2014 Amazingness & 2015 Resolutions

Holidaze!

Gym goodness2014 was one of the best years of my life. At the turn of the clock on 1/1/14, I was a few weeks out from Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery, finally on the road to recovery and ready to start living my new life with my new stomach.

To recap, I went on no fewer than 16 trips ranging from weekends at the coast to Las Vegas to the very tippy corner of Arizona bordering Mexico to the Redwood forests in Northern California. I did pub crawls and wine tour days and went dancing and to concerts and to a wedding reception for new friends I met through the WLS community. I went hiking and walking and exploring. I had big parties, small parties, dinner parties, movie nights and book club meetings. I went to happy hours and fancy dinners and went dancing and felt more fully myself than I ever had before.

Some of my big surgery related accomplishments and notable mentions were that I lost 100 pounds, I hit Onederland (meaning my weight is now in the 100’s), I can cross my legs (most notably under a table!), I don’t have chaffing when I wear dresses and skirts, I can shop in regular sized stores, starting 2015 in a M/L, 12-ish size range. I have BONES! And not just collar bones, but elbows and knees and hips and ribs and a JAW (this is amazing)! I am in the best shape of my life, with so much more room for growth. I can walk and hike and move without constant pain, especially foot pain. I completed a 12 week weight lifting challenge and lost 12 inches and 4 pounds… results aside, though, I was PROUD of accomplishing the challenge. I showed up, I was present, I did the work and it changed my life and my attitude on fitness and how fitness and I relate to each other.

 

As I closed out 2015, I spent a solid month over eating, making poor food choices and drinking way more than I usually do, and, frankly, more than what I prefer. I gained just about six pounds during the month and started to feel worse and worse. I put together a photo collage to remind myself of how far I’ve come and reflected on what I wanted 2015 to look like for me.

Xmas 2013 vs Xmas 2014
Xmas 2013 vs Xmas 2014

I came up with the following resolutions/ goals:

  1. 208 hours of exercise in 2015. I am starting off the year strong with a month back at the Kettlebell studio (more on that later) with 4 one hour work outs per week plus an additional day of cardio (time to be determined) and 75 minutes a week of yin yoga. After the month in the kettlebell studio, I’ll probably go back and do the 12 week weight lifting challenge again on my own. Love me some muscles!!!
  2. I would like to reach my weight goal this year. I had it previously set at 160, but I’m going to try to go for 150. If it takes me all year, that is okay. I want to eat well and exercise and get to where I’m going with the mindset of it’s a marathon and not a sprint. As of today, this leaves me with 44.6 pounds to go. I’ll reassess where I want to be from there.
  3. I will do one Whole30 challenge in 2015. I start this on 1/5/15 so I expect to get this done early and maybe do a second one in May or June, but my goal is to successfully complete one of these. I like doing these in January as I can abstain from all the shit that got me in the ruts in December: Sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy. Protein and produce is what I’m all about this month.
  4. I would like to reduce some old credit card debt that I have. The number I have in mind will take me 2/3 of the way to paying it off in full.
  5. Travel! I would like to take one large trip (5+ days) and at least 4 small trips (3-4 day long weekends). I have WLSFA in San Diego booked and a subsequent cruised booked with some friends I’ve made through the weight loss surgery community. That will be 9-10 days. I already have two long weekends away booked with my fella and we’re talking about doing Dallas and NYC this year as well so I’m well on my way to accomplishing this goal.

So, friends, I’m feeling hopeful, determined, optimistic and excited for 2015. What are your highlights of 2014 and goals for the new year ahead?

Holiday Spirit or Self-Sabotage?

Happy Holidays!

There have been some pretty major milestones hit in the last couple of months. I hit 100 pounds lost. I got under 200 pounds (Onderland). I hit my one year surgiversary. I made it into a 12/14, M/L clothing size which allows me to buy clothes in any store I choose. I’ve changed my entire body shape and composition by lifting weights. And so much more. Lots and lots and lots of good stuff.

Holiday Wine Tasting
Holiday Wine Tasting

And yet in the last couple of weeks, I have gained or maintained each week. I am not following my eating plan, I am eating more carbs, slider foods, sugar and just more in general. I’m also socializing more which means I’m participating in more adult beverages. I consciously drank very little in November and seem to be more than making up for that drought in December.

But it occurred to me the other day… is this normal holiday spirit or absolute and utter terror? “Why would you be afraid, Lindsay?” you may ask. Excellent question. One would think that at my lowest adult weight, in a size of clothing I can’t remember ever seeing, and at a level of fitness I’d never before been able to obtain… what is there to possibly be afraid of? I’m not entirely sure, but I know I AM afraid. Afraid of not losing the rest of the weight. Afraid that wherever I end up I won’t be able to maintain. Afraid of gaining some or all my weight back. Afraid of the attention I get from other people that I’m not experienced in dealing with.

