Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making it YOURS - Part 1

Today's blog is about "Making It Yours" - Part 1

What does that mean? It's really pretty simple... it means taking something that was created and RE-creating it to become YOURS.

How do you use this in your journey to "GET HEALTHY"? Let me share how I did it.. and what it did for me result wise.

Many of you know my story, 5 time cancer survivor, crumbling spine, supposed to be in a wheelchair from that, overweight, unhealthy, dealing with all that on top of Multiple Sclerosis.

That's not my pity party above, that's my life. That's just what I was handed and believe me, it could be a LOT worse. I know that and I'm thankful for God giving me what he has, the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are a TON of different "DIETS" out there for you to try and I can tell you they WILL work. No matter what if you eat nothing but grapefruits for a week or if you eat no fat for a month or just protein for a year, you WILL see a change in your weight. BUT are you seeing a change in your HEALTH? That's the key. And that is why I refuse to DIET anymore.

People say "Well, you joined Weight Watchers
®". Yes, I did. I still reap the benefits from all they taught me but I am not doing "their plan". I'm doing MY plan and I think that's where 99% of people "fail" themselves when trying to lose weight. They think that a "professional" plan, that's obviously been through every trial and tribulation, professional advice and suggestion, and then tested over and over before introduced HAS to be right. Well it is, to a point. It's right as a basis for getting healthy but it's not necessarily RIGHT for you, exactly the way it is. Again, I stress, I LOVE the Weight Watchers Plan and I do utilize EVERYTHING they've taught me. IT WORKS, without question & it is the healthiest plan I've ever seen out there. Weight Watchers® is worth every penny they charge.... and here comes the "BUT"......

BUT.... it's not tailored for YOU specifically. It is a base to start on and build your own system that works for you. That doesn't mean stop going, toss out the books and do your own thing. No way! It means learn what parts work, what parts don't, FOR YOU. Figure for yourself if something seems to make sense to YOUR BODY.

Here's what' I've "tweaked" in my weight loss to make my journey to a healthy lifestyle work:


  1. I took the first step and joined Weight Watchers® & remained a member for many months. I had a loss nearly every single week, so it worked, no question about it. What I wasn't happy with was how it was working for me. It was time to take the system into my own hands & luckily into the hands of a weight loss coach that offered me free advice and support.

    I read up on nutrition, supplements, exercise, etc. and made some decisions on my own.
  2. I made the program MINE. I decided that 1.2 lb average, while excellent, safe and good for a loss, was not going to make me stay on this program. I was limited physically, therefore limiting my own options of how to speed up any losses. I was realistic, I didn't expect 10 lbs a week like you see on those "Weigh Loss Shows" but I did want to see the difference happening and feel it. I wasn't getting that and needed to figure out what else to ADD to the program to make it happen for me.

    For "me", it was a matter of learning about supplements, learning about fats (good fats) and learning about styles of food. All of this takes time, but I was lucky to have a wonderful woman that knew her stuff to guide me. This helps.

    I continued on the WW program, but now had added supplements that seemed to help my body use the good foods I was feeding it. My losses went from an average of 1.2 lbs per week or often less to an average of 3.2 lbs a week, sometimes less.

    I had TWEAKED the program to change for me, simply by adding herbal supplements & foods that helped metabolize. I learned that some foods that WW was giving high points to & therefore making me shy away from them, were actually NOT bad for me and in fact could help make my losses increase. Of course, I had to use the points the foods were worth (in particular nuts was one of these items) but I learned how they not only helped fill me, but also gave me the oils/fats I was craving but in a good form!
  3. I had to learn my foods. All foods are NOT created equal, and this was one thing I LOVED about Weight Watchers® - they showed you how to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy and not fall for misleading terms like "Low Fat" or "Sugar Free" or "Low Cal", only to end up thinking I was eating "healthy" and not.

    I learned, quickly, that the higher the fiber, the lower the fat, the better the food. I learned that fruits and veggies CAN be tweaked to taste good (this was especially helpful for me because I grew up NEVER eating a single fruit or veggie).
  4. I needed to put "health" and "cost" into perspective. We all know that it seems the healthier the food, the more expensive it can be. It's so much cheaper to grab a high fatty, sugary, cupcake than it is to grab a high fiber, low fat Vita-Muffin®. BUT what I needed to learn and adjust to my lifestyle was learning that some foods are WORTH the higher price. I wouldn't bat an eye at stopping at the local fast food joint to purchase 3 or 4 items of the "Dollar Menu" but I'd gasp to think of spending $1.50 for a pre-washed, wrapped and ready to nuke potato that I could add fat free sour cream, some bacon, fat free cheeses, broccoli and have an entire dinner with.

