I'm getting married...

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I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:58 am UTC

I'm getting married in mid-September. I'm fatter than I want to be when I wear a wedding dress. I would love to lose about 20-30 pounds, but I realize that might be a bit too ambitious. The biggest problem I have, is that eating right and exercising doesn't seem to make a difference!

Here is the whole sad story: September 2004 - I moved away to college, and within the first 6 weeks I lost 40 pounds. I have no idea why. I wasn't trying. I was eating. I wasn't exercising, except for walking around the city. I wasn't sleeping well at all, and was very homesick and stressed out, but still, 40 pounds seems drastic. December 2005- I go on the birth control pill, and within two months I gain back the 40 pounds. Blargh. December 2006- I go off of the birth control pill, and start working out 4 days a week, as well as eating a vegetarian diet that is around 1100 calories a day of mostly raw food, and almost no sugar. I continue this diet until about June 2007. I lose maybe 6 pounds? July 2007-Present - I haven't been spending too much attention on my diet, and have only been doing incidental exercise, and I have stayed exactly the same as when I was working my ass off and eating very carefully. What was/am I doing wrong? I am not opposed to hard work and exercise and watching my diet, but I'm only going to do it if it actually makes a difference!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Nath » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:18 am UTC

Some people seem to have an equilibrium weight that they revert to even if their diets and exercise routines change (as long as the change isn't too drastic). You might just be at your weight. I'm in this situation -- my habits have changed quite a bit over the last few years. My general fitness is better, but my weight is about the same. (Not that I've been really aiming to change it in either direction, but it's still a bit odd to see no change.)

What sort of exercise are you doing? What's the breakdown of your diet (protein, carbs, fats)?

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:07 am UTC

So far I'm just doing a lot of walking. I have a weight machine in the garage that I could dust off, and I'm considering joining the gym, but it's kind of expensive, and money is tight right now. My diet is fairly low fat and low sugar. I eat a lot of fresh veggies, beans and rice, sometimes fish, toast and eggs for breakfast fairly often. I wouldn't say my diet is fantastic, but it isn't too bad either. I could modify it if I thought it would help, but it needs to stay pescetarian.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby shocklocks » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:19 am UTC

1100 isn't even enough calories to sustain a lazy person. Let alone some one working out 4 days a week! Putting your body through something like that is just going to make it hold on to what ever fat it can with dear life while it becomes it burns as little as possible to make sure it doesn't starve. You need to tell us more information ie: how strictly vegetarian are you, what sort of excersie were you doing, whats your current weight and height, how much time a day/week do you have to dedicate to this etc etc. As well as start seeking information yourself. Both of which you need to do ASAP if you want a reasonable shot at achieving your goal.

The good news is that asuming you're not striving to be anorexic(ie i'm hoping you wouldnt be aimming much less then 60kg at the very most) your goals arn't too unreasonable so long as you don't put off starting right away. The key is to A) put yourself on a healthy diet(both in volume and substance) B: Work out an exercise program that involves both cardio and strengh training and C: manage both of these effectively so that you're aiming for a 500-750per day calorie deficits. If you can achieve C with a healthy mix of A and B then you should be able to lose 1-1.5pounds a week consistently up until september. Again however, the more info you give us, the better we can help.

Edit: Sorry missed your second post. Your diet is auctually pretty good. Assuming the toast is wholegrain/the rice is brown rice you're diet is extremely clean. If anything you probably need more fat in it. If you start adding things like avocado/olive oil and balsamic vinegar and raw nuts into your diet you'll make up for that. On top of that(depending on how many eggs and fish you eat) you possibly need more protein. I'm not aware if your diet allows diary, but adding in some cottage cheese/milk/protein powder would aid in reaching those totals. On top of that the nuts also contain protein, as do lentils. Again, once you get your calories/decide on a good ratio of fats/carbs/protein you'll be able to determine this accurately. The only other thing I can think of on top of that would be to start having a good 3-5grams of fish oil per day and having a multi vitamin every morning.

As for the exercise, walkings fine but if you want to see efficient results you'll probably have to step it up a notch. Try jogging as far as you can, walking for abit then jogging again etc. If that doesnt interest you start swimming. Not keen on that? Biking. If you don't like any of those, either jump on the eliptical/rowing machines at the gym for 30-45minutes or if you decide the gym isn't for you look into renting one. As for the weight machine in your garage, what type is it? Chances are you'd get much faster results with a freeweight program however I would indeed imagine money would be tight as you get closer to the wedding(perhaps you could sell that machine to pay for the gym?) You are deffinitely going to need to incorporate some form of strengh training though.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby psyck0 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:23 am UTC

How much work are you willing to put into this? We can give you programs that will lose you all the weight (probably; it does depend where you are at now), but they will be a lot of work. You can say "as much work as it takes" or "some work" or whatever, and I can give you some different intensity suggestions based on that.