So I ask myself if I’m doing the normal holiday celebration thing or if my behavior is, plain and simple, self-sabotage. Frankly, I think it’s both. I’m pushing the boundaries, edging out of the box, seeing how far I can go. But see how far I can go before what? Before I get totally out of hand and my 3.2 pound gain turns into 10? Not acceptable.

working out
working out

My game plan: Get through the holidays. Try to only eat when I’m hungry. I refuse to deprive myself of things, but I do need to keep moderation in mind. I WILL have my Aunt’s incredible pie on Christmas Eve for dessert, but I won’t take any home with me. I WILL enjoy my champagne and wine during these weeks but I’ll recommit to limited drinking come January. In fact, my boyfriend and I are planning on doing a more whole foods eating thing come the New Year. Not really a cleanse or diet, per se, but a conscious effort to cut out sugar, gluten, alcohol and, for me, dairy. My goal is to reduce inflammation and continue to drop weight and his goal is to lose a few pounds and FEEL better. I have to remember that, between now and the end of the year, the more sugar I eat, the more I WANT to eat, so it really is just easier to cut that off at the pass instead of negotiating it while it’s happening. I will continue to work out (although the wine sure has affected my ability to do cardio, let me tell you!) and focus on protein and fluids and just get through the next few weeks with the intention to truly do the best I can.

Happy holidays, friends, and may your New Year be happy and bright!

The one where she loses 100 pounds

100 pounds down

Tuesday, September 29th 2014. This is the date I officially hit the 100 pound lost mark. I was silent with it for a little bit. And then I announced it to the world. I posted it on both my personal and WLS facebook pages. I posted a YouTube Video. I received an outpouring of support and congratulations. And still I did not expect to feel how felt. I thought I’d see that number fall below 201.2 (the 100 pound mark) and flip out. Jump up and down and scream and maybe even cry. I was perplexed to find that I felt almost nothing. Maybe a bit confused. A little numb. Definitely shocked. Who is this person? What’s happening here? When I look into the mirror and I see my collar bones and my waist and the small gap in my thighs, I think “she is lovely!” and yet in my head I don’t always identify that person as ME.

100 pounds difference in one year
100 pounds difference in one year

Losing 100 pounds is an amazing accomplishment. I feel proud and blessed and appreciative that all the work I’ve put in, not just this year, but in the last several years, is finally coming to fruition with the help of my new tool (my sleeve). I wish I felt like I wanted to climb a mountain top and roar “THIS IS ME!” But I find myself cowering a bit… wanting to hide… confused as to what is happening.

Perhaps I’m experiencing some trepidation. I have put myself out in the public eye. I have made my journey public… much more so since joining I’mPerfect.net/ Makingprogress.me and I think there is an undercurrent of pure terror and panic that if I fail… if I gain some or all my weight back… everyone will see it. EVERYONE will know I failed. I have little doubt that I will succeed (I do have some, of course), but as someone who has lost and gained the same 20-50 pounds for 15 years, it’s hard to wrap my mind around maintaining a healthy weight for the long haul.

One hundred pounds is a lot to lose in 10 months. Many lose that weight in even shorter amounts of time. But for me, personally, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had much time to adjust to it. I lost 70 pounds in 4 months and 30 pounds in the 6 months thereafter. Despite things having slowed down to a steady 5 pounds per month, I still consider myself in the low 200’s. I’ve been below 210 for 2+ months and I still think of myself as 230. My brain has simply not caught up.

100 pounds difference - ONE YEAR!
100 pounds difference – ONE YEAR!

Oh, and let’s not even talk about the hormones. I’m sure I’ll make that another post in and of itself. For now let’s just say that not only is the physical changes to my body shocking and amazing and beautiful and terrifying, but the spectrum of emotion and thought and confusion and joy I feel on a moment to moment basis is a jumble.

I hope once the shock has worn off, I can revel in this incredible achievement. By the time I adjust to the 100 pounds down, I’ll probably see that 1 as the first number on the scale instead of a 2 and I’ll go through all of this all over again! Another big, shocking, incredible milestone. ‘Till then, friends….. feel free to catch up on The Story of Me Part One, Two, Three and Four! 🙂

Run is a 4-Letter Word

Finishing my 1st 5K

Do you remember when you were in high school? There was that one day every year in P.E. where every student was asked to run a mile for a fitness test. I hated that day. My thoughts in general were, “You want me to do what? For how long?”

