Friday, August 17, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes - Lab Results

Before      After
As you know by now and I hope you don't get tired of hearing it or reading it - I lost 103 pounds in a course of a year.

Due to being overweight or I should say morbidly obese (according to the Body Mass Index or BMI chart), I developed several illnesses.  I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

I took several medications to control these illnesses and had many warnings from my doctor to do something about my weight. Warnings that I ignored for awhile.

Loving the Pictures of the New ME

 A photograph never grows old.  You and I change, people change all through the years, but a photograph always remains the same. ~  Albert Einstein

The New "ME"
I can't remember the last time I can actually say I liked looking at myself in a video or a picture (not even my wedding pictures). Each time we had to take family photos, I usually ran for cover, meaning I always ran to the back of the group and let everyone cover me just showing my face. If I wasn't looking for cover then I wasn't in the picture at all because I would volunteer to take them. 

Every time I used to see myself  in a picture, it was like getting a glimpse or getting a reminder of the unhappy person I was, even though, there was always a smile on my face. 

My Weight Loss Journey-

238 Pounds                   125 Pounds

I lost 113 pounds, 55 inches and I wear a size 4!!!!!". It is still so surreal!!!! It took me a year and two months to take the weight off.   The first question that everyone ask is: "How did you do it?"  Well, be surprised,  I had NO surgery (not that there is anything wrong with that, if that's what you and your doctor decide is the best possible way for you), I had no magic potion, I don't have a secret or a special pill.  I did it by just plain hard work known as sensible eating. portion control, and exercise.

It is an equation that I am sure you have heard over and over, just simple math, good calories in and calories out (not all calories are the same). I learned sensible eating and portion control through the Jenny Craig program.  I was religious to a 1,500 calories intake based on 6 small meals a day and I cannot emphasize enough that we have to move (exercise).

The nutritional part of the journey is very important, but so is the emotional part-- especially if you are an "emotional eater". I think emotions play a big factor on making this journey a success --emotions can makes us fail.  You have to stay motivated, determined, consistent and focused throughout the whole process. Nothing worth while comes easy or on a silver platter.

Now let me give you a small synopsis on how I got this heavy and what made me decide to make a U-turn.

Before the Journey
I have never been what we call "thin."  I had "curves" for lack of better words, and I've always struggled with my weight.  Yo-Yo diets are not unfamiliar to me.

I had to battle cervical cancer in 2008.  I'm one of the lucky ones that conquered the battle, and I'm grateful God gave me a second shot at life.

So you might think that I should have been capitalizing on that fact, but far from it.   Even though, I was grateful and trying to pay it forward by advocating the prevention of cervical cancer to other women, I was licking my own wounds and drowning in my own self pity. I became a food addict.  Food gave me comfort, food gave me short lived satisfactions, and even though I knew this-- I liked the temporary feeling it gave me. It was like filling up a barrel without a bottom. 

   It's ALL worth it!!!!
As time went by, the pounds began to stay with me tipping the scale to 238 pounds and wearing a size 22.  This was a very unhealthy weight on a  5'3" frame, and making me morbidly obese according to the BMI chart.

The consequences of being morbidly obese began to appear.  I developed diabetes type II, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Here I was being a health advocate for women when I was an unhealthy individual myself. I was NOT practicing what I was preaching--

I had to be on several medications to be able to control my illnesses,  to be specific, I had to take up to (3) pills a day for my diabetes, (1) for my high cholesterol and (1) for my high blood pressure.  My doctor warned me on many occasions to lose some weight.  I must confess that I attempted many times and failed.  I wanted to do it, but somehow my willpower and determination would leave me. Often I asked myself, --I beat cancer why can't I beat this???? I guess I was NOT mentally ready.

It was until the doctor told me that my medications were not quite controlling my diabetes and that our next step of action was to start injecting insulin.  OMG!!!!!! The light went on.  Fear took over.  I had to make a decision and I became determined that I was not going there!!!!

Same Blouse, Same Person, Different Mindset
The Journey
My journey began July 9, 2011.  The first thing I had to admit to myself was that I needed help.  It was obvious that I couldn't do it alone. Support, knowledge, and a plan are important keys in any journey.

So I needed a plan, some structure and people that will know how to guide me. I did not know how to start-- I was over 100 pounds overweight.  Just seeing the three digits can discourage anyone. So I set small goals instead.

 I had to dig very deep within me to make the determination that I will stay in the path to the end-- no matter how long it took, no matter what it took. By no means is this an easy journey, and unfortunately there are no easy programs, and no easy fixes. Ultimately, you are your own driver. 

I knew I had people supporting me (my husband, my family and my friends), but I knew that it was up to me to carry the torch.  So, I gathered my strength and armed myself with several tools.  (You can check them out under "MY TOOLS" page).

As the pounds come off and the body changes so does your mind set.  The mind moves a little slower so you have to give it time to catch up.  Sometimes I use to get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it was like seeing someone else.  It didn't quite register in my mind that it was me.  The journey of weight loss is kind of hard to explain.  It is not only dealing with the nutrition and exercise, there are more dynamics that goes on behind the scene. I'm still in the process of catching up.
My #1 Fan and Supporter, my husband, Freddie

Unfortunately, on this journey I encountered negative people, and non-believers that would have love to see me fail. Not a good feeling when you feel you are going up hill all the time.  This was the time I had to dig deep, stay focus, and kind of ignore the "unnecessary noise".  I stayed close to the positive vibes and the amazing energy that people that care provided me.

