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On this page I will be posting answers to frequently asked questions.  Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! 

Q: Something that has really been bugging me is the loose skin issue, specifically the potential for it my on arms and stomach. I would hate to be stuck with "batwing" arms and a flabby stomach after so much hard work. Is this something that you experienced? Or did your arm and abs firm up when you started exercising and eating better?

A: Speaking for myself I have come to accept the fact that I will always have "batwing" arms in addition to extra skin on the back of my legs right where the butt ends and the leg begins (and extra skin on bottom half of my butt).  For my stomach it's flat when I'm standing however if I bend over it reminds me of what a cow's udders looks like.  They just kind of hang.  The stomach skin I've talked about with other moms (ones that are thin and always have been) and they notice the same thing.  It's all because of having babies and skin getting stretched out along with muscles not being the same (as a side note when women go through menopause there is a tendency to gain weight in the stomach area).  Bottom line is lose the fat and build some muscle and you will notice some definition and a firmness in your body (as a side not there are people who have lost massive amounts of weight and elect to have the extra skin surgically removed - my extra skin isn't that bad and I'm not a fan of surgery or scars).

I've been overweight the majority of my life and I became the proud owner of stretch marks when I was a teen.  I gained allot of weight in a very short period of time and where women get stretch marks due to being pregnant I had them from weight gain. In addition to that I have varicose veins (some of which is hereditary) that I've had for a long time and weight gain over the years hasn't helped them go away.

Is the extra skin attractive, stretch marks, or varicose veins fun to look at?  Heck no! I must say seeing some pictures of my own extra skin I find stomach churning to say the least. 

From what little I've read on the subject doing weights and toning up your muscles can make a difference in physical appearance (in combination with also losing the fat that sits just below the skin).  I'm a big believer in toning up with weights in addition to doing cardio.  I didn't want to just lose weight and be a skinnier version of my current shape.  I wanted to build some muscle and get some definition.

When I flex my arm what do I see?  I see a strong arm and shoulder with some definition.  Is there some extra skin? Of course! but before I got in shape there was some extra skin there already only with allot more fat :-) 


Q: What did u do when you first started losing weight as far as exercise and dieting?

A: I took it slow.  As my dad told me: "you didn't put the weight on overnight so you aren't going to lose weight overnight".  Little changes eventually add up to big changes.  Before I even started trying to lose weight/count calories/exercise I started with training my pallet (aka taste buds).  I cut out the highly processed foods (no corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, no fast food) and what I did eat that was processed was high in fiber and had no white flour etc... The fewer ingredients on the label the better.  Then I increased my fruit and veggie intake, drank water or seltzer with a splash of cranberry juice.  For example some people are hooked on regular soda (fortunately I wasn't) so perhaps someone addicted to regular soda could cut back to one can of soda a day and make it diet soda (if you love soda)? Exercise for me was cleaning my house or doing a project that required moving for 30 minutes strait.  After I reached a comfort level with all of that I got serious about my calorie intake so then i started WW and then I started exercising via walking and that's when the pounds came off.  If I hadn't done the prep work before hand then I don't know if I could have even attempted to lose weight.  After a long while when I felt like I was ready I allowed myself certain foods once in a while like a meal with a cheeseburger and fries (a really good one not the fast food kind) - chocolate etc...

I liken the building blocks of success to a baby learning how to walk.  A baby doesn't magically decide one day they are going to just start walking.  Before a baby can walk they first have to know how to roll over.  Then they learn how to sit up.  Then they learn how to crawl.  Then  they learn how to stand up.  Then they learn how to walk.  

One last tip is I think about losing weight in 5 - 10lb chunks.  If I think about the total number of pounds I want to lose it becomes daunting at best. Celebrate the little victories and you will get there before you know it! 


Q: Where can I find the recipes for the foods you are trying?

A: The recipes can be found online either on my blog (in detail) or a link is provided to the website where the recipe was found (click on Kale Chips or Microwave Potato Chips for example).  The only exception is the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Recipes cookbook or the Swiss Chard recipe - I haven't gotten permission to post those recipes yet.


I am just in the beginning of my weight lose journey. Do you have any pointers to get me started?

A: I would spend some time really thinking about what is it that you want for yourself and what you are comfortable doing in that moment to make it happen. 

I would constantly ask myself: Are you ready to commit to eating lots of fruits and veggies AND exercising right now?  For several months I said no I'm not ready to do both but what I can do is focus on the eating part first.  I started challenging myself to eating a total combined of 5 fruits and veggies every day.  I then said OK I'm comfortable with this now what can I do?  I then told myself I'm going to focus on reading labels at the store and only eating complex carbs - no white flour only 100% whole wheat.  I then told myself after a few weeks "OK I'm comfortable with this now what can I do"?  I then eliminated all high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and noticed a difference in how my body felt after eliminating these from my diet.  I kept adding changes a little bit at a time. I then made the commitment to do Weight Watchers on my own - no meetings - no online membership (I had some old materials from years ago when I lost some weight on their system) .  This was something I was going to do no matter what so I wasn't going to need to go to meetings.   Note: I have since joined WW officially as of about three weeks ago to get the new information on the points plus program.  I joined Peer Trainer as a support group (I've been a member for about a year) and it's free - I figured it would help me be accountable - and it has worked.  Eventually I started to add exercise into my life.  Just walking, or cleaning out a room or doing some type of housework for 30 minutes (my knees hurt because of my weight so I increased my time slowly).  Be honest with yourself and make yourself accountable.  Tell everyone you are trying to lose weight and welcome support and encouragement.  If you have a Facebook page you can post your weekly weight loss or gain to help make yourself accountable.  There were many times I stayed on track because my Facebook weight loss posting was only a few days away.  Bottom line listen to your body and do what works for you - what ever that is.  Also consult with your Dr. before starting an exercise/diet program.  I Hope this isn't too much info and I wish you the best one step at a time. 


Q: "tell us how you've just kept going all this time??"

A: There are probably a million little reasons I can think of as to why I've just kept going.  When I first made the decision to do this (lose weight) in my mind it was a decision to be a lifetime commitment.  This for me was not another crash diet or a lose 20lbs before summer to look ok in a bathing suit.

I wanted this to be a lifetime transformation.  Frankly it's allot of hard work to lose weight and I wasn't/am not going to just throw away all the hard work like I have done so many more times before. 

Losing weight and getting fit is a #1 priority for me and nothing is going to get in my way.  Do I have responsibilities to my family?  Yes I do however there has to be balance.  If I don't put my health and well being first then I can't be here for my family in a healthy way both physically and mentally.  Along the way I've learned that I should and can ask for help.  While no one can do the actual work for me I am lucky to have a husband that is very supportive in making the time to help me out so I can do the work (for example on a snow day he will watch the kids so I can spend a little time on the treadmill for 40 minutes).  

Even though I am doing well there are times I have serious doubts about my ability to keep this up.  I have gone back to my 'old ways' so many times before in the past and I'm afraid I could repeat history at any moment.  But I can't.  It would be devastating for me to go back to the way I used to be.  So here I am in limbo.  Not wanting to go back (that is not an option anymore) and yet at the same time feeling scared about potentially not being able to maintain this healthy lifestyle for the future.  It's an internal struggle I have and some days are better than others.  It's a delicate balance and all I can do is continue to make the right decisions in the hopes to tip the scales in my favor.  For today. For Forever.

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