I can give you a few tips right now. As has been said, 1100 calories is nowhere near enough. You need probably need about 2000 resting, 2500-3000 exercising, but I am no expert. Really, don't worry about counting calories. Eat healthy foods, try to have snacks that include protein every 2-3 hours (I am terrible at this), and eat until you are sated, but not stuffed. Your body does a fantastic job of regulating food intake if you listen to it; just eat regularly and as much as you have to. As for exercise, 3-4 times a week is good. Cardio is ideally done before breakfast for 30-40 minutes to get your metabolism pumping for the day, but really high-intensity cardio just can't be because you need more energy in your system for it. Weights are best done 1-2 hours after a meal, so that you have energy stores ready to use.

If you're looking for cardio that will kick your ass and help you lose the weight relatively quickly, do interval training. It's brutal and very effective.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:04 am UTC

Here's a calorific requirements calculator.

http://walking.about.com/cs/calories/l/blcalcalc.htm

I have no idea how accurate it is though...
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby shocklocks » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:54 am UTC

They're good for a rough indication. Honestly the best way is indeed to count your calories and see what happens. This is why it's important to start right away as it will take a month or so before you're completely accurate. The first couple weeks(if you're not already drinking 4lites+ of water a day) you'll probably lose anywhere between 2-5pounds like that due to water retention. After that all you need to do is measure the calories in vs pounds gained. Starting at the rate that metabolic thing gives you would probably be a good starting point. If you find you're gaining weight still you can start cutting out until you're losing between 1-2pounds a week(which should be a level your body can maintain.) It takes a bit of experimenting to get right but once you've found a good number/your body has adjusted to it you'll be set. From there the only thing you have to worry about is possibly adding more calories once you get fitter and your body begins to crave more.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Nath » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:45 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote:So far I'm just doing a lot of walking. I have a weight machine in the garage that I could dust off, and I'm considering joining the gym, but it's kind of expensive, and money is tight right now. My diet is fairly low fat and low sugar. I eat a lot of fresh veggies, beans and rice, sometimes fish, toast and eggs for breakfast fairly often. I wouldn't say my diet is fantastic, but it isn't too bad either. I could modify it if I thought it would help, but it needs to stay pescetarian.

How much walking is 'a lot'? Are you just walking to get from place to place, or at high intensity specifically for exercise?

I'm not a fan of most weight machines. They train highly specific motions, and a lot of little supporting muscles get left out. OK when you're recovering from an injury, but otherwise meh. You could get a few free weights, but honestly, for your purposes, body-weight exercises would probably do the trick. Depending on how intense your walking is, you may want to add some more cardio-type stuff. Perhaps some sort of sporty activity. Exercise, like diet, needs variety.

The diet looks pretty good. I'd be tempted to throw in more protein -- dairy, lentils and so forth. I agree that 1100 calories seems like a small enough amount that it might send your body into conservation mode (this is probably what causes the equilibrium weight phenomenon). On the other hand, 2500-3000 seems like a bit much. 2000 seems like a reasonable amount, but I'd go there gradually rather than making drastic changes. (Your actual requirements depend on age, body type, and metabolism; you might want to get an estimate of how much you should be eating from someone who knows what they're doing.)

Good luck!

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby psyck0 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:45 am UTC

Here is a site with some brutal interval sessions, just to give you a sense of what they are. You would absolutely NOT start out on anything this intense.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... _intervals

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:40 pm UTC

shocklocks wrote:1100 isn't even enough calories to sustain a lazy person. Let alone some one working out 4 days a week!


I know it seems like very little food, but I was doing it on the advice of a nutritionist. She said I needed to be taking in much fewer calories than I was burning every day.

Again however, the more info you give us, the better we can help.


I was trying to avoid this part, because I'm so self-conscious about it :?

Currently: I am about 174 pounds (give or take 2-3 pounds on any given day), and 5'4"
My goal: About 145 pounds.

