Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting Back On Track

I'm happy to report I've done a LOT better this week with food choices.  I'm also going to WW on Thursday night for my next weigh in since I missed last week.  I also have a plan for August:

  • Meetings - Attend all 4 Sunday meetings in August.  I'm switching back to my Sunday WW meeting since things kinda went off the rails when I switched meeting times, due to a lot of other factors as well, but figure going back is a good way to get back on track.  I will not miss an August meeting!
  • Tracking - 6 days a week. I've really slacked off on this, and I'm ready to get back to it!
  • Weight Training - 3 times a week
  • Walking/Treadmill - 2 times a week
  • Yoga - once a week
How will I stay on track with my new plan?  I am offering myself a REWARD!  If I meet these goals, I will allow myself a $300 shopping trip for new fall clothes in September.  If I fail, I'm going to do a push-up pyramid (probably my least favorite exercise) as punishment.  I will keep track of my progress using Each day I will check in with health month and record what I did the previous day.  I start the month with 10 hearts and lose a heart each time I fail to reach one of my weekly goals.  If I finish the month with at least one heart, I get my reward!  Health Month is a great way to keep track of your health goals.  They have lots of goals to choose from (many that are not diet related).  Go check it out!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Doing It Wrong

I've spent the last week doing it wrong.  Missing workouts, overeating, you name it.  I'm a little irritated and frustrated with myself.  I know what I need to do and how to do it, but just have not had the discipline nor focus.  The result?  A gain on the scale (not surprised).

I need my frustration to change my actions.  I know that.  So far I have done better with eating this week, but not with working out.  Must do better!

On the bright side, I'm not giving up and I have lots of room for improvement!  :-)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Ugh... Summer is TOUGH!

So, I feel like I'm pretty much gaining and losing the same 3 pounds, which I guess is what maintenance will be like some day.  I can do really well and be really disciplined for 4 days a week, then the other 3 are not so good.  I haven't gone totally overboard, but with more free time on my hands all I really wanna do is eat yummy food and lay around in my pajamas.  Why can't that be a diet?  (don't answer that.)

All in all I'm still feeling great about my progress.  And if I manage to maintain that progress for the rest of July, I'd still be pretty happy.  I've still got a lot to lose, so I hate the idea of waisting time.  But on the other hand, I'm in this for the long haul.  My focus and motivation are bound to wax and wane.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

I missed my WW meeting this week so no photo or scale update in this post.  I had every intention of going Thursday night, but some stuff came up in my life that got in the way.  I guess that's one of the downsides of going to a Thursday night meeting.  If I miss it, there aren't a lot of opportunities left in the week to go.  I'm still going to stick with Thursdays a while longer, see how it goes.  I miss my Sunday WW friends though!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back At It

It's amazing how easy it is to get off track and out of your routine.  After my week in San Antonio, I've had a hard time getting back in the swing of things.  I even forgot to blog last weekend!  Yikes!

Rather than dwell on the negatives, I'm going to focus on the good things I've done the last 2 weeks and get back on track this week!

Victories On Vacation

  • I avoided sweets at breakfast successfully.
  • I only had adult beverages on 2 nights.
  • I drank lots of water each day.
  • I did TONS of walking and made 100% of my 4 points per day ActiveLink challenge.
  • I managed only a 5.8 lb gain, even when I didn't stick to my plan completely.  
Victories After Vacation
  • Went to my WW meeting, even though I was afraid of the scale.
  • Back on track with working out and walking on most days.
  • Grocery shopping to stock fridge with healthy foods.
Even though I've had a hard time getting back on track, I haven't let myself go completely off the deep end.  I expect to have a loss on the scale this week, and look forward to what I can lose this summer.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vacation Plan

I think mom and I have settled on a Thursday night WW meeting for now.  I think this will be a great change of pace for the summer, but I will miss my current leader for sure!  I'm sure we'll still show up on Sundays now and then just to check in with Suzie!  I will be keeping the blog post on Sundays for now so be sure to check back each week to see how I'm doing (if that sort of thing interests you).

I'm a little disappointed to report I did not win the DietBet.  Turns out 4% was more than my body was willing to shed for this 4 week period.  I lost about 3% overall.  Even though I didn't win, I do feel great about the progress I made during the bet.  I really stuck with my eating plan and amped up my activity! I don't think I'll do another DietBet just yet, maybe I'll pick one for August.

This coming week will be a challenge for me.  I will be in SanAntonio Sunday through Wednesday for a conference.  It is kind of my only vacation for summer, so I don't want to make things too tough on myself.  At the same time, I don't want to come back having gained 10 lbs!  There will be a lot of opportunity to eat and drink more points than usual.  I will be doing a lot of walking, but also a lot of sitting.  I'd love to maintain my current weight for the next week, but I'd even be ok to just be up a couple of pounds.  So, I'm making a plan, in hopes that I will be able to stick with it!

Vacation Plan

  • Eating/Drinking
    • Breakfast - Coffee & something with protein (no sweets)
    • Lunch - Salad if possible or a sandwich
    • Snack - Fruit or vegetable or yogurt if possible
    • Dinner - keep it reasonable, order fish or grilled chicken with vegetables (AVOID CHIPS & SALSA)
    • Drink lots of water
    • Pick 2 nights to enjoy alcoholic beverages (reasonably) 
  • Activity - 
    • Walk to and from conference center (.5 miles each way)
    • Walk as much as possible between conference sessions
    • Take the stairs instead of escalator or elevator when possible
    • Walk to lunch 
    • Walk to dinner
    • One 3 mile walk on one evening
    • Try to average 75% or better on my ActiveLink
  • Other
    • Wear ActiveLink every day
    • Pack workout wear and shoes
    • Pack swimsuit
    • No tracking if I stick to this plan, if I splurge I will track it
    • Weigh in next Thursday night even if I'm afraid to see the results
 -30.4 lbs!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Challenge Updates

It's only been a couple of weeks since I started some new challenges for summer, but I thought an update post would be good.