Inevitably, I would simply walk all four laps being passed by the more athletic and fit in my class. (Let’s not even mention those classmates that were in track or cross country. You mean someone actually volunteers to run? For fun?) Let’s face it. In most sports, running is used as a form of punishment, a torture device. I believed it to be just that. When I began my exercise routine, I agreed to it because there was no running involved. I only had to walk 30 minutes a day. That was perfectly fine with me. I enjoyed doing the kettlebells 4 times a week. The first week left me unable to walk, or sit, or move in general for a few days. However, the results were amazing. I fell in love with kettlebells and it continues to be one of my go to workouts. I, also, enjoyed my nightly walks. Every night after I came home, my husband, J.R. and I would set out on a walk around the neighborhood. It was nice. However, as I progressed, my walks became faster and faster and I began to lose J.R.

One evening I had a crazy thought. I simply felt the need to run. Considering my long hatred of running, this was quite unusual. However, I went with the thought and I ran. I ran for about 5 seconds before I stopped dead in my tracks huffing and puffing feeling as if there was a sudden loss of oxygen in the atmosphere. I wondered again why anyone would do such a thing for fun?

Over the next few weeks, I continued to have these urges to run. So I continued to push myself. I would run for a short distance and then walk for a longer distance. I had been bitten by the running bug. I was actually enjoying it. I still didn’t understand how people were able to run more than a few seconds at a time, much less for a mile or more. But I continued to keep at it. I didn’t use any program (though the couch 2 5k is great). I just did things on my own terms.

One day I had another crazy idea. I decided to run a 5k. I discovered an all women’s race in San Diego, the same weekend my husband had a bike ride there. With a great amount of encouragement (read: pushing) from J.R., I signed up.

To say I was scared would be a gross understatement. The last few months had led up to this race and I was very nervous. If you would have told me the year before that I would be running a 5k, I would have told you, you were insane. However, that’s exactly where I found myself. I had two goals for my first race. The first was to finish. Because of my strong-willing nature there was no way I was going to allow that to not happen. My second was to run the entire race. I did not want to walk for even one second. That was a tall order for someone who had never run more than a few feet just a few months before.

Finishing my 1st 5K
Finishing my 1st 5K

That race was difficult for me. I was slow. I was a new runner so understanding that hills would be involved never entered my thinking. At one point, I noticed I was moving very slowly and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting anywhere. Then I looked up. I was running up a hill. Ugh. But at the end of the day I made it. I finished that race and ran every single step.

The overwhelming sense of accomplishment I felt that day was incredible. Graduating from high school, college and eventually graduate school all paled in comparison to this accomplishment for me. Those things came easily, naturally for me. Running was something I hated. It was something I had to work hard to achieve. The exhilaration as I crossed the finish line was the most amazing feeling. To know I did something I never thought I would be able to do was incredible. From that day on, I was hooked and a runner was born.

Eatin’ like a truck driver and walkin’ like a grandma

good enough

I’ve written an earlier post on here about how much I enjoy running. And I also mentioned that I would not be able to run for a month without really elaborating much on that. But it has been a HUGE, HUGE challenge for me this past month. I got sick with a cold in the middle of September, and because my lungs are often extremely crap-tastic (surprisingly, not an actual word) and asthmaey (also not actual word), my cold quickly morphed into pneumonia, complete with deep, disgusting cough that made everyone in my immediate vicinity want to murder me either because a) they wanted to put me out of my misery or b) they couldn’t handle one more second of my hacking.

I went to the doctor and got antibiotics and steroids since the pneumonia made my asthma flare up, and quickly disregarded any advice given to me about resting. I am terrible at resting. I get annoyed with the mere concept. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided one day off of work and 2 days off of running was plenty. I got out of breath on my runs then the way I did when I first started and wheezed like a chain smoker, but I kept running. Sometimes I let my “no excuses” attitude go to the extreme, like in this case when I really had no business at all running. So I didn’t really get much better. I was tired all the time. I usually get 4-5 hours of sleep a night (yes, I know that’s not enough) and feel fine with that, but I began to feel like I needed 10 hours at least. Did I actually listen to my body then and get extra sleep? Please! Nope, I stubbornly kept getting up at 4:30 to run.

Around a month after I initially got sick, my asthma flared up again while running and I ended up at the doctor’s again. A chest x-ray showed my pneumonia was still alive and kicking. At this time, I was absolutely forbidden from doing any form of cardio st all for AN ENTIRE MONTH, and then I would be allowed to slowly work my way back to normal. At which point, I ripped my hair out, screamed, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?!?”, and treated my doctor to a smackdown of epic proportions. Or maybe I just looked at him with an uncomprehending stare. After much pleading on my part, my doctor said I could slowly walk a mile a day. And then he put me on another course of antibiotics and steroids.

