About this Blog:

Hi, thanks for visiting Health Quest!  My name is Angie Mothes, and I've had a life long interest in health and fitness.  This blog chronicles my life post-diet/weightloss, and focuses on how I try to maintain making healthy choices during my busy life.  One of my goals is to strive for balance - balance in work, home life, family and friend time, intellectual pursuits, plain ol' fun times, and of course balance in making healthy choices.  I truly believe that balance feeds your soul, and makes your life so much happier and healthier overall.

About my Weight Loss:

Since I was in junior high school, I've been interested in health and fitness. But, when I was a Junior (several, several years ago) in college at East Carolina University, I got really serious about exercise and eating a healthier diet. By the time I was a graduating Senior, I had lost over 30 pounds, looked great, felt great, and really had a sense of pride of what I had accomplished physically over the year and a half I had been following healthier habits.

The Gain
Over the next 8 years or so, I continued to pursue my interest in healthy living, though sporatically. "Life" was happening during this time. Moving to Wisconsin from North Carolina, going to graduate school at UW-Stout, new jobs (I've had a couple), getting married, buying a house, getting a puppy, etc. My weight and healthy habits tended to yo-yo during this time period. I was always within the size 4-6 range though. Then, in 2008 we bought another house and moved. I stopped working out, and basically ate anything that wouldn't eat me for several months as we packed up and sold our other house, moved to a temporary home, moved to our new home, and then had to restart and reorganize our lives all over again. I gained A LOT of weight during all of this. Nilla Wafers became my sanity food. Every night (I'm not exaggerating, it was every night), I would sit and eat Nilla Wafers until I went to bed. They were true deliciousness, but they were also driving me to a size 10! Yes, I was coming close to being a size 10. I weighed 157 pounds.  I had just recently bought size 8 work clothes, telling myself, "I guess this is the way it's going to be, you might as well face it and be a size 8," and now, I was on the verge of buying more clothes in a size 10. I felt out of control, and not at all like myself. I should also add that I was tired all of the time, having a lot of stomach issues, and was just generally not feeling well.

The Change
In February of 2009, I decided that I had had enough. I thought back on the number of diets and exercise routines I had been on over the years, and had abandoned time after time. What exactly caused me to abandon them? Why couldn't I stick with the program? Then it hit me. I would lose weight, feel great, then proceed to think "Oh, I can eat whatever I want now because I'm thin again. I can skip this workout just this one time, I mean, I am doing SO well, it won't matter." But, it would matter. Because inevitably I would end up eating the "wrong" foods all week, and I would skip another work out, and another. Plus, I would let my friends get to me, "Oh Angie, don't be such a health nut, have a french fry (or 20) for crying out loud." And I would have those french fries at that lunch, and the lunch on the next day. I couldn't stay committed.
After thinking all of this through, I decided right then and there I was going to live a healthier lifestyle. Not because I necessarily wanted to lose weight - that wasn't the ONLY reason - but because I wanted to live a long, healthy life. I wanted to feel good physically, and I wanted to feel good about myself as a person. I wanted to be alive! And, I did it. I actually stuck to my guns, and I'm still going after an entire year. I have never missed a scheduled workout, and I eat a healthy diet almost all of the time. I am now a size 2-4 again, and weigh 120 (I'm 5ft 4in). And, I feel GREAT!

From Diet to Maintenance:

The diet I practiced during the year that I was pushing myself to stay on track is a little different than my current diet. In fact, what I DID to loose weight was DIET, and now I am on a MAINTENANCE plan.  But, I should emphasize that my current maintenance plan is truly just "a little different" than my diet plan.  I was careful while dieting not to incorporate any fad type eating.  I wanted a healthy diet of protein, fats, and carbs, with overall low caloric intake. I ate 5-6 times per day to increase my metabolism.  The only true difference with my current maintenance plan, is that I allow myself a few (2-3 times per week) food indulgences. Now that my body burns fat and calories more efficiently, my metabolism is faster, and I continue to maintain a rigourous workout routine, the indulgences I allow myself burn themselves off quickly. But, I'm very careful to take note of the indulgences I do allow myself. Most of the time, I plan for them - a dinner out, a couple of cookies, popcorn at the movies. I don't let them sneak up on me, and I don't let unplanned opportunites take over. For example, if I've make healthy food choices all week, and someone at work brings in brownies, then I will have a small one. But, if I've just gone out to dinner the night before and indulged in two margaritas, then I will pass. It's all about control, and being mindful of your eating.