I realize that according to the BMI charts and all that, 145 pounds is still too heavy, but for me, I really think it's ok. The last time I was under 150 pounds, I was a dress size (US) 7-8, I did not look fat, and I felt good. I am fairly heavily muscled (under all the fat) and do not have a small bone structure, so I think at 145 pounds my body fat percentage will be well within healthy range.

psyck0 wrote:How much work are you willing to put into this? We can give you programs that will lose you all the weight (probably; it does depend where you are at now), but they will be a lot of work. You can say "as much work as it takes" or "some work" or whatever, and I can give you some different intensity suggestions based on that.


I wouldn't necessarily say "as much as it takes." I will have work and school to juggle and a wedding to plan in the next 9 months, I can't just devote all my time to weight loss. But I am willing to work really hard on it. I'm going to go ahead and say "a lot."

If you're looking for cardio that will kick your ass and help you lose the weight relatively quickly, do interval training. It's brutal and very effective.


Well, while I'm willing to work hard, I am not going to do anything that really makes me miserable. "Brutal" is not necessarily a good thing. I have to be feeling like I *can* do it, and that it's making a difference, and that I feel good about myself to keep on with it.

Nath wrote:How much walking is 'a lot'? Are you just walking to get from place to place, or at high intensity specifically for exercise?
Good luck!


Both. I'm basically going on daily "powerwalks," of a mile or two, and then also walking into town, two miles each way, to run errands or buy food.

Thanks Everyone. It's nice to have suggestions and encouragement. It's frustrating, because it seems like such an insurmountable goal, especially since I *already* eat fairly well and am fairly active. It's particularly discouraging to be giving up all of the treats that I normally enjoy (ice cream, sugar in my tea) and seeing no results, while my 104 pound sister sits in front of the tv eating a box of donuts.
Last edited by PictureSarah on Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:44 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Moo » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was going to ask if you would consider seeing a nutritionist but if one already advised you to curb calories that may be less useful. Although seeing a different one may be a good idea, if something's changed (or if the previous one's advice was as questionable as it seems). This is more me musing out loud though.

Very personal, YMMV type story, but I lost 10kg in 9 months for my wedding. It was over a year but I was in the UK for 3 months during that time and not behaving at all. This kind of thing probably fills you with horror. I am not saying the eating plan is what did it, but I joined Weigh Less, a very well known South African weight loss group similar to Weight Watchers.

What helped me lose the weight was not the eating plan (which differs from Weight Watchers' approach*) but the weekly sessions. I don't think what specific theory one follows is nearly as important as having your head in the right place and sticking to it. My motivation was the problem and that doesn't sound like your issue but I thought I'd share anyway in case any element of my story can be helpful to you. Meeting with people every week that had the same problems as me (overweight and trying to change it); that were all in the same boat as me (doing the eating plan); and that cared (there really is a feeling of commeradery) helped. Being accountable for my actions every week helped. Getting support when I had a bad week, and validation when I lost a lot, helped an immeasurable amount. It helped me focus and be serious about my eating plan. It felt like I wasn't going it alone.

Other than that, all I can do is wish you luck. I hate it when people tell me "you're not fat!" when I know I want to lose weight; you probably feel the same; but I do want to tell you that I think you are very beautiful.


* it is based on prescribing a formula of how many portions of what foods you should be eating, and listing the foods that are permissable and in what quantities for each food group. So, you know, basic good nutrition. It's not too hard to follow because you can eat a lot of foods so if you want any details I can always send it along.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:18 pm UTC

Thanks, Moo, for the advice and the encouragement. Everything helps!

Unfortunately, I'm now living, and getting married in a very small town, and we don't have anything like a Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or any kind of real support network group. We do, however, have a gym. Which I am going to look into seeing if I can afford.

This morning I added five pound weights in each hand to my "power walk." I feel like a huge doofus walking around like that, but two or three miles of speed walking while pumping 5 pounds in each hand (I kept changing up exactly how I was lifting them) is harder than it sounds. I've also been adding small sets of pushups and situps, and having small snacks of yogurt and nuts. Hoping to start seeing some results in the next two weeks or so...would be so encouraging.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby studyinserendipity » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:22 am UTC

Congratulations, Sarah! That's so very exciting :)
I don't know if it helps for losing weight, but belly dancing and yoga helps with toning and strengthening core muscles. I've used basic 'teach-yourself' books and they were pretty easy to understand. Improving your core strength may help boost your current exercise regiment. Plus, it's cool to be able to dance with a scarf!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby psyck0 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:22 am UTC

Here's a link to a pretty basic interval outline. It doesn't have any numbers, though, so I'm going to fill in some that I think you should try.