Challenge #1: 30-day AB Challenge
Today is day 16, but I am 3 days behind on this challenge. It is getting pretty tough, but I'm trying to stay determined.  I don't have the strength to do them all in one go, so I am trying to do half before my walk and the rest after.  I figure it counts as long as I get the required number of reps in! :-)

Challenge #2: New 12-Week ActiveLink Challenge

I really pushed myself during my new assessment week.  I wanted the new challenge to reflect the changes I've made over the last several weeks. I have to say this is probably my best week of activity yet.  I earned 25 activity points for the week.  Fantastic!  This includes going to the gym for 3 strength training workouts and going for a 3 mile walk on most nights.

In January when I did my first assessment week, I ranked in the "towards activity base line" and my challenge was to try to get to 3 activity points per day by the end of 12 weeks.  I'm excited by my new results!  I'm now earning about 4 activity points per day.  My challenge is to earn 6 activity points per day by the end of 12 weeks.  

I think this challenge will really keep me moving this summer!  I plan to do strength training 4 days per week and walk/run 3 miles 5 days per week.  That should get me to the 6 points + per day range!

Challenge #3: Running (kind of)
I've been running short distances along my walking trail.  I don't have the endurance to run much, but I like to set little visual goals as I walk.  I tell myself I'll run to the next light post or fire hydrant.  I push myself hard during the first mile, then I take it a bit more easy for the next 2.  I'm using the RunKeeper app to keep track of my progress.  I love that it keeps track of my personal bests.  Here they are so far:

I can't believe I actually had a best average pace of 14:09 per mile!  That's 2 minutes faster than my goal of 16:00 per mile! I'm obviously not hitting that rate consistently, but with that as a new target I will continue to push myself.

Challenge #4: Diet Bet
This is the last week of the Diet Bet, and I have 3lbs to lose to reach my 4% goal.  I'm hopeful, but know the scale doesn't always budge that much in a week.  I'm proud of my progress over the 4 week diet bet even if I don't finish as a winner though!  Every pound lost is a victory!  Don't believe me... check this out! 

In Other News:
I'm trying out some different WW meeting times for summer.  I'm hoping to find a Wednesday or Thursday night meeting that I like.  That will give me a bit more flexibility in my weekend meals.  Weighing in on Sunday has been good, but I'm wanting to be able to enjoy some Friday or Saturday splurge meals instead of feeling so limited on those nights.  Since I'm switching meeting times, there will be no photo and scale update for this blog post.  I'm going to keep the blog on Sundays, but will have to wait til next week for my next scale update!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saying No To Social Events

There have been a lot of opportunities in my life lately to eat and drink.  For the last 2 weeks it seems every time I turn around someone is inviting me to a party or happy hour or something.  As much as I love social events, lately I've been saying no to a lot of them.  I think the people in my life understand why, but I still feel bad for saying no so much.

Right now it is just too hard to stay in control in those environments.  Yes, I have some coping strategies.  And yes, it is possible to stay on plan and still attend those events.  However, it is easier to stay on track without all of those temptations staring at me.

Sometimes I feel so angry that I live in a place that is basically trying to make me fat.  Don't get me wrong... I am happy to be an American and I am SO thankful for the freedoms we have.  But the more I read about healthy habits and nutrition, the more I see how our culture/society is set up to basically help us avoid them all together.  The worst food for you is the cheapest and most readily available.  Combine that with our jobs that are more and more sedentary and the amount of time we spend just sitting in our cars driving from place to place, and you've got a recipe for obesity.   It really makes me mad, that the world around me is set up to help me fail instead of succeed.  Is success still possible?  OF COURSE IT IS!  But it would be a heck of a lot easier if the world weren't out to get me!

 -30.8 lbs (hit another 5lb milestone!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Challenges

To go along with the Diet Bet I joined, I've decided to amp up my activity for summer and start 3 additional challenges.  I think these challenges will keep me on track as my schedule becomes less structured due to summer break.

Challenge #1: 30-day AB Challenge
I saw this posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.  I think abs are the one muscle group you really can't overdo when it comes to toning up, so I've decided to give this challenge a try.  I printed it out and stuck it to my fridge.  Each day of June I intend to add the indicated ab workout to my already consistent strength training.  The first week of the challenge seems so simple... but I know around the middle of week 2 things will get a bit tougher.  I will complete each days challenge even if I have to spread it out on the tougher days!
Challenge #2: New 12-Week ActiveLink Challenge (following a new assessment)
Since completing my last ActiveLink challenge, I have been working hard to maintain my goal of earning at least 3 activity points per day.  I've really amped up my activity over the past few months.  It is such a change from where I started in January!  Rather than just choose a new challenge, I really wanted a chance to redo the assessment so I could compare my results.  My assessment week starts tomorrow.  For the next 7 days ActiveLink will monitor my activity then create a new challenge for me based on the results.  

Challenge #3: Running (kind of)
I am NOT a runner.  I'm not sure I ever will be (or even want to be for that matter).  I don't enjoy it, and I don't have the stamina to do very much of it.  I understand there is some debate over benefits of running vs. walking.   I'm not here to argue one side or the other.  I'm just looking to push my body a little more than I have been.  I typically walk 3 miles in an hour (roughly 20 minutes per mile).  At that pace I can easily walk for 6 miles without tiring out, given I have the time for such.  For this challenge, I am simply going to incorporate short (very short) runs throughout my walk. My goal is to shave about 4 minutes off my average mile time.  I'll be using Run Keeper on my walks to help me keep track of my progress in this area.  I'm sure the summer heat will eventually drive me indoors to the treadmill, but for now I am trying to do an outdoor walk 4 days/week. 

 -28.0 lbs 
(up another .4 this week due to celebrating a friend's bday the night before weigh in)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Make A Bet

I read this week (on the ManMeetScale blog) about using money as an incentive for losing weight.  This is something I've done before with some success, and I decided I'd try it again to keep me motivated through the next month (and possibly the summer).

One of the podcasts I listen to had mentioned, where you can place a wager and split the winnings with anyone in the group that loses at least 4% of their weight in 4 weeks.  So, I joined a game with the ItSuxToBeFat blogger & her followers.  Today was the first day, but it's not to late to join in.  Click here and join our game!

Here's a little more about DietBet if you're curious:

I managed to gain 0.4lbs this week.  I blame it on having breakfast out this morning before weigh in!  These little ups are pretty standard for me, so they don't worry me much.  I will hopefully see a loss next week!

 -28.4 lbs

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Picture Comparison

This was me in December of 2012. The picture that made me see how much I had gained, and sent me running back to Weight Watchers.

