134lb by 34: UPDATE

It's been four months since my 34th birthday and the final day of my personal weight loss challenge. The goal had been to lose eleven pounds in ten weeks with the intention of lowering my high blood pressure. My final weigh in was two pounds shy of my goal but there was still a noticeable difference in my blood pressure. Since then I've continued to lose weight but at a slower pace. I've gone from a pound a week to a pound a month. This morning I weighed in 131.6lbs. My blood pressure is looking so good that I'm going to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss going off the blood pressure medicine. I'm not sure what she'll say but I promise to pass on the info. 

*Fancy Beer Friday is still on the way! We're having some trouble procuring the beer we want. Check back tomorrow! 

134 by 34

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday. That means it's the last day of my personal ten week challenge to lose 11 pounds. (For heart healthy reasons - I needed to lower my blood pressure. You can read more about that here.)

Cue Tim Gunn "Designers, its time..." 
Cue Regis Philbin "Is that your final answer?"
Cue high school teachers "pencils down, heads up..."

FINAL WEIGH IN SAYS...136.2 lbs! That's good enough for me! Of course tonight is also the night my phone doesn't seem to be sending data. So this is a photo of my phone. (My rule has been that weigh ins do not count if they are not photographed).

I feel really good about this. I feel even better about entering my mid-30's. This is going to be a great year.

Thanks for reading our blog. And if you haven't done so yet, please "like" our Facebook page. It'd make my birthday! 

Slow and steady wins the race

In late January, after being told by a doctor that all my heretofore efforts at lowering my blood pressure weren't good enough, I challenged myself to lose eleven pounds by my 34th birthday. That would put me at 134lbs and 34 years old (I liked the symmetry of it). As a person who prides herself on healthy eating there wasn't a lot I could do to alter my diet - so my options seemed limited to restricting alcohol consumption and increasing exercise (I was already working out three days a week) - so that is what I have done. 

There are just two weeks left in my personal weight loss challenge and tonight I weighed in  at 138lbs! I know that losing four more pounds in two weeks is unrealistic for me - especially because there seems to be a direct correltation between motivation and how hard it has become to keep a bra on. I do want to say - even though I am already really happy with how I feel at this weight - I will continue to try and reach my goal just because I am that kind of person. 

For me, the last few weeks have been a great reminder that fad diets are crazy. To lose weight and keep it off a person must change their habits. As an individual who tried Jenny Craig in high school, a lazy version of Atkins in college, Slim Fast and one frightening week of diet pills as a young adult I feel I have the experience to say "there are no short cuts to genuine health". Take your time, do it right and enjoy the feeling of knowing that your health is more then just skin deep. 

Oh and by the way - my blood pressure is looking GREAT. 

What's for lunch? Split pea soup!

Today we polished off the last of our week's supply of homemade split pea soup. It was a nice change from beans but now I'm looking forward to a week of chopped mixed greens.

We're also pretty much out of food so it looks like dinner tonight will be omelets with goat cheese, shallots and pickled tomatoes and peppers. Tomorrow night is a trip to YDFM.

Those of you who have been reading And Topher Too for several months already know we are not a weight loss blog (rather, we are a healthy living lifestyle blog) but weight loss has recently become a topic as I make a bigger effort to lower my blood pressure. The resolution started back in November when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure during a physical exam. My doctor's first response was to prescribe a blood pressure pill. When I returned a month later the medicine had not made a noticeable enough difference so my doctor changed my birth control pill to a low estrogen option. Even that did not bring my diastolic reading (bottom number) to the needed "below 80" number; I was stuck around 85. That is when I decided to lose weight. 11lbs in two months would put me at 134lbs by my 34th birthday.  Well, I'm 34 days in and I've got great news and news I'd hoped would be better.

The great news is: holy cow it worked!!! I've lost 5lbs pounds in five weeks and my diastolic reading has dropped 20 points. It's now averaging 66! I hadn't even dreamed 5lbs could change my blood pressure so dramatically. Hooray!

