Thursday, June 27, 2013

Life Lessons

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You learn a lot about yourself when you lose 50lbs. And it's weird, because at 24, I thought I knew myself pretty well. But my NSV this week is getting to know a whole new side of myself that was hiding before I started this weight loss journey. 

I've learned...
  • I actually do have willpower *GASP*. I just chose not to exercise decision-making skills before starting this journey. Because, yeah, sometimes it IS easier to go the unhealthy route.
  • You can lose weight without exercise. But you can't get stronger and more toned without exercise.
  • I am stronger than my excuses, and my excuses won't get me to where I'm going.
  • Healthy eating habits start in the grocery store. I can't be trusted around: nutella, pita chips, naan, Pirate's Booty. Therefore I never (or very rarely) buy these things.
  • Fruits and vegetables can be satisfying snacks or desserts.
  • Just because I drank doesn't mean I need drunk food.
  • Telling people about your changes really does make it easier to stick with them.
  • I can have a delicious and filling breakfast that isn't a McDonald's egg, bacon, and cheese bagel sandwiches.
  • I don't deserve bad food just because I: ran this morning/had a bad day/am on my period/am not on my period/it's a <insert day here>/it's the winter/etc.
  • I deserve good food because good food helps my body to continue losing weight and working out.
  • Sometimes a good run after a tough day can feel just as good as ordering fattening food from GrubHub.
  • I'm not as terrible of a runner as I thought I was. And I'm getting better and stronger every day!
  • Pinning exercises on Pinterest still doesn't qualify as actually doing them... no longer how long I leave the browser window open.
  • Rest days are a gift from God.
  • So is the 80's cardio Pandora station.
  • One cheat meal doesn't mean I should eat crap for the rest of the week and then just "start over on Monday."
  • Moderation isn't just a 13-point word in Scrabble.
  • Everyone who said my boobs would shrink as soon as I started losing weight was wrong. So, so wrong.
  • I won't feel miserable and empty and deprived if I eat a salad at Trivia instead of a burger and fries.
  • Margaritas are still totally worth 8 points... sometimes.
What has your weight loss journey taught you?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fifty.

Pretty Strong Medicine


Previous Weight: 181 
Current Weight: 177.6
Change: -3.4
Total Loss: 50.4



Holy freakin' cow, I officially lost 50 lbs!!

I knew I needed to bust out a KILLER week in order to hit this milestone. I'm due to get my period this week, which usually makes it a little tougher to get a big loss. So with my half marathon training plan on my fridge, I nailed all 5 runs last week. 

Confession: I've been struggling to run my entire runs lately. As in, I've been taking walking breaks on basically every run. I think it's a mental block since switching from Map My Run (which had me consistently running 9:30 paces or faster) over to RunKeeper. RunKeeper is a truer gauge of distance (meaning that I'm now running slightly farther to hit the same "distances" MMR was reporting), so I knew I needed to make the change or risk under-training for the half. Either way, I had a pretty amazing 4-mile run this morning at a 9:59 pace with no walk breaks, so I'm really excited about that!

So last week I got in all 5 training runs (total distance: 16 miles) plus 3 strength workouts in my apartment. I also did a ton of walking around the city on Saturday, going to my friend's apartment, the farmer's market, and back. I don't track my walking for activity points unless I get over 60 minutes a day, because I live in a city so I tend to walk a decent amount just to get around. I hit a record number of activity points this week:


Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled with my progress, and can't wait to see how much I can push myself as I barrel towards my goal (150 lbs). Stay turned for a post later this week on what I've learned in 50 lbs lost :)

How did you do this weigh-in Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Transformation Tuesday

I don't generally participate in #TransformationTuesday. Because my Instagram account is public among my friends and family, as well as the weight loss blogging community, I'm a little more conservative about what I post there. Obviously my close friends and family are well aware of my weight loss journey, but it's a strange thing to have a public weight loss blog that I have not told friends or family about.

Today I posted this #transformationtuesday picture on Facebook and Instagram: 


Holy s#*^balls. Over 200 likes and 40 comments?!?!

To say I'm humbled by the support and feedback would be an understatement. I read through all of the positive encouragement and almost cried. More than once. Whether from family, high school classmates, coworkers from years ago, sorority sisters, study abroad friends, old friends or new friends; it meant everything to me to see how supported I am on this journey. 

Despite the hijinks of last week's layoff, I'm am so incredibly lucky-- a fact that I become more aware of every day. I have the absolutely best family and friends a girl could ask for, and I don't think I show them that nearly enough. I live in the city I dreamed of living in all throughout high school and college. I have a great apartment (... well, the closet could be bigger ;) ), great roommate, and I'm healthier than I've been in years. Or maybe ever.

I may still have a ways to go to becoming the best me I can be, but I'm getting pretty damn close. And I couldn't have done it alone.

And that is absolutely 1000% worthy of a #transformationtuesday.

What inspires your transformation?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NSVs and The Saddest Flex Ever

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Per usual, I'm linking up with KTJ, Lex, and Ashlee for this week's NSV linkup!