Fast forward to May 2013, here I am now in the same shirt (one of my favorites)...

Ok, this picture is greatly enhanced by the presence of Andrew McCarthy!  I met him at Dallas Comicon this weekend.   He was there promoting his new book. It was a pleasure to meet him!

Famous actors aside, I'm pretty excited to see the improvement in my overall appearance in this pic!  It is hard to look in the mirror every day and notice a difference.  When I see these pictures together, it is a good reminder of my progress! 

-28.8 lbs!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

Happy Teacher Appreciation week everyone!  

This is the best week to work in schools, but the worst week to be on a diet!

My spaces were kind of out of control this week.  Everywhere I looked there was temptation!  I definitely said NO more than YES, but the scale has been on a rollercoaster all week.  Up a little one day and down a little the next.  Like this...

I weigh every day at home, and seeing the ups and downs this week was a little discouraging, but I knew the scale was showing the result of my choices.  Overall I'm happy to report a loss for the week!  I lost 2.4, so almost the 3 I was up last week!  

Weeks like this are to be expected, so I'm not discouraged overall.  I know it's just part of this journey I'm on. Here is a bit of inspiration I found recently to remind me to not give up.

I'm resolved to keep going, and have a plan for being more on plan this week!  In fact today I went to the grocery store and stocked the fridge with healthy foods for the week.  Check it out!

When I'm on plan the things you'd find in my fridge are:

  • SmartOnes frozen entrees
  • Fruit and veggies for snacks (already pre packaged into individual servings)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Low fat milk
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Turkey bacon
  • Isopure Protein Drink (I just started drinking this after workouts, they are 40 grams of protein with no carbs)

I actually even spent a little time pre-tracking my meals for the week. I tracked all my breakfast, lunch, and snack choices for the week.  I'm sure they will change a little, but at least most of my tracking is done and I can just make changes as needed.

 -25.8 lbs!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

+3 and WORTH IT!

I expected a gain this week.  I had planned a night out to celebrate my 10% loss, with food and drinks.  Then, on Friday (night before weigh in) I went out with some friends for burgers and drinks.  I tracked everything and even did some extra activity, but figured it would still be a gain on the scale.  I was expecting the scale to show +3 or +4.  I had a great week, other than the 2 overindulgent meals I stayed right on plan.  Even so, I knew the scale would be up a little with one of those meals being the night before weigh in.

The way I look at it, I'm in this for the long haul.  If this way of life is going to be sustainable, then I am going to need to allow for weeks where I let loose a little (not too much).  Life wouldn't be much fun without some social eating and drinking now and then!  So, I take this +3 with a smile on my face, thinking of the fun that was had!

I feel pretty confident that getting back on plan today and having a good week on plan will help take at least 1.5 of it off.  Hopefully I'll be over this gain within 2 weeks.  I do HATE how it takes twice as long to lose it as it does to gain it, but that's just the way of things.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Strength Training

So, this week I started a new strength training workout at a place nearby called Private Workout.  I completed my orientation and 2 additional workouts this week.  The workout is basically a 25 minute circuit.  You do each machine for 130 seconds.  That doesn't seem like a long time, until you're having to do 40 crunches!  You do one quick set of 16 at a low weight, then a heavy set of 6, then back to the lighter weight until the time is up and you are sent to the next machine.

I figure I can do most anything for 130 seconds, so even my least favorite parts (the crunches) pass quickly!

I love that the entire program is scripted out for me.  I don't have to worry with how heavy things are suppose to be or how may reps I should be doing.  I have a personal workout log that tells me EXACTLY what to do each week.  After each workout I write down my successful number of reps, do a little math, and it tells me what to do for my next workout.

Based on my current weight and body fat analysis during my orientation.  The trainer has set a goal weight for me of 175lbs (which is 25 more than what I had orginally had in mind).  The idea is that I need to lose 100 lbs of fat, but gain 25 lbs of muscle.  That seems quite reasonable.  I like the idea that I will be gaining muscle instead of losing it, like so many do as they are dieting to lose weight.  I understand that in the long run increased muscle will help my body burn more calories at rest, improving my metabolism.  I'm excited to have a program designed to help me reach this goal.

After only 3 workouts, I haven't noticed much change in my body.  However, I have had increasing success with the number of reps I am able to complete at each station, which seems like an improvement.  I have experience a little muscle soreness, but nothing extreme.  I hope to do the workout 3-4 times per week in addition to 2-3 times of cardio or walking.  

I'm excited to see how things change over the coming months with this new workout!

(and wearing a dress from the back of the closet!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

10% GOAL! Next stop Onederland!

This is a very exciting day for me!  Today I reached my 10% goal at WW!!  That is, since starting WW again in December, I have lost 10% of that starting weight.  While this puts me still 29lbs over my lowest, it is a huge accomplishment and I am very proud!  If I can continue to lose at this rate (roughly 1.5lbs per week) I will be on track to be back to my lowest recorded weight by the end of August.  I won't be too disappointed if it takes longer than that, but I'm excited to see the potential to get there that soon.

So, what's different at the 10% mark?  I'm one full dress size smaller.  I'm able to wear more of the things in my closet.  I have established some healthy routines that make staying on track much easier.  I have worked to make sure my spaces are places where I can avoid temptation most of the time.  I feel settled into this new lifestyle.  It's not easy, ever, but it is workable.

My next big goal is what some refer to as Onederland.  That magical point on the scale where you get below the 200 mark and into the 100s!  I've been to Onderland once before, very briefly.  It was a great place to be, and though it was fleeting I do remember what it was like.  I remember feeling more comfortable in my own body.  I remember shopping in the regular sizes department and not even needing the biggest size.  I remember liking dresses (which anyone who knows me can tell you is not my norm).  I remember a sense of confidence, accomplishment. and contentment.

I think it was my contentment with Onderland that tripped me up the last time.  I got complacent and lazy and before I knew it Onderland was in the rearview mirror.  I'm determined not to stop at the entrance of Onderland this time around.  I feel a sense of determination and urgency (though no desire to get there too quickly than is healthy) to reach my ultimate goal weight right now set at 150lbs which is at the high end of the recommended healthy weight for my height.  As I approach goal, I will evaluate what my optimum healthy weight will be with the help of my WW leader and my doctor.  I don't have any desire to be too thin.  I just want to be in a healthy maintainable weight range.