The news I'd hoped would be better: I'm holding steady at 140lbs. I just can't crack into the 130s. I've even added a 4th day of exercise by signing up for 8 weeks of kickboxing. I'd been warned the last 5lbs would be the hardest... so I'm not giving up just yet. My fingers are crossed that more exercise, less booze and another 4 weeks of determination gets me where I want to be. If it doesn't - then fine - I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

Weight Loss Check-In
Day 34, start of week six: 140.2lbs (4.8lbs lost)

Good Eats: Wednesday & Thursday

Breakfast: Kashi Crunch cereal with Silk soy milk and about 7 raw almonds, coffee with half & half
Lunch: red beans with Greek yogurt
Snack: banana
Dinner: Bo ssam left overs (this time with homemade guacamole)
no gym, no alcohol
Breakfast: Kashi Crunch cereal with Silk soy milk and about 7 raw almonds, coffee with half & half
Lunch: mixed greens with cucumber & roasted red pepper (from Alon's)
Snack: none
Dinner: pork tacos with homemade tomatillo sauce, homemade guacamole and Greek yogurt (note: I ate 3, not 4), 2 glasses of pinot noir (worth it)
500 calories burned on the elliptical (level 9/hills setting/ 32 minutes)

Weight Loss Check-In
Day 10: 142lbs (3lbs lost)

What's for lunch? Mixed greens with cucumber & roasted red pepper

For lunch today I ran over to Alon's in Morningside to pick up a salad from their "create your own" bar.  While I've always enjoyed their prepared foods,  fresh baked breads, cheeses, desserts and salads - I was just recently turned on to having their salads "chopped". I LOVE IT! The truth is, long stems on spinach and other mixed greens often make me gag while chewing. Having everything "chopped" completely solves the problem! I wish I'd discovered this sooner.

My go-to salad at Alon's is currently mixed greens, cucumber, roasted red pepper, goat cheese and a side of balsamic vinaigrette. I ate half at lunch time and the rest before I left the office at 6:15pm (as fuel for the gym).



Weight Loss Check-In
Day 3: 144.6lbs (.4lbs lost)

Physical health: an update

In early November I went to a general practitioner for my first physical exam in ten years.  I was relieved to discover my cholesterol levels are fine (LDL:106, Good: 51, Bad: 98, Total: 177) but I was surprised to discover my blood pressure is stubbornly high (130/90). The doctor immediately put me on Lisinoril, a blood pressure medicine, with the hopes of lowering my diastolic reading. 

A month later I returned for a check up. We were both disappointed to discover that the medicine had not yet made a difference. At that point my doctor changed my birth control pill to a lower estrogen option (it was the first time I'd altered it in 15 years). Since then my diastolic reading has lowered between 5 and 8 points (depending on the reading). Honestly, I've been thrilled. I thought I had something to be excited about. But that ended this morning when I went in for my yearly gyno exam. This doctor was not pleased with my diastolic reading of 83. And to my disappointment she didn't even seem to acknowledge the progress I felt I'd made. Rather she reminded me that if I planned to conceive sometime this year that I needed to lower my blood pressure unless I wanted a high risk pregnancy. 


I go to the gym and work out HARD, three times a week. I've given up all processed and fake foods. I consciously eat a high fiber diet... and here I was being scolded by a doctor at 7:45 in the morning. 

So, what to do now?

Sigh, weight loss. It's taken me almost two decades to appreciate and accept my body the way it is. I accept that I'm 10 to 15 pounds overweight and I don't let it get me down. I'm naturally curvy. My Mom would call me voluptuous, "an hourglass", but in reality I'm a pear. I've accepted that I will never have the lean, sinewy body of a runner and I'm okay with being the heaviest girl in the design studio [at work]. I've been okay with it because I know I am healthy, I truly enjoy good food and drink and I have more to offer then my looks. I'm a talented professional and contributing member of society - I don't need to be an overt sexpot to have value. 

But now... Now I have a reason to finally lose the last 10 or 15 pounds. I want to live until 2075 when I'll be 97 years old. It's too soon to be worrying about a stroke or high-risk pregnancy. So here goes: my goal is to weigh 134lbs by my 34th birthday. That's 11lbs in 10 weeks.  I'll be sure to keep everyone updated along the way... And thanks in advance for your support. 

To learn more about blood pressure please visit the American Heart Association's website. They have an easy to understand page explaining everything. If you haven't had yours checked recently then I recommend taking a few minutes to do so the next time you're at a pharmacy (it's that fun cuff that expands up on your arm). Even though high blood pressure usually has no symptoms - it can have deadly consequences.