Unrelated to this linkup, but related to last week's goals (which I did not address earlier this week), I finally updated my progress photos tab. Now you can view me in all of my high school graduation glory, as I work my way back down into the 150's. You're welcome.

As much satisfaction as I've had with my scale victories lately, those NSVs do WONDERS for a gal's self-esteem. Here's what's up:

1) I bought a dress for a wedding I'm going to next month and it's a size freakin' 10. I haven't worn a 10 in anything since my freshman year of college. The dress is a hair snug right now (I mean, it zips fine and I'm in no danger of busting any zippers, but "relaxed fit" has usually been more my style), but I've got a month until the wedding to lose a few more lbs. Also I bought Spanx just because I really want to feel my sassiest. Disregard my stupid face:

Dress is from LOFT and w/ 40% off and my giftcard, I paid $2.11 for it.
In all honesty, it probably runs a little big (according to reviews, too).

2) I weigh less than my little brother. And by "little" I mean 6' and 190lbs and eats 5000 calories a day and works out 6 times a week (none of this is an exaggeration, btw). But I weigh less than him! My other "little" brother is also 6' tall, but only like a buck forty, so using his weight as a benchmark for success may be pushing it. 

3) I really feel like I'm looking and feeling better than I have in years. I've touched on this before, but I've never really had low confidence in my adult life (elementary/middle school is a 'nother story for another day). But as an adult, I've typically felt pretty good about myself, even when I was at my highest weight. With the exception of swimsuit shopping, I generally feel confident and have been able to look and present myself as such. 

But knowing that I weigh less than I have since I was 20 (four years ago!), and weighing about what I weighed when I graduated high school (six years ago!), and looking at myself in pictures, and trying on clothes I wouldn't have tried on before -- that has me feeling awesome. I'd be lying if I said I don't crave cheeseburgers sometimes (spoiler alert: I DO), but this renewed sense of body confidence at a higher level than I've felt in years is definitely keeping me committed to the plan. I know I can do this, and I will.

One day I'll actually have arm muscles to accompany
this model-worthy #flexbreak

What NSVs are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Life Lately

First, an update to explain my absence, as of late: I was laid off on Monday, along with about a third of my company. Yeah, it was a pretty rough situation, but honestly, I also kindof feel like a weight was lifted off my chest. I've been exceedingly frustrated with my workplace for awhile now, and while I would've rather left on my terms, I'm not at all worried about where I'll end up. In fact, I'm positive I (and my boss and friends who were also a part of the cuts) will be better off for it. 

Plus, I'm going to the freakin' beach tomorrow because that's what you do when you suddenly have entire days free. 

Pretty Strong Medicine


In other news, I'm linking up with the new WIW crew: Heather, Ashley, Bailey, and Amy.

So after last week's missed morning run snafu, here's where we're at:


Previous Weight: 184.8 
Current Weight: 181
Change: -3.8

And THAT, ladies and gents, makes this a very happy Weigh In Wednesday, indeed. 

I'm also not letting some nonsense like being unemployed keep me from training for my half marathon, although I won't have the extra $$ to sign up in the immediate future. So, I started the training plan, as scheduled, yesterday, and plan to keep it up until I either a) have the money to sign up or b) run the damn thing myself on September 8th as scheduled. That's commitment.

As I thought, Map My Run was lying on my distances/paces. Therefore,
this is how I feel when I run 3 miles later in the morning when it's hotter than normal.

Also, I'm so close to 50lbs lost, I can taste it. I will get there by next week.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Movin' on Down

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Per usual, I'm linking up with Lex, Ashlee, and KTJ for the NSV linkup. This week gave me 2 big NSVs:

1 - I'm happy to report that according to the very-outdated-but-still-widely-used BMI chart, I'm no longer obese. I meaaaaaaaan... I don't place much stock in these numbers because I think they fail to take into account many factors (diet! level of activity! how many times you drag your half-asleep self out of bed to run in the morning!), however, I know doctors still look at these bad boys every time you're in their office. And for that reason, I'm movin' on DOWN. Now I'm just plain overweight! Hey, a victory is a victory-- when I started my BMI was over 36!



2 - I've had this pair of jeans sitting in a box since I moved to Chicago nearly two years ago. In fact, they mostly sat in a box even right when I bought them (in '08, I believe), because my dumb self bought them already too small and wearing them meant walking around and feeling like an overstuffed sausage casing. Anyway, while emptying the trash, I walked past that box and had the crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, they'd fit me again. Low and behold, those babies fit! Granted, they're a smidge tight, but I can definitely wear them. This means I can toss my way-too-big 14's out!

What NSVs are you celebrating this week? Join the linkup here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Silver Linings


Pretty Strong Medicine

I typically weigh myself first thing Wednesday morning pre-run, go for a run, and then weigh myself post-run for my official weekly weigh-in. Weird? Maybe. But at least I do this every week, so I know my tracking is consistent.

Except, this morning I completely forgot to factor in my client meeting, and that I had to get to work early. Meaning when I got up for my run, I had to blow it off because I didn't have the time. UGH. Which also meant disrupting my weigh-in routine. DOUBLE UGH!

