On My Own
Brother's Scan N Cut Coming in October

Weight-y Questions Answered

As promised, I'm popping in today to answer the questions you left on last week's post about my weight loss journey.  I've thrown in a few more before and after photos as well.

Question: The question I have is... do you think there is something specific about WW that helped you to lose or do you think it was just because you made up your mind and stuck with it.

I think it's both.  I've been overweight my entire life and have struggled with my weight since I was a child.  I know that I definitely approached Weight Watchers with a different level of commitment and enthusiasm than I've ever approached a weight loss program before.  That said, Weight Watchers does make it easy for you.  The changes you make are gradual over time and the Plan is both clear and flexible.  One of the many reasons that I'm a huge fan of Weight Watchers is because it's not a diet.  It's a lifestyle.  I am going to have to live the Weight Watchers lifestyle every single day for the rest of my life.  And it's a choice that feels doable because I can still eat hamburgers and pizza and chocolate chip cookies and stay On Plan and lose weight.

 I know you traveled recently; how did you make that work into your plan? 

Traveling was really difficult at the beginning of my journey.  It has gotten easier over time, just like eating out has.  I make sure to drink a lot of water when I'm traveling.  Oftentimes when I think I'm hungry, I'm actually thirsty.  I also say no to almost anything in a bag (chips, cookies, crackers, etc.) and do my best to hunt down fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.  When I can find them, I fill up.  A salad with dressing on the side and no croutons, nuts, or cheese, is always a good choice.  I try to order seafood, look for words like "steamed" and "poached," and avoid the bread basket. I always eat breakfast so that I'm never starting the day ravenous.

Question: Do you prefer the WW meetings or online, motivationally speaking?

I like online.  I travel a lot and doing it online makes it so that I don't have to be anywhere at a specific time.  There are lots of great message boards and blogs on the Weight Watchers site that keep me motivated every single day.

Question: nyc apartment living isn't always conducive to cooking..do you eat out as much as in the past?

I don't order in as much.  New York living is all about ordering food for delivery.  In the olden days, I might have ordered 3 meals a day.  But you don't know what restaurants are putting in your food and how they're preparing it.  So these days I usually cook when I'm home.  That said, I'm a pretty low-key cook.  Mostly one pot meals.

I do still do eat out a lot.  That's just part of the NYC culture.  And now that I'm dating, it's a major activity.  I've found that I can eat out and lose weight, but only if I make the right choices.  When I know I'm going out for a meal, I eat mostly steamed veggies for the rest of that day so that I can save all of my Points for the meal out.  When ordering, I'm careful to avoid sauces and choose low-Point choices like fish.  I avoid alcohol.  Over the past year I've learned how to make eating out work for me.  I absolutely have the occassional carb and cheese fest.  I definitely dig into dessert from time to time.  In order for me to do this for the rest of my life I can't have anything be "off limits."  That will never work for me.  In fact, I probably have at least one indulgence every single day.  This keeps me sane and happily On Plan.

How do you keep motivated and on track when life does gets "off-course" and your schedule is in flux? What was the deciding factor for you to create the "this is what I am going to do (WW) and I AM going to stick to it" attitude? Do you go to WW meetings or do it online? How did you find support for the weight loss journey and the changes in your life it takes to be on that journey? Is the weight loss mostly food choices or are you also exercising?

I find the motivation question difficult.  I always wanted to lose weight and had lots of good reasons, but just couldn't motivate myself.  I don't know that I can exactly identify why it was different this time, but I feel keenly motivated from within.  Additionally, as the weight has come off, the motivation has become stronger and stronger.  Success is addictive.  When life gets "off course," I track what I ate and hop right back On Plan.  I'm not looking for an excuse to fall off the wagon.  I'm looking for an opportunity to hop back on.  It's not dissimilar to my feelings on making art every day.  Do I?  No.  Do I try to?  Absolutely.  And if a day goes by where I don't, well, tomorrow is another day and another chance to do it.

Support is a really interesting question. It was actually a lot harder to do Weight Watchers when John was in the house because he didn't want to change his lifestyle.  Once he left and the kitchen and mealtime were 100% under my control, it was much much easier.  That said, for me, it has been really important to be internally motivated and not depend on other people being supportive.  I need to be able to walk into the most difficult food situation on earth and still be able to stay On Plan.  I'm the only one who can say "no" to the food.  I think motivation is a bit like happiness.  To truly be happy, that comes from inside.  Other people can add to your happiness, but they can't make you happy.  Motivation is the same.

As for food vs. exercise, the weight loss is mostly food choices and not exercise.  Shocking, right?  The truth is, food intake determines weight.  Exercise determines health.  What's that old saying?  You make your abs in the gym and reveal them in the kitchen.

Question: Just wondering if you could share some of your recipes that you have enjoyed, maybe some of your fav tips and how much exercise you do.

