I am so excited!! It is time for another success story! If you know someone (or are someone) who has GREAT answers to any of the questions, feel free to let me know.
This week’s success story is fellow Memphian and blogger Cammy who blogs at The Tippy Toe Diet. She has an awesome attitude and some amazing posts so definitely check out her blog. I love, love, love her blog and the answers she gave for this interview!
Weight Loss Success Story:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! I live in Memphis, TN and I’m f-f-f-fifty years old. (It’s a new thing. I’m still adjusting.) My hobbies are reading, writing, home remodeling projects, and now, exercising. Currently, I’m a financial systems manager, but I’ve recently learned that my job will be eliminated next year, so who knows what I’ll get into next. Losing 100 pounds has proven to me that I can do anything I put my mind to!
What moment or event started your weight loss journey?
A couple of years ago, my doctor sent me to a cardiologist for a treadmill test. There was some mix-up with the cardiologist’s staff, and I was told I needed to come back in to discuss angioplasty and possible bypass surgery. Lucky for me, there had been some grotesque misunderstanding by the staff and I didn’t need the surgery (there wasn’t a problem at all), but the fear I felt in those few days almost drove me insane. I knew then that I HAD to do something to improve my health.
What was your starting weight? What weight are you at now?
I started at 250 pounds and now I’m at or around 150. I like it here. :) [WOW! Go Cammy!]
What would you say is the most important factor in your weight loss?
I’ve been overweight/obese my entire adult life. I tried many times to lose weight, but I always failed for one reason or another. I think the big difference on this most recent effort was in my approach. Instead of focusing on “getting skinny”, I thought about “becoming healthy”. I accepted it (finally!) as a change in how I lived, not just a change in how I ate for a few months.
Weight Loss & Fitness:
What is your current fitness or exercise goal?
My goal is to complete some form of exercise 5-6 times a week, including 2-3 strength training sessions.
What methods are you using to achieve your goal?
Until recently, I worked with a personal trainer for strength training. Now I go to a local gym and work out on my own. For cardio, I use the elliptical at the gym, or if the weather is nice I walk or ride my bike outside.
I also use a small calendar to record my exercise, in whatever form it takes. I like looking back and seeing that I was very active (or not active enough, in a few cases.)
Are there any obstacles you had to overcome to begin exercising / keep exercising?
The biggest obstacle was my own embarrassment at how out of shape I was and how very little I knew about exercising. That’s why I bit the bullet and began working with a personal trainer in a private studio. I needed to build my confidence (and my ability) without an audience.
What’s your favorite exercise?
For now, my favorite is The Elliptical 5k. I wanted to be a runner, but it hurts my knees. So instead of running, I get on the elliptical trainer and “air run” until I reach 3.1 miles. To keep it challenging, every time I master a E5k in 30 minutes or less, I immediately begin working toward the same achievement at a higher level. I started at level 1 and now I’m at level 10. Considering that when I first started this journey, I couldn’t work out on the elliptical for five minutes, I’m pleased with my progress!
How do you deal with boredom in your exercise program?
Variety! I try not to do the same type of exercise two days in a row. Also, I go to different settings to walk or ride my bike. Sometimes, I’ll walk in the neighborhood, other times I’ll load my bike onto the car and go to a local park with bike trails. When I do strength training, I try not to repeat too many of the exercises from the previous strength session. Except push-ups. I always do push-ups.
Weight Loss & Food:
Describe the diet or healthy eating plan you’re following. What is the main focus of the plan? (ie: cutting calories? cutting fat? eating natural?)
All of the above. :) I don’t follow a prescribed diet (Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc.), but in the beginning, I used Sparkpeople.com to set some nutritional goals and track what I was eating.
My goals are 5-7 fruits/veggies a day, whole grains, lean protein, good fats, and so on. Over time, I’ve migrated to less-processed foods, but I doubt I’ll ever get to a 100% whole food diet. I’m okay with that. I try to focus on making healthier selections, even when they’re not totally healthy. For example, given the choice of a Fiber One bar or a Little Debbie snack cake, I’d go with the Fiber One, even though it’s not a “health food”, and consider it a victory.
What is one cardinal rule of nutrition you have learned that you always follow or never break?