I walked out of that office and cried. I threw myself a pity party right there in my car. Because I knew I needed to actually listen to the doctor this time so I could start to feel like an actual human being again and not have to invest so much energy in mere breathing. I knew I really wasn’t going to run for a whole month. At one point in my life, this would have not been a big deal. It wouldn’t have been any kind of deal at all because my only form of exercise was walking to the kitchen for more snacks. But now I run every day. Every. Single. Day. I have one day where I cut back on my mileage to give my body a break, but otherwise I have run 8 miles a day for months now.

Running burns calories obviously, but it also grounds me. This is somewhat ironic since I am fully aware that waking up at 4:30 in the morning every day to run 8 miles is about as type A as it gets, but running also helps keep that type A craziness and anxiety-prone side of me in check. To have that taken away from me, it honestly just felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I know that seems intensely melodramatic, like I’m some love-sick 13-year-old, but it is actually true. Running and I are apparently in an angst-ridden teenage relationship, akin to Bella and Edward in Twilight (except minus the superfast vampires, creepily intense stares, and werewolf love triangles, but actually with the extremely pale skin). Without running, I felt kind of adrift and very not in control,  and if you know anything about type A personalities like myself, that is not a feeling I liked very much at all. Add steroids to that mix and the truck driver-esque hunger that comes with them (one night I found myself gnawing on a random pork chop because I was absolutely starving), and I felt on the verge of a panic attack. Well, actually not a panic attack. I felt on the verge of comforting myself with some nice mac ‘n cheese or maybe some ice cream. Or maybe both.

But I didn’t do that. I didn’t even hate myself for wanting to do that. I know that part of me is something I will always have to deal with. Denying its existence will just ensure that I give in to the part of me. Instead, I talked to people about how I was feeling, even if maybe I felt a little stupid having such intense feelings about not running. The old me would never have talked to people about her problems. The old me would have pasted a big fake smile on her face and assured everyone that she was just fine. Now though, I let myself be not fine for a day or so. I let myself feel all my fears about gaining weight during this time. And then I formulated a plan. I couldn’t do cardio, but I could do strength training with the same dedication I previously put into cardio. I couldn’t run, but I could still keep in the habit of getting up at 4:30 and I could walk my one mile. I could adjust my calorie intake to compensate for my decreased exercise. I decided that I had a choice; I could either feel sorry for myself and let this be a wasted month, or I could make the best of my circumstances. I looked at it like a new challenge, and I love a good challenge.

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t had moments where I did feel sorry for myself. Or that I haven’t had moments where I whined to anybody who happened to be nearby about how much I missed running. Or that I haven’t cheated a few times and walked more than my one measly mile (but I did walk, and not run!). Or that my calorie count wasn’t higher than it should have been a few days. I’m a person, not a robot after all. But for the most part, I am proud of how I turned this month around from a negative to a positive. I think it’s a true demonstration of how far I have come in terms of being “all or nothing.” It would have been so, so easy for me to use this as an excuse to not exercise at all since I couldn’t do what I normally do. But I didn’t do that. I did what I could do.

I kept my weight stable this whole month and ended up losing 2 inches in my waist because of the strength training. If I’m totally honest, sometimes it is an effort for me to be proud of this. At times, that type A, all or nothing side of me rears its ugly head and sneers, like, “Maintained your weight? Why didn’t you lose weight? If you had worked harder, been better, you would have had more to show for it.” Or when I was finally able to start running again last week, that side of me was all, “That’s what you call running? My grandmother could run faster than you right now!” In all honesty, that part of me is like some manic drill sergeant from hell or something. That side of me is always about “More! Better! Faster!” There’s that little part of me where nothing I do will ever be good enough. But you know what? Sometimes it’s not all about more, or better, or faster. Sometimes it’s about doing what you can do and letting that be enough. It’s a good thing to be driven to succeed and better yourself, but not to the point where you end up destroying yourself. So I consciously make myself be proud of what I have accomplished this month. Because while I may not have much to show for it on the scale, I feel like I have shown myself what I am made of.

good enough

Meet Me at the Barre

Holly and Me!
The main studio
The main studio

One of the many things I’ve been recently obsessed with lately is Barre classes. I found a studio not too terribly far from me, through Groupon, that is not only beautiful but has a variety of Barre classes including Bootybarre, Flex and Flow Barre, Barre Fusion and Barre Circuit (descriptions can be found here. I, personally, love the Barre circuit class. I’ve read some blogs recently that talk about how Barre isn’t that great of a work out and I respect everyone’s right to like or dislike a work out, but I consistently burn 400 calories per hour during a Barre Circuit class and I think that’s darn good (considering I burn 450 in a bootcamp style kettle bell class, which has a higher intensity level).