My Weightloss Advice
  • There are no secrets to losing weight, and keeping it off.  You just have to DO IT, commit yourself to taking care of you.  It's so worth it.
  • Exercise a lot, and on a regular schedule.  This way you not only lose weight initially, but you then help condition your body to burn calories all the time.  I wouldn't have lost the weight I did without exercising.  It's one of the major keys to weightloss and maintenance in my book.  Plus, it's just plain good to be in shape for a healthy and long life.  Your body is meant to move!  So do it!
  • Mix up your exercise if you get bored easily.  I love to run, and running on a regular basis satisfies me, but I also try to incorporate other exercises into my routine every now and then to keep my body guessing.  This helps to burn even more calories.  If you're the type of person who needs variety all the time though - do different exercises.  Run, power walk, bicycle, take aerobics classes, do Zumba or Body Pump.  Make exercise something fun to do, and something you look forward to doing every day.
  • Eat 5-6 meals a day.  You want to get your body used to eating, injesting calories, and burning calories on a regular basis.  I eat three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 3 snacks (10AM, 3PM, 5:30PM) a day.  The key here is that you need to eat food that is low in calories and high in protein and fiber.  Once your body gets used to eating and burning calories, your metabolism will increase, burning calories all the time! 
  • Plan, plan, plan.  In order to help you stick to your weightloss goals, you must plan ahead what you're going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  Plan out your meals and exactly what you're going to eat, plan your grocery list, plan for what you're going to eat during lunch meetings, plan for what you're going to order on that night out with the girls or for that special occasion.  If you have in mind what you know you should eat, then in most cases you are going to stick with that plan!
  • Drink a lot of water.  Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it can also keep you full.  Many times when we think we're hungry, we're actually just in need of water.  Plus, drinking water can give you something to do with your hands and mouth, and keep your focus off of snacking.  I always have my water bottle with me almost where ever I go.  No soda or other sugary drinks, not even diet soda - just drink water!
  • Eat clean, whole foods as much as possible.  You want to eat foods that are low in calories, but high in protein and fiber.  One way to do this is to prepare dishes from scratch. Use whole grains, lots of fresh veggies and fresh fruits, eggs, fresh and lean meats.  Don't use ingredients, sauces, pre-packaged foods that are high in sodium.  Simple, whole, goodness is the key here.
  • Move your body whenever you can.  Go for walks everyday, take the stairs on a regular basis, super clean your house, cut the grass, play with you kids outside.  Keep your body in motion.  Every little bit helps.

The Journey Begins
 Now with all of that said, I'm not going to lie and say that maintaining a healthy diet, planning out all of your meals and snacks, and working out now matter what isn't HARD! It totally is hard. Which is why I've started this blog. I really want to keep on track with living a healthy lifestyle. And, to do so requires constant vigilance on my part. I'm going to use this blog like a journal to report on what I'm eating, how I'm exercising, how I like different healthy recipies and new health food products, how I keep motivated, how I maintain a sense of balance in my life (which is very, very important to me too), and just to generally talk about my life. Also, I hope to maybe inspire other people to eat healthier and lifestyle of wellbeing. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I really do have a passion for health and fitness. I should also say that my husband, Carl, shares this passion as well. I'll write about him in a later post, but just so you know he will also be posting some ideas too along the way.

So, here we go! I hope you enjoy my journey!

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