weight that way.

 The article makes one point that could change everything:

 If you want to lose weight the wild animal way, decrease the abundance of food around yourself and interrupt your access to it. And expend lots of energy in the daily hunt for food. In other words: change your environment. 

 Maybe instead of thinking about tweaking the diet, I need to start tweaking environmental things. Tweak the sleep, tweak the light. Even things I wouldn't normally think about, like not turning on the air conditioning on a hot day. (Don't touch my coffee, I'm not going there.)

 Instead of using this time (and this blog) to think just about food, we should be thinking about how we live. The article puts it very well:

 As animals, we find this single season an extremely comfortable place to be. But unless we want to remain in a state of continual fattening, with accompanying metabolic diseases, we will have to pry ourselves out of this delicious ease.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


“those were all just guesses, wouldn't help you if they could”

I've hit a plateau. For three weeks I've been stuck at 210 lbs. I went from 255 to 210 in less than six months, but now I'm at my first real standstill. So I've been studying up on plateaus – whether people really experience a plateau, or whether it's just another myth that we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better.

* Not this kind of plateau.

What do most people think, and what do they say? Well-meaning people will say, “You'll have plateaus, and that's okay,” but in fact they think you're getting weak, you're failing, you're underestimating your calories, or you're slacking in your exercise. And that attitude is really damaging. It's easy to say it's a myth, or an excuse – a reason to say “Eff it” and eat. As a dieter, trying hard to do something, you start to doubt what you're doing. And if it lasts long enough, you might give up.

Plateaus prove that there's more to losing weight than calorie in, calorie out. We might tell ourselves it's a myth, but we all believe it. When you hit a plateau, the first thing you do is cut your calories. But the fact of the plateau shows that losing weight is complicated.

* Not that kind either.

We want a universal law of weight loss, but that's not real life. And we don't want to do the work of figuring out what works for us. We want to buy a book, say “It worked for them, it has to work for me.” But there's no universal law, and that's hard to take. Every person's body is different. Every person's body is different `at different times in their lives – a body in puberty has different needs from a body in menopause. But we want these rules of thumb that we can hold onto.

For instance, I once read that genetics only accounts for twenty pounds of your obesity, and I held onto that idea for years. That gave me hope – or, at least, I had something I could blame, and control. “I don't have a glandular issue – it must be my eating habits.” “I don't have a thyroid problem – I can lose the weight any time I want.” It always made me mad for someone to say “It's your genes,” because that meant I had no control. So thinking that my 100 lbs of excess weight wasn't genetic was actually liberating – it meant I wasn't trapped, I could do something about it.

Now I realize that it's even more complicated than that. The only other time in my life that I've actually lost weight was when I was doing an extreme calorie-restriction diet (about 1000 calories a day) and extreme exercise. I lost 70 lbs and then hovered at 200 lbs. I didn't do anything wrong – I didn't give up. It just stopped working. Then I got pregnant, and I blamed it on getting pregnant. But that was just an excuse – the diet stopped working before that.

Now here I am, again, hovering at 200 lbs, and I got to it completely differently. I'm eating non-processed, nutrient-dense foods, and more calories. I'm doing kettlebell three times a week and take a long walk three times a week – hardly extreme exercise.

The point is, with a different diet and a different exercise regiment, I'm still hitting a plateau at the exact same point.

* Okay, Gabe doesn't get to choose pictures anymore.

My research about plateaus has convinced me of a few things. First, plateaus are real – even if you're not breaking your diet and eating ice cream cake, you're going to hit a plateau. Secondly, plateaus happen because your body regulates – your body gets used to a certain regiment and stops losing weight because of that new normal. Third, the idea that there should be a universal way to lose weight that works for everybody is damaging. When you hit that plateau, you're more likely to think you're doing something wrong, cheat, and then tell yourself that you failed because you cheated. Because it's easier to tell yourself you did wrong and blame yourself than to go through the work of figuring out why you're getting stuck.

It's also hard when you've bought into a set lifestyle. When we identify a way of eating as an identity, it makes it hard to change that, even when it's not working. You don't allow yourself to tweak it, because in the religion of your diet that would be sinful. But when Hippocrates says “Make your food your medicine,” I get the idea that from time to time, when something is wrong, you need to change – add something you haven't had, take away something that is harmful. There may be a season in your life when you need meat; there may be a time when you need to stop eating meat. And you're not going to be able to try different things if your diet is your life.

In my research I found two different, unrelated women who were both near 400 lbs, and who both lost lots of weight on totally different diets – one on a plant-based vegan diet, and one on a paleo high-fat diet. They're around the same age as me – 30s – and both eating whole, non-processed foods like me. Both are very well-known and vocal in their communities – one just published the first paleo children's book, and the other operates the Facebook page of a major plant-based group. And they're both stuck at 200 lbs.

I wonder if it's their true-believer mindsets that keep them there.

UPDATE: It's pretty much all up there – stuck at 210 lbs. I'm proud of myself, but it's humbling when I realize that I am someone else's “Before” picture.

I'm still wearing the big pants.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

New blogging platform

You have reached the new blog- Welcome. The idiots over at Posterous have made it very difficult to export the old blog to this new blog. So if we get the time we will manually move it all over but more than likely we will not. So, if you just need to find some past ramblings of our healthy journey feel free to mosey on over there, otherwise you are right where you need to be:  the current home of