The phrase “up and inch, down an inch” has become its own type of glorious torture for me, but in such a good way. Most of the exercises are done at the barre and you get low into a pose and then you hover… lifting up just an inch and hovering back down just an inch. I have never ever felt my legs shake the way this kind of isolated movement can make my legs shake. Even after just one work out, I walked out feeling like I had the longest leanest legs ever (I don’t, of course, but perception counts). It doesn’t hurt that everyone in the studio (and I mean everyone, not just the instructors) have absolutely magnificent booties. They don’t call it “booty” barre for nothing.

 

Holly and Me!
Holly and Me!

While all the instructors that I’ve had while attending this studio have been incredible, there is something inherently motivating about the owner, Holly’s, voice. I love taking the Barre Circuit class with her and her voice has this lilt to it that just makes me feel like she’s rooting for me (and everyone) no matter how torturous the words (again, I go back to “up and inch, down an inch”). She has created such a warm and welcoming space with good music, good work outs and a great team of staff. All the staff is welcoming , warm, supportive and encouraging, but Holly’s voice really carries me through when I’m taking her classes.

I should note that the studio also holds many Les Mils type classes such as BodyPump, INSANITY (I, personally, burn SEVEN HUNDRED calories an hour in this class!), GRIT, Zumba, Cardio Funk etc. (again, descriptions can be found here). They also have personal training, occasional monthly challenges, dance and many other offerings that make this a full service studio for a full body work out, not just for toning and strengthening but for HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cardio training as well. I, personally, am currently on a class kick and NEED the variety to keep me engaged in my work outs. Long over are the days when I could just pedal away on the elliptical with a book in hand. Between this studio, my 12 week weight lifting challenge (more on that later) and other studios / gyms I frequent, my work outs here keep me interested, engaged and pushing for more.

Until next time, friends, maybe I’ll meet you at the barre! 😉

If you’re just tuning in, here are links to The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) Part One, Two, Three and Four.

Progress not perfection

perfect_thumb[2]

 

I dont know about you, but I forget how far I have come in a relatively short amount of time.  I often think I should be a lot farther along in my weightlifting skills. I constantly complain that I’m still too fat to do a strict pull up.  Why aren’t I stringing together my double unders? (to pass the jump rope under your feet twice before your feet hit the ground again) My 10 minute mile always brings about a frown.

I get frustrated.  I spend 5-6 days a week at the gym.  I spend at least a hour or so a day reading articles on nutrition, weightlifting, metabolic conditioning, gymnastic skills, etc.  I talk to other crossfitters.  I talk to people in other disciplines such as running, martial arts, etc. I put a lot into my training.

With such an investment (on top of a 50+ hour a week job) I often feel like I should be better.  Better.   Better then what?

Here’s the Reader’s Digest on my short history on turning it around.

Im going to skip ahead the childhood and teenage years.  Lets start while I’m an adult.  When I got married in 2006, I was about 25.  I was barely able to drive myself to work due to constant fear of panic attacks while driving and I probably topped the scales at about 350lbs.

I was riddled with anxiety, depression and lots of chronic diseases.  I remember how bitterly I cried the day I learned I was diabetic due to being morbidly obese. I was literally killing myself with food. I hated myself. I was walking home from the doctors office bawling my eyes out and then had this horrible moment of shame.  All I could think was someone was probably watching me walk home and thinking “Look at the fat girl crying.”  Some moments stay with you.  And some times they will change you.

Slowly, I started to make changes.  I got my diabetes under control.  I went to therapy for my anxiety and panic attacks.  I finally let myself feel feelings instead of eat them.  Over time, the anxiety got better.  I learned cognitive behavior techniques to keep myself from triggering panic attacks.  I started the long road of learning how to not hate myself.

But maintaining weight loss was still very difficult.  I would lose some and feel great.  So good in fact I’d reward myself with a treat.  Then I’d feel terrible and soothe myself with food.  Then I’d feel even worse, so I’d eat some more and sometimes even purge it.  I was a downward spiral of food.  I had to break this cycle.  I had to do something really big. I researched for a good 7-8 months about weight loss surgery.  I made a big decision.

My first year out of surgery, I focused on re-learning how to eat.  How to feel about food.  How to NOT feel about food.  I told myself I pushed the reset button.  Now I have to do it right. I lost about 150lbs. I still ate fat.  I still ate sugar.  I just ate it in moderate amounts.  I ate real food.  I identified that there is a difference between food and emotions. I worked on not actively hating my body. (that is still hard)

Feb 19 wls update
Before weight loss surgery and the proceeding years afterwards of just focusing on eating.

