Part 2: Focusing on fitness
For those that haven’t seen my first blog, I am writing to share my weight loss journey. For a month now, I have been participating in the Advocate Weight Management Program. I don’t know why this diet seems so easy, but maybe it’s just my resolve this time to make it work. This program seems to fit perfectly with my lifestyle. I tend to be in a lot of meetings and sometimes travel around the Chicagoland area from site to site for my job.
The portability and ease of using the meal replacements has simplified my life so much. I grab three packets and a piece of fruit in the morning along with a bottle of water and I’m good to go. If I have a lunch meeting out, I plan ahead and bring my own fat-free dressings so it’s already measured and just order a salad. In the evening I have a great meal with my husband that includes four ounces of protein and three to four servings of vegetables. Then I have a Greek low-fat yogurt around 8:30 pm at night. I have no sweet cravings but the one thing I do miss is the bread. I am getting over that, but that was the most difficult part the first month.
You may ask if I still eat out-definitely, usually every Friday and Saturday night. I’m much more selective about where we go and try to check out the menus online before so I can plan what to order. Usually the meals come with an entrée, vegetable and potato or rice. I ask them not to bring the starch serving and ask to substitute another vegetable. I also ask for a “to-go” container when the meal is served and put half of the entrée in there so I’m not tempted to overeat.
So…how did I do over the Easter holiday? I called my mother-in-law to see what was being served. When I realized I couldn’t eat any of it, I brought a big garden salad with lots of fresh veggies and dressings (including my fat-free) along with a piece of salmon I could incorporate into my salad. It didn’t bother me there were things I couldn’t eat. My resolve to make this succeed is very high.
Everything is tracked on my Fitbit – it’s more than a pedometer, as you can track your food, water, sleep and activity every day. After the third week, I met with Michael Heidkamp, MS, exercise physiologist with the Advocate Weight Management Program, to develop a plan to start getting active. He educated me on the differences between activities and exercise.
Did you know that exercise is considered a workout that is more than 20 minutes where your heart rate is up so it would make you labored to have a conversation with someone? I thought as long as I was moving for 20 minutes and not watching TV or on the computer, I was doing a good job. And no, the four hours I worked in the garden is not exercise, it is activity. While it’s good to move and not sit in front of the TV, I want to get to the point where I’m getting to that exercise level consistently.
My goal now is 6,500 steps a day with a minimum of 20 active minutes at a time. I have a stretch goal of 7,500 steps and we’ll make adjustments along the way. Many nights I get home tired, but now I walk every night with my husband and the dog, weather permitting. A lot of times we get back and I am still short of my goal so I try to do some more exercise until I hit my goal. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment.
So, how did I do my first month? The first week I lost a whopping 14 pounds. Tricia Ligon, the program manager, wanted me to add the disclaimer “results not typical.” She also commented that the whole team thought I really knocked it out of the park my first week! The second week I lost 3.5 pounds…third week 4 pounds…and the fourth week 2.8 pounds for a total of 24.3 pounds for the month.
Remember, I am doing a medically supervised program. If you are doing this on your own, it is recommended that you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week-not this large of a drop. I cleaned out my closet and drawers and no longer have any clothes that are too big to wear. I went out and bought just a couple items to fill in for right now – two sizes smaller! So when I think about eating something that is not in this regimented plan, I think about my success over this first month and the thought goes right out of my head.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog as I’m sure I will have a lot of challenges with my son’s graduation and all the spring festivities planned.
About the Author
Debi Jordan, health enews contributor, is senior account rep for the Advocate Health Care Media Center. She is sharing her weight loss journey.