Thursday, May 15, 2014

16.5 Months of Health & Fitness: Maintaining My Weight!

Self-Portrait: After My First Run
Not Smiling, But Smiling in My Heart
It's been 16-and-a-half months since I started to eat well, and exercise regularly (and yes, I count the half month)!   In my first year, I dropped 70 lbs and continued to slowly shed a few additional pounds.  I'm now resting at around the 142-143 lb mark from my original 215 lb high.  I feel proud of what I have achieved, and I feel that I'm now in good health!  

What this blog posts intends to do, is to motivate and to demonstrate that you can take off weight and keep it off for the longterm--regardless of who you are, what your current weight is, your current eating and exercise habits, and your age!  I turned my life around at 40-years old as a mom of 5 young kids--so I know that you can too!!!

Background:
After having 5 children within a 5-year period, I had allowed myself to climb to my heaviest weight ever: 215 lbs.  I take total blame for my weight gain, as I was eating whenever I felt like it, dining on fast food and junkfood, and never getting active.  When I began to get winded, felt pain in my knees, and saw that my kids were following my poor eating and exercise habits, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
BEFORE: 215 LBS
Method:
1.PURGING & RESTOCKING - I began by purging my home of all junk food, and decided that we would not eat take out or fast food--until I could learn moderation.  I did a big shopping of healthy fruits, vegetables, beans, rice, lentils, extra lean ground beef, and boneless, skinless chicken meat.  My husband and I started to cook homemade meals every day, so we could control the amount of salt, sugar, and additives that were used.

2.MODERATION - I tried to stick to eating my main meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner time.  As I found that I was getting hungry in between, I allowed myself 2 healthy snacks daily.  I would only eat when legitimately hungry, not bored or "snackish" with a craving.  I tried to control portion size.

3.DAILY MODERATE EXERCISE - I began exercising for 1 hour per day with my kids, regardless of the weather.  The activity was not so important, as long as I was getting 1 hour of exercise daily.  I got my family moving by taking walks, tobogganing, swimming, hiking, and more.
Getting the Kids Involved in an Active Lifestyle!
4.POSITIVE ATTITUDE & BELIEVING IN MYSELF - Throughout my journey, I've maintained a positive can-do attitude and believed in myself.  A number on a scale is not as important as a positive mindset!  Without the proper attititude in place and self-belief, it would have been difficult to get as far in my journey as I am today.  

"If mom can do it, so can I!"  The power of positive thinking has also helped my kids reach their goals, and I've watched them push themselves physically where they would have otherwise given up.  I also support and encourage the kids with charisma!  It's infectious! 

Where I Am Today:
1.HEALTHY TOGETHER - 16-and-a-half months later my health and my family's health is doing very well!  My husband, 5 kids and I are all at a healthy weight and eating with nutrition in mind.  "The family that plays together, stays together!"  Doing it together, we have been able to support one another along the way, and the kids look up to me as a role model.
My Active Kids Have Fun at Swimming Lessons!
Activities that we do with our kids include bicycling, scooting, tennis, swimming (and weekly swimming lessons), hiking, playing soccer as a family, trampolining, playing tag, and more.

2.SELF-MAINTENANCE - In order to maintain my health and fitness levels, I continue to make the best food choices for myself and my family at each and every meal.  As this is a lifestyle that will continue over my lifetime, dieting won't do!  I read every food label to ensure that I'm choosing the best, most nutritious foods for myself and my family.  

3.MODERATION - As I enjoy snacking and this will always be a part of me, I don't mind loading up with what is the most healthy snacks, such as cut up veggies, fruit, or foods of similar nutrition.  Sometimes I want a "snack snack", so I allow myself a daily purse of about 100 calories (which I don't always consume).  However, once my snack has been eaten, I now know that it's time to stop eating and to walk away from the kitchen.  
AFTER: 143 LBS
Some of the unhealthy snacks I allow myself include 4 large marshmallows, OR a small hot chocolate (made at home with milk, and the chocolate powder halved), OR another item of my choice.  When choosing unhealthy snacks, the most important factor to me is NOT exceeding one per day and limiting myself to "about" 100 calories.  

So, for the snacker who loves potato chips or chocolate bars, I would say that you can most certainly treat yourself - but put together a 100-calorie portion (as per the serving guide stated on the food label).  8 potato chips would be about 100 calories, or 1 cookie--so choose your snack wisely and make sure it has a lot of bang for the calories--and will help eliminate your craving!        

Current & Future Goals:
1.LIFESTYLE - Eating healthy and staying active is now a part of my lifestyle, and I'm happy at my current weight and feel good in the low 140s for my 5'8" frame.  I went from a size 14 to a size 6, lost 4 sizes, and now feel I've lost the majority of my excess weight.  All the hard work is done now, and all I have to do is keep up with my good nutrition and activity level.
Healthy Does NOT Have to Be Boring!
My Sister-in-Law's Beautiful Citrus Salad!
2.TONE UP - I've been away from the gym for a while, so I would like to especially tone up my stomach.  After having had 5 children in 5 years, I would say that my stomach could use some work.  With the summer upon us, I'll try more activities that work my stomach muscles.