One thing I'm doing differently starting this week is beginning a strength training workout.  I've got a pretty good routine for moving more in place, but now I want to focus on toning and strengthening.  I am hoping this will help me reshape my body as I lose.  I'm looking forward to seeing how that effects the results on the scale in the weeks to come.

Dec 2012  vs       today

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Classic Scale Avoidance

Alright, I'll keep this short.  I am not going to WW today.  If I did go, I'm pretty aware the scale would say*...

  • "Really, you did so well last week, WHAT HAPPENED?"
  • "You should have known better than go out (drinking/eating) 3 nights this week!"
  • "Beer does not equal weight loss."
*note: the scale at WW does not actually talk

My response?  "WORTH IT!"  I'm pretty serious about losing weight, but I also gotta allow for some fun and living!

No pic this week, and no update.  I promise to face the scale next Sunday!

Monday, April 8, 2013


I've had amazing progress over the last 2 weeks!  I'm so excited by the results I am seeing!

I tried to think of what I've done differently these past 2 weeks, and all I can come up with is "sticking to the plan".

The Plan

  • Tracking - I've been very diligent about tracking.  I track my entire day right when I get to work in the morning and that seems to help.  It's really become a routine for me to pack my lunch in the morning, and plan my dinner in advance when possible.  Planning ahead has really helped me have to think about what I'm eating less throughout the day.
  • Fruits & Veggies - I eat at least 5 fruits or vegetable servings every day.  This is usually a banana at breakfast, grapes and clementines at lunch, carrots for a snack, and green beans or brocolli with dinner.  I make it a point to switch up every other week or so.  Instead of grapes I'll have strawberries or something different.  
  • Dining Out - I pretend that chips, french fries, and other high point foods only exist on Sunday.  So I make sure to have a splurge meal on Sunday after weigh in.  Then the rest of the week I just tell myself, "No, you can have that on Sunday if you still want it then."  If I do eat out during the week I try to order fish with vegetables and salad.  It is healthy and low point.  I really enjoy eating fish, but never cook it at home, so getting to have it out during the week seems like a special meal.
  • Activity- I've set my daily goal to earn just 3 activity points per day.  This is easily accomplished as long as I move more at work and do a 30 minute workout of some sort in the evening.  Most days I exceed the goal, but keeping the goal very reasonable keeps me motivated.  I'd rather earn 150% on some see 60% or less on those days I can't do that much.
I feel really settled in my routine over the past 2 weeks, but not bored or stressed, just settled.  It's not too hard.  I've eliminated a lot of temptations by having a simple routine.  This is working for me, and since it isn't as extreme many diets, it seems sustainable.  I'm sure I'll be back here reading this after my next gain.  Hopefully it will help remind me what I need to do if I should forget!  

How much progress have I made over the last 2 weeks?  -7.4 lbs!!!  I'm almost at my first big goal of 10%.  3 months in, and I couldn't be happier with where I am.  Just think, by the end of the year how much will I have lost?

 -23 lbs!!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

New Look (for the blog)

Welcome to 52 Weeks to Lose Version 2.0!

I spent quite a bit of time on it this week, making some much needed improvements.  See, when I started this thing I wouldn't let myself get too caught up in how it looks.  I just wanted to write that first post before I lost my nerve!  So this week I gave my blog a make over.  Now I think it looks a bit more "me".  I'd love your thoughts (positive or constructive) in the comments or just vote on that handy little survey over there. ----------------------->

New Features for Version 2.0:
  • My Progress (right sidebar) - this little ticker will be updated with each official weigh in.  I've set my "goal" weight for just over 100lbs from my starting weight for now.  I have many smaller goals along the way of course... but that little ticker looked best with the big goal in mind.
  • Follow By Email (right sidebar) - you can enter your email address here and my blog will be sent to you each week automatically!  There are 3 easy steps... 1) enter your email address and click submit, 2) prove you are a human, 3) click the link in your email.
  • Share It (right sidebar) - If you like this blog and think others will like it too... please share it on Twitter or Facebook.  The buttons on the side over there make it SO easy!
  • Feeding My Brain (top menu bar) - I will be keeping an ongoing list of resources (books, blogs, podcasts, etc) I discover on this page.  Check back often for updates.  If you think of any great resources you want to share, please leave them in the comments on that page.
  • Non-Scale Victories (top menu bar) - I've decided to keep a running list (newest at the top) of any little victories I have along the way.  This page isn't for achieving weight loss goals necessarily.  It is more for celebrating the other good things.  If you have some victories to share, I'd love to see them in the comments on that page!
  • Technology That Motivates (top menu bar) - These are the geeky little tools I've discovered to help me stay focused and motivated.  I hope to add to the list as I go. If you know any great gadgets or apps, please share them in the comments on that page.

No weigh in this week for me, since there is no meeting on Easter Sunday.  I could attend a meeting later this week, but then it would be pretty close to my next weigh in.  So, I have decided to skip this week.  I weigh every day at home (and am pretty excited about my progress this week), but this week will have no official recorded weight.  No official weigh in, means no picture of me this week.  So, I leave you with a message from Richard Parker...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Too Much Sitting

I've come to realize just how sedentary my job is and how sedentary I am at home too.  I do workout regularly (almost daily) but the rest of my day is pretty much sitting.  A while ago I wrote about my ActiveLink in a post called Moving More.  According to my ActiveLink I am an "occasional athlete".

I'm proud to report I have been moving more and more, but still have trouble battling my sedentary nature at work and home.  This week I did a little research about sitting and made some startling discoveries.  As it turns out, sitting is terrible for you.  Which I kind of knew already, but never gave much thought to just how bad it is.  Turns out, sitting more than an hour at a time can do major damage to our overall metabolism for the day (among other negative effects).  If you want to know more about that I suggest checking out these sites:

Prior to this week a typical week for me looked like this:

The days in dark green are my workout days for the week.  You can see the gray area indicates my baseline for activity which I have to reach before I begin earning Weight Watchers activity points.  On a typical work day I barely reach 30% of my goal of 3 activity points.  Which leaves me a lot to make up for during my workouts.  

