Thursday, January 29, 2015

On The Way, with Lori Ingram

Today on, we welcome Lori Ingram a longtime friend of mine and a fellow traveler on the journey to a healthier lifestyle.  

MW: Welcome Lor! You have always been an inspiration to me and after our last conversation I had an idea to present real stories of people 'on the way' to their health goals and the issues that are unique to them.  Thus "On The Way" was born and you are my first interview. Welcome! Please introduce yourself.

Myth is slain: I've lost more weight
after 40's than I did in my 30's.
LI:  I am a 44 year old woman who has battled obesity since a very young age. I have developed a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to cook it and eat it, but I hate how it has impacted my weight. I love how right choices (eating) can make positive changes (to my overall health); yet I hate that celery doesn't taste as good as a nacho. I love how my body positively reacts to a very healthy light meal, and then I hate how gross my body feels after eating fried, high fat or sugary food. I have concluded that as long as I live I will always have a love hate relationship with food. For me, it's about finding the balance that is not only optimal, but one that makes me equally happy.

I spent most of my life just "wishing" the weight would go. When I was eight I was told it would magically "melt off" by the time I was ten. What no one figured into the equation was that:

1. I wasn't breastfed.  Apparently breast fed babies develop natural fat cells that melt away as they get older.  Unlike me, a formula fed baby, who develop fat cells that do not magically "melt away". 

2. Bad eating habits were established early.  Having naturally thin parents, they thought nothing of midnight feasts of fried chicken. My mother would argue that she did not give me bad eating habits because all of my meals were well "balanced" and I was not a sickly kid, which was true, BUT the bad habits were there as well.

MW:  How long would you say you have been on this journey?  

LI:  If I sit down and think about how many years I tried to lose weight, well just do the math, 44 - 8 = 36 years.

MW: Wow, that is a journey.  What obstacles have you faced during your journey and how have you overcome them?

LI:  When I was 9 I had an older cousin tell me that there was a way I could eat everything I wanted and not gain weight.  In the beginning I found it hard to make myself throw up, but that didn't stop me from trying for the next 5 years, that is until Karen Carpenter died.  At her death it was revealed that she suffered from an eating disorder that had damaged her heart.  Her fame brought national attention to anorexia and bulimia and the reports and studies on the effects of eating disorders were made known.  It was at this point I learned that what I had been struggling with had a name, bulimia.  

Two things have worked together to save me from bulimia
1. I wanted children, so I did not want to do anything that would damage my body in the long run.  I didn't know about obesity and infertility at that time, but for the Teen years, it was enough to stop me.

2. The second and most important thing is my relationship with God. He was and is my saving grace. He has made it extremely difficult for me to make myself purge.  Even though I tried. I never really could make myself do it... Until I was 21.

In the lifelong battle of the bulge, I returned home from my first year in college 30 lbs. lighter (so much for the infamous Freshman 15). But over the next 11 months it crept back, so I was determined to at least get back down to my "new" weight (220lbs.) before my 21st birthday. Enter the “lemonade diet.”Week 1 hurt, and then my cousin had surgeryI was asked to be his caregiver, which meant preparing his meals. One day I made steak-umms for him; those fried onions who can resist? Since he was immobile I got him settled, gave him his lunch and then scarfed the scraps of meat and left over onionsand then immediately threw it up! Well, what do you know my sleeping gag reflex was now working. I spent the rest of that week purging.

I did hit my "goal" of being 220lbs. for my 21st birthday and also the reality that I now had a bigger issue. Both my grandfather and my boyfriend noticed how listless I was, my usual defined calf muscles were soft and almost nonexistent. I realized if I kept on that track I would slide down a slippery slope.

My grandfather just happened to see a newspaper article about the long term health effects of fad and crash diets and pointed it out to me and it was the wakeup call I needed.

To this very day if I have a cookie there is a thought in the back of my mind, throw it up.

MW:  I had forgotten until you mentioned it, but yes, I remember when Karen Carpenter died.  I had never heard of anorexia nervosa before, but after her death the information was everywhere.  I’m sure you have learned a great deal over your journey. 

LI:  With each passing decade, I learn something new.

● Decade 1: I learned that "wishing" doesn't take off the weight. 

● Decade 2Revealed that fad diets don't work long term and I apparently get very bored very fast, especially when I can't see immediate results. 

● Decade 3: Was the eye opener to the reality that diet AND exercise is key. However the light bulb did not go off until 5 months before turning 40 and I was determined to weigh less at 40 than I did when I was 16 (250lbs.)and I was 209 on my 40th birthday. Not many people can say they weighed less at age 40 than they did at 16.  I know that 209lbs. isn't something to brag about, but considering my highest recorded weight was 298, an 89lb. loss is something to be proud of.

