My Weightloss Saga

flowerIn 2012 I posted about my Challenge to myself to get back to my “fighting weight”.  My goal was to feel like myself again and bottom line to be more healthy, i.e. blood pressure down, cholesterol lower and weight down to take off pressure on my bad knees…  This is my weight loss saga, how I got there and now how I am slowing getting back to where I want to be.

So, what helped me and what did I do?  Well yes, eating right and I did find out that I had IBS and needed to go gluten-free, didn’t lose weight just felt better. Watching my calories did take off a few pounds, I am personally good at 1500 a day.  I love the apps on your phone that help you tract your calories and your activities.  I like My Fitness Pal.  I found that really helped.  I also have had some notable success with the Green Coffee Been Extract that Doctor Oz talked about on his TV show.  Here is the link to that segment and all the information on the amount of extract you should have in the supplement you take, Dr Oz, Green Coffee Bean.  Dr. Oz does not recommend any one brand but does recommend doses and lists those on his official site.  He also warns not to believe any site that says he is recommending their product because he doesn’t endorse any product.  I found a Green Coffee Bean Extract supplement at my local compounding pharmacy that also has 5-HTP and Glucomannan two supplements that I was already taking that are good for energy, joints and mood.  I choose that brand because it had the doses that Dr. Oz recommended and it also had the additional products I was already taking so that allowed me to take 2 less pills.

The results I gained from taking the supplement was a loss of about 5 pounds initially.  I have subsequently loss 20 pounds but it has not been only due to the green coffee bean so I don’t want anyone to have false hope that you could lose 20 pounds from it.  I don’t know maybe you could, if you combined exercise and a smart diet with it.  I suffer from Migraines and my neurologist switched my medicine to Topamax which is one of the components in the new weight loss drugs, Qsymia, that the FDA just approved that should be available in early 2013.  It is my guess that since weight loss is a side effect of Topamax that when I switch my migraine medication to Topamax and I saw my weight loss jump start to the fast tract, it was the Topamax that facilitated that.  That is not to take away from the first 5 pounds I lost with the Green Coffee Bean Extract, before I made the medication switch, I just want to be accurate on when and how I lost my weight.

I also want to add, I have not ever tried Qsymia, I am taking migraine medication that has one of the components of Qsymia (Topamax) and it has weight loss as a side effect. I am sure this is one of the reasons that they are using Topamax in Qsymia.  I also want to mention that it does work really well for about 15 to 20% of your body weight loss and for me that was about 20 pounds.  Now I have slowed down in my rapid weight loss with no exercise and little diet.  If I want to continue to lose weight I am going to have to do what everyone else has to do; I will have to eat a well-balanced diet and keep active.  The one nice thing about both the Green Coffee Extract and what I have experienced with Topamax, and can then assume the same will hold true with Qsymia, is that for those of us that seem to be struggling with stubborn weight loss this kick starts that and really motivates you to keep going.  Well, the Green Coffee Been seems to help lessen the effort needed to see results. It also really helps with appetite suppression. I also get an even bigger result from my healthy eating and increased activity now that I am taking Topamax; so again, I would imagine that if you are a candidate to take Qsymia you would also find it helpful.

I don’t think any diet medication or supplement is a “magic cure” for weight loss.  I think that the only true fix for being overweight is lifestyle change.  I think finding an eating/exercise and size that works for you is probably one of if not the most personal plan anyone can ever have.  What keeps your body at its ideal weight, your mind at its happy place, your organs at their health state, and your physique at its best shape is different for every person.  It always dumbfounds me why doctors just don’t seem to get that and always want to lump us into averages and groups like little sheep.  I get there has to be a “general norm” for a starting point; but if you are not working and you still fall into the “norm” then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is clearly not your “norm” and something is wrong!  But more times than not, it seems to me, doctors are clearly far below the genius level, because they don’t get it, and they pat you on the head, send you on your way, and tell you that you are just find…   Then 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 hours later you are rushed to the ER with a catastrophic issue stemming from that same concern you had and they come in with a big dumb look on their face and an apologetic “Ooops”.

OK, I digress, you can tell I have issues with doctors that run a lot deeper than them passing my rapid 60 pound weight gain as an unfortunate side effect of my medical issues that they couldn’t seem to reverse and since I “looked OK” in their minds they didn’t care to figure it out.  Even after high blood pressure, serious knee issues, starting of heart disease (family history), and all my other medical issues that brought on the weight gain, none of them thought to focus on helping me loose except to say eat less and exercise.  I was eating 900 calories a day and working out 6 days a week for 2 to 3 hours a day and still not losing and they still didn’t think anything was wrong???  I was 42 when it started and 47 when it started to change back.  The entire time I told every last doctor I had I thought it was chemical, my hormones.  They said I was nowhere near Menopause that I was too regular and I guess structurally very fertile but if you ask me, I still, to this day, think I was out of whack metabolically.  All my life I had been very slender, around 120 pounds and just under 5’ 8” tall; my entire family is slender.  In a very short period of time, about 6 months, with no lifestyle change, I gained 60 pounds.  Even after they put me on thyroid medication I never lost a pound.  Then as suddenly as it came on, about midway into my 47th year I started to lose, with the help of the Green Coffee Bean Extract and Topamax, I also started to feel like myself again.  Can’t really explain it other than; I was back, more alert, more energy, more alive, if that makes sense?