Treadmill
Incline 0
Warm-up: light jogging speed (4-5 mph)
Working speed: Try starting at about 6.5-7 mph. Jog at this speed for 2 minutes at a time.
Rest speed: Some programs have a light jog during the rest period, but I prefer working at a higher intensity and walking for your rest period. Walk at a fast pace for 1 minute.

2 minutes work speed, 1 minute walking, for 20 minutes, plus 5 minutes warm-up jog and 5 minutes cool down jog and fast walk. Don't forget to stretch when you're done. After about 2-3 weeks of this, increase your working speed.

If you're not going to use a treadmill, preferably do this on a track or a field to reduce knee wear. Your working speed should be 60-70% of your sprinting speed.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Nath » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:57 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote:This morning I added five pound weights in each hand to my "power walk." I feel like a huge doofus walking around like that, but two or three miles of speed walking while pumping 5 pounds in each hand (I kept changing up exactly how I was lifting them) is harder than it sounds.

Out of curiosity, what's the purpose of the weights? If it's to increase the number of calories burnt, it doesn't seem like it would make a giant difference. (You're moving 170 pounds around anyway; what's another 10?) If it's to build muscle, lots of reps with 5 pounds doesn't seem like the most efficient approach. I do imagine it's good for muscular endurance, though -- which is a nice enough thing to have, but doesn't seem directly connected with your objectives.

(I'm not saying the weights are bad, mind you. I'm simply curious about their purpose.)

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Jacque » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

Nath wrote:
PictureSarah wrote:This morning I added five pound weights in each hand to my "power walk." I feel like a huge doofus walking around like that, but two or three miles of speed walking while pumping 5 pounds in each hand (I kept changing up exactly how I was lifting them) is harder than it sounds.
(You're moving 170 pounds around anyway; what's another 10?)


Roughly 6%.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Artemisia » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

Nath wrote:
PictureSarah wrote:This morning I added five pound weights in each hand to my "power walk." I feel like a huge doofus walking around like that, but two or three miles of speed walking while pumping 5 pounds in each hand (I kept changing up exactly how I was lifting them) is harder than it sounds.

Out of curiosity, what's the purpose of the weights? If it's to increase the number of calories burnt, it doesn't seem like it would make a giant difference. (You're moving 170 pounds around anyway; what's another 10?) If it's to build muscle, lots of reps with 5 pounds doesn't seem like the most efficient approach. I do imagine it's good for muscular endurance, though -- which is a nice enough thing to have, but doesn't seem directly connected with your objectives.

(I'm not saying the weights are bad, mind you. I'm simply curious about their purpose.)


Still, it is not encouraging!

First off, Congrats! How lovely :)

Secondly, hat off for opening up the convo about your weight and wanting to lose some of it! I'm with Moo tho on the part that you're already a lovely looking attractive girl that would look just as good with those extra pounds. I would like to add that I'm not the kind of girl who *just* says that for the sake of saying it (you can ask Moo!). You are a big girl from what I could tell from your pictures, but you certainly make it look good!

However, I know how self-conscious I have been with my body, so of course I understand that you'd like to lose weight, especially for the Big Day.
But beauty, really (to use the cliche) comes from within! I sure hope for you that your diet will make you lose the amount of weight you'd like to lose, especially since you already told us you've never lost much other than in a time when you were hugely stressed, but if that doesn't work out, at least the excersize and (more) healthy food will make your body feel better! If you're not losing weight, then try focusing on the shape of your body. A woman knows when she's losing fat ;) Also, muscles weigh more than fat, or so Ive been told.
And last but not least, the fact that you're motivated and are actively doing something about your weight deserves all the credit from not just "other people" but from yourself in the first place (as well as your fiance, of course ;))!
All the right for a good boost to your self esteem. And THAT will make you look GOOD!!!

re: the thing quoted above. The following is my opinion, I might add, because I don't know an awful lot about dieting. So YMMV/I may be off:
Excercising more is never a bad thing. Making your walks more intense will increase the amount of effort your body puts in so you should be burning more calories, because you're using more muscles, in my view (based on logic) so I'm with you on that part. Eating more in stead of less when you're eating healthy is def a good thing, as is listening to your body on what it demands.

If you'd like to be a bit more drastic on the diet, you could try Moo's South Beach plan. Who knows.

