Dwindling Dee's Journal, 27 February 2013

My name is Dee Stillwell and I live in Sacramento,CA. This is the story of my weight loss journey. I am a work in progress and I still have a ways to go, but I am heading in the right direction.
I have been fighting fat since I was 10 yrs old and we moved into town a block away from the Dairy Queen and 2 grocery stores. Before that we lived in the country and I ran and played in the hills and got lots of exercise everyday. My mom didn't drive and my dad bought all the groceries in town before comming home. He always got alot of fruit and veggies and good for us things. So, we didn't get exposed to lots of fattening foods until we moved. Being so close to these temptations, I developed some bad eating habits and started gaining weight. That continued thru my preteen and teen yrs. I was on every diet that came around, only to lose some and then gain it back.
After marriage the same habits continued. Thru many years of infertility and then treatment, my son was born. I gained alot of weight after that staying home and being a mom. By the time he was 13, I found myself at 420 lbs. That was my highest weight, which was 20 yrs ago. I wore a size 4x-5x. I was a home cake decorator for many years...and then I bought a bakery...not planned (my bakery/supply store was going out of biz and the owner talked me into buying it) I would have never considered it otherwise, at that weight. I lost 140 lbs the first 10 months of owning it. I had no time to eat and the stress was unbelievable. I was a diet Pepsi addict. My diet was not good and my hair was falling out. I took alot of pain pills just to get thru the day. I worked 6-7 days a week 16-20 hr days, and sometimes more. It wrecked havoc on my health, even after losing alot of weight. Almost 8 yrs later, I had to sell my bakery under Dr's orders or face losing my legs. The circulation was so bad and I had leg ulcers that wouldn't heal.
That was in 1999...After that, many years of sitting with my legs elevated to keep them healthy, I gained back alot of weight...then I lost weight and got down to 285 again. I met a new man, fell in love and we lived together and were engaged for 6 1/2 years. I had gained some weight back during that relationship. Cooking comfort food and nice meals for a man will do that to you. We split up in 4/08 and my heart was crushed. I comforted my self with food at first, and 3 1/2 yrs ago I found myself weighing 380 again. I was still grieving the loss of my fiance' when we found out my mom had colon cancer. She passed away 2 months later in 01/09. That was the year of my downward spiral that left me in a major depression and agorophobic. 6 months after she passed, I lost my very best friend to cardio myopathy. She was my do everything together friend. A month after that, my niece died in a tragic accidental death. It was all so devistating to me and I just shut down. I did lose 40 lbs during that time and I was at 340 lbs. As you can see, I am the consumate yo yo when it comes to weight, and have been all my life.
In December 2009 after months of counseling and long talks with God and myself, I decided I have got to do something to change my life or end up in a wheelchair like my sister, or even worse. I have a friend who was going to a therapy pool at the Easter Seals Society. They have a warm water rehibilitation pool that's 92-94 degrees. I made a comittment with my friend to go 2 times a week, to an arthritis and back class (1 1/2 hrs) I had to force myself to go at first and didn't like to leave the house, but the commitment to my friend kept me going. After a few months I had lost 25 lbs. That encouraged me and I started going 3 days a week for 2 hrs. We do alot of strength training, crunches, sprinting, etc(I worked my way up to that by August, 2010). You can move so much easier in the water & it doesnt hurt the joints as much. I can't do any of the exercises out of the water, that I can do in it. In the pool, I think I'm Superwoman, LOL!
It's Feb/2013 and I have now lost 100lbs and have gained alot of muscle. Last year in Feb, I stepped up my program to include 200 squats and 3 more 1 minute sprints each time I go to the pool. I'm now up to 300 squats and 5 extra minutes of sprinting. I have found that your body gets used to the amount of exercise you do. If you want to keep losing you have to step it up & do more exercise...or cut more calories. Since I like to eat, I choose the exercise, which has become a part of my life now. Although, I have changed my eating habits to make better choices, I now eat healthier than I ever have. I try to eat low carb, lean protein, whole grains and non processed foods.
It's a 28 mi RT to the pool, so when I am there I make it worth my while and work out for 3 hrs, 3 days a week. Since I do work out hard, I now stop to think more about what I waste my calories on, as I don't want to work hard just to eat the calories I just burned off. I am by no means an angel and I still eat fast food. Now I just try to make better choices about what I eat wherever I eat, at home or at a restaurant. I am now in a size 1x and walk with 1 cane. I am the lowest weight I have been in 32 yrs and have muscles I have never had in my life. I joke about my arms being toned and defined on top with bat wings on the bottom...lol