This week I tried something new.  For every 45 minutes of sitting I made sure to take a 5 minute break to stand or walk.  I actually found a piece of software for my macbook that helps with this (TimeOut by Dejal).  The software basically takes over my screen every 45 minutes and reminds me to get up and move around.  Here are my results for the week:

Just by moving a bit more every 45 minutes of my day, I have managed to reach 50% of my goal at work each day this week (with the exception of Friday - that is the day of my weekly team meeting and we spend the afternoon sitting in our office working with little opportunities for getting up).  Getting up more throughout the day combined with my workouts has helped me surpass my 3 point per day goal.  Seems like a small change to make for a pretty big overall impact!

I'm using the timer at home too, to help combat my sedentary evenings.  I leave it running on my computer while I watch television.  And every 45 minutes I spend the 5 minute (or sometimes longer) break doing little things around the house.  

I'm excited to have completed my first 12 week ActiveLink Challenge!  I'm choosing to maintain the goal of 3 points per day for now, but may do another challenge in June.

And now for this week's results...

 -15.6 (still trending down!)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Not Much To Say

I don't really have a lot to say about the past week.  It was spring break, but I worked 3 of the days at the museum so it didn't really feel like a whole week off. 2 of the other days were spent doing all those errand type things (doctor, car, etc) that I can never seem to get done during the weeks.  So it was a very busy week all together.  I did let loose a little on Friday night and went drinking & dancing with a friend.  We had a blast, and I'm pretty sure I danced enough to make up for the shots. :-)

My non-scale victory (that's what my leader calls the little things that we celebrate, that don't always show up on the scale) for the week was on Friday.  I had to take my car in for some minor repair.  I knew the service was going to take a couple of hours, so I planned out a walking route to a place to eat breakfast.  Rather than sit in the waiting area for my car for those hours, I went on a walk!  I walked about 2 miles to get to the restaurant.  I had a nice breakfast (even thought they messed up my order).  Then I chose to walk back a different route.  I took my time walking back, stopped into a couple of shops on the way.  It was beautiful weather and way better to be outside than sitting at the auto repair place!  All in all I think it was about 5 miles total... a victory indeed!

I'm pleased to report a 1.4lb loss for the week.  Maybe not quite as much as I hoped for, but at least the scale is trending down again! :-)

 -15.2 lbs!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Downs and Ups

This post is a little late this week.  Truth be told, the scale was up a little this week and I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about that.

I wasn't really surprised at the gain.  I know exactly how it happened. My breakfast and lunch choices were on plan all week, but rather than one (or maybe two) indulgent meals... there were many more.  It's really hard to make good choices when you're "out".  I do much better when dining on my own, than eating out with others.  Last week it seemed for every good choice I made when eating out, I made a terrible choice to go with it.  I found it impossible to pass up the chips, and sweet potato fries.  Then I attended a wedding (the night before weigh in).  I had a plan going in about what I was and wasn't going choose.... then I didn't stick with that plan.  It's funny when your brain is saying one thing, then your mouth says another.  Like when I go to Chipotle, and think "Ok, get the bowl, you love it and you know the point value."  Then my mouth says something like, "I'll have a burrito.. oh, and chips and guacamole with that too."  What?!?!  Betrayed by my own mouth!

I had really hoped to finish losing the cruise gain this week.  That did not happen.  Instead the scale went a bit in the other direction.  Not too much... but still... it stings.  I know this is normal, and something I will have to deal with not only while I'm losing weight, but will continue to deal with long after I reach my goal.  The thing is, I can't let this set back get me down.  I've got to refocus on the plan, and move forward toward the goal!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

What happens at a WW meeting?

I've had a few people ask me since I've rejoined what Weight Watchers meetings are like and why I make it a priority to go to them.  Some people picture it like the weekly end of biggest loser, with a big scale in front of a room.  Others wonder what there is to do other than weigh in, and ask why not just do that at home.  So I figured I'd make this post all about the what and why of Weight Watchers meetings.

When you walk in you'll likely see 3-4 counters along the one side with a private area for weighing in, and some shelves of WW products on the other side.  As they arrive most members get in a line and wait for one of the WW staff to call them over to the next available scale/counter.  The leader is often in this area greeting people as they are waiting in line.

Each week I get in the line & wait for the next available scale.  When it's my turn I go behind the counter where only the staff member and I can see the scale.  It's just a normal size scale with a digital readout on the counter, not a giant biggest loser scale.  You can wear whatever you want when you weigh in.  I typically take off my shoes, but some people even wear their shoes to weigh in.  Others will take off as many layers of clothes as possible before stepping on the scale.  I always wear the same pants on weigh in day, and then change into jeans once I've weighed in.  The staff member scans my membership card, prints a sticker with my results and sticks it in my journal.  If I've reached any sort of milestone (each 5lb loss, 5% loss, 10% loss, etc) she'll ask me if I am willing to celebrate at the meeting.  So, if you're shy I guess you can decline being recognized during the meeting, but I always say yes.  Then she hands me my weekly magazine and a name tag and I walk into the meeting area.

The meeting area is just a room with a bunch of chairs and a presentation area for the leader.  Some people sit and keep to themselves while waiting for the leader to start the meeting.  Others make small talk or check in with other members and see how they're doing.

The leader shares information about the program and what makes it work.  A lot of the meeting is usually hearing the members respond to what is working or not working for them. The leader usually gives out little "bravo" star stickers for those who participate during the meeting time.  I always stick these in my journal next to my weight results for the week.  It's a silly thing, but opening my journal and seeing all those little bravo stickers is pretty fun.  It's like my journal gives me a round of applause every time I open it. :-)  The leader also takes time during the meeting to celebrate and scale or non-scale victories.  The scale victories are usually stickers or other awards for reaching weight loss milestones.  Each person that gets one of these little awards gets a chance to share how they are doing and what is helping them reach their goals.  The meetings wrap up with everyone writing down something new they are going to try to do better this week.  New members have the opportunity to stay after the meeting for a quick start explanation of the program.