As I say, I don't have an awful lot to contribute, and I know the above about self esteem and feeling good is cliche (I'm sorry if I'm emphasising something you already know, and do, and live by) but I can't say enough how important confidence and pride of yourself and your body is. And, imo, you have absolutely all the right to feel proud of yourself and your body.

Good luck :)
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Nath » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:01 pm UTC

Artemisia wrote:
Nath wrote:Out of curiosity, what's the purpose of the weights? If it's to increase the number of calories burnt, it doesn't seem like it would make a giant difference. (You're moving 170 pounds around anyway; what's another 10?) If it's to build muscle, lots of reps with 5 pounds doesn't seem like the most efficient approach. I do imagine it's good for muscular endurance, though -- which is a nice enough thing to have, but doesn't seem directly connected with your objectives.

(I'm not saying the weights are bad, mind you. I'm simply curious about their purpose.)


Still, it is not encouraging!

Who benefits from blind encouragement? If I were to post a thread asking for feedback, I'd want people to point out things they were doubtful about.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:03 pm UTC

Nath wrote:Out of curiosity, what's the purpose of the weights? If it's to increase the number of calories burnt, it doesn't seem like it would make a giant difference. (You're moving 170 pounds around anyway; what's another 10?)

That comparison is a bit deceptive due to the motion of the weights. The center of your mass when walking is moving horizontally, but not vertically; the weights, if you're pumping them (by flexing and extending your arms, not swinging them loosely) have both vertical and horizontal motion and so the work being done on the weights is greater relative to their mass.

To get an idea of the kind of effect the added vertical motion has, you can try a simple exercise with no weights at all. Start in a relaxed stance, with your elbows tucked in and your hands held up right in front of your shoulders. Reach up with one arm until fully extended, then bring it back down into the starting position. Alternate arms in this way so that when one arm is going up, the other is coming down. See how long it takes before you start to feel it, and remember that these are the same arms you carry around with you all day, every day, with no added weights.

To add a little to this reaching exercise, do it in a deep horse stance. This is similar to a basic wu shu punching exercise, and I like to alternate sets of forward-punching and upward-reaching while staying in horse stance the entire time. What's interesting here is that as you build strength and do longer sets, you also have to stay in horse stance longer.

Anyway, if you are just carrying the weights at your sides, or swinging them loosely from your arms, it's not likely to add much of value to the walking exercise. It would be like carrying bags of groceries—they may be very heavy, but the stress is mostly on your skeleton if the bags are just hanging at your sides, so you don't benefit greatly from the weight.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Angelene » Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:41 am UTC

Congrats Sarah! I've to say all the advice from those boys above is rather daunting, and I think kind of ill-advised to be honest. I'm going to echo above sentiments in saying that you're ridiculously beautiful at present, and carry your weight with enviable curves. How and ever, losing a few pounds in the right places would do nothing but accentuate said shape.

I'm going to say that while exercise is of course important etc, diet is key, and more than half the battle. Creating a calorie deficit from exercise alone would require more time and effort than you could reasonably commit. It does all seem to come down to numbers, after all. Although, that said, you should try playing around with the ratio of your macro nutrients. Your diet seems to be carb heavy, and some folk have an easier time with such a diet than others. Maybe lose a few carbs and increase your fat intake. Scary? Perhaps, as it flies in the face of popular diet wisdom. But fat is satiating, and paradoxically, the consumption of good fat is actually essential to fat loss. Also, if you're of a muscular build, it's likely that you would benefit from more protein than starch, too. Give yourself maybe a two week trial, increase your protein and fat, decrease your carb...and see if it makes a difference...if not, you're no worse off, but it could be quite telling.

Also, to be honest, I'd be inclined to leave the weights at home, do the walk and focus on a strong core and a stride as fast as you can manage, then when you get home do your strength training, low weight high rep, or high weight low rep, you can focus on your form then and what muscles you're targetting...I think walking with weights is just a recipe for injury.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:12 am UTC

The weights are basically for arm-toning purposes. I don't just carry them around, I do reps (at different angles, different muscle groups) the entire time I'm walking. Judging by how sore it's made me, it has to be doing *something.*

Thanks, Angelene, and everybody :) I will try to uptake my protein intake (a little hard at times, since I generally avoid eating meat), but I think in terms of starches, I'm doing fairly well at avoiding simple carbs. I really don't want to give up my fresh fruits and veggies, or even lentils and beans. I like them and they are good for me! But perhaps more things like eggs, nuts, yogurt, etc. could be eaten more frequently. The encouragement and advice really does help. It is not easy!

