I know it's been some time since I have had a new issue of Carol's Corner for you and I apologize. It took me quite some time to get over being sick and I waited too long to go to the doctor's for it, but think I am finally on the mend. So after my fashion portion I have a real treat for you. This is going to feature the journey of Mary Scott as told by her. So pull up a chair, grab a drink and get comfortable.
I totally love this picture. It was taken at Turning Stone Casino where we went for an event they hold on Friday's called “Swinging Senior's” at the Harvest Cafe. You get to eat there for a greatly reduced price and they have a DJ and a small area to dance. This is the first time I've been there when it was decorated for the Holiday's and it was really beautiful. Catherine Warner won the naming game with, “Lady In Red.” She said it was a song by an Irish singer and can be found on You Tube. It certainly describes me in this ensemble.
Love my Christmas manicure and it sure looks great with this ensemble. My accessories were black, silver, and red. I also had a black beaded sweater that went nicely with it if it was cold. No Fitbit here but will be resuming my workout's and FitBit use in the morning.
This is one of my real gemstone bracelets.
So here's where the meat of this issue starts. Mary Scott is a member of both my group, “Carol's Inspiration Station” and “The Leslie Sansone Group.” I think I will put her pictures and describe them for you first and then you will hear Mary's story as told by her.
The picture on the left was in March of 2013 (one week into her weight loss journey and with a 9 pound weight loss to start things off with). The second picture was in March of 2014; one year later.
Now to show you this must have been a family affair, take a look at these side by side pictures. The one on the left is her and her husband Mike at their first 5K in August 2014. The picture on the right was somewhere around 1994. Amazing difference don't you think?
The last picture is a very recent one taken on her wedding anniversary. She is wearing the wedding dress she wore 25 years ago and is 5 pounds lighter than she was then. It always amazes me how much younger everyone looks after a large weight loss. So now hear Mary's story in her own words. Here's Mary.
I grew up in a Ukrainian and Polish household, in which my Grandmother also lived. Growing up it was fairly common to have all the ethic dishes cooked from scratch on a regular basis by my mother and grandmother. Thus, I grew up with a robust appetite for food, which I maintain to this day. As a child I had a few chubby years during the adolescent period, but slimmed down during my high school years. Sometime during this period, my mother joined the 1970's version of Weight Watchers and lost a tremendous amount of weight that she needed to lose. Back then however, exercise was never stressed as a key element of the journey, and there were lots of 'forbidden' foods as well. Needless to say she gained back all she had lost and then some. For the rest of her life, she struggled on and off with yo-yo dieting. Although she lived to be 82, the many disabling, painful conditions of Type 2 Diabetes (that she was diagnosed with while midway through her 70's) made her last several years not such a good quality of life. I watched her decline first hand, as we had my mother living with us for her 5 final years after my father had passed away. Meanwhile in the 80's and 90's, I was having my 3 children, raising the family, and working full time. Busy, busy modern mama. Following the birth of my third child, when I was almost 35; I never really lost the few 'baby' pounds. I continued to add on a few pounds every year until I was somewhere between 215-225 by the time I was in my late 40's. I am 5 foot 3 inches tall. About a year before my mother died in 2004, I'd already begun taking my first oral Type 2 Diabetes medication. I'd already been put on a blood pressure medication by the time I was in my late 30's. By the time I was in my mid-50's, my blood sugar was never in control and my doctor had to prescribe a second diabetes med and also a cholesterol medication. I felt kind of lousy most of the time, with a very low energy level, burning sore feet, upset stomach, etc…. I seemed to be travelling quickly down my mother's path. Then, one day in March 2013, my daughter called me with the news that she'd joined Weight Watchers online and how it was really easy to follow and she'd lost a few pounds her first week. Never had to go to meetings, etc…. Perfect set up for a busy person! She encouraged me to try it. I was skeptical at first, but my daughter Courtney was very enthusiastic and encouraging. She needed to lose only about 50 pounds,whereas I had about 80 to lose. So I joined online about 2 weeks after she did, and we became each other's support buddies. The rest is history….
Gradually during the weight loss journey I added a little more exercise as my body could handle it. I started with walking outdoors. At first, walking a mile in close to a half hour was difficult. Soon though, as the pounds dropped my stamina increased, and I was able to shorten my time for walking one mile and even added more and more miles. A couple months into the outdoor walking, my daughter also introduced me to the Leslie Sansone videos. She's heard all about them through various Weight Watchers Facebook support groups, had tried a couple and liked them. For Mother's Day that year, one of my sons got me my first video. It was the beginning of many, many videos and hours spent indoors exercising when the Michigan weather doesn't lend itself to outside walking. Bottom line is that on the Weight Watcher's program, the more you exercise, the more 'activity points' you earn, and this ultimately means you can actually eat more. A great fit for me, as I do love to eat!
Now, almost three years into this lifelong journey of health and fitness I am down to 138-140, which is perfect for me as I am large framed. I went from size 18, and 2X to size 6, and medium. Pretty much had to get a whole new wardrobe. Even went from a size 9 1/2 wide width shoe to a size 9 regular width shoe. I will never go back to my unhealthy ways as I am thoroughly committed to this new lifestyle. It allows me to quick chase my one year granddaughter around, and do so many things I could not even do several years ago. I would like to leave you all with a few things I've learned along my journey to health, that I know you will find beneficial as you go through yours. Whether or not you opt to follow a program such as Weight Watchers– these ought to be helpful for you.