I have found after all my 61 years that exercise really is the secret to weight loss!! If u don't burn those calories, they just turn into fat. When you work out, you gain muscle and that helps to burn fat. I know this bcuz it has worked for me. In Oct, I quit losing and was a lil' discouraged but when I tried on a pair of jeans in Nov that were too tight to wear in Sept, they fit, so u may not be losing weight when u work out, but the muscle burns fat and you lose inches. I also only weigh twice a month..that way u keep motivated even tho the scale isnt moving. I try not to stress about what the scales say.
Food wise..I do believe the protein shakes my son and I drink for breakfast provide good nutrition, vitamins & protein and has helped build muscle as well. He has lost 85 lbs and is looking so good and healthy and is at his goal weight. I am so proud of him and I think he is of me.
We eat chicken, fish(no fried anything)lean pork loin on the bbq and even steak once a month. (a good rib eye steak is my favorite). It gives us something to look forward to. Getting in good protein is very important for weight loss and building muscle. We often have oven roasted veggies, red potatoes(1 per person), yams, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic cloves, asparagas, brussels sprouts, are our favorites. I usually mix a few at a time. that way we don't eat just 1 big potato and no butter and sour cream is necessary...just a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. bake @450 for 20 min. These along with grilled chicken, fish , pork loin, turkey burgers, etc, makes a great meal...Yummm!
Always choose good carbs as part of your diet in limited serving sizes. Quinoa is a favorite of ours...its a healthy grain that is from the spinach and chard family. It tastes a little like brown rice & cous cous pasta. I try to use it wherever I would use rice, like in stuffed bell peppers, as a base for some great salads or just as a side with fish or chicken. It's wonderful for breakfast too..quinoa & eggs is my fave.
I don't make desserts except on special occasions. If I want something sweet I try to get single portion items so I am not tempted to eat the whole box. My addiction is sugar and I still have sweets sometimes. I have always loved milk chocolate, but have trained myself to love dark chocolate because it's actually good for u. I love Popcicle brand sugar free fudgecicles.. 40 calories a pop.. solves choc & ice cream cravings. My newest thing is the bean snacks made from dried and cooked beans, garbanzos, blackeyed peas, etc seasoned with spices you like, add a drizzle of olive oil and roast until crispy. They are a great crunchy snack and so good for you. I make several kinds of homemade hummus and along with veggies for dipping, it makes an easy lunch. .
Try to read the carb count on labels. You can look up a good glycemic index chart online and try to eat foods with lower glycemic levels. I am not religeous about it, as I said, and I think the reason I have had success this yr besides the exercise, is that I have not denied myself anything..if I do, then I just crave it more. I only allow it every once in awhile.
The biggest thing is to get moving, working on strengthening your core muscles(tummy) since thats where most everyone carries their fat. When u work on the core muscles, it not only strengthens ur tummy muscles but also ur back muscles. Crunches are great for that. Also be sure to make the exercise fun. Cable channels have some good zumba and exercise shows to workout with. Dancing is awesome so turn up the stereo and have fun..make it something u will want to do and keep up with...for me its working out in the pool.
Consistancy & commitment is the key to losing weight. Get a buddy to do this with and make a comittment to each other. I have made lots of friends at the pool and we exercise while we gab and laugh..It's our social time as well as exercise time. We always encourage each other and it's so nice when others notice ur weight loss too. It feeds the damaged ego we who carry extra weight seem to have...
The buddy system works! But if there isn't one available, please don't use it for an excuse to not get the exercise your body craves. Make your Ipod your entertainment with some good rock n roll or music of choice, or books on tape, etc. whatever keeps ur mind off the exercise and makes you happy.
Good luck, I hope some of this helps you. Keep the tips that work for u and leave what doesn't. Keep me posted on your successes.

God bless You, Dee
263.0 lb Lost so far: 0 lb.    Still to go: 83.0 lb.    Diet followed N/A.
on diet Mediterranean Diet  

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