I joined the gym. Tonight I went and did 10 minutes on the eliptical for a warm-up, then cycled 6 miles on a stationary bike, then did 20 situps on the bench thing that's at a 45 degree angle, so I was sort of hanging upside down to do the situps. I really need to do the weights, but I am just so intimidated by the machines. I need one of the gym people to give me a tour and show me how to use them all.

I feel good, though! That may not seem like much of a work out, but I sweated and my muscles complained, and now I feel really good. I am most definitely going to be making a habit of it. I have also lost about 5 pounds since Christmas, which doesn't seem like much, but it's something!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby scwizard » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:32 am UTC

Where I grew up, in New York City, the weight of the average person you see walking around on the street is definitely below the American average.

I wonder if any studies have been done regarding people who live in urban areas and don't rely on cars for transportation. How many more steps do they take on average? How much less do they weigh on average?

Is it possible that the exercise alone accounts for this difference in weight or is there some other factor?
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:14 am UTC

I'm sure the walking helps, but there are other factors. People who live in cities have are more likely to be professionals or students who have access to a gym with their work/school facilities. People who live in cities are more likely to be in professions where image matters, and so more likely to spend time on it.

However, I just moved to California (where I have to drive a lot) from Boston (where I walked *everywhere* and did not own a car. It doesn't actually make that much difference. For me, at least.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby scwizard » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:50 am UTC

Lets try approaching this from a numerical angle.

You're getting married in 240 days. You want to lose 20 pounds. That's a pound every 12 days.
A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to is 453 grams of fat which is around 4077 calories.

So to reach that goal, every day you'd need to burn 340 calories more than you consume.

PictureSarah wrote:December 2006- I go off of the birth control pill, and start working out 4 days a week, as well as eating a vegetarian diet that is around 1100 calories a day of mostly raw food, and almost no sugar. I continue this diet until about June 2007. I lose maybe 6 pounds?

Six pounds in six months is excellent progress. If you want to make faster progress than that then...
1100 calories a day, and 4077 more calories burned than consumed over 30 days. That would mean that when you were eating 1100 calories and exercising you were burning 136 more calories than you consumed.
So to meet your goal you'd either have to start consuming 900 calories a day instead of the 1100 you were consuming before (this does NOT sound healthy to me). Or you could go back to your previous routine and do an additional 200 calories of exercise.

PictureSarah wrote:July 2007-Present - I haven't been spending too much attention on my diet, and have only been doing incidental exercise, and I have stayed exactly the same as when I was working my ass off and eating very carefully.

Yes, for someone with a slow metabolism the difference between losing a pound a month and maintaining their current weight is huge. Just assuming the raw numbers you can eat 12% more and still maintain the same weight, but a major part of it is that the body will sometimes decide to not convert extra calories into fat.

The moral of this story is that slim (demonstrated by the calculations indicating that you burn very little calories every day) beautiful (ok this is just flattery) women such as yourself have a hard time losing weight because their metabolisms are slower. You weren't doing anything wrong when you were eating 1100 calories, it's just that losing weight is a long and difficult process.

I don't see 20 pounds being lost before your wedding in a comfortable and healthy manner without some magic way to speed up your metabolism.

Moo wrote:Very personal, YMMV type story, but I lost 10kg in 9 months for my wedding.

Just because Moo could do it doesn't mean that you can, you probably have completely different bodies.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby psyck0 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:36 pm UTC

PictureSarah wrote:I joined the gym. Tonight I went and did 10 minutes on the eliptical for a warm-up, then cycled 6 miles on a stationary bike, then did 20 situps on the bench thing that's at a 45 degree angle, so I was sort of hanging upside down to do the situps. I really need to do the weights, but I am just so intimidated by the machines. I need one of the gym people to give me a tour and show me how to use them all.


This is good, but honestly I think you will get best fat-loss results doing intervals (they aren't pleasant to do although you feel great afterwards, so I understand if you say no). Also, if you're going to do weights, don't touch the machines. Do free weights. Get an instructor to teach you to do squats (down to parallel, if they say not to squat too low then they are idiots and you should ignore them), bench and military press, deadlifts, and power cleans, and do Starting Strength. It's the best program for beginners short of hiring a personal trainer.

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Moo » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

scwizard, I feel that quote is a bit out of context as that wasn't the point at all, it was just to qualify why I felt the description of my process was worth describing.

However you are right to a degree, I didn't mean at all to put a figure down as some sort of goal/boasting point and I'm sorry if it looked that way Sarah.

