Filtering by Tag: health and fitness

Still Going Strong!

anndouglas-fall2014.jpg

Yep. The headline says it all: I'm still going strong, nearly two years into this journey. And what a journey it's been. As I write this, in mid-December 2014, I am within four pounds of a healthy BMI, for pretty much the first time ever. (I was at a healthy BMI for about five minutes before getting pregnant with my first child, back in 1988.) I have lost 19" from my hips, 13.5" from my waist and 12" from my bust -- and I've gone from a size 26/28 to a size 14 (and the size 14 is getting a little baggy, to be perfectly honest). 

But that's just the number on the scale. The scale can't measure how happy and healthy I feel. That's what I wanted when I set out on this journey back in mid-January of 2013: to experience greater health and happiness. What I hadn't counted on back then was how much I would come to love being physically active. My twice-daily walks help to boost my mood, reduce my anxiety, and fuel my overall feelings of wellness.

I've written two articles about my journey. The first appeared in the October 2014 issue of Canadian Living and featured a rather glamorous photo of me. (This is likely the one and only time in my life that I'll have the chance to play supermodel, so I'm sharing the photo spread with you.) The second article appeared on the Fitbit website when I was featured as a Fitbit Success Story. (As you may recall, I wear a Fitbit Flex exercise bracelet to encourage myself to log 10,000 or more steps each day.)

Thanks to blog reader Lillian, who encouraged me to write this update. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while and I was feeling more than a little guilty for not letting my community of supporters know that I'm not merely doing okay: I'm thriving. Thanks for your continued support, everyone. I really appreciate it.

 

What I Did With My Summer Vacation

I just had the best summer of my life. Seriously. When I was a kid, I was too busy worrying about, well, pretty much everything to have a truly great summer. (Yes, I was that kind of kid.) Rather than being able to relax and enjoy the moment, I had my gaze fixed firmly on the future -- on a time when things would be better, whatever "better" might mean.  

"Better" finally arrived this summer -- and it wasn't disguised as books on a beach, as I had long suspected it would. My summer was filled to the brim with activity, including tons and tons of work.

It also happened to be awesome.

As you may already know, I am busy researching and writing a book -- and I couldn't put that on hold for the summer. So I simply decided that I was going to make this the best summer of my life by making conscious choices about everything that was within my control, including my working location (I chose to work from my cottage), the food I chose to eat (healthy, whole foods), and the way I treated my body (lots and lots of walks, both on and off my treadmill).  

The result? I felt -- and continue to feel -- amazing.

Treating myself well has become a habit (a habit that took a mere 49 years to cultivate).

And now that I'm in the habit of fuelling my body with good food, giving it the exercise that allows it to feel less anxious during the day and to sleep better at night, I'm not about to stop.

I'm in the process of designing a new fall routine for myself that includes early-morning walks, lunch hour fitness breaks, and a pleasant new working environment. (My office has moved back home.)

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I spent my entire summer immersing myself in research about mental health -- poring through journal articles and other information in order to try to tease out what allows us to thrive (as opposed to merely survive). Officially, the research is for the book I am writing for HarperCollins Canada (for publication next year), but I'm already reaping the benefits of some of what I've learned.

I've always felt really lucky. (Well, at least since I became a grownup and escaped the clutches of the playground bullies.) And now I feel positively blessed, being able to do work that I love (writing and speaking) -- and to see my own health and happiness be so enriched by what I am learning.

A few years back, when I was experiencing my truly horrific depression, I couldn't imagine ever feeling this good again, let alone feeling fantastic -- joyful -- creative -- inspired -- filled with possibility and hope.

Life can be so good. *

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* Writer-buddies: Please forgive the totally over-the-top use of italics and dashes in this post.  

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And now for some stats on the weight loss front:

 

  • I'm now more than halfway to my goal weight. I've lost 83 lbs since early January (starting weight: 286 lbs; goal weight: 154 lbs), which leaves me with just 49 lbs. left to lose.
  • My BMI has dropped from 46.2 to 32.8. I am within spitting distance of being "overweight" as opposed to "obese."
  • I am now wearing a size 16/18 (XL) -- down from a size 26/28 (3 XL).
  • I've lost 7" from my bust, 8" from my waist, and 12" from my hips. 

What the numbers don't reveal is how fantastic I feel. The only way to measure that is by the smile on my face.  

Thanks for all your love and support, friends. I (truly) couldn't be making these changes without you. <3

 

Fall 2012: When I was at my heaviest (286 lbs.) A friend's photo, shared on Twitter. Inspired me to want to make changes. (Thanks, MM.)

