Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Biggest Loser and Weight Watchers

When I moved to Shishmaref, I was thin.

From August 2009 til May 2010, I had gained 55 pounds.

Crazy, I know! Many of the kiddos asked me if I was pregnant, because when else does a lady gain 55 pounds in 9 months?

People ask how it was possible for me to gain that much.

Well, first of all, let's look at my exercise habits. All through college, I was teaching swimming lessons and coaching swim team. Four times a week, I was in the pool, between two and four hours a day. I didn't swim laps very often, but teaching swimming lessons was a workout. I would be treading water for hours at a time, often with only my legs, because I would be holding a child with my arms. So, I was very active.

Shishmaref is huge on basketball. If you know me, you know that I don't play sports with a ball. I was a swimmer, had a stint as a runner, and I was a discus thrower on the track and field team. When I was very small, I did play softball for a few years, but it was never my thing. Adult rec time in Shishmaref consists of basketball games. So, I never went. I didn't want to go make a fool of myself and try and play basketball with a bunch of people who have been playing their entire lives. So I didn't go. That would obviously cause me to gain some weight.

Now, let's look at my eating habits. I used to eat a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables. I grew up on fresh fruits and vegetables. We didn't eat canned vegetables, so I have never thought about eating them. Here in Shishmaref, it is rare to have fresh fruits and vegetables at our store. I decided I would have to order some canned fruits and vegetables. I did, and they sat on my shelf. I was never in the mood to eat canned peaches and canned corn.

Also, when I lived in the senior apartments in college, I needed convenience meals because I was busy. Since I had large grocery stores and all kinds of choices, I bought things like Lean Cuisine meals and Lean Pockets. Since our stores don't have much selection, our convenience foods are frozen pizzas and frozen Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, neither of which are good for me. I order food from Span Alaska sales, but it costs extra to get perishable items sent, so I ordered Beef-a-roni and other similar items.

In Ohio, for snacks, I would have 100 Calorie Snacks, reduced fat ice cream bars, and other "diet" items. Here, we don't have a lot of selection. We only have about four aisles at the store, and 1/2 of one aisle is just chips. So, I ate chips for a snack.

Preschool children need help at lunch time. So, I do not get a "duty-free" lunch like all of the other teachers. I am expected to stay with my children and assist them as needed. Because of this, I am able to eat school lunch for free. At first I was thinking this was awesome - one less meal that I have to pay for. Chicken nuggets, white bread with butter, and peaches canned in heavy syrup is a nutritional lunch for children and their growing bodies, who need the extra calories, but not so much for me.

This summer, my mom and I decided that we would do our own version of the Biggest Loser. We decided that it needed to have a big reward (or punishment) to really motivate us. So, we decided that the winner would be awarded $500, paid by the loser. It would go from September 1st til March 1st - six months to lose weight. I knew that it would be hard up here, because of all of the things that I have been discussing in the post.

From September 1st til the end of November,  I was just trying to watch what I was eating more closely, and to exercise a little more. I went to rec every once in a while and tried to use Colleen's squeaky elliptical machine at home. However, I must admit that I wasn't very motivated. The first of every month, my mother and I would email each other our weight. In those few months, I lost a grand total of nine pounds. Lame, I know. My mom lost a little less than that though, so I felt okay about it.

We all know that the holidays are a bad time for weight loss. All December I was thinking about how I would be visiting Ohio soon. I would be eating junk and going to restaurants often. Knowing that, I wasn't motivated to eat well the first couple weeks of the month. As I had suspected, when I was in Ohio, my mom cooked my favorite meals for me, I drank alcohol for the first time in months, I bought junk food that is hard to come by and expensive in Shishmaref, and I caught up with friends and family over meals at restaurants.

Needless to say, I gained back 8 pounds of the 9 that I had lost. But once again, my mom and I were staying about even.

We decided that we have to really get serious about this. Now we are emailing each other once a week with our weight, instead of once a month. It provides a little more accountability. At her work, they have hired someone to come in and do a weight loss program with them. That person comes every Wednesday, so they get weighed then. Because of that, we are emailing our weight every Wednesday. March 1st is a Tuesday, but we have decided to go til March 2nd to stay consistent with our Wednesday weigh in.

The Wednesday that I came back to Shishmaref, I decided to start Weight Watchers. My mom had gone to the meetings before and had all of the booklets and paperwork, and she had given it to me. I just made spreadsheets on Excel to track all of the points and everything. It isn't the new "Points Plus" program that Weight Watchers has, because I have the old "Points" information, but it's fine, and it's free!

Colleen has decided to do Weight Watchers with me too, so it is helpful for us to be doing it together. We can support each other and help each other make smart decisions.

Now I am halfway through my 3rd week. Week one, I lost 4.0 pounds. Week two, I lost 2.2 pounds, for a grand total of 6.2 pounds. As far as the Biggest Loser goes, I am down 7.0 pounds since September 1st. My mom is winning by 3 pounds, but she had the flu worse than I did, so I think that has something to do with it. :)

Weight Watchers is hard to do up here, but I am really trying. I have been forcing myself to do more actual cooking and to suck it up and eat the canned green beans!

I still have a long way to go, but it's a start right?

1 comment:

  1. good for you and good luck!! Don't know who to bet on--Hope you both do really well!! Luv ya!! Ma