As Artemisia mentioned I am trying the South Beach diet atm (as talked about in my own fit club thread). It's a little early for me to make any claims but it's going well so far. The only reason I mention this is because it is very much in line with Angelene's fewer-carbs-more-fats suggestions. I recognize it's harder on non-meat eaters though.

Good luck! I am genuinely convinced that you're going to look great none the less though.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Flying Betty » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:52 am UTC

Yay, congratulations!

Some things to consider: if you seriously can't lose any weight from reasonable diet and exercise, have you had yourself checked for thyroid issues or PCOS? Either of those will make it damn near impossible to lose weight. And 1100 calories seems awfully low. I think I'm built a lot like you are, and went from 205 to 155 one year by eating 1200-1500 calories a day and getting moderate amounts of incidental exercise (walked everywhere, became obsessed with swing dancing). And even that sounds a little low calorie wise if you trust online calorie calculators, but I seem to need less food than just about everyone else that I know. 1500 calories and I was never hungry. 1200 and I really had to eat carefully- a lot of bulk (salad) and nutrition (whole grains and mostly vegetable proteins)- to not feel hungry. If I really stuck to this, I would go down about 2 pounds a week; if I slacked a bit it was more like 1.

Also, how quickly are you feeling like you should lose weight? 1-2 pounds per week is recommended, and I think the theory is that if you lose weight quicker than that, unless youre seriously obese (250+ pounds), after that it'll mostly be muscle loss. I've also read that aiming for 1% body weight loss per week is a pretty good target.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Solt » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:53 am UTC

I don't want to sound mean but walking is not exercise. My mom is a doctor and she tells me walking is for the patients who would otherwise be doing literally nothing.

Remember, humans have big butts specifically so they can walk 20+ miles a day to pursue their prey. We evolved to consume not much energy when walking.

I am saying this because it looks like you have a pretty good grasp on your diet. If you switch to actually intensive cardio then you will definitely start to lose weight. General guidelines are that you need to get your heart rate above 100 bpm and hold it there for at least 20 minutes straight. That is a proper cardio workout.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:14 pm UTC

There's a difference between just walking around and power walking or speed walking. The latter may not be a particularly intense workout, but it's definitely legitimate cardio.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Angelene » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:54 pm UTC

Piffle, walking is so exercise, it might not be as intensive or efficient but it's movement, it burns more calories than staying stationary, it's conditioning and it's doable which I think is the most important factor. It doesn't have to be 'my way or the highway', boys.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:59 pm UTC

And I am going to keep walking, because it is something I can do with my mom, and it's nice to have an exercise buddy.

However. This morning, at the gym, I did 20 minutes on the eliptical machine, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, 10 minutes on the bike, and about 25 reps each of various different arm-toning devices. I know it's not a lot, but it is something. It's hard for someone who's not in great shape, and more importantly, has never been a regular member of a gym, to stick with a really intensive workout at a gym. I do a lot of walking around and looking, baffled, at the machines. The gym also offers classes, though. I'm looking at zumba (some weird dance class thing), kickboxing, circuit training and/or body sculpting. I will try to get at least two of these in per week.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Paranoid__Android » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:28 am UTC

I cycle about 4 miles a day, flat out, and that keeps me fit and healthy. I'm not sure if that will work for you but it works for me.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby ikemike » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:56 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote:I'm looking at zumba (some weird dance class thing), kickboxing, circuit training and/or body sculpting.


Zumba is AMAZING. It's a blast and doesn't feel like exercise, but by the end of the class you realize how much you're sweating. I'd highly recommend it if you have trouble getting motivated to go the gym.

[Note: I've recently started running on the elliptical on days I'm not at Zumba, and I've noticed that classes don't feel as intense anymore. So if you have enough will-power to do something more hardcore (like kickboxing or circuit training), maybe you should go with those. But if you want a few workouts that you know will be fun, go with Zumba.]

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:16 pm UTC

PictureSarah wrote:And I am going to keep walking, because it is something I can do with my mom, and it's nice to have an exercise buddy.

However. This morning, at the gym, I did 20 minutes on the eliptical machine, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, 10 minutes on the bike, and about 25 reps each of various different arm-toning devices. I know it's not a lot, but it is something. It's hard for someone who's not in great shape, and more importantly, has never been a regular member of a gym, to stick with a really intensive workout at a gym. I do a lot of walking around and looking, baffled, at the machines. The gym also offers classes, though. I'm looking at zumba (some weird dance class thing), kickboxing, circuit training and/or body sculpting. I will try to get at least two of these in per week.
That is a lot when compared to the walking you'd been doing earlier, and if it's in addition to the walking, well, that's fantastic!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

So, I went to the gym today, and zumba was cancelled. No zumba for me :(.