After a year, I started doing some running, twice a week cardio sessions and always-good eating.  I joined a wonderful community called Run This Town. I lost another 20 lbs.  More importantly, I was more toned.  I started being impressed by my calves instead of embarassed by them. The body image was getting better but there was still room for more.

holly workout
August of 2013, attending a Run This Town workout

While I love my Run This Town community, after about a year I was getting more toned but I still often got very depressed about all the skin.  I decided instead of getting plastic surgery that I would put on muscle.  I would continue to improve the body I had and decided to feel good about it versus feeling that I had to get more surgery just to feel good about myself.  I realized that I couldn’t chase the mirror.  I would never be skinny enough.  I would never be pretty enough.  I couldn’t hold myself to this ideal.  I decided to push this body so I could be proud of what it can do instead of what it can look like.

I started Crossfit training 5 days a week from day one.

I’m a little crazy.

So this posting is in review.  From 2 years ago when I got surgery.  From one year ago when I was stoked that I ran my first mile.  From just over 6 months ago when I ran my first 5K. (dont feel the need to watch all of these videos.  They are more for reference then anything else)

The first day post WLS surgery

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvjwQK2kHtU&w=560&h=315]

My first WLS anniversary

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBxEdxg7uOA&w=560&h=315]

My 2nd anniversary and decision to do Crossfit (essentially)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T0Ph-aJRUU&w=560&h=315]

 

And here I am today.  Six months into Crossfit and living it.  (Here I am failing a snatch lift personal record of 75lbs.  I got it 2 weeks later)

So what’s next?  A lot.

But that’s a post for another day.  This post was for reflection. A handful of  years ago, I was diabetic, panic-ridden, depressed and I was very successfully killling myself with my poison of choice..food.  Today I’m off all medications.  Im able to control my panic.  I’m moving forward and far happier with myself then I have ever been.  I’ve dealt with my past and whatever destructive force I had inside me.

Ill do one on future goals more extensively at a later time.

For now I’m just trying to live it, one day at a time.

Miami vacation in July of 2014
Miami vacation in July of 2014

I’ve Gotta Get Back on Tr— Squirrel!

Spinx Run Fest 5k

Previously on Carla’s Weight Loss Journey: The Summer of Suck

Hi there! Nope, I didn’t quite fall off the face of the Earth. I grabbed a twig on the way down and managed to pull myself back up. I was actually doing okay after the last post — not getting in as many workouts, but still working out nonetheless. And the last Saturday in September, I walked in the local Race for the Cure 5K. My goal was to finish in 50 minutes or less, and I hit the 3.1 mark at 50 minutes exactly. So… GO ME!

Food-wise, I was have been slipping back into old habits because I haven’t been planning, and as the Zig Ziglar quote goes (and then makes me roll my eyes), “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” ‘Preciate that, Zig…

On top of everything else, work got crazy and then I had two job interviews ON THE SAME DAY! One of them worked out! Squirrel! The excitement over that, then the craziness of the job I left before my last day, then the beach trip my family took (supposed to be Mom and Dad’s trip, but turned into a family road trip under the circumstances) all culminated in a series of fortunate and unfortunate distractions.

Myrtle Beach sunrise
This happened! Two-mile walk at sunrise!

While at the beach, I did a two-mile walk just after sunrise on my first morning there. How committed was I, am I right? But the ever-so-slight rolling “hills” in the sand near the water (probably to curb beach erosion) had me sore the next day, so while I did walk on the beach after that, I wasn’t at my full-speed, heart-pumping cardio level. Then there was the food — oh, the glorious food. I didn’t agonize over my food choices. I let loose. I was done with a job I had tried to leave for four years and about to start a new one that I was really looking forward to and I was at the beach with my family and dammit, I finally had a little bit of happiness for the first time in several months so I was just gonna celebrate. So I did. And I’m not going to feel guilty about that.

But this happened too… And it was so flippin' good...
But this happened too… And it was so flippin’ good…

On October 25th, I did the Spinx Run Fest 5K and finished with my best time ever — 48:22! However, I aggravated my hips and have been trying to take it easy since. As I’m writing this, the left hip is back to normal, and the right one is almost there.

Spinx Run Fest 5k
And then this happened!

Now I’m trying to work out a new schedule — for meal planning, for exercising, for blogging. The new job has hours of 9 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday, and while I’m grateful to have my Monday and Wednesday nights free once again, I no longer get to do my Tuesday night strength training class that I loved.