● Decade 4: Brought a new beginning. The fact that I was 40 and could do things I couldn't do in my 20's showed me that anyone can do anything they set their mind to even me, but only IF you are 100% committed.

MW: Well, I have to say Lee that 209lbs. is definitely something to be proud in light of where you have come from and you can bet that when I get there I will be having a celebration!  In addition to that triumph, what has been your proudest moment?

LI:  My proudest moment was just being able to run. I can write a book on the lengths that I went through to avoid running during PE, including faking an asthma attack (I didn't even have asthma at the time); but anything to avoid running at any cost. And then there I was, running 6.0 on the treadmill at the gym for one full hour, running non-stop. I was a BEAST! I say WAS, because I got a pedicure for my 40th birthday that I didn't want to ruin... and that was the beginning of the end; so it's my goal to get back there. Back to where I was, running 6.0 for one hour without stopping.

MW:  That is beasting Lori!  What has been the most useful advice someone has given you about this process?

LI: I would say accountability and getting to know yourself!

1. Accountability:  I had a trainer/coach who believed in me. Sometimes just having that one person in your corner, who you do not want to let down is better than any of the promises you make to yourself (and break). Because he believed in me, I didn't want to let him down, so I made myself do things I would have been able to talk myself out of doing. Also, I told people my goals, so they would know I was a total loser if I didn't reach them (I'm no loser).  

2. Know yourself:  Now this worked for me, but that's how I am. It is unfortunate it took me 4 decades to learn how to out manipulate myself, but you really do have to learn about you, who you are, what makes you tick, what are your triggers, good and bad, and learn how to block or counteract them. I did not discover I was a stress eater until I was in my late 30's. I also learned I ate when I was sleepy. I had to learn to ask myself "WHY do you think you're hungry" and from there I learned I eat when I 'm tired (especially if I have to work late) I also learned (from reading) I eat when my body's thirsty, so I had to learn to listen to my body more. What do you want and finally I had to learn to distinguish between a WANT and a NEED. Do you WANT to eat, or do you NEED to eat?

MW:  Great advice.  How would you encourage someone who is struggling and on the verge of giving up?

LI:  My advice/encouragement would be this: 

1. Question your motives:  Ask yourself why is it that you want to lose weight? If it is to catch the eye of someone, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. If you're doing it to look better in clothes, well, that's not a long lasting reason. You will soon discover that it is not enough to keep you committed to running at 5 am in the freezing cold. You will soon talk yourself out of it.

2. Don't bite off more than you can chew: Do only what you know you can sustain. Do that for a while, then add on something else.

3. Do not focus on the scale:  Do NOT make it about the scale.  As hard as this sounds, if you are someone obsessed with a number, then throw the scale away. If it doesn't move you will get depressed and not just fall off of the wagon, but find a slippery slope and slide down it.  Pull out something in your wardrobe that you really want to wear, and slip it on, tug it up the chunky thighs... Whatever, point is, if you stay committed you will see progress. I have several dresses I held onto in the hopes of one day fitting into them. I am happy to say even with my slips, trips.. Oh yes, and Christmas, they still fit. Some are tight and the seams are screaming "hey fatty....AHEM!" 

4. Check in on yourself:  As I said in the last example, some are tight and the seams are screaming, this is when I say to myself, it's time to get back in control, unlike in the past when I would reach into the back of the closet and grab the next size up.

5. Don't be too hard on yourself:  I would say this as long as you are breathing you always have a "second chance".  So what you ate a doughnut today! You gave in to the impulse to add sugar to your coffee!  You did not gain your excess weight in a day, and it will take more than a day to lose it.

6. Focus on lifestyle changes:  And finally, what you really want to concentrate on is making LIFESTYLE changes. Commit to doing one healthy thing a day... EVERY DAY and you will see changes.  Fifteen years ago I began to drink water. In the beginning it was hard. I struggled. I had a 64 oz. bottle and it used to take me a week to get through it. Then I marked it so that I had to drink so much water an hour; and by the end of 2 months that same bottle that used to take a week to drink  I could drink in a day. Now 15 years later I can drink it between 9a.m. and noon; depending on how busy my day is. My tastes have changed so much that now I rarely drink soda, and when I do, I can't finish a 12 oz. can without feeling gross. My body doesn't even like it as a "treat" anymore.  If I want some pop and fizzle, I drink sparkling water, but no more than once a week.

Thank you Lori for that insightful and inspiring interview.  I love that through your struggle you are open, honest and positive about your journey.  We wish you well and we are pulling for you to reach your 45th birthday goal of being under170 lbs.  