Instead, I got on the treadmill (I generally prefer the ellipticals, but they were all taken) and started walking. I found that, no matter how fast I walked, and how much of an incline I set it at, I couldn't get my heart rate up to the point where it felt like real exercise. So I started running. 12 minutes later, I had run a mile! I know this sounds small, but I didn't think I could run a mile. It was not a fast or graceful mile, and I was very red and very sweaty when it was done, but I ran a mile! I am going to start doing this every day, and gradually work my way up to more/faster. When the weather improves, I will start running to and from the gym (about 2 miles each way). I have made a tentative goal of doing the local annual 5k charity run on the 4th of July. I know it will be hotter then, and there will be hills and such, so it's ambitious. But 6 months...maybe?

I also did a bunch of arm weight things. My arms are sore, but I can now see some muscle definition when I flex!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Angelene » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:53 pm UTC

Well done! what's this nonsense about it not being a big deal? I'd die from the increase in pace alone. If you can start with a mile then you're off to a great start...this really is where intervals would come in handy, though. The most effective fat burning cardio can be achieved via interval training which is very easy to do on a treadmill, most have programs that take all the guesswork out of it for you.

Wobbly arms really make you feel like your efforts haven't been in vain, don't they?
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:54 pm UTC

Nice! Way to make lemonade.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby PictureSarah » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:44 am UTC

I tried to repeat yesterday's performance today, and didn't do as well. I actually did my mile faster than I did yesterday, but I couldn't stay at a run the whole time, I had to take a walking break in the middle. I suspect this was a combination of being really sore (really! I don't know what I did that made my inner thighs hurt, wtf), and eating breakfast before I went to the gym instead of after. I think I'll just do cardio tomorrow, and try to give my muscles a day to recover or something.

On the good side, I have lost 2 more pounds! That's a grand total of 7 since Christmas. Sweet.
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby Solt » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:42 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:There's a difference between just walking around and power walking or speed walking. The latter may not be a particularly intense workout, but it's definitely legitimate cardio.


Believe it if you want. In my opinion telling people that walking can be legitimate cardio won't help them lose weight. True, it's far better than being sedentary, but that isn't OP's, situation; she wants more. Power walking is a specific skill, like running, and most people can't do it without first practicing and building up to it. Besides, it burns the same number of calories as running at an equivalent (slow) speed.

The fact that a 12 minute mile made OP tired shows that her supposed power walking wasn't that intensive. One thing is for sure: if walking is all it takes to get your heart rate above 100, then you are seriously unfit and will not be losing weight from it.

PictureSarah wrote:Instead, I got on the treadmill (I generally prefer the ellipticals, but they were all taken) and started walking. I found that, no matter how fast I walked, and how much of an incline I set it at, I couldn't get my heart rate up to the point where it felt like real exercise. So I started running. 12 minutes later, I had run a mile! I know this sounds small, but I didn't think I could run a mile. It was not a fast or graceful mile, and I was very red and very sweaty when it was done, but I ran a mile! I am going to start doing this every day, and gradually work my way up to more/faster. When the weather improves, I will start running to and from the gym (about 2 miles each way). I have made a tentative goal of doing the local annual 5k charity run on the 4th of July. I know it will be hotter then, and there will be hills and such, so it's ambitious. But 6 months...maybe?


Good job! It's a much bigger step than most people take. I recommend you get good running shoes, take it slow the first few days (it will be a week or two before you can run every day without soreness), and don't give up! It'll get easier and funner, I promise. And I think 5k after 6 months is a very achievable goal if you keep it up. Hell, you could even win it given that kind of time! (It's only about 3 miles... if you run every day for 6 months and don't have any complications, you can probably do 10-15 miles in a single run by then.)

Also, you will get hungrier: it's fine to eat more than before you started running, just be sure to follow the food pyramid!
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Re: I'm getting married...

Postby psyck0 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:04 pm UTC

Sarah, have you written down any sort of program for yourself? It's a lot easier to stick with exercise if you have a concrete routine that makes you go and lets you see the progress you've made. You'll get bored of just going to the gym whenever you feel like it very soon, I guarantee it; the program gives you goals and routine.


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