Honestly, there’s probably not a nutritional rule that I *never* break. I try to eat the right things MOST of the time, and that seems to have worked for me.
Are there any foods you outright avoid and DO NOT eat?
Fried foods, and I don’t miss them at all. I also have avoided Little Debbie snack cakes, mostly as a symbolic gesture of giving up my old ways.
If you diet, do you allow for a regular reward meal (cheat meal)?
I call them splurges, and I use them religiously. From the beginning, I elected to have one meal a month that could be anything I wanted (helllo, nachos, my old friends), without worrying about the calorie or nutritional content. Also, I allow myself to have beef and one serving of “white starch” (potato, bread, tortilla, pasta) each week, which allows for those times when a burger or spaghetti or burrito is calling to me.
What about supplements? Which if any supplements do you add to your diet?
I like a little chocolate protein powder stirred into plain yogurt for a pre-workout snack, but I’m fairly infrequent with it.
Is eating healthy expensive for you? How much do you spend on food in a given week / month?
I spend about $80-$100 a week on food, but that’s primarily because I eat out a lot (Subway, Chick-fil-A, Jason’s Deli). At home, I have tuna, peanut butter, oatmeal, almonds, yogurt, cheese, and fruit. Oh, and I also usually have some sort of snacky thing like granola bars. I suspect that if I ate at home ALL the time, my grocery bill would be about $50-$60.
What are 3 of your best eating or dieting tips you would like to share?
These may not be the best for anyone else, but these are the things that have worked best for me:
1) Think of food as fuel. Exercising is easier and more effective if you choose the nutrients your body needs.
2) Don’t get hung up on perfection. The world will not end (I promise) if you have one too many bread servings one day.
3) Log your food intake, at least until you become comfortable that you know what foods (and the corresponding portion sizes) your body needs to function efficiently.
Weight Loss Blogging:
How did you first become interested in blogging and can you tell us a little bit about your blog?
I’ve always had an interest in writing but more on the fictional side of things. Several years ago, I wanted to stretch as a writer and get into non-fiction, and I started a small (and largely unread) blog about single life. As I started losing weight and getting more fit, my blogging focus changed and The Tippy Toe Diet was born. I don’t profess to have ALL the answers–some days I don’t have ANY answers–but I’ve accidentally stumbled on to a way of living that works for me, and I want to share it.
Has your weight loss blog helped you with losing weight?
It definitely keeps me accountable! I don’t want to have to post an entry that says, “I didn’t work out again today. That’s three days this week.” Also, I learn so much from fellow bloggers, and interacting with like-minded people keeps me motivated and on track.
What are your top 5 favorite weight loss/fitness blogs?
I have over a hundred blogs in my reader, so limiting it to five favorites is impossible. I’ll do a big cheat and list the Healthy You Challenge bloggers. Also, I like mizfit, hungry girl, Grounded Fitness, and Back to the Fridge.
Health Living Inspiration:
Do you have any favorite sayings, quotes, or anything that inspires you to be better, train harder or be more diligent with your eating
“Don’t let ‘best’ get in the way of ‘better'”, meaning don’t get so caught up with being perfect that you let a minor diversion turn into a full scale derailment. Also, Maya Angelou’s “I did then the best I knew then. When I knew better, I did better” always inspires me. Another one is simply, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” I have that on my whiteboard at work and use it to remind myself why I make the choices I make. (Another reminder is a copy of the last blood pressure prescription I got, the one that had the dosage cut in HALF because my blood pressure readings had improved so much.)
If you were to give advice to anyone considering starting a weight loss journey, what would you say?
Read. Learn. Try. But don’t try to change everything all at once. Not everything you read or hear about will work for you, but the process of finding The Answer for you is much easier–not to mention much more fun–if you take it in small, but steady steps.
What tips would you offer someone trying to lose a significant amount of weight?
In addition to the previous tips, I’d offer a suggestion to find some meaningful measure OTHER than the scale to monitor progress. Maybe it’s a smaller blouse, or a tight-fitting pair of pants, or a blood pressure or cholesterol reading, or maybe all of those things. But please don’t get hung up on the scale results.
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome! Thank you so much to Cammy for some awesome information and for sharing your story!