    That mentality had to change! If eating "healthier" meant spending money, then it had to be done right so I could honestly afford it.

    Let me say ONE thing at this point... do not EVER come to me and say "But I don't make enough money to buy healthy foods" because I will immediately put you in your place with these words....

    I went from a triple digit income to zero income to barely double digit income during my battle with cancer and now my recovery. If I can afford to do this you can to. It's about learning what's worth buying, learning when and where to buy it and learning that if you're eating better foods, you're probably eating less food anyways. I have 4 words that I live by "YOU ARE WORTH IT". If you don't care if you die young, in pain and without enjoying life, then don't bother .. but if you finally realize that YOU are worth the price of what it takes to GET HEALTHY then you understand those 4 words.
  5. I learned how to change "fast food". You are simply NOT being realistic if you think you will remain your entire life coming home, whipping up delicious homemade, nothing but healthy meals. The hard cold reality is, our world is fast paced, our eating has become fast paced and if we don't learn HOW to eat fast paced and healthy, we're screwed.

    There are options at fast food restaurants but don't fall for the "I'll get a salad" option, thinking it's always the best. Some of the best salad options out there for fast food happen to be at McDonald's. My favorite is the Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch salad. Note the word GRILLED on the chicken.. do not order it with the fat laden crispy fried chicken silly! They don't offer a fat free dressing option, but their LIGHT version of Italian only adds a few fats and points to your salad for a very filling meal.

    Can't "pull over" to eat a salad? Grab a grilled chicken sandwich, but grab it RIGHT. No mayo, ask for mustard or even a fat free salad dressing to put on the sandwich if needed. Most times I get mine "bare" anyways. Ask for extra lettuce, especially if it's someplace like Wendy's where the "lettuce" comes in large bib slices. This option then allows you to toss out the high point, high calorie bread & use lettuce as the bun or, my favorite option, toss out the top and have the extra lettuce as my "top bun".

    Many places have "baked potatoes" on their drive thru menus now too! This is a wonderful option for an entire dinner IF you order it right. Make sure the potato comes without any sour cream & butter ON it. Ask for fat free or reduced fat sour creams (Wendy's has this option), get the broccoli and cheddar with the broccoli only (skip the high fat cheddar) and add a grilled chicken breast to the top. A packet of fat free dressing adds moisture to the potato and you have a broccoli, chicken potato... filling, delish and low in calories, fat and points!
  6. Fast Food can be made at home! Honest! As I had stated above with the baked potato option, you wouldn't have thought twice to stop and get a bunch of fatty, greasy dollar burgers so why not put $1.50 towards a load of already prepared, ready to nuke in 8 minutes, potatoes? You can come home, toss in the potato & 8 minutes or so later have a fully cooked meal. Need protein on it? Purchase bags of frozen but fully cooked chicken or cans of chicken breast meat. Put veggies, low fat/fat free cheeses and tons of fresh gourmet style spices to make it an incredible meal for lots less money in lots less time!
  7. Change things up to fit your lifestyle. This is probably one of the most important things to do, within reason. Some of the things I changed up... I detest breakfast. I wake up mornings with a constant "morning sickness" (I know I'm pregnant when I dont' wake up queazy! LOL) so for me thinking about a breakfast because "you have to start your day off with breakfast to get your metabolism moving" is truly a drudgery.

    I learned that instead of a sit down or chew it up and eat it style of breakfast, I can use smoothies (my favorite for anyone who's seen this blog even ONCE knows is Naked Juice Smoothies) to tide me over first thing. Once my system wakes up completely, "breakfast" can come when most people's mid-morning snacks come, around 10 or 11ish. I can then settle down and eat an egg white sandwich or a toasted naan bread with cream cheese or something to that affect. "Breakfast" does not have to be at a certain time nor consist of a certain food, just as "Lunch" and "Dinner" are the same. If it fits your time schedule to be eating your "breakfast" at 3am because you work "odd" hours, don't feel guilty about it. That time slot is a SUGGESTION, not written in stone law. As long as you are counting what you eat and knowing what's going in your mouth, you will be fine!