Question: What are you doing for exercise??

Question: How much did you exercise during the process? II was on WW until I was seriously ill last year. I follow the plan on my own.......but only sometimes. I have gotten sloppy. I always worry about how bad the loose skin will look.......silly I know.

I think I've already addressed the exercise question.  I do a bit of yoga and some strength training, but really, 98% of my weight loss is food choices.  I wish I were better about exercise, but I'm not.

As for favorite recipes, I think skinnytaste.com is a brilliant website.  I love this recipe and this one.  I eat steamed cauliflower almost every single day.  One of my favorite ways to prepare it is with a tsp of olive oil, some capers, pepper, chopped red onion, tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Absolutely delicious!  I also eat a lot of tofu and vegetable stir fries.  However, I cook my tofu and vegetables in chicken broth instead of oil.  It's tasty and takes away a lot of the calories.

The loose skin issue is a very scary one.  I was intensely fearful about loose skin.  So far, I'm jiggly, but I don't have any of those hanging flaps that I've read about.  I drink a lot of water and moisturize every day.  I also think the fact that I'm young-ish and Asian really helped in terms of skin elasticity.  I am hoping that my skin will continue to tighten up over time, but we shall see.  I'm particularly concerned about my arms, which seem to be waving in the wind, but I'm going to give it some time and add a bit more strength training to my week.

I'd love to hear about how you are feeling physically. Tell us about how different your travel was being 100 lbs lighter! All the things you were able to do without the struggle of the extra weight.

I know this is going to sound odd, but I don't feel that physically different.  There are definitely things that are easier, like stairs.  But, for me, the weight has come off so gradually that I don't really notice the changes day-to-day.  I do fit in chairs (like airplane seats) much more easily.  And that's awesome.  I am certainly less tired after walking around all day.  I definitely don't think I could have gone dancing for five or six hours 100 pounds ago.  I've done it a few times now and wake up the next day feeling great.  I think I probably would have had sore knees and thighs in the old days. Because I live in NYC, walking and climbing subway steps has always been a part of every day life.  I do notice that I wear my sneakers less often.  Probably an indication that my feet hurt less.

It's a funny thing.  I don't think that I could pick up a 100 pound weight and carry it around, and yet I don't feel that different.  I'm sure there are a million unseen health benefits that my heart and knees could tell you about, however.

Question: How do you feel now having lost 100 pounds? Have you bought any new fun clothing that makes you feel as fabulous as you look?

As I mentioned before, I'm having a lot of trouble seeing myself as any different than I was 100 pounds ago.  I know I'm different because I see the photos (which I almost always say were "taken from a good angle" because I can't believe I look like that).  Strangers also treat me better, which is uncomfortable.  I still consider myself fat.  I definitely think most people who meet me would still consider me fat.  I'm just not as fat as I used to be.

As for clothes, I have had to buy new pants and underwear because I've gone down 6 pant sizes in the past year. I've bought a few tops and dresses along the way, but mostly my body is changing so much that I don't want to spend the money on a whole new wardrobe every few months.  That said, I do have a little black dress that I bought a few weeks ago and am dying to wear....

Question: How did you do it? I'm on a weight loss program right now, basically just eating less and barely any sweets.

Weight Watchers is a great program because it forces you to make choices.  What is that food worth to you?  Is eating a piece of chocolate cake for dessert worth eating steamed veggies for the rest of the day?  If so, then go for it.  I still eat sweets, but I don't eat them mindlessly.  I'm careful about what I choose and I really savor it.  And I'm not starving myself.  I feel plenty full every single day.  I'm simply replacing the food I used to eat with better choices.  If I want something sweet I go for fruit.  Craving chocolate?  Half an ounce of M&Ms is a great satisfier.  Looking for something savory?  I love Annie Chun's seaweed snacks or a few Ka-Me Rice Crackers.  I used to fill a bowl with pasta and maybe put on a vegetable.  Maybe.  Now I fill a bowl with veggies and add a tiny bit of pasta.  It's just a different way of thinking about what should be the main part of your meal.

You may like to comment sometime on what role art played in your journey....that would be very interesting.

Interestingly, I'm not sure that art has played a role in my weight loss journey.  I'm trying to think about why that might be.  I suspect it's because my weight has never been a part of my art.  I don't think I used it to create art before I lost weight.  A big part of my art is about my feelings.  Insofar as my weight loss has affected my feelings, I suppose it has found its way into my artwork.  But I think, at the moment, I'm more aware of how my divorce and subsequent emotional evolution has manifested itself in my work.  I think it's more likely that my career will change because of the weight loss, rather than my artwork.  And that is a very interesting issue.

So, there you have it.  Some questions and answers.  Thank you all for being so very supportive.  I was quite nervous about "coming out," but I'm so very glad that I did!

Thanks for stopping by!