Here's my list:
Eat clean, and be careful about restaurant food choices.
Part of the Weight Watchers journey taught me to eat far less (very minimal) processed food. We eat lean meats, fresh vegetables, and fruit as our main household staples these days. If I eat out–I am always vigilant about what I order, and I will also even change out portions of a meal when possible. For example, a bowl of fresh fruit instead of potato chips as a side dish. As the kids grew, my husband and I used to eat out frequently as there were no kids to be cooking for. Now the restaurant eating is the exception for us. My husband also dropped about 30 pounds, just from eating healthier foods at home, and far less restaurant eating.
Always track food you eat.
The WW app provides me a means to do this, but I know there are also many other apps out there for those not following the WW program. If I am eating out and it's not easy or convenient to track the foods, I'll snap a photo of the meal, or menu so I can capture the data later. Knowing what you eat is important to know and helps to maintain your accountability.
Be active daily.
My personal goal for myself is 20,000 steps per day. I make exercise a priority in my daily life now. I will either do a Leslie Sansone or Jessica Smith video. This I consider my cardio workout. 4-5 days per week I also do at least 30 minutes of strength training, either Jilian Michaels or some kettle ball workouts I've been interested in for the past year. The additional strength training has helped me build muscle, and lose that 5 extra vanity pounds in the last year. If I'm at work, I typically get about 1,000 steps per hour as I'm on my feet all day–so I adjust my routine accordingly, so that I'll arrive at around 20,000 steps by day's end. If I'm outside raking leaves, shoveling snow, etc….. (these additional forms of exercise will shorten my 'formal' exercise for that day.) I just shoot for the 20,000 and this formula works well for me.
Hydration is equally important.
Before my weight loss journey, I rarely if ever, drink much water. Mostly drank coffee with meals, and a bit of tea here and there. Never a soft drinker though. I've read that often times, your body may actually need hydration, and that you mistake this 'craving' for hunger. I've found this to be true, especially with a fair amount of daily exercise. My formula is my 2 cups of coffee in the morning, 16 ounces of water mid-morning and mid- afternoon, and 32 more ounces before the end of the day. This adequately hydrates me, and if the water drinking is spaced out throughout the day, you're not in the bathroom frequently.
Ensure you get proper rest.
When I was overweight, I was never well rested. I could wake up the neighborhood with my snoring according to my husband. As I dropped pounds, the snoring went almost completely away, and miraculously I sleep extremely soundly these days. My Fitbit measures my sleep typically in the 90's percent wise. I've found that I require about 7.5 hours of sleep to feel really well rested. If I do that, I have the energy level of a 20 year old.
Eat well and healthy.
I do not deprive myself of food, but always strive to make the healthiest of choices these days. I eat 3 meals a day, and a morning, afternoon, and evening snack. My rule of thumb is that if I'm going to overindulge it will be by adding extra vegetables or fruit to a meal. Or on days with heavier physical activity, I may add an extra ounce of meat, a tablespoon of nuts, or a protein bar for extra protein. This seems to make a big difference in keeping up with energy. If I'm now deprived of healthy fueling type foods, I notice a difference in energy levels. One area where the WW program helped me was in portion control. I'd never really bothered to look at the labels on food items before, to see what the recommended 'portions' were. For example, most pasta has a recommended portion size of 2 ounces. So nowadays, I'll serve myself the 2 ounces of pasta for spaghetti, but perhaps eat a whole cup of the vegetable of the day with a couple teaspoons of olive oil.
Restaurant eating as an opportunity to make the best choices.
Although I've made it a point not to ever set foot in fast food restaurants ever again, there is occasional restaurant eating for me. When this is the case, I will peruse the menu and find the healthiest choices I can. I've learned that most restaurants will be more than glad to accomadate special requests, such as salad dressing on the side, or fruit bowls, grilling instead of frying, etc….
Find ways to be active, not sedentary throughout the day.
There are lots of small ways one can accomplish this. Some examples I've found for myself are: I always fold laundry standing up now, and take more trips to and from the bedroom to put items away. I've taken over the garbage detail in the house, so the Mister no longer has to worry about it. I always seem to have a bunch of household projects going on concurrently besides the regular household chores such as deep cleaning every part of the basement, reorganizing kitchen cupboards, junk drawers, medicine chest etc. There are so many things that I just never had the energy for several years ago, that now get tackled on a regular basis–and what a sense of accomplishment I get from doing all these things.
I've now been off my diabetic and blood pressure medications for a couple years, and have had normal AIC readings ever since that time. I want you all to know, that it is entirely possible to achieve for any of us. Looking at myself several years ago, I never thought it would be. But if you just keep at it, you too can do it. Be patient, as it doesn't happen overnight, but takes discipline and consistent effort. Think of everyday as another day you're closer to achieving what you want and need to achieve. I know I will always have to be mindful about keeping track of what I eat, and how much I exercise. But the end result is so worth it in so many ways.
If I had to sum it up in a nutshell, here's what it is:
Eat clean, be active, hydrate, and rest.
This is what our doctors have always preached to us, and what do you know–they were right!
Well there you have it folks, another amazing success story and with so much wisdom to impart to all of us . Thank you so much Mary for sharing this for my readers. It is muchly appreciated.
That's it for this issue of Carol's Corner, and barring any setbacks from this bout of illness I just went through, I plan on being here on a more regular basis. Thank you for your support and understanding. Feedback is encouraged and welcome. Hope to hear from all of you. Till next time, as always, God Bless.