    I also learned that because I'm not a big "water" fan does not mean I'm evil and going to be doomed to fatness my entire life. There are options out there, from bottled flavored 0 calorie waters to sugar free mixes to iced teas. Long before Weight Watchers
    ® told us it was "ok" to get your "water" intake via other options I was already doing it. I was still losing and they were still telling me that if you didn't drink your water and ONLY PLAIN WATER that you're not going to see a loss. My body knew otherwise and my brain told me I wasn't going to stay on a plan that force fed me anything whether it's fish (yes I hate any seafood and will not eat it & yes I can still lose weight) to water. Of course common sense told me that bloating, fizzy sodas with or without caffeine really was not doing what a "water" type drink would do so I couldn't count those. In the end, this was the biggest God send to me as I no longer drink Diet Pepsi 24/7 like it is my life line. I lost nearly 6 lbs in the first week I cut out the Diet Pepsi. Notice the word DIET there, it's not about calories all the time. There's a perfect example. It was calorie free but still bloated me and triggered other hungers that were killing my food choices, making me search for sweet foods or worse.
  8. Snacks are not evil, as a matter of fact they're a MUST. If you're going to keep from becoming famished I have found that "snacks" or what many "Fitness Freaks" call "mini meals" are the best way to save yourself from becoming amazingly starved and ready to gnaw on the mailman's leg. The issue at hand is making sure you COUNT your snacks, making sure your snacks are HEALTHY options and making sure they can fill you and kill your cravings. Learn your body, learn your cravings and you will quickly learn to listen to what you're hungry for at snack time. If you work, keeping a variation of healthy snacks available (from sweet to salty to full of fiber & filling) keeps you from wandering to that usually un-healthy option of the vending machine area!
  9. Listen to your body. This is the hardest thing for unhealthy people like me to do when they start. I had NO clue what REAL hunger was, I had no clue that a craving could and often should be killed with something in particular. While you used to think nothing but a chocolate bar could kill that sweets craving, you may find that cocoa dusted almonds (slightly chocolately, but filled with tons of goodness for your body) are a healthier option that can do the trick. If you're hungry, eat. If you're not sure it's "hunger" wait it off, drink some extra iced tea or flavored water, etc. and see if it's still there. If it is, find what fits in your plan and eat. Don't keep putting it off feeling guilty.

    And last but not least......
  10. Having a bad day, meal, choice, week, whatever in your lifestyle change is NOT the end of the world. As my blog title says it all "ONE DAY AT A TIME". You did not get "fat" by eating one candy bar or having one drunken party night. You got there by years of bad choices, constantly repeated. NOW you are in charge. So you made a bad choice or even a day of bad choices, that does not mean you made a LIFETIME of bad choices and from here on it is your LIFESTYLE for a LIFETIME that matters.
So get out there and do it! If I can lose 52 lbs and STILL be psyched to lose more I know you can too. I'm nothing special, nobody that can afford special trainers and high priced programs. But I am somebody that means something to this world and I am worth putting out the time, effort and money to make ME the best ME I can be. I'm worth it and so are you.

The next in this series of Making It Yours will be about exercise and getting fit. Let me tell you, if I can get fit & toned as I go along with this weight loss anyone can. It's a matter of making it YOURS and doing it YOUR way.

No matter what in life, you have to enjoy what you're doing in order for it to work.

Check out my Daily Menu Food Log for a quick glance at what I'm eating to get where I'm at, which is a healthier & therefore thinner ME!

Don't forget to check out my newest Book Blog, where I give book reviews on recent books I've read. If you're a reader you'll want to check this out!


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*Note I am not affiliated nor endorsed by Weight Watchers® at all. I highly recommend their program and cannot say enough about it, but I also have decided that they were my "stepping stone" to making a change in my lifestyle. Any mention of Weight Watchers®, their program or their term of "points®" does not mean they have approved, seen, or endorsed anything on my blogs.

Also, if at any time Points® are mentioned it is always with the assumption that you will analyze the recipes, foods, ingredients and figure the points out specifically for your consumption of any product.