Lori Ingram resides on the Isle of Bermuda, where she manages a very active philanthropic entity. Lori also writes a faith inspired blog called The Musings of Me

I hope you enjoyed this interview and found some inspiration for your journey.  If so, please leave a comment and or a topic of interest you would like to see covered in  "On The Way". 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

OMS! Oh My Spin!

Remember I mentioned to you I had been at this thing for a while?  Well, 'Way Back When Wednesdays' is a new segment I will be adding from time to time instead of my current Wednesday posts.  WBWW will feature short stories I wrote way back when I first started working out and wanted to be skinty.  Today's post, 'Oh!' is about starting out in spin class.  I first wrote this in September 2008.  


Oh! So you thought I forgot again, huh? Well, surprise, surprise!

Not only am I still in the game, but progressing along nicely. I've been back to the gym now for two weeks. Right now I am doing spinning classes at 5:45pm with a little bit of upper body weights. I didn't want to overwhelm myself in the beginning.

Let me tell you. This Monday I walk into class and it is packed. I'm surprised because I've been coming to class off and on for about six weeks and it has never been crowded. Finally, I find a bike and ask my 7ft gorgeous male neighbor, whom I am also seeing for the first time and what a sight, what's happening? His reply was simply that Gladwin's classes are always full.

OMG, I look around and find that there are a lot of new faces and guess what? They were warming up even before the instructor got there. Not slackers like me who won't even get on the bike until the very last minute, cause you know. It hurts!

Look, Monday after class I was in pain, but a little later like midnight the bottom of my spine hurt so much I had to resign to being still to ease the pain. It was at that point I said, "Goodnite!"

The next day everything was bruised from my tailbone to my puff, thighs included. I quietly prayed that I wouldn't have to go to the doctor for help. Girl! How would I explain it? Surely they would think I had been having really rough sex. I wish! I could see me now trying to explain that my husband was away and I got the bruises from my spin class and blah blah blah. Imagine that. But then again, there was the 7ft . . . . . Ok, ok.

Alright, back to the class. Gladwin is psycho sick, ok. Crazy but I lllooooooovvvvvveeee it. Spin, by Gladwin, was harder than any class I've ever taken before, but there is something about it that just makes you want to do it. And do it I did as hard as I could and it felt great. Unfortunately, he only teaches at my gym on Mondays and Tuesdays. The girls tell me he teaches at another gym in town as well. Maybe when I get a little more sophiz I will follow him from gym to gym like all the other new faces in my class on Monday.

What did you think? I would be interested in hearing about your adventures in spin class lol!

This post was shared on Fitness Friday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How I Measure Success

I'm not prone to profanity, but this just sums
up my mission.
Part 1: The Numbers

Now that I've told you that Scale and I have beef, and that you shouldn't allow her to control your life I guess I need to explain a bit more as to why.
As mentioned previously Scale, as I like to call her, is a numerical reflection of our relationship to gravity. That's It! The number is not an evaluation of who you are regardless of social and media pressure, which has placed so much significance on the number that we have forsaken individuality and uniqueness. Whew, but I won't get preachy here, lol, I'll save that for another day in How I Measure Success Part 2.

So am I suggesting that we forsake Scale, and throw her in the trash?  Absolutely not. When I first joined there was a group called EM2WL. Not sure if the group is still active, but their website is Oh My Goodness! I learned so much from these ladies. Everything from, as their name suggests, eating more to weigh less, how lifting heavy is beneficial to women, how muscle is neater than fat and much much more. I know, I know. All these topics warrant more explanation lol. Hopefully I can cover them as I continue to crank out these posts. It was also through these ladies that I was introduced to some of these tools we are about to discuss. Thank you ladies! So, no we don't throw Scale out, but Scale, combined with other tools are far better indicators of what is happening to your body than what Scale alone provide.

Here is a list of the tools that I use to get develop an analysis of my body composition and explanation: (it may get a bit boring but stick with me)

