20/20 Lifestyles Wrap-Up (with Video)

I made it! I completed the two complete phases of the 20/20 Lifestyles Program, and I’m pretty proud to say that I KICKED. ITS. ASS!!!! Watch the video below for my recap, and/or continue reading further down for the details!

Today was my final program appointment with my physician, Dr. Doyle Perkins – though I will be meeting with him every 10 weeks hereafter to check-in and continue to measure my progress and assess any needs I have as pertains to my weight or fitness. Last week I went through my final round of tests on the program – including having my bloodwork run, strength and flexibility tests, and my DEXA body composition scan.

First up were my program before & after photos:
beforeafter_jun2014
Whoooooaaaaa… look at that side view! We are always are own harshest critics, and I sometimes feel like I’m just as big as ever, but there’s no denying that I’m considerably smaller than I was back in September. I’ve lost a large number of inches around my body – more around than I am tall, in fact. Look, I made a table!

Initial End P1 End P2 Total loss
Neck 16″ 13.75″ 13.25″ -2.75″
Chest 54.75″ 46.5″ 43.75″ -11″
Waist 51″ 39.5″ 36″ -15″
Hips 57.25″ 49″ 46″ -11.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 15″ 14″ -5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 28″ 24″ -12″

If I’ve done the math correctly (chances are that I haven’t), that adds up to 57 inches total! And if you double my arm and thigh values for actuals, it’s like 74 inches. Over six feet of space gone from my body overall. NUTS!

Next up is a table of some of my other metrics:

Initial P1 End P2 End Change
Weight (lbs) 266 210 191 -75 lbs!
Body Fat % 61.3 50.0 43.2 -18.1%
Lean Body Mass (lbs) 103 105 109 +6 lbs!
Cholesterol 185 182 154 -31
Triglycerides 103 77 69 -34
LDL 119 124 100 -19
HDL 45 43 40 -5
Glucose 104 84 82 -22
BP 126/82 114/68 106/66 -20/-16

Everything’s going in the right direction there, except for my HDL (healthy cholesterol), which I need to try to get to 50 according to Dr. Perkins.

My favorite part is the lean muscle mass. According to the DEXA scan, I’ve gained something on the order of 6 lbs of muscle. I don’t have anything to compare this to, but when I started on the program they told me the strength training component of my workouts were designed to prevent me from LOSING muscle mass, which I’m told is common among women losing large amounts of weight. So the fact that I did more than maintain my muscle and that I, in fact, increased my muscle, is something to celebrate. Doc said my fat loss was something like 81 lbs instead of just 75, factoring in my lean gains. And both the assessor and my doctor mused that it was the largest body fat percentage loss/muscle gain they remembered seeing in a female on the program, so I’m pretty proud of that!

The muscle mass increase explains my strength test results. My bicep curl back in September showed me able to curl 35 lbs. Last week, I curled 54 lbs. My flexibility result was perhaps the most of a letdown. My “sit and reach” back in September was 9.6 inches, and last week it was a mere 7.7 inches. The assessor said it wasn’t uncommon, buuuut, I don’t believe her. I haven’t been doing as much stretching as I should in recent months. And MAYBE I was wearing Spanx to my final appointment. That might have had something to do with the negative result 😉 In any case, increased flexibility is always something to shoot for.

So yeah, I’m feeling pretty damned good about my overall program results. What’s more, I feel confident that I will be able to maintain my efforts and keep losing more as time goes on. I recommend the 20/20 Lifestyles program to those with the financial means to do so. It’s not an inexpensive program. And while my insurance covers half of it, it’s still a lot of money out of pocket (or out of our health savings account, which is a nice perk as well). I’ve gone through all sorts of different weight loss programs, but this was really the most comprehensive, and I think that approach is what’s really required for long-term lifestyle change. I feel deeply changed in ways that I never thought possible, and I’m excited about the next stage of my personal journey. Hope you’ll continue to follow along!

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9 Months In… I’ve Given Birth to a Healthy New Me!

Welcome friends! How’s your week going? Mine’s going SO SWELL! Check the video below for my weekly weigh-in/check-in!

Can’t watch right now? I’ve got you covered!