That the what of meetings... now for the why:

  • Knowing I am going to my meeting to weigh in and report my progress to WW (and my leader) helps keep me accountable throughout the week.
  • Being in a room full of people that are working on the same thing as me is reassuring.  I'm not in this alone.
  • When I see & hear someone else's success, I know the program works and it motivates me to stick with it.
  • When I see or hear someone struggle, I am comforted in my own struggles.
  • Marking my progress each week in my journal and earning rewards for my accomplishments keep me motivated.
  • It just works!
 This week I managed to take off 4.4 of the 6.6 I gained on the cruise!  Awesome!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm Only Human And I'm Doing It

Getting back on track after the cruise was not easy, and I did a pretty lousy job of it last week.  I'm happy to report that even though I didn't really get back on plan, the scale today only showed a 6.6lb gain.  It's not awesome, but it certainly could have been worse!  After my meeting today I went to the grocery store and stocked up.  I've made a plan for the week that includes tracking, staying on-plan, and  getting more activity.  I hope to lose these 6lbs in the next 3 weeks, then keep on working towards my goal.

One thing that keeps me inspired, is hearing the success stories of others.  If so many people can be successful with Weight Watchers, then I know I can do it too.  If you need a little inspiration in your day, be sure to check out the "I'm Only Human And I Did It" project on YouTube.  Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll have my own story on there! :-)

 -11.8 lbs 
(ps. I wear this shirt on Sundays a lot... I just noticed it is in a few of my weekly photos.)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feeding My Brain

Well, I am home after a WONDERFUL cruise!  I did indulge quite a bit over the week... too many temptations to avoid all together.  I'm not sure of the effect those indulgences will have on the scale... I'm a little scared.  I am happy to report I got a ton of activity over the week on the ship.  I earned 11 points and averaged 94% of my daily goal over the week!  I am back on plan starting tomorrow and hope my next official weigh in next week will show no more than a 5lb gain.  No pic this week since there is no official weigh in for today.  Check back next week to see how I did!

Now... on to feeding my brain...

I love to read. At any given moment I probably have 4 (or more) books loaded on my kindle.  I'm sure I'll read lots of things this year, but I'm going to focus mostly on books about weight loss & health.  If you have any great recommendations, I'd love to hear them!  

As I feed my brain along this journey, I'll try to share a bit of the knowledge I gain with you!

The book currently keeping me inspired (and on track) is Weight Loss Boss by David Kirchhoff. He is the CEO of Weight Watchers and has a wonderful blog called Man Meets Scale.  He writes with just the right amount of science & humor for my tastes.  And even though he is the CEO of Weight Watchers, it is not really a book about the WW program.  It's really just the story of his weight loss journey.  As someone who has gone down this path ahead of me, he's certainly got some great information and inspiration to share!  Here are some little bits of wisdom I've gained from the book so far:
  • "I can focus my energy on developing mental muscle power to withstand the temptations of a food-dense environment."
  • "there seems to be a link between my optic nerve and some kind of trapdoor into my stomach"
  • "So does beer make you fat? In a word, yes (or at least likely). Beer obviously has calories, but it also has the ability to radically lower eating inhibitions while under the influence."
  • "I ate without thinking and gained without noticing … if I looked the other way when I walked past the bathroom mirror."
  • "I will always have to watch what I eat because I still live in the tempting food environment that got me heavy in the first place. I eventually came to realize that I had to respect that fact by taking steps to alter the way I interacted with my environment."
  • "A healthy lifestyle is not a moral straitjacket. Rather, it is a combination of healthy habits you feel good about and can stick to."
  • "weight loss is often not a direct journey. It has its twists and turns, ups and downs. There are periods where you are highly focused and times when you wear doughnut glasses."
  • "So the government came up with a simple mnemonic: a dinner plate. Fill half with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and a quarter with protein. Dairy is represented by a glass of low-fat milk, next to the plate. It displaces the esoteric food pyramid, which might have been a gift from aliens visiting ancient Egypt."
  • "Plus seeing a ton of food is beyond sexy in my simple mind."
  • "The only way anybody can lose weight is to make different choices and live in a different way. The sooner that you put your belief and trust in yourself, the sooner you will realize that you manage own destiny."
Kirchhoff, David (2012-05-08). Weight Loss Boss: How to Finally Win at Losing--and Take Charge in an Out-of-Control Food World. Rodale. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hitting Reset

This week was tough. Between preparing to be gone from work & home for a week, and having a bizarre nerve inflammation, my head was not in the game at the beginning of the week

I've realized over the years that even when I'm doing really great with my weight loss, I let distractions sabotage my progress.  It's like I can only focus and do 2 or 3 things at a time very well, and being on plan is the first thing to go when something else (no matter how minor) moves up in priority.

I'm not proud of how I started my week. It included (among several indiscretions) of all things... a trip to Taco Bell.  I don't really even like Taco Bell.  And I didn't get something "healthy" I got a stupid 7 layer burrito and a mexican pizza.  It wasn't good.  I didn't want it. I would have rather had any number of other things for the same amount of calories.  I decided (unfortunately after eating that meal instead of before) I really needed to hit reset.  I still had 4 days until my cruise, and there was really no reason to waste them!

I'm happy to say that I managed to salvage those 4 days, and turn the potential gain into a small loss!  HUGE VICTORY!!!

I am traveling tomorrow to Florida, then on board a very large boat (I know... it's a ship!) until next Sunday (Feb 17th).  So, this is my post for the week.  My scale did show a small loss this week, but since it is not my "official" WW recorded weight, no picture or total loss listed for this post.

I do plan to indulge a bit on the cruise, but to not overdo it.  I won't have another official weigh in until February 24th. If I were to show a small (below 5 lb) gain on that date, I'd be pretty proud of myself.  I plan to get plenty of activity on the cruise and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to offset any sweets and drinks I may have.

As soon as I get back home on the 17th I'll be hitting reset all over again.  That's the nice thing about that reset button.. you can hit it ANY TIME!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Hey there!

Thank you!  You may not know it, but you are an inspiration to me.  Really, just because you're reading this, I'm inspired!

I wasn't sure what blogging about this year of losing weight would do for me.  I hoped it would help me feel accountable and stay on track.  It certainly has done that!  I look forward to stepping on that scale on Sundays so I can blog about my progress Sunday night.  Knowing I'm going to have to reflect on my week and share my thoughts here, keeps me thinking about this journey I'm on.  I actually never thought anyone would really read this blog... but, here you are!