The majority of us want to reach our goal over night.  This will NEVER happen, you have to remember that you did not get where you are over night.  Patience and consistency go together.  Be patient --be consistent-- and you will see the results.  You might not see it when you want to, but I promise-- you will get back what you put in.

As of September 12, 2012, a day before my birthday, and 14 months from the start, I've reached my ultimate goal.  I had lost 113 pounds, and I have reversed my diabetes, my cholesterol, and my high blood pressure.  I have DONE  it!  An accomplishment that seemed far away to reach at one point of my life--  I was healthy!!!!

The End?
No!!! this is not the end.  There is no end to healthy living,   As a food addict, I have to be vigilant of a relapse, or going back to old habits, but I do it one day at a time. I don't take any medications, I eat well, and I exercise. I am stronger, healthier and happier than I have ever been. The benefits of this journey have been endless.

I have change my  lifestyle. The lifestyle I will follow for all my days to come. I still have my off days, but they are fewer than more. I have learned not to be hard on myself -- we all have bad days, but I don't let them dictate my tomorrows.  If I have a bad day- it's OK as long as I pick up myself the very next day and continue on my path.

Unfortunately, I still encounter non-believers and negative people, that are swearing that I will gain all my weight back tomorrow, but I ignore that kind of noise in my life, and I use it as motivation.

The end of one journey is the beginning of another..................

The day I hit-- 101pounds lost
July 11, 2012

September 12, 2012 
125 Pounds - Size 4-

Whether or not you reach your goals in life depends entirely on how well you prepare for them and how badly you want them. We are eagles! Lets Stretch our wings. ~ Ronald Mcnair

Editor's Note:  Words seem to escape me  to express my gratitude to the many people that supported me and still support me on this journey.  My cheer-leading squad list is too long, but you know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Without every single one of you, I wouldn't have had the strength and energy to conquer what I did.  All my love goes to the man that held my hand through this whole journey, my husband, Freddie.  To my cheer leading squad captains, my brother Rudy, my good friend Maria,  my Mom,  my Aunt -- Thank you!!!!!!  Special thanks to the two awesome women that became my personal GPS' and were instrumental in guiding me to reach a better place. They both taught me how to be strong and stand proud. Thank you Ronni (my consultant at Jenny Craig)) and Ketsy (my trainer).  You both will always have my most sincere admiration and gratitude.  All of my love. xo  


I Won Ketsy and Lost Pounds- Part III

The Weight Loss Challenge Group with our Trainer #KillerKetsy and Co-Trainer #LittleTaffyD
*Some of the members are missing from the picture

I didn't want to title this post the "The Final Part" even though the weight loss challenge has come to an end.  Our journey has not ended, but it's time to move forward to a new phase within our mission.

It has been five months since the start of our lifetime commitment and we have grown in so many ways in this short time. We are not sad that this part has ended because we are accepting it as part of the growth. The knowledge and the tools that have been given to us are priceless and timeless.

I Won Ketsy And Lost Pounds- Part II

It's been four months since I started with the "weight loss challenge group" after working out on my own since last July.  I must say  it has been quite a journey so far, at times hard and exhausting.  I have gained much knowledge in many facets like: nutritional, physical, and emotional.

It is amazing how emotions play a role in this journey and it is not only doing diet and exercise but also understanding the whole process and accepting that this is a new lifestyle.  Even during the journey there are many adjustments to be made as your body and mind changes.

Running Like a Diva

OK~ so here is the thing, I'm just going to come out and say it, "I really really DISLIKE running".  I don't like to use the word HATE, but I might have to when it comes to running.  I still remember when I had to run at the Police Academy every day, I used to get anxious and have anxiety attacks. Thank God for my BFF, Cathy, for always supporting me when we ran next to each other in the academy's gym almost holding my hand. I give her credit for helping me make it out of there.
I often wonder what do marathon runners or any runner think about while they are running all those miles???  Besides feeling the pain on their legs and feeling exhausted what goes through their mind?  I just can't imagine.

Zumba® and Spinning® for a Newbie

One of the requirements of being on the "weight loss challenge program", that I've been a part of since January, is to participate in several exercise classes every week. I've never been a fan of exercise classes, I've only worked out by myself either on the treadmill or the stationary bike.

I found myself forced to go out of my comfort zone and called myself a "VIRGIN" since I've never taken any of these special classes before. Keeping an open mind, I had to set myself out to go and explore the different classes they offered.

I'm sure everyone has heard of Zumba®.  Zumba® is a Latin dance inspired fitness program that incorporates hip hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo and some martial arts.  So I figured I'm Latina, I like to dance, how hard can it be??  Needless to say I found out real fast.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Won Ketsy And Lost Pounds!! - Part I

About six months ago I made the conscious decision to make a U-turn regarding my health.  I started eating healthier and exercising.  

To help with my mission I joined a health club (Whitehall Club and Health Spa).  I have been doing pretty good the past 5 months exercising on my own and seeing results, but I have gotten to the point that I needed a bigger challenge. I needed to step it up a notch.