Fall 2012: When I was at my heaviest (286 lbs.) A friend's photo, shared on Twitter. Inspired me to want to make changes. (Thanks, MM.)

July 2013: When I had lost 68 lbs.

July 2013: When I had lost 68 lbs.

Another Happy Milestone

I just figured out something amazing this morning. (I am easily amazed these days, so I hope you'll bear with me.)

My treadmill measures distance in miles, not kilometres!

This means the 1.34 "distance" reading on my treadmill actually equals 2.1 km.

This is a big deal to me because, a year or two ago, I could not have walked this distance in any amount of time. I know this because I participated in a 2 km walk for one of my favourite charities and it left me feeling totally winded.

Now I can cover more than that distance -- and I can do so in 30 minutes, with a significant incline on my treadmill -- and think nothing of it.

Yes, I'm feeling pretty pumped.

In other happy news:

Wardrobe Malfunction

Apparently, I'm going to have to put a bit more thought into packing for a trip, now that I'm losing weight.

I can't simply assume that the clothes that I wore the last time I travelled on business are going to be suitable this time around.

I learned this lesson the hard way on Friday morning when I put on a pair of pinstriped dress pants I had packed for an out-of-town meeting.

They gaped so much around my waist and hips that they were dragging on the ground.

I ended up having to hike my pants up dozens of time while I was at the meeting. It was awkward, to say the least. So, after the meeting wrapped up, I spent the afternoon shopping for some clothes that actually fit. That's when I discovered that I have dropped three pant sizes over the past two months.

The scale may not be going down at a huge rate these days (I'm losing about a pound a week right now), but this is further evidence that the weight is coming off, particularly around my waist and hips.

I'm also feeling a lot "fitter." This past week, I managed to squeeze in five workouts: four on the treadmill plus a walk with my Dad. Working out has actually become something I enjoy and look forward to.

Losing a relatively small amount of weight (23 pounds as of last Monday's weigh-in) has made a huge difference in terms of how I feel, both inside and out.

My Million-Dollar Idea for Tackling Obesity

Here's my million-dollar idea (valuation approximate) for tackling obesity.

More public washrooms.

Think about it.

How often have you stopped to use the washroom at a fast-food restaurant and, out of a sense of obligation, forced yourself to purchase something off the fast-food menu that you neither wanted nor needed?

I thought about this today after (foolishly) drinking 28-ounces of water while driving between Toronto and Peterborough. It's a two-hour drive and, by the time I was one hour into my trip, I really, really needed to use the washroom.

That left me in an uncomfortable position, to say the least.

  • I didn't want to stop at any of the fast-food restaurants on my route.
  • My gas tank was already full, so using a gas station washroom wasn't an option.
  • There wasn't a public washroom nearby.

This left me with no other choice but to drive home with a bladder filled to overflowing. I started having flashbacks to the prenatal ultrasound I had with my first child. I remember the ultrasound technician telling me that my bladder was too full -- hey, no kidding! -- and that he wanted me to pee just a little -- something that is much easier said than done....

I managed to make it home -- but just barely. (I sprinted from the car to the washroom.)

Then I started thinking about how many calories I have consumed -- and how much money I've wasted over the years -- just to gain access to a washroom. I know I'm not the only one in this situation, either. Washrooms are the bait that lure us into fast-food restaurants on major highways, are they not?

When I was a parent with young children, the public washroom shortage used to infuriate me. Once my children were toilet-trained, the issue slipped off my radar screen. Now that I'm trying to make healthier choices for myself (drinking more water; making conscious food choices), I'm back to feeling annoyed with the washroom status quo. Seriously annoyed.

Going to the washroom is a basic biological function. It's not okay that we've privatized our washrooms: defaulted on our societal obligation to ensure that every citizen has reasonable, timely access to a washroom.

Washrooms operated by private businesses are anything but free. Such access comes at a cost:  to our pocketbooks and to our health.

Oh yeah: just for the record, this is not exactly what I have in mind. (A public-private pay-to-pee partnership? I don't think so.)

Related

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And now a quick update from me. The past week was incredible on so many levels.

  • I had an amazing, life-changing conversation with someone really important to me -- one that will contribute to my weight loss success and overall health and happiness.
  • I discovered that I am now able to walk on the treadmill at a fairly hefty pace for over 30 minutes without even noticing the time.
  • I have lost an inch or two in areas where a person might wish to lose some inches.
  • And the scale dropped by four pounds. That means I've bid farewell to 15 pounds so far.

Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu