Friday, November 30, 2007

My Motivational Weight Loss Story

This is my weight loss story minus all the boring stuff and focusing on what would motivate a reader. I had planned to send it to a contest but decided it wasn’t for me.

When I was younger I was energetic and enjoyed climbing and running. My energy was legendary, and my relatives continue to speak of it to this day. I remember after a day of endless play was coming to a close, I would sit on the top of the monkey bars and pretend I was on top of the world as the sunset signaled my time to go home. Even as I grew older, I enjoyed playing with children because it was a chance for me to become a child once again. Ironically, when I had my own children I was so heavy and sluggish that I no longer felt free when I played. I no longer had the urge TO play.

Throughout my young life, I was always of normal weight. Every once in a while, media bombardment and “friends” would make me feel fat, causing me to embark on an unnecessary weight loss endeavor, which always ended as my mood changed.

It was only after I married did I REALLY needed to lose weight. I was under the most stress that I’ve ever experience up to that point, causing me to eat uncontrollably. I gained weight and exceeded my husband's weight. I didn’t like being “bigger” than him, and I had wanted to reach a healthy weight so that we can have a baby. Unfortunately, wishful thinking doesn’t constitute as a weight loss plan and my weight stayed elevated. We grew impatient and decided to have a baby anyway. However, during my first pregnancy I ate terribly. At work, I had access to free chips and candy, which I frequented. Also I believed that smaller frequent meals were ideal for the baby. Unfortunately, I was never able to accomplish keeping my meals small, so they were just frequent and regular sized. My weight skyrocketed. After I gave birth and the edema wore off from the epidermal, I weighed 170 pounds. On my small 5’2” frame that kind of weight takes a toll. I developed foot problems, acid reflux, and sleeping problems. I felt depressed due to the anxiety from being a working mom for the first time, and nothing seemed to help except to work some more, hoping that I can catch up enough to finally relax. Inevitably, my reserves would run out and I found myself listless in front of the TV with a high-calorie snack. This whole time I knew I had a weight problem, and I attempted to tackle it through a series of false starts until life overwhelmed me and priorities change once again.

Then one evening, my husband confronted me with concern about my health. Normally this type of confrontation would have me running out of the room in tears, but this time was different. I found the courage to stay, and we talked. We talked all night. I told him of all my obstacles. Normally he would say that I was making excuses, but that evening (more like early morning by that point) he gave me permission to put my health as my first priority.

I know that some of you may be outraged that he was presumptuous enough to give me permission, but that was exactly what I needed, because I was unable to give myself permission.

I did it little by little. I started with developing a moderate exercise routine, and then I worked on developing a healthy diet. The weight would fall and stall and even go up a little. Every once in a while, I had to remind myself of what I promised that faithful night. That I was going to put my health first. Throughout the process, my anxiety and depression decreased. I started to feel optimistic that I can lose and keep the weight off. Most of all, I started to feel energetic again. Today I weigh 120 pounds. 5 pounds until I reach my target, but it hardly seems to matter anymore. I’m lighter, healthier, and happier.

I play with my children now, and we like to go to the park. There was one day when my 4-year-old son had me chase after him, and we ran and climbed all over that park like crazy. There was a moment, when I ran and scrambled up the jungle gym after him. He squealed with delight and made for the slide. I paused and looked around me. Below were mothers of other children, watching quietly, and I remembered being one of them, not too long ago. Not because I was uninterested, but because I was too tired. I stood there looking into my past and in awe of my moment, and I knew I made it to the life I wanted. My reverie broke because I saw that the sun was setting and there was more play needing to be done before we had to go home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I’ve been inspired to be in the kitchen more lately. It’s good, because I’m introducing more variety in our meals. It’s bad, because I seem to favor baking over meal preparation. Baking is more fun and people are more appreciative of it. Also I recently discovered King Arthur White Whole Flour.

It’s supposed to act and taste like white flour but with the goodness of whole grain, so I’ve been itching to use it and give the results to others. So when they say “Yum!” I say “Ha, ha! It’s whole wheat!”

So far I’ve made gingerbread men, almond bundt cake, cornbread, and piecrust with it. Everyone enjoyed them and didn’t notice a thing.

Although I’m loving how everyone is enjoying something a tad healthier for them that I’ve made, I’m eating way too much of my own creations. The almond bundt cake was supposed to be for my daughter’s birthday party for over 30 guests, but was ruined because I didn’t flour the pan and a part of it stuck. So it was left in our house for only my family of four to eat. It was suppose to serve 16, and I must have eaten 75% of it.

The gingerbread men were made because Hunter kept harping for me to make some. (Stupid kindergarten with their multiple stories about gingerbread men.) When a friend was coming over to visit I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to make them and not eat too much of the finished product. The recipe made TWENTY cookies. My friend only ate one, and the kids lost the urge to eat them after the first few. They sat in the breadbox, until finally Teresa and I finished them off. I must have eaten 10 of those twenty cookies.

The cornbread I brought to a housewarming. That went well, since I left the remaining bread at the party. So lesson learned. If I plan to make something make sure I have some place to off load it. One exception to the rule would be the pumpkin pie and piecrust that I made with The New American Cookbook.

The kids and I liked it. Ly didn’t. The crust was too unusual, and he complained of an aftertaste in the filling itself. I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about, because I didn’t get an aftertaste. I wonder if it’s the canola oil. The recipe asked to reduce the pumpkin in a pan of canola oil. Maybe it’s the All Spice. However the crust did taste unusual. It definitely had a canola oil taste to it, but it still tasted good to me. Anyway, it was one dessert that hardly made a dent in calories. I ate THREE slices first day of leftovers. I was expecting to be way over calories for the day, but when I entered it I pleasantly discovered I was not. This knocked me off my feet! I’ve made cinnamon bread and banana bread with similar calories per serving (not the same fat however), but I noticed that when I ate the pie I actually became so full that I didn’t feel like eating anything else. The breads took more for me to become full. Also I didn’t eat all three pieces of pie in one sitting like I would with bread. I have a theory about this and it has something to do with sugar. I’ll explain it another time for fear this post will become a book. Anyway, it’s definitely one pie I wouldn’t mind keeping around the house. At the same time it’s one pie I wouldn’t make for anyone else but for the kids and myself. For Thanksgiving I used a different pie recipe with real crust.

I did however used low fat evaporated milk and two egg whites and one egg rather than the two eggs that the recipe called for. My in-laws loved it. With the white whole-wheat flour in the crust, I felt like a successful thief. “Ha ha! It’s whole wheat AND lower in fat!”

Monday, November 19, 2007

What I Need to Do

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I discovered that I gained two pounds! Yet, I’m not feeling a great urgency to do better. I’m bummed and my motivation is low.

I don’t want to gain the weight back. I came up with a list of things I need to do to get back on the wagon.

1. Stop eating impulsively.
2. Sit down and focus when I eat.
3. Keep myself from getting overly hungry.
4. Calm myself if do I let myself get too hungry.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shoe Buying

With my recent bouts of Achilles’ tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, I decided to reassess my shoe situation and discovered I was long due for replacements. Even though these issues started when I was relatively inactive, I can’t help but think I will overcome them much more quickly if I bought the necessary footwear. Unfortunately, for me that means hundreds of dollars. It used to not be this way. I used to favor discount stores where I can get a pair of shoes for 40 dollars even 20 if there were a big sale, but I’ve had some bad luck with choosing the wrong shoes and getting blisters. With the inability to return shoes that looked worn, I had to spend another 40 dollars on a different pair. Not to mention the extra time it took to do that. So I’ve been going to stores where there would be someone knowledgeable to help me make decisions that I wouldn’t later regret.

The first replacements were my running shoes. For my running shoes, I decided to go to a specialty running store for the first time. Someone suggested Fleet Feet. And I must tell you, the service there was EXCELLENT. It was well worth spending regular price. The attendant created a chart for me to keep track of my shoes, size, and problems so that they can further improve their services in the future. In addition, he was crazy knowledgeable of everything I needed to know to make a good decision on my shoes. I also was allowed to run outside in them before purchasing. On top of that, I’m allowed to return within 30 days, even if I use them. That’s CRAZY!

After an obscene amount of occupying the attendant’s time with my dumb questions, I bought a pair of 7-1/2 Saucony Progrid Omni 6 Moderate Medium for one hundred dollars.

Per the attendant’s suggestion, I also bought expensive insoles made by Superfeet, so that was another 40 dollars. But those have a 60 day satisfaction guarantee, so I can return them if I want.

The second replacements were for my cross trainers. I had been using a pair of RYKA Intensity XT, which were okay.

I liked how RYKA specialized in woman’s athletic shoes and the fit is supposed to be ideal for women (thin heel and wide foot bed). Additionally, they didn’t give me blisters. However, they weren’t very good court shoes. I not only use cross trainers for aerobics and weight training, but I also used them for badminton, which required me to make quick stops. This was not the case with these shoes, where I would end up sliding halfway across the court when I had actually wanted to start heading back to the other side. Even Ly noticed this and told me to stop (as if I could). So when it came time to replace them, I decided to try another shoe. I went to Lady Foot Locker. (Can you tell that I have a weakness for woman-specific apparel?) The service there was not nearly as spectacular as at Fleet Feet. Actually, I found them to be barely knowledgeable and maybe even a little mis-informative. The attendant there suggested the Nike Shox Ballo.
They were a pair of gaudy, ugly shoes. And it wasn’t the weird heel that threw me off, but the silvery appearance of the shoe that yells, “look at me!” The attendant said that she had a pair of them and that she loved them, looking at her I can see why. She was very nice, but she screamed of teenager and I can distinctly hear the sound of “Ghetto Superstar” as her theme music.

I asked her what the difference would be between another pair of Nike Shox that was less flashy. She explained that they wouldn’t be as comfortable or supportive, because they cost less. I looked at the price and pointed out that they cost the same. She shrugged.

I ended up buy those shoes anyways, because I have a tendency to buy anything if the attendant was nice enough, but as I examined them at home, I decided that she didn’t know what she was talking about and that I WOULD exchanged them for a less flashy pair. I also decided to give them a test drive at home, while I still have them because I was still planning to buy Nike Shox, just less glamorous. So the next day, I did aerobics in them at home and I discovered that they felt uncomfortable. I took off the shoes and discovered that my feet were red on the sides. The shoes were too tight. Memories of blisters from cheap shoes came flooding back to me, so I whipped the bottom with a baby whip and I exchanged them for a totally different pair. A different lady helped me. Not so teenager-y or Ghetto Superstar-y, but not so friendly either. She kept tight-lipped with offering me any suggestions at all, and I wondered if she did so for ethical reasons, because she probably wasn’t trained to know.

I went with a pair of white New Balance 504. My sister buys this brand, because she tells me they’re made a little wider. And at 80 dollars, they were 20 dollars cheaper than the Nikes. So far I like them. I especially like how brilliantly white they are and how the reflectors twinkle up at me. I wore them to aerobics class with my white baby tee and black stretch pants, and I must tell you, I looked awesome!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


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Because of the wedding and Teresa’s birthday party, I’ve been seeing a lot of people whom I haven’t seen in a long while, and the first thing they mentioned was my weight loss. This surprised me, because I hardly felt that my weight loss was significant enough to be mentioned anymore, as it was in the beginning when I was losing weight really quickly. Now I’m looking at myself in the mirror to catch a glimpse of what everyone else was noticing and I start to believe them and I start to stare at my image way too much to the point that shouldn’t be acceptable for a God-fearing girl like me. And it’s not only the staring at the mirror, but I am also spending more time and money on my clothes and my hair. Before when I was avoiding my image, I was also neglecting the upkeep of it. Now I feel that I’m overdoing it.

I hardly mentioned my religion in the past, because spiritually I need a lot of work, but I AM a believer and I DO have a healthy fear of hell and me possibly going to it after this life is over. However when I think of all the deadly sins I have committed and continue to commit without thought, I start to worry. I should be praying and doing all the things that I should be doing to tap into that spiritual realm and rise above the trappings of the world, but it’s difficult. Time is valuable and I REALLY need to reassess my priorities. And, at the moment, losing weight hardly feels like a priority anymore. I feel healthy and fit, and I look good. Back in the beginning, I used to beam with pride when someone mentioned my weight loss, now I’m glossing over that it’s even mentioned. There’s a bit of shame in my appearance now. It’s communicating to the world where my priorities are, and I don’t want the world to think that it’s in my image. I want to make a difference in the world and influencing my overweight friends, family, and acquaintances to lose weight kind of feels like a negative impact. I believe that as a society we care too much about image and it’s not good, and right now I’m feeling like a bad example.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Busyness

I’ve been busy, and I’m hoping that this will be the start of some non-busy/hectic time. Ly has just finished the bathroom and although he was anxious to start another project he agreed to hold off until spring for my sake. There’s only so much chaos I can handle at a time. Teresa’s big birthday celebration has pass so there’ll be more downtime until Christmas. No, I’m not stressing about Thanksgiving. As long as our house is too small, I do not foresee hosting such an ambitious occasion. And if I were to do so, I’m sure my mother-in-law will joyfully cook everything for us.

The week of October 21 to 27th I took up a challenge with Ms. Kelly to exercise five times. Sadly, I was one day short of completing that challenge, but I’m sure it would have been far less if I hadn’t taken it up. Here’s a rundown of that week.

Sunday: This day was the Trung’s rehearsal luncheon, and we still didn’t have a working bath. We went to my parents’ house to use their shower. I totally didn’t feel like it, but I used the opportunity exercise with Charlene Prickett: Crazy for Step DVD, knowing that opportunities to exercise in the coming week would have been slight.

Monday: This was when I had caught wind of the challenge. I called up Ly and asked him to come home early so that I can exercise with Charlene Prickett’s Low Impact, High Intensity DVD again.

Tuesday: I went to a Step and Sculpt group exercise class at my gym. I liked it, and I felt it was a perfect way to get someone to check my form as I lift weights without having to pay for a personal trainer. However, I did find the class too easy. I went to the class one other time the week before, and I discovered that I was the only one bouncing about as if I was made of energy. This time I used two risers so that I can actually get a workout. I’ve never used two risers before! I was scared that I would look overly ambitious and silly to everyone else, but I did perfectly fine. I’m feeling mighty proud of this accomplishment, remembering that I use to be like everyone else in the class, struggling with only one riser. I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t only accomplished by increased fitness. It’s a lot easier to move about with less weight.

Wednesday: This was a planned day of rest.

Thursday: I asked Ly to come home early, but we ended up arguing about who’s not putting what away. So he didn’t come early as expected. If he had the decency to tell me that he would blatantly come home late (way pass the time he would come home on a normal day) I would have tried to exercise with Teresa. Although I don’t appreciate her compulsion to grab my legs as I dance about the living room, it would have been better than not exercising. Jogging with her in the jogging stroller was out of the question because of my recent bout of plantar fasciitis. And I know that a lot of moms would tell me to exercise during her nap, but it never works out. Last week when I tried to exercise while she slept, she woke up early and wouldn’t stop whining and grabbing my leg until I lied down with her until she fully woke up. Mind you, I was in a middle of a workout so my heart rate was crazy elevated. Not a good feeling to have to lie down at that state.

Friday: I went on a field trip with Hunter’s class. Hunter’s school is actually 45 minutes away at my in-law’s city. We were back from the field trip at 1:45pm, but we were also planning to go to the school carnival at 6 pm. During this waiting time, we spent it at my in-law’s where I decided to exercise. I did 30 minutes of Shape Cardio Workout: Bikini Body All Year-Round DVD and a routine with a strength band. I felt very self-conscious and guilty that I was working out at my in-laws. I was practically speeding through the routine.

Saturday: This was Trung’s wedding day. Ly went early in the morning, since he was a groom’s man, but the kids and I weren’t expected until the western-style ceremony at 4pm. I was feeding the kids breakfast and trying to plan my day so that it would include exercise, when Ly called and announced a change of plans. They had wanted Hunter, whom was one of the ring bearers, to join the wedding early. That was also when I discovered that the rental place had given Hunter shoes that were two sizes too small. So my plans were shot, seeing as how I needed to drive all around the Bay Area, searching for shoes Hunter’s size and chasing after a wedding party that was on the move.

So there’s the week of the challenge. The week after the challenge, exercise had been abysmal. I’m not jumping on opportunities to exercise as I use to, using more and more excuses not to exercise. Not good. Just the other day, we returned from a luncheon at 3pm, but I procrastinated until 5pm to exercise when normally I would exercise as soon as I returned home. I’m tired of my workout DVDs. I’m also not planning my workout as well as I used to.

Since and because of Halloween, eating has also been abysmal. I need to stop sneaking chocolate whenever I can. It doesn’t help that I had been stressing and having difficulties finding my priorities. On the day of Teresa’s birthday party, I sat at the end of my bed with my head in my hands unable to think of what my next step should be. So, I decided to watch TV and waste time instead. Now that all of the deadline stuff has passed, I’m in this unfocused stage of wandering about, not knowing what to do next. There is still non-deadline, pressing stuff to deal with, but I’m having difficulties with figuring out a plan. My weight loss efforts seemed to also wander about with everything else, and I’m having a hard time trying to figure it’s place in my life. My buying a new scale has also fuelled the confusion. It weighs heavier than my old scale by quite a bit, so I don’t want to take it seriously.
I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.