I still have 20 to 30 pounds to lose.  I am really going more by the way I feel and how I fit in my clothes more than my weight because that seems to have redistributed now that I am older.  I weigh more but I still fit into the size I want to and look the way I want to so I really am not going to get hung up on “how much I weigh” and focus more on how I feel and how I look.  If my muscle mass is good, blood pressure is low and I am fit I really don’t care if I weigh 140 pounds instead of my normal 123 pounds of the first 42 years of my life.  It’s just a number, right!  Just like your age it is all about how you feel and how you act.  If I look awesome at 48 and weigh 140 pounds then I will celebrate that and be happy that I am healthy and doing all the right things to keep myself that way.  So, that is my story; not the worst weight loss story in the world but it sure was a long one and it is mine.

Workout Challenge 2012


Any time you are setting out to change or add a behavior I find it helpful to establish the goal(s) of the behavior and the motivation for the change.  With that in mind, I am going to start off the 2012 Weight Loss/Workout Challenge by stating my goals and motivation for wanting to make the change and add the behavior of working out regularly.

In my early 40’s my health started to decrease and unfortunately for me, my weight started to increase.  Much of my increase was due to my health issues but even after I got better my weight seemed hell-bent on hanging on.  It didn’t seem to matter what I did, how much I worked out, or didn’t eat the weight just sat there un-yielding to my efforts.  For a bit of perspective; before my weight gain I was about 120 lbs. and just under 5’ 8” and after my weight gain and presently I weigh 180 lbs. and at my heaviest I weighed 185 just before my gall bladder surgery and my sickest.

That is how I got to this point, and this is what I plan to do about it; and I hope some of you will join me on this mission.  I personally feel that anything worth doing takes some work (OK, we all know that) but is so much more rewarding if you can take others along for the ride.  My goals and motivations for the 2012 Challenge are to become a healthy weight (I now realize that my past weight, although natural, was very thin for my stature), I would like to be 135 to 140 lbs.  I would also like to gain some more muscle tone and continue on my road to better health by lowering my blood pressure that has become troublesome, mainly due to my increased weight.  Also, I have some knee issues from past injuries when I was young and I know the excess weight is not helping them either…  So, I have a lot of sound medical reasons for the need to lose weight but I think the biggest motivators for me is that all of my life I have had an image of who I was and what I looked like before my 60 pound gain and a part of me feels very lost.  I know that may seem very vein and many may say you don’t look that bad, stop whining, but it is not a matter of how other people perceive me, it is how I perceive myself.  I am not losing weight to be more acceptable to others, to have others think I look good, or impress anyone.  I am losing weight, for my health, but also to regain that girl/woman that I have known for 95% of my life.  Some other motivations are my 30th high school reunion in August and a few formal events that I need to fit into a dress that I own but have not been able to wear. 

So, it is all fine and good to have goals and motivations to meet those goals but how are we going to achieve our goals?  Note how I have assumed that others are going to join me on this challenge.  I know that having support and a team will make success much more likely and a lot more fun.  This is my plan, feel free to follow it or find one that works best for you and your goals.  I have had success with journaling my food intake and exercise, I like using My Fitness Pal.  I have also had many friends that have lost a lot of weight using this app.  I don’t think it is the app; it is the recording that helps keep you on track and the app makes it easier.   I have also told by my endocrinologist that since I was very athletic before my illness (part of which is a hypothyroid) and now that I am in my 40’s that I might need to increase my cardio to actually see a loss.  I have tested this theory and do find that, unfortunately, I need to move more than the average person to actually see a weight change.  I am also taking some supplements that help with weight loss, fat burning and energy (L-carnitine, 5-HTP, B-12 and Omega-3).  They are all natural but before anyone takes any vitamins and/or supplements you should check with your doctor to make sure it is OK to take.  Also, if you are planning to start a new workout routine always check with your doctor before doing anything new.  I also believe that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, so switching routines up or adapting plans to your lifestyle is key to making life long changes.  Make a routine, diet or exercise plan work for you, don’t force yourself into something that is not natural; chances are if you do it will not stick long term.  I don’t have the time, energy or desire to work out on a planned program every day; therefore I am creating my own plan that is a mixture of many of my favorite activities, as well as some of the things I “have to do”; which will keep me moving and motivated.  I am not creating a program that once I lose weight I will stop and then gain it all back.  I have to be able to make a lifestyle change not a diet or exercise routine that is so extreme that I will not be able to do it long term.

 I am going to strive to keep my calories to about 1500, which means calories in vs. calories out.  If I exercise more I can then eat a bit more.  This is why My Fitness Pal is great; it figures the math out for me and allows me to be much more accurate.  I will be able to stick with record keeping if it is easy and this app makes it really easy.  Since I have many food restrictions already I am not formally following any diet routine; my diet is pretty restrictive already.  I am gluten- free, for the most part and eat more vegetables than meat and do not eat beef at all.  If I could reduce anything it would be watching my sugar intake and may need to check my wine intake, not sure if that is going to happen 😉  I am also going to make sure I do some type of activity every day, which could be anything from a brisk walk, garden work, house work, shopping, or exercise DVD.

Please join me!  Let’s help each other reach our goals.  We can daily post our highs and lows, share ideas and tips, encourage each other, help keep us all honest and on track, and best yet celebrate when we reach our goal.  If you want to join and feel comfortable let us know your motivations and goals for the 2012 Weight Loss/Workout Challenge.  I have done Beach Body fitness exercise and one of the tools is to post before and after shots and keep journal of your starting weight and measurements.  You do not have to post this but do keep record of it, it is a wonderful motivation.  I will post mine, might as well put my money where my mouth is 😉  Here we go, we can do it…

My Starting Point 4/2/12