3.RUNNING - I've never been a runner, even when I was a child, but I recently tried my hand at it! Previously I would get easily winded, get a stitch in my side, and feel like my legs were like rubber.  Well, at my inaugural run I made it over 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) without stopping--and made pretty good time!  It was very hard work, but I did it with no excuses and was immensely proud of myself!  I'd like to keep working on this and possibly build up to a half marathon. 

4.SUMMER FIT - Now with the warmer weather upon us, I'd like to take advantage of the great outdoors as much as possible!  Hiking, swimming, walking, playing frisbee, and ball with the kids are all a great way to stay active.
Eat Better, Stay Active!
Local Parks & Walking Trails Are An Easy Way to Get Fit!
5.JOIN A GYM - I'm still a member of the YMCA, but after we moved the location was too far to visit daily.  So, I would like to join a gym closer to my location, and get started once the snow hits the Toronto area.  Last winter I was active every day outdoors, and frankly the weather was a little rough on certain days.  I would like to work out 3 times per week for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at each visit.

Do you have any current health and fitness goals?  What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to eating?  If you could improve ONE area of your health or fitness, what would it be? 

35 comments:

  1. Jenna I had no clue you lost so much weight. Seeing you in person you look absolutely amazing! I think your post will be inspiring to so many of us mommies who have claimed the weight scale after babies. I know I am sitting 60 lbs heavier then I was 8 years ago. WAY TO GO! You are amazing!

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    1. Tammy, thanks so much for your support!

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  2. You Look AWESOME Your Doing A Great Job Thank You For The Great Ideas!!

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  3. WHat an inspirational post! You are doing an awesome job losing the weight and keeping it off! You look fabulous!!!! I hope some of your motivation rubs off on me!

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  4. So incredible! I do everything you mentioned but the hour a day. I am going to start, Walking, gardening etc. It will pay off. Great job!

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    1. Thanks Kim! The hour of activity is not a big lifestyle change, and it can be broken up into two 30-minute sessions if need be.

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  5. Congrats on your weight loss! I'm thrilled to read a post about weight loss that includes healthy lifestyle changes instead of weight loss drinks.

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    1. Just Short, I think that motivation, will-power and determination are all qualities that we can find within ourselves, without any gimics.

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  6. Congrats on your weight loss! This is so inspirational and I love your tips, especially about purging at the beginning to get rid of any unhealthy temptations.

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  7. Congrats on your hard work and weight loss. I do believe it is a life change to be successful.

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    1. Rebecca, thank you. I agree that it is a life change.

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  8. Thank you for sharing! I am truly inspired after reading your post. I know that I should be doing an hour of exercise a day but I keep making excuses. I am going to start with 30 tomorrow!

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    1. Ann, I'm delighted to hear that! Yes, start with 30 minutes--you will never be sorry that you did!

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  9. way to go with the running! I have not done running in a while but in 2009 I did the couch to 5k. When I started I thought I would never be able to run the 5k, but I did it as part of a relay team that completed the who Toronto Marathon in the Fall of 2009.
    Keep up the amazing work, and I love your "no excuses attitude"

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    1. Thanks Kate! How fantastic about your running achievements! It would be such a great feeling for me to cross that finish line, regardless of my time!

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  10. Wow you look absolutely incredible! But even better is the way it changed your life - allowed you to be more present with your chidlren and more active. :)

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    1. Thank you, Maddi's Mommy. Now we're an active family together with no excuses.

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  11. That is awesome. Not only did you do this for yourself...yay, you!...but you have now turned yourself into a role model for your kids. You are my inspiration....I am now starting to exercise more and watch what I eat and definitely remind myself of the world MODERATION from exercising to eating! Thank you!

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    1. Jeannie, I always knew what was needed to be a good weight, but I had to reach rock bottom before I acted on it. What a shame.

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  12. Thanks great article! ME and kaelyn have just started doing this too! Its gonna be tough at first ( we love chips) , but its what we need to do to stay healthy. LAtely kaelyns been having some issues with her leg muscles when shes walking. And we've determined its from all the junk food she has as treats. So when we run out im not buying more, and when we go shopping I will be buying plenty of fresh food and good snack like dried/ frozen fruit and nuts and seeds.

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    1. My kids really enjoy cut up veggies with a dip (ie: hummus) as a snack, and don't complain that I didn't bring them a plate of cookies instead.

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  13. You look amazing!! Congrats on all your hard work and dedication!

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing....I struggle on a daily basis and find that I often fail as I put so much pressure on myself. What an amazing job you did:) COngrats!

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    1. Tiffany, you need to implement changes that you can easily do each day. I would suggest starting small, and building up to whatever you can manage for the longterm.

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  15. Wow, congrats to you! That is great. I hear about so many fad diets these days but I like the way that these were lifestyle choices for you - not something that's going to disappear in a month - and that your whole family got involved. :)

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    1. Thank you, Our Family World! We're all doing much better as a result!

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  16. You have done an amazing job at transforming yourself! Such an inspiration! I know what changes I need to make, it is just hard for me to actually implement them.

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  17. Very inspiring Jenna :) It's great that you were able to get your family on board and have successfully kept up everything! I recently started meeting with a nutritionist to help me manage a few things. I have started to make healthier food choices, exercising 3 times a week and keeping a food diary. Hoping to keep this up and see some positive changes down the road :)

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  18. Quite the transformation there! Good for you and your family! Keep it up, cheers!

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  19. WOW,I am so happy for you....I need to do this

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