Calculating your BMI

How to determine your BM!

Facts about BMI

Knowing how to calculate your BMI is one of many things you can do to be proactive in managing your weight. This link goes to a page that helps you make this calculation and determine your risk factors for health complications due to obesity. That same website also has some detailed descriptions of various forms of bariatric surgery (for informational purposes only). I am not a proponent of surgery other than as a last resort. Those who know me, know that I accomplished my 88 lb. weight loss with diet and exercise. I’ve kept my weight in a healthy range for over 10 years. However, I have a number of personal friends who have had versions of this kind of surgery with successful weight loss. They are happy with their choices. One other person I know lost weight and then gained it all back despite having the surgery. Another person I’m acquainted with, has had serious and life threatening complications. You are the steward of your body. Choose wisely.

Fitness tracker keeps me on track

Fitness tracker on wrist with bracelet style band

My Fitbit Alta with Greek key pattern band made by Bayite.

Now that I’ve maintained my weight loss and kept my mindset focused on healthy living for nearly 10 years, I can confidently say I’m a success. Expert? Yes, to the extent of my personal experience and range of study on the subject. I’m not a nutritionist but it’s in my own best interest to stay well-informed. I take what I’ve learned and I apply it to my daily routines. Over the years, I’ve changed some things to fit my lifestyle as I evolve and adjust, always with an eye towards maintaining everything I’ve gained.

Interestingly, as much as I love technology and gadgets, In all this time, I never felt an inclination to try any of the fitness trackers on the market—until this year. I should first mention, this is not a product endorsement in the sense that the Fitbit company did not give me the Alta I’m using in return for this blog post. I bought my Fitbit and now that I’ve used it for a while, I’m ready to talk about my experience which has been mostly good. I have one or two peeves but I’ll get to them later.

I first started with a $69 off-brand that worked reasonably well until it went through the wash in a pocket (twice) before it began to malfunction. By then I was very much in the habit of tracking my daily steps and I felt it gave me incentive to keep moving. So I went about researching smart watches thinking I would go that route, but in the end I didn’t feel they’d evolved enough to make me buy one.

After polling women I trusted in a Facebook group where I’m active, I settled on buying the Fitbit Alta (about $120). It’s very accurate as far as I can tell and has multiple features. I monitor my steps, calories burned, minutes of activity, my sleep patterns, weight lost or gained, what I’ve eaten, water intake and more. Of those things, the first four are my favorites. The alerts are great. If I happen to be away from my cell phone, a mild buzz on my wrist lets me know I’ve received a call or a text. I also use wake-up alerts and reminders to move around each hour. I keep it dry. It is water resistant but not waterproof. Don’t wear it in shower or while swimming. however, if you are sitting by a pool or riding in a boat and it gets splashed, just dry it right away and all will be fine.

I wasn’t thrilled with the synthetic band that came with it and the company’s offering was too rich for my budget at $89, so I opted for two or three fun and beautiful bands sold on Amazon by Bayite made specifically for the Fitbit Alta. (See my favorite in the photo, it was $18.) They have two sizes, small works best for me. Several manufacturers make bands for Fitbit models but they are not all alike. I read reviews carefully before I made my purchase.

Peeves: This applies to many brands and is more about waiting for the technology to catch up, but with both trackers I owned, it was difficult to read the screen in bright sunlight. The second thing that irks me—and this too, was characteristic of both trackers, is that the finger tap necessary to change the readout often needs to be repeated several times before anything happens. Grrr. Interestingly, the cheaper tracker (Striiv) allowed for a tap and finger swipe that was a bit easier to successfully execute than  straight tapping with the Fitbit Alta.

Overall, my Fitness tracker has become an important part of my routine and I wouldn’t be without it. It’s a great tool and my favorite helper.

Hey, it’s been a while since I sent you over to visit me on Facebook. Come see me some time.