Last week’s weigh-in: 194.0 lbs
This week’s weigh-in: 191.6 lbs
Weight loss this week: 2.4 lbs!
Weight loss total: 80.4 lbs

I’ve officially hit 80 lbs down since August. A mere 20 lbs ’til I’ve lost 100 lbs, WHICH IS CRAY CRAY, YO! As of today, I’ve been on the 20/20 Lifestyles program for nine months, so in the video I joke that it’s like I’ve given birth to a baby – a newborn healthy new me! Bad clichés aside, I’m completely stoked about my success so far and at the moment it’s still full steam ahead.

I have only three trainer appointments left on the program (MEGA SADFACE!), and next week I have all my end-of-program assessments. It’ll all be buttoned up before I leave for vacation to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia for my birthday the last weekend of June. Hoping to also hear back from a potential employer within the next few days. If I snag this job I interviewed for yesterday I’ll be in super-high spirits for this next phase of my journey.

Hope you get a chance to watch the above video soon!

Also, I was too tired to post my “What I Ate” last night, so here it is!

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What I Ate: Monday, June 16, 2014

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Breakfast:
Scrambled eggs (1 egg, 8 T egg whites) with black pepper & ketchup
Organic green grapes & blueberries
Sara Lee Multigrain 45-Calorie Bread
Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
Welch’s Natural Grape Jelly
Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea

Lunch:
Baked chicken breast with Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime seasonings
Tillamook Fat Free Sour Cream
Goya Low-Sodium Black Beans
2% Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Pace Restaurant-Style Salsa

Snack:
Activia Strawberry Patch Greek Yogurt

Dinner:
Baked chicken breast with Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime seasonings
Goya Low-Sodium Black Beans
2% Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Litehouse Lite Salsa Ranch Dressing

Evening Snack:
Organic green grapes & blueberries
Dry-Roasted Unsalted Peanuts

Calories: 1196 kcal
Protein: 114g (37%)
Carbs: 115g (38%)
Fat: 33g (25%)
Dietary Fiber: 19g
Sugar: 49g
Sodium: 1673mg
Cholesterol: 331mg
Saturated Fat: 11g

New Video Weigh-In, My Final Dietician Appointment, and New Photo Feature!

Greetings blog friends!

In the above embedded YouTube video, I give an update on this Tuesday’s weigh-in results. It was not a banner week – my 0.2 lbs loss (from 194.2 to 194.0 lbs) is likely a direct result of my eating this past week. My calories stretched a little higher than normal, fueled in part by cravings likely caused by an increase in my sugar intake. I’m working through it, though, and employing simple strategies in order to get back to a good, even-keeled chemical balance (like stop eating so much damned froyo, yo!).

I also recounted the details of my final dietician appointment on the 20/20 Lifestyles program. Definitely a bummer to be losing these biweekly check-ins and not enjoy Erika’s helpful feedback, but I know she’s always at the other end of an email – and of course she’s a regular contributor to their blog, which I’ll be following. I followed that appointment with a clothes shopping trip (I had some “Real Women Dollars” to make proper use of) and a walk at nearby Marymoor Park. And I took pictures!

I gab on and on about more subjects in the video, so I encourage you to go watch it in all its sitcom-length glory! For now I’ll leave you with a new feature I’m trying to get myself to actually implement, and that’s keeping you all updated on what I eat. I know that I love seeing what other people are eating on their respective weight loss journeys, plus it might be fun/helpful in the future to be able to go back and see a (hopefully) daily visual log of what I stuck in my craw.

Here’s something from last week, June 7th, 2014:

And here’s the photo from Wednesday, June 11th, 2014:

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What I Ate: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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So yeah, I’m definitely gonna try to make this a “thing” (presuming I can remember to photograph everything I eat), and upload it here and to Instagram on a daily basis. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Comments and shares are always encouraged!

OH! And PS – In my last photo you can see my dessert, which was a Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar made by a company called Yasso. All I can say is: THIS WAS AMAZING! I tried it for the first time last night and was truly impressed by the taste, texture, and nutritional information. It’s 100 calories per bar, with all natural ingredients (no artificial sweeteners), 6g of protein, only 1.5g of fat and a reasonable 13g of sugar, with live cultures and everything. As frozen novelties go, this one seems pretty solid. They have a wide variety of flavor options so I encourage you to seek it out at your local stores! /End of unsolicited plug!

Weigh-In Update: In the Low 190’s!

Hi folks! Short one today. Tuesday marked another weigh-in day for me, and I was super-pleased to see the number 194.2 lbs pop up – a 2.4 lbs loss since last week. Woot! I celebrated by recording a super-long YouTube video. You should check it out for my full weekly update! 😉

Weigh-In Update: Program Goal Reached! Over 75 Pounds Down!

Hey everyone!!! Lot’s of exciting things are afoot here at Julie Loses! HQ. I’ve been out and about on a couple hiking adventures, including my first summit of Rattlesnake Ridge near North Bend, WA. Take a look at my “Day in the Life” video below for full coverage (including some shots of my adorable puppy towards the end!)!

While the workout and activity front this past month has been AMAZING, the scale hasn’t been playing along. In my last post I updated you on my first weight gain on the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and I’ve been watching the scale closely to see when this first real plateau would abate.

I’m happy to announce that as of this morning, the plateau is officially over. I weighed in at 196.6 lbs on the home scale, down 3 lbs from last week’s weigh-in of 199.6. Stoked! Extra exciting was having a dietician appointment today and seeing 196.0 lbs on their scale. My program goal for the end of Phase 2 was 199.0 lbs, and I was way happy to blast through the goal. Unfortunately, no bells went off, nor party whistles sounded, nor confetti rained down – but you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all afternoon.

This brings my total loss since August to over 75 lbs. 75 FRICKIN’ POUNDS! I never thought that I had it in me to lose that much weight. Of course for years and years I’ve WANTED to be someone who was capable of such a feat, but only now have I really proven it to myself. I can lose this weight, and now I feel pretty confident that I can maintain this weight loss.

One thing that’s worried me from time to time has been how I will maintain this new healthy lifestyle while working full-time. If you’re new here, you may not know that I stopped working last year due to some health issues, and after wrangling them I decided to dedicate a block of my time to working on ME. The opportunity was there, and it was just TIME.

While I certainly love my leisure time and have been taking full advantage of my extraordinarily fortunate situation, I do need to go back to work eventually. As the weight comes off and my fitness improves, I’ve found a lot more confidence, and wanting to get back into the working world has been another surprising result. I’m ready for my career to take off again, and started putting out feelers for employment a couple weeks back.

Lucky me, I found a job listing that seemed a perfect fit for me, close to home, and they liked my resumé enough to invite me in for an interview later this week. Squee! The only downer is I don’t have ANY professional attire since losing all this weight. All of my old work clothes fall off me now, so I had to go find some interview-appropriate attire. THAT was quite the experience, and if you’re interested in hearing more about my epic win at the local Lane Bryant clothing store, I encourage you to watch the Update Video below!

My interview is on Thursday, so keep your fingers crossed that they like me, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Weigh-In Update: Basketball & Backslides – with video

Hope all you fine people are having an amazing Friday! Yesterday I recorded, edited, and posted my weekly weigh-in update, and I’ll link it below!

If you’re not able to watch right now but your curiosity just won’t go away until then, here’s the gist: I gained 0.2 lbs between last week’s Tuesday weigh-in and this Tuesday’s weigh in. Boo! First official gain on the program – had to happen sometime, right? But my measurements were taken on Wednesday and they were NOT a let down. Fancy table below:

Initial 24-wk P2 Wk 5 5 week loss Total loss
Neck 16″ 13.75″ 13.25″ -0.25″ -2.75″
Chest 54.75″ 46.5″ 45″ -1.5″ -9.75″
Waist 51″ 39.5″ 37.5″ -2″ -13.5″
Hips 57.25″ 49″ 47.5″ -1.5″ -9.75″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 15″ 14.5″ -0.5″ -4.5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 28″ 26.5″ -1.5″ -9.5″

Holy cow, amiright? If you add that entire last column together it totals 49.75″ – that’s over FOUR FEET from just those areas alone! That’s a lot of space I’m no longer taking up, and I’m pretty happy about that. Next week I hope to report that I’m back in Onederland – maybe I should set up another reward – HAHAHA JUST KIDDING!

Oh, and if you get a chance to check out the video, there’s some footage of me playing basketball that is NOT to be missed!

The Dark Side of Weight Loss: A Weigh-In Update and Confession

The video above is a read-through of the text below, so either one you pick to read or watch will give you the same info!

Welcome to a very special installment on Julie Loses, lol!