My gym opens at 5:30 am, Monday-Friday. It’s not my most favorite time to exercise, but doing so will allow me to get my workout done for the day and still get to work on time while not having to worry about whether I have time to work out each evening. I also really need to do Meat for the Week in order to have healthy food on hand that keeps me away from the drive-throughs.

I guess you could say I’m… planning to plan?

Other than Meat for the Week and letting go of the notion that you have to have The Perfect Conditions for exercising, what are your methods for maintaining a regimen that works for you?

Beginning the Journey

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09-09-09. That is the day my new life began. There is nothing particularly special about this day. It was simply the day I finally decided to change my life.

At the time, I had been out of work for over a year and had zero prospects for a new job. My husband and I were unsuccessfully trying to have children for 3 ½ years with no luck, while all our friends had one baby after another. (No joke, at one point I knew 11 pregnant women at the same time.) Meanwhile, my very close-knit family was split by 1600 miles, as my parents moved to Texas. My brother followed them a year later, leaving me with no family within hundreds of miles.

Finally, I w8-08as tipping the scales at 250 pounds. For years, I refused to even step on a scale. I knew the number would be unbearable, so ignored the problem. But something had to give. My life was falling apart and there was only one thing I could control, that was my weight. So that’s what I did.

My primary goal when I began was to make changes I would be able to sustain the rest of my life. No easy, quick fixes for me. I was in this for the long haul for lasting changes.

I began my journey with small steps. Initially, all I did was track the food I ate. I didn’t change the types of food I was eating. I continued to eat the junk I was accustomed to. I just made sure my daily calorie count was under a certain number.

I was a typical American woman with a few, ok a lot, of extra pounds. I dieted on and off since my teenage years. It is the age-old story of weight loss. I would lose weight while on a diet, but because the diet wasn’t something I was willing or able to sustain forever, I would regain all the weight. I was tired of being on the yo-yo ride. I wanted to lose it for good, so I made small changes I was willing to live with. The weight loss was slow, very slow.

12-10
Christmas 2010 ~ 50 Pounds Lost!

 

After a year and half, I lost over 50 pounds. I was in onederland and was feeling great about myself. I knew I was ready to take the next big step in my journey. I was terrified of this next step. I was never very athletically inclined. I was very clumsy. But I knew I had to begin exercising.

I discovered an online program I felt I could handle. I considered whether or not to actually jump in for a while before finally deciding to just do it. The first phase of this program called for a 30 minute walk every day, 4 kettlebell workouts a week and a cardio challenge on the weekend. It sounds daunting for someone who never worked out, and it was for me. On February 21, 2011, this morning-hating night owl woke up before work, stepped into the office and began her first workout. This began the second phase of my journey and my new love affair with being athletic. More coming soon!

Doesn’t everyone have motivational decor in their bathroom? Oh, guess it’s just me then

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The past couple of posts I’ve kind of been going over what has worked for me in terms of nutrition and exercise, and now I wanted to cover another area that has played a huge part in my success. That area is called “everything else.” Highly descriptive, I know. By everything else, I mean my support system and a bunch of other random stuff that keeps me from shoving cheeseburgers down my throat and parking myself on the couch.

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’ve dieted (and I do mean diet, because what I have tried in the past was far from a true lifestyle change) before, it was kind of a secret. Not really a hard-core secret or anything. I mean, if someone asked if I was dieting (probably after checking out my Lean Cuisines), I would say yes, but kind of say it like I was ashamed or defensive. Like, “What? Do I look like I need to diet or something?” I didn’t let other people in on what I was trying to accomplish, and so I had very little accountability to anyone, since I wasn’t really at a point yet where I could even have much accountability to myself. When I inevitably failed, it was like it never even happened. This time was completely different. I made sure everyone in my life knew what was going on with me. Overnight, I became one of those people on Facebook who is all about health and nutrition and exercise (probably annoying a few people in the process, but oh well…haters gonna hate). For the past 2 years or so, I have posted my weekly weigh-in without fail to my Facebook page every single Wednesday. I have very few absolutely inflexible rules associated with my weight loss, but one of them is weighing in every week and posting the results, no matter what. No excuses. Even if I gained 4.5 lbs like at my birthday. Even if I’m on a ton of steroids for respiratory issues and am not allowed to do ANY CARDIO FOR A WHOLE MONTH like right now (can you tell I’m a little freaked out about that last one?). Once I had been losing weight for about a year, I also started a Facebook page just for my healthy lifestyle stuff in order to branch out a little. I’ve posted some of the things that worked for me, but I’ve also gotten a ton of ideas from other people.