  1. Percent Body Fat or Body Fat % - Body fat provides a reservoir of energy for the body. In addition to storing energy, a minimum amount of body fat is needed to protect the organs from bruising and to avoid certain viruses and other infections. A high percent body fat significantly increases the risk of lifestyle diseases.
  2. Body Weight - (Scale, we all know what she does, lol) The weight of a person is an independent health risk according to the N. I.H. Framingham studies. Thus, considerable research has been performed on the relationship of a person's weight to life span, a number of aging diseases, and the quality of life. If a person has a significant excess weight combined with excess body fat, the risks are compounded.
  3. Body Mass Index (BMI) - BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight by their height squared. It was invented in Belgium in the mid 1800, before there was any practical method of measuring percent body fat. Because of its simplicity, it is still commonly used by doctors even thought validity is poor for athletes, children, the elderly and other groups (Hang in there we are at the midpoint!)
  4. Lean Body Mass (LBM) - LBM has been described as an index that is superior to total body weight. Also, body fat is less relevant when considering metabolism. For prescribing proper levels of medication and for assessing metabolic disorders, LBM is the better indicator.
  5. Body Water or Hydration - Water is the largest component of the human body, and one of the most vital, as it helps the body flush out toxins and maintain proper organ function. The percentage of water in the human body is between 45-70 percent. Falling under this percentage will result in dehydration. Conversely, exceeding this level can result in intoxication.
  6. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Rest is defined as being awake, but totally relaxed and not performing any work. The release and use of energy in this state are sufficient only for function of vital organs; the heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys, liver, intestine, sex organs, and muscles and skin.
  7. And lastly, not so technical but they work for me, - Measurements - keeping a record of inches lost week over week (or whatever your evaluation time period) is an effective way to tell that progress is happening.  Most popular measurement keep are breast, waist and hips, but I would recommend measuring all the areas that matter to you.  In addition to the others listed I keep records of my calf, forearms and neck.  
Done! We made it.
Here you can see my analysis from my Nutrition Coach.  I just started
today.  Before I had to run the numbers myself.
All of these indicators together with Scale, in my opinion, provide a far more comprehensive evaluation of what is happening with my body, specifically for the purposes of measuring my success in this journey to healthy living.

You can these calculators, all over the web. I started with Scooby's because that is what the great ladies at had recommended.
Does this mean I don’t get on Scale often?  No, it doesn't. I actually get on about two times per week. Sometimes I can go for weeks without her and other times, if I’m honest, I’m tempted to step on her after every intake, elimination (TMI), and workout looking for change as I have done in the past. For these reasons I keep Scale out of sight.

How do you measure success? Do you have any personal favorites? Is there one measurement that you rely on most and why?  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Scale Is Full of Drama

Comment if you like my new post or posters about Scale
Pssst!  Hey, you.  Yes, you.  Are you trying to lose some weight? Yeah?  Come closer so I can offer you a word of advice.  Don’t trust Scale! She, yes, she, is full of drama and, worst of all, she is a liar. Yes, she is! Ok, maybe that was a little harsh.  Let’s just say she doesn’t tell the whole truth, she is deceitful and she is definitely full of drama.

Free printables for your scale available below
I’m not talking behind her back. This isn’t something she doesn’t already know about herself.  I’m just trying to help you out.

Let me break it down for you.  The part that is the truth is that you stepped on the scale and you weigh _____ but what does that mean exactly? Especially when you’ve been watching your intake and working out?  What is the composition of that number she is so boldly displaying.  How much is muscle? How much is bone? How much is fat or water? Has anything shifted? Did you lose any fat from your cardio workout?  Did you gain any muscle from lifting this week?  When you reduced your sodium intake did she acknowledge your change?  Has she noticed the inches lost on your waist? The fact that you can now fit in a new size dress or shirt? That you can run longer and stronger. The new bra and panty set you can now fit? That you can press more weight and more reps than last week? Must I continue? She hasn’t said anything about any of that has she?

Then, after all your hard work, she’s got the nerve to project drama.  After stepping on her you can feel like you are having an anxiety attack.  She will have you thinking nothing has changed.  What’s it all for?  Why bother exercising, counting calories, reducing fat intake, watching portion control or whatever it is that you do. Making you feel overwhelmed, incapable, wanting to give up, worthless, defeated, not good enough and worst of all, She will have you wanting to eat to comfort the pain.

Trust me, I know.  She had me all messed up, panicky and stuff.  I was jumping on her multiple times a day.  Sometimes she had something good to say, but more often than not it wasn’t good. I would be upset and the drama would start all over again. She is bold too!  Do you know that after all this time she still tries to lure me back. She can be like a drug. Don’t, I repeat, don’t let her control you.

How did I get free?  I had to break the addiction and loosen that grip she had over me. The truth is you have to set and evaluate your own parameters of success and not look for it outside yourself.  I look for NSVs (non-scale victories).  Like dropping a size, fitting into an article of clothing you couldn’t fit before.  Jumping higher and doing something I couldn’t do before. Other measurements like inches lost or BMI (Body Mass Index) which gives you the breakdown and composition of Scale’s number, are ways to better evaluate your success.  Don’t let her control you.

I could go on and on about Scale’s antics, but I think you’ve heard enough.  I know you thought I was gossiping about Scale but this is not some hearsay off the street.  This is first hand experience.  That was how Scale handled me and did me wrong.

I’m sure this is one piece of gossip you were glad to hear.  Now go tell someone else!

Keep Scale in check.  Free Printables to post on her!
Scale is Deceitful.pdf

This post was also shared on The Mom Blog Party