This experiment with a goal reward is not going exactly as I planned. Or maybe just not how I had hoped. If you aren’t caught up on my earlier posts, I decided to attach a compact digital camera as a reward for hitting Onederland – 199.8 lbs or less on the scale. Overall I think the idea of setting goals and assigning rewards is a good thing. I’ve definitely been more motivated over the last week or so, because I REALLY want that camera in my hands!

One of my objectives for this blog is to be completely open about the experience, thus I have to be honest about this goal experience in particular: I do not think assigning weight-based goal rewards is the best idea for me (note the “for me” part, your mileage may vary). While I have been more motivated to push myself in my workouts, and to keep my eyes on the proverbial prize, I am not proud of this morning’s activities surrounding my weekly weigh-in. It’s harkening back to the earlier months on the program when my weekly numbers were a tad too important for me, and I would participate in “intermittent fasting” each Tuesday morning before my dietician appointment. On with the confession…

Yesterday I made the irresponsible decision to taper off my water intake. I drank a bunch of tea hoping it would flush my system and didn’t get in my normal eight or more cups of water. This morning, instead of getting up at a reasonable time and adhering to my normal weigh-in routine, I instead waited to get up until I was ready to (WARNING: TMI ALERT!) have a bowel movement. I find I typically have one first thing in the morning, and then another in the mid-morning a bit after breakfast, so today I waited until noon to weigh myself, to get the “full benefit”. And I refrained from taking in any liquids or food until after my weigh-in. When the number on the scale didn’t quite meet my goal of 199.8 or less, I forced myself to try to eliminate more waste material to reduce by mere ounces – by leaving the faucet running to arouse the need to urinate, rubbing my belly to promote #2’s, running around the house… you get the idea.

I didn’t eat until a half hour ago, after I finally gave up and resigned myself to the number I saw on the scale. That number on the scale, mind you, was nothing to scoff at. I’m down 1.8 lbs this week to an amazing 200 lbs. This may help explain my ridiculous desire to “go” just a little bit more to try to break into the 100’s, but it certainly doesn’t excuse my actions. This is the dark side of weight loss for me. The unhealthy side. Instead of celebrating a respectable 1.8 lbs loss I find myself feeling deflated. And if I *did* achieve that 199.8 lbs on the scale after doing what I did this morning, I don’t think the achievement would have felt as sweet. There’d be some bitterness, some regret. I feel it even now. It’s not a nice feeling.

This isn’t how reward systems are supposed to work, right? I mean, I definitely feel like I should celebrate hitting Onederland in some way – it’s an achievement and it marks, at least in the US where we use Imperial units, a distinctive transition. But I think setting goal-based rewards that aren’t tied to a number (be it weight or inches lost) might be a better system for me. For example celebrating a week of exceeding my Fitbit step count minimum, or getting 72 ounces of water or greater, or exploring new hiking trails, might produce a healthier approach to implementing rewards. It’s clear to me that I have a competitive spirit, but it’s also clear to me that I’m not above exploiting my bodily mechanisms to achieve results. I’m not proud of this, but I have to admit it to move forward.

So what will happen with this current reward? I’m keeping at it. I’ll not be chucking it out and going out and buying the camera for the hell of it – nor will I set a new goal to base it on. I will follow through with this, but I will not again endure the ridiculousness I put my body through these past 24 hours. I’ll get up and look forward to whatever result I see on the scale tomorrow, and the next day – same as usual. But I won’t waste half my day waiting for my biological systems to catch up to my desires. And I think once I hit Onederland, I’m going to taper off my weigh-ins to once per week again, for at least a little while.

But for today, I did reward myself for hitting 200 lbs by purchasing the domain JulieLoses.com for this blog. I had been thinking about it for awhile and decided that hitting 200 lbs was deserving of some treat for myself. I’d be lying if I told you my first reward idea wasn’t a Five Guys cheeseburger, but the domain is a much wiser decision.

This weight loss process, beyond the advantages of being smaller, more fit, and physically feeling healthier, has really given me tremendous insight into what makes me tick – both good and bad. I’m learning lessons and hopefully learning to move beyond some of my hang-ups. The benefits have gone well beyond what I originally imagined, and if that ME that decided to lose weight in the first place was an entity I could actually communicate with, I would give her a hug and thank her so much for taking those first steps. I’m losing weight, but I’m gaining so much more. It sounds silly to say it, but it’s really the truth. Thanks so much for coming along with me on this ride, and until next time – take care!