My family and friends have been super supportive of me during this adventure. In the beginning, there were a few people that were concerned that I was headed down the same path I traveled down a few years ago, when I went temporarily insane and decided the way to lose weight was to practically starve myself and obsessively exercise. It kind of made me mad at first because I knew that this time was totally different, but then I realized that they were acting out of love. All they had to go on was their past experience with my somewhat questionable weight loss methods, and the only way to prove to them that this time was different was to show them through my actions. Whether it’s been gamely trying out some new healthy recipe I’ve found (cauliflower pizza crust, anyone?) or texting me at 4:30 in the morning to make sure I got my ass out of bed to run, whether it’s calling me out when I’ve talked myself into a nice big bubble of denial or writing me such sweet comments on my progress pictures that they sometimes make me cry, my friends and family (near and far, and some I have never actually met in person), have been there for me without fail. I don’t think my success would have been possible without them.

I’ve also got my blog, The Space in Between All or Nothing, that I’ve written in from the very beginning, which is more than 2 years ago now. It’s so cool to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come. It’s also fun to see how my titles progressed from such winners as Weigh-In Week 3 (who wouldn’t want to read that?) to refined and eloquent ones like Foam crowns, free weights, and a flasher: Alliteration at its very best or Give me bread or give me death!My blog is a place where I have always been 100% honest, even when it was hard to be and even when it may have been embarrassing. I remember that it was such a big deal to me when I decided to finally share my starting weight, which was 328 lbs. I let that number have such power over me until I just got tired of it and decided to take away that number’s power by letting everyone know it. It was really freeing. Writing in my blog has helped me stay on track by giving me added accountability to my readers, and it’s also been so motivating and awesome when I get someone that tells me that sharing my experiences, even the negative ones, has helped them.

Another random little thing that has helped me out is the decor in my bathroom. Yes, my bathroom. Isn’t that where everyone goes to get motivated? When I started losing weight, I purchased a bag of tiny little clothes pins. One hundred and eighty-eight of them to be exact, which was the number of pounds I had to go until my goal weight. I started with writing the number 328 on a clothes pin and progressed downward, writing a number on each clothes pin all the way till I got to 140. Let me tell you, that’s a lot of clothes pins. It took forever and a day to write all those numbers. I pinned the clothes pins on ribbons on the side of a cabinet and made two sections: Pounds to lose and Pounds lost (and yes, in case you were wondering, I did get this idea on Pinterest). At the start, I had all those clothes pins in the Pounds to lose section, and now, over 2 years later, I just have less than one row of clothes pins left in that section. Pretty awesome!

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For a while, my bathroom looked kind of psycho because I also taped up motivating comments I got through Facebook and my blog and also inspiring quotes. It got to where it covered my entire door and wall. I worried it looked like I was some kind of narcissistic prima donna (it’s all about me!) or something, but then I just decided that I didn’t care what it looked like. Sometimes that wall of comments and quotes is all that got me up in the morning to work out. That wall was what I needed. It was a visible representation that people believed in me and what I was doing, and in the beginning that was absolutely imperative for me because I didn’t believe in myself very much at all. A few months ago, it got to where there was no more room for any more comments or quotes and I decided the time had come to take everything down. Not because I didn’t appreciate them or still love to see them, but because I believed enough in myself that I didn’t need to see them every time I went in my bathroom.

My progress pictures have been motivating too. Recently, they have been helpful to me when I’ve been frustrated about not losing a ton of weight lately, because even though the pounds may not be falling off, the inches are, and that is evident in the pictures. My mom lives near me and has been really awesome about taking my picture every single month. We’re now up to week 118 and she recently asked if we would still be taking pictures at week 1000 (I hope not!). I think it’s a powerful example of how little I did believe in myself in the beginning when I say that I didn’t even start taking official progress pictures until week 6. I have no real “before” picture until then (primarily because I avoided having my picture taken like the plague), because I was just so afraid to believe that this time could actually be different. I won’t bore you all by posting every single progress picture here, but here’s pictures from every 6 months. Please admire the awesome mug shot quality of the pictures and high-tech graphics haha. Also, please notice the appearance of my collarbones in the last pictures. They had been MIA and then suddenly popped out a couple of months ago. I now have a slightly weird habit of feeling them every now and then just to confirm they’re still there.

Week 6 (although I guess that’s evident enough from the sign)

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6 months

1-26 2-26

1 year

1-50 2-50

18 months

1-74 2-74

2 years

1-98 2-98

2 years, 4 months (present day)…finally broke my plateau!

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Sometimes I look back at those early pictures and I don’t recognize myself at all. Physically of course, but also just who I was then. I seem kind of lifeless and my smile is forced. But now, I see a spark in my eyes and my smile is very, very real. My body may be thinner in these later pictures, but that smile and that spark, those are the best parts of all.