Healthy changes bring big payoffs twofold

Nadia-Chuck before-after 2006-2013 copy

Click to enlarge: Chuck and Nadia before and after

Healthy changes bring big payoffs twofold. It was six years ago this month, August 4, 2007, that I made the decision to get my life back into balance and started living a healthier, happier lifestyle. I’ll never forget it. I knew beyond doubt that this time I would do it. Why? Because I wasn’t starting a diet, and I wasn’t losing weight for an event, or any one of the dozens of reasons we all start diets and fail. I knew because I was changing my habits permanently. (Eventually I went on to write this blog, and a book, Thinking Skinny, about my journey.)

My husband, Chuck Kasun, got started on the same path four years later in 2011. Look at him today! We both feel renewed. The thing about it is, because we made permanent lifestyle changes, we’re in a more comfortable, happier place than we would be otherwise. We’re not waiting for a diet to end so we can get back to everyday life. We have a fun, new lifestyle that includes bicycle riding, daily exercise, excursions, travel, projects, etc. What could be better than that? The couch and the easy chair are still there in our living room, they just don’t get as much use. We look happier too, don’t we?

Special note: I recently changed my primary care doctor and it turns out he is a respected obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic. I wish I had known him a few years ago. Even though he became my doctor after I lost weight, I’ve had some great conversations with him on the subject. It was validating to watch a recording of a lecture he gave on obesity and notice that the formulas and recommendations in my book, Thinking Skinny are in line with what he was teaching. How great is that!

Surviving summer picnics

two feet with red toenails on a scale

Change your inner dialogue

Are you surviving summer picnics? When you are standing on the scale, do you sometimes have the following internal monologue?

Damn, I’m up a few pounds. How did that happen? I feel like I’ve been pretty good over the last three weeks. How could I have gained? I should have stayed about the same, maybe even lost a little. This isn’t working. I’m so disappointed. The 4th of July is coming up and I know there will be two, maybe three picnics and barbeques to go to. How will I manage without wrecking my whole summer? Just thinking about it makes me want to eat something greasy and comforting. I may as well top it off with a dessert. Then I’ll feel better and I can get back on my program. After all, I deserve some pleasure in life.

Stop, rewind, and reframe your thinking more like this:

What? I’m up a few pounds. That’s a surprise, but I know I’ve been doing most of the right things in my plan. I’m not that far off the program, and I also know sometimes there are setbacks and plateaus. I believe it’s still working. I will focus on the end result and not dwell on this. I don’t understand why this makes me feel like eating something comforting, but instead, I’ll get back on my program right now. The 4th of July is coming up so I’ll plan ahead, and bring a healthy dish to the pot-luck picnic and I’ll have a light snack before I go to the pig roast so I won’t be famished and overeat. I can enjoy the summer and be in great shape.

THINKING SKINNY is MIPA award finalist

THINKING SKINNY from Cloud 9 Publishing is a finalist in the 20th Annual Midwest Book Awards ( Social Science (psychology, family, self-help) category.  Here we are at the Award ceremonies May 12th at the Minnesota Center for the Humanities and although we didn’t take first place, I couldn’t be happier. Pictured below left to right: Connie Anderson (she did the final editing of Thinking Skinny), my husband Chuck Kasun, and me (Nadia Giordana).

Such a thrill to be included among so many great 2009 releases.

Order out of chaos

Black, white, ivory, assorted neutrals and an occasional accent color. That’s it. That’s my whole wardrobe. Everything in it is black, white, ivory or neutral. Blouses and accessories add color. Oh yes, and blue jeans. Blue jeans are neutral.  After losing about 40% of my total body weight, nothing fit and I threw everything out. I needed a complete wardrobe, all the way down to my underwear! It took a year to build, and I put a great deal of thought into every purchase, even jewelry. After all, this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to start fresh and get it right. You know what I mean, I know you do.  I can now go to my closet blindfolded, pick out virtually any top, bottom, jacket belt and shoes, and it will all work together. I’m serious. How great is that?

–Nadia Giordana