Over the past month, several of you have talked to me about this blog.  These aren't direct quotes, but these are some of the things you've been saying to me (at work, on facebook, whenever I see you):

  • Your blog really inspired me, I'm back on track with WW too!
  • Toni, you're really brave to share what you're doing.
  • Keep up the great work, I'm proud of you.
  • Awesome!  Keep up the great work!
  • Go girl!
  • I really needed to hear this.
  • I'm in this with you!
I'm overwhelmed by your comments!  Many of these comments have come right when I needed them most (in the middle of a day where I wanted to give up).  They've all come as a complete surprise.  You  are all inspiring me, and I just wanted to say thank you!  I started this to inspire myself and to keep myself on track. Knowing that I have become an inspiration to others is a little overwhelming, but very inspiring too!

Thank you so much for your support! I appreciate your comments, your prayers, and your taking time to read my silly ramblings!  We're in this together, and 2013 is going to be the year we succeed!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Yoga Story

I love yoga.  I really never thought I'd say that about any exercise, but I really love it! I'm not great at it.  One look at me and you'll see it is not likely I'll do any advanced poses any time soon.  But I love the way yoga makes me feel.  I tend to carry a lot of stress in my neck and shoulders.  After an hour of yoga, that just disappears!  Yoga is challenging, but you get to work at your own pace and make any modifications needed based on your strength and flexibility. 

My first class I spent a lot of time in child's pose while everyone else was moving on.  It seemed strange at first, but with each class I've been able to do more and more.  I'm really proud of the progress I'm making.  Today I did half moon on my right side for the first time!  I still have a long way to go on the left side, but every class I take helps me get there. 

I do not love "hot yoga".  I tried that once, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that I might try it again in the future (with more preparation) , but the experience I had with it was not pleasant at all!  In 2011, I was working out regularly with a personal trainer. He had wanted me to try yoga, but I had refused on several occasions.  One day before a scheduled workout, he sent me a text that our workout would not be at our usual gym, but instead he would meet me at a yoga studio to do hot yoga.  I thought if I would just go I might like it, and if not at least he would get off my back about trying it.  Boy was I unprepared for the experience!  First of all, I was not near hydrated enough.. I had only had my morning coffee and one bottle of water that day.  Secondly, no one gave me any warning about how hot it was going to be, and what I should do in the class.  I really think they should have a "this is my first time at hot yoga" class so it's not so overwhelming!  And to top it all off, the people there were just weird.  They were just very hippy-trippy-granola types (I'm sure they were all very nice.. but it kinda creeped me out).  Now, imagine you're going to this place to meet your trainer, and he shows up late and they won't let him in.  So, there I am sweating my *$$ off, feeling light headed, and finding it hard to breathe (much less move) and there he is in the hallway looking in through a window on the door.  I was so miserable, but I figured I would keep trying, at least for a bit longer.  I think the instructor could sense my panic.  She encouraged me to just lie down on my mat and breathe.  I did that for what seemed like 7 hours, but was really only 7 minutes.  It was about 20 minutes into the hour-long class that I decided to flee.  I quietly got up and tried to gather my things.  The instructor stopped me and said (in a voice that came across as very creepy instead of soothing), "Toni, please don't leave... we love you.  Class, tell Toni we love her and we want her to stay." Then the class chimed in (in an even creepier cult like group voice), "Toni... we love you... please don't leave... we know you can do this."  It was all TOO bizarre, but I felt like I had to stay.  So I rolled my towel back out and just stayed there lying on my towel for the remainder of class.  Once class was over I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  Everyone was congratulating me for staying, and saying how proud they were of me.  Again it was probably very nice, but it came across as SO CREEPY!

I know someone will likely read this and say that not all hot yoga is like that and it really is a great way to do yoga.  To that person, I say "You may be right, but that has not been my experience".  Someday I may try it again.  Until then, I'll stick with sweating my *$$ off at plain old room temperature yoga!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Moving More

If you read my post last week, you'll remember I took a week off from scheduling gym time.  It was a really great week of rest! 

I didn't go to the gym at all, but I did try to move a little more each day. 

I'm using Weight Watchers Activelink activity monitor.  It works similarly to a Fitbit (which I also have, but am not currently using).  More than a pedometer, it captures all of your movement throughout the day.  The first week you use it, it takes an assessment of your daily movements.  Once the assessment phase is over, it sets little challenge goals for you to increase your activity. 

I actually did my assessment the last week of Christmas break. I was ill 3 of the days, and did very little moving, so I don't think my assessment was reflective of my "typical" activity.  I could do the assessment again, but instead I'm just going with the challenge it currently has set for me, which is to earn 3 activity points per day by the end of 12 weeks.  I'm still at the earn 1 activity point each day phase of the 12 week plan.  I tend to exceed that goal regularly, but I figure it is better to start small and work to increase my activity bit by bit.

Activelink is a pretty cool little piece of technology and, if you know anything about me, you know I love my technology!  It displays a percentage of your goal reached, and is pretty motivating.  When you reach 100% it flashes all the lights (nothing too exciting, but still an indicator that you are doing well).  The best thing about it, is when I plug it into my computer it automatically adds the data it has collected to my tracker!  That means I don't have to count up my activity points, they just show up in my tracker!  Brilliant!

I really hate to exercise.... that is not an overstatement... I actually HATE IT!  I don't feel good at it, and it makes me hot and sweaty (really sweaty... it's not pretty) and generally uncomfortable.  It's the worst!  But I understand that it is a necessary evil, so I make myself do it.  It's just part of being healthy and I accept that.   There are 2 exercises I actually enjoy (a little).  One is yoga (but not the "hot" kind).  The other is walking outside (weather permitting of course).  I wish I could do one or both of those every day, and that would be enough, but I know I need to challenge/push myself to do more than that at least some of the time.  I don't think I'll ever push myself like Bob & Jillian push those Biggest Loser contestants, that's kind of extreme.  But I make myself run a little and set goals for fitness with my gym buddy.  I think we'll be back to the gym this week.  We usually do 3 days of yoga and 3 days of treadmill.  It's a lot, and I generally hate it when we're going, but I usually feel pretty great afterward. 

Here are the ways I am working to get more activity in my life:
  • The Gym - 5-6 days per week, usually 3 Yoga classes & 3 treadmill workouts
  • The Parking Lot - I park about as far away as I can from work (and other places I go) just to get a few more steps in my day
  • The Stairs - I work at 2 schools that have classrooms upstairs, and even though it is just one flight of stair, I would sometimes take the elevator.  Now, I only take the elevator if I am moving something that I cannot carry up the stairs!
  • The Post-lunch Walk - I've started walking around the campus (indoors if the weather is bad) for about 5 minutes after eating my lunch.  
  • The Walk-Break - If I have a day where I am sitting at my computer instead of teaching, I take regular walk breaks.  Every 45 minutes I make myself get up and walk around for a few minutes at least.
And one more (this one I'm nerding out about)....Xbox Kinect! I've had my Xbox 360 for over a year, but this weekend I went ahead and bought the Kinect.  It's kinda awesome!  So far I only have one game...  Just Dance Greatest Hits.  It's pretty fun.  Reminds me of when I was a pre-teen and would close my bedroom door, turn up my music and "just dance".  I'm not a great dancer, and rarely dance in public (those of you that have witnessed my "moves" just be quiet.. please).  Even though I don't have the "moves like jagger" (and especially the moves like Adam Levine), dance is a pretty fun way to get moving!  My challenge for the week is to "just dance" one song for every TV show I watch.

  -14.6 (I made it past my 5% goal!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hitting Walls

This weekend I hit a wall.  It was the "I am so sick of scheduling my life around working out!" wall.  I want to say this wall did not come from 3 weeks of a new workout plan for the new year.  I think this wall has been growing higher and higher for months.

I have a close friend that I workout with regularly.  We set 2-3 week goals for working out and then do everything we can to meet those goals.  If we succeed, we pick a reward (like buying a new outfit or taking a road trip).  If we fail, we have a punishment (it's called "push-up pyramid"... yes, it is as bad as it sounds).  We've been setting goals and experiencing rewards (and punishments) pretty consistently for the last 4 months.

You'd think with all that activity I would've lost weight, not gained it last year!  I'm just thankful the activity kept me from gaining more.  Now that I have my food intake (I hate using the word "diet") under control, working out should make more of an impact.  But I'm getting a little off topic here... back to THE WALL.

I feel like this wall has been building itself up, week by week, over the last 4 months.  Every time I've had to sacrifice a preferred activity because of going to the gym... two more bricks on the wall.  Every time we have to coordinate our schedules so we can workout together... two more bricks on the wall.  Every time we go to the gym even though there are excuses not to go... two more bricks on the wall.  Every time we pass up happy hour with friends because of a workout... two more bricks on the wall.  Every time we push through a workout that isn't going the way we really want it to... two more bricks on the wall.  That "I am so sick of scheduling my life around working out!" wall has been building and building.

So, Saturday after getting up, and dressed, and driving to the gym... we looked at each other and said "maybe we should take a break".  Maybe 6 workouts a week is wearing us down.  Maybe we should not go to yoga today.  Maybe we should just go to breakfast.  Maybe we should take the week off!  So, instead of walking into the gym and doing yoga, we drove to our favorite breakfast spot and split a delicious breakfast!  We laughed at ourselves all the way there.  It seemed funny that we would get up and drive to the gym, only to leave and go to breakfast instead.  But I really think we needed a break.  In fact, we deserve it!

So, Maya Angleou says we all deserve a day... I'm taking a week.  It's not to say that I won't workout this week.  I very likely will workout some this week.  I'm taking this week off of managing schedules and saying no to fun activities. I just need the break.  And I deserve it!  No rushing from work to the gym.  No going and fighting the gym crowd in the evening.  No syncronizing schedules. No fear of punishment. This is a week of rest from all those cares.  Each day that wall will get a little smaller, and then I will have the energy to tackle it again.

Here are some walls I seem to encounter regularly:
  • The "I just want to eat food that tastes good" Wall
  • The "I'm sick of counting points" Wall
  • The Great Wall of "Diets"
  • The "Scale doesn't show my progress" Wall
  • The "I'd rather be napping" Wall
How do we go about avoiding these walls?  Or at least dealing with them when they appear?  I think rest or taking a break can certainly help at times.  I think the important thing is to see the walls for what they are and work to rebuild around them.  If taking a (reasonable) break will help, then do it.  Just don't give up.  Don't stop working toward the goal.  Give yourself a moment (or a week) but make sure you get back to it once the moment is over.

One thing I do to make sure the "I'm sick of counting points" wall doesn't grow too tall to manage is that I give myself one splurge meal each week (usually right after my WW meeting and weighing in).  For that one meal, I allow myself the opportunity to eat anything I want.  I don't count points for that meal.  Instead, in my tracker, I write "splurge" and then count it as all of my remaining daily points.  That really seems to keep me on track for the week.

  -12 lbs!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Truly Unflattering Pictures

I rarely love a photo of myself.  Even the one in my first post taken when I was at my thinnest, is not that great of a pic. There are few pictures I've ever seen of me, that I have truly loved and I'm pretty sure all of them are from childhood (mom has a frame full of my favorites that I gave to her for Mother's day years ago.).  It's not to say I suffer from extremely low self-esteem or anything.  Even at my current weight (you're dying to know how much I've lost so far right?... Stay tuned..) I think I'm an attractive human.  But photos just don't capture that on a regular basis.  Photos do however, tell a version of the truth that I don't always see in the mirror. At my thinnest, I still saw a heavier person in the mirror.  Now, I just see me, but I don't usually see the weight.  In photos I always see the weight (good or bad).  There's something about being able to freeze a moment, then step back and look at it.  There's power in that.  It was, after all, a photo that led me to join WW in the first place.  And a photo that has brought me back to it as well!

With all that in mind, I've decided to take a picture of myself each week.  No frills, no fuss, just 52 truly unflattering pictures taken with the terrible front facing camera on my cell phone.  I think I'll add one to the end of my post each week and with it I will document how much I've lost.  That should help keep me on track!

And now we have photo #1!

Along with (DRUM ROLL PLEASE) my total lost since December 23rd....


Ok, that's kind of awesome for 2 weeks on plan... I really don't expect that rate to stay the same, but I'm VERY happy with this as a beginning!  Honestly, I'll be elated any week with ANY loss. Even a -.1 on the scale will be a victory!