Anyway, pre-run weigh-in was 185.8. Which would mean only a .2 loss from last week (when I had weighed in this weekend at 182.5). Welp, I was willing to let myself cheat my weigh-in on my WW app (which I have never done before), because I knew this number was higher than what post-run would've been. So I cheated it down to 184.8, which seemed like a good compromise to me, because my post run weight is usually ~2lbs less than pre-run.

I felt guilty about skipping my run all day. As in, I was SO annoyed with myself for not allowing enough time this morning. And that annoyance festered. And I whined. Because I didn't plan on taking two days off from running in a row. Especially not so early in the week. And now I wouldn't get in 5 runs unless I ran every day from Wednesday-Saturday. And on and on and on.

Sidenote: Who am I? I almost sound like someone who enjoys running.

Wouldn't ya know: we got out of work a smidge early today due to a huge storm that was forecasted to hit Chicago. I got home around 5:15 and checked Weather.com just to see if there was a chance I could run before the storm. And guess what? Only 5% chance of rain until 7pm. So I managed to get ready in record time and I pounded out 3 miles, when I was only planning on getting in 2. Take that, weather forecast! 

And, because I'm a creature of habit, I stepped on the scale as soon as I walked inside:

Previous Weight: 186 
Current Weight: 184.8
Change: -1.2

How about that?! A pretty satisfying end to a frustrating day.

Until Weight Watchers was a cruel mistress and took away one of my daily points. *Sigh* Can't win 'em all.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Punching Stress in the Face

Life's been chaotic lately. Work's been stressful, so I've just been trying to really push excuses aside and focus on myself. Maybe that sounds selfish, but if I let frustrations and stress get to me, no one else is going to make me workout. No one else is going to help me to get to my goals. No one else is going to hold me accountable. No one else is going to stop me from ordering mozzarella sticks at 10pm just because I really freaking want them (anyone else every feel this way? no? just me? bueller?).

So I'm punching my stress in the face and it feels great!

Operation Skinny Jeans


I didn't get in my 2-3 strength training sessions last week, but otherwise I did pretty good. As of tonight,  I've pounded out 60 APs this week (with more to come tomorrow before they reset on Wednesday), so I'm feeling pretty great. That said, I'm linking up with Jess to talk about this week's goals:

1) Update my progress pictures section. Yeah, sorry 'bout that. It's been left by the wayside for far too long, so I hereby solemnly swear that by this time next week, I'll actually throw some pictures in there. It's crazy to think that the last time I was at my current weight, I was a sophomore in college! 

2) Get in 5 runs. You can do it self! You did it last week! And last but not least...

3) SIGN UP FOR THE HALF MARATHON. Dear God I can't believe I'm committing to this. I'm both excited and terrified. The race is 12 weeks from this coming Sunday, which means training starts next Monday. After much consideration, I'll be training with this half marathon training plan. I chose this plan for a few reasons:
  • It's for "beginners" (as "beginner" as you can be with a 10-15 mile/week base mileage).
  • It requires a 10-15 mile/week base mileage, which I've been consistently hitting for at least 2 months now.
  • Running is my main form of working out. So I like that it's a 5 days/week plan, knowing that most training plans only require 4 days/week. If I really need to, I know I can eliminate one of those days and probably still turn out okay, but the challenge of 5 days/week will be good for me.
  • The longest pre-race run is 12 miles. With many plans (Hal Higdon's, for one), the longest pre-race run is "only" 10 miles. I know that personally, my bigger mental hurdle is distance (versus time), so with this plan I'll have a 12-miler under my belt pre-race day, rather than having to add a whole 5K onto my longest pre-race run.

The part that scares me the most (aside from, oh you know, the prospect of running for over two hours straight) is that I'll have three big runs (7, 8 and 9 miles) during my three weekends in a row spent in Nashville and Ireland, respectively. So I'm going to have to figure out a game plan for getting in those longer runs on alternate days of the week, but I've got time to plan. No excuses:


What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TGI[a]F and NSVs

TGIAF! Am I the only one that celebrates this milestone on a weekly basis? Seriously, I've felt pretty crazy and stressed the past few weeks, so it's nice to know the weekend is in sight.

While I missed weigh-in Wednesday, I'll obviously share my results anyway.


Previous Weight: 189.8 
Current Weight: 186
Change: -3.8

HECK YEAH, a 3.8 lb loss! Proof--to me at least-- that last week's increase wasn't [solely] due to my weekend spent tracking-free. And while I got in some solid runs last week, for some reason I didn't hit the 50+ APs I usually rack up. So, the goal for this week is to work on working out: at least 4-5 runs, and strength training at least 2-3 times.

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Lastly, I'm linking up with Lex, Ashlee (new host!), and KTJ for this week's NSV victories. To be honest, I haven't been keeping these front of mind, because I've been pretty focused on the scale lately. All of my scale numbers from here on out, I haven't seen in 4+ years! But, here are three NSVs that stand out:

1) I got so many compliments on my weight loss at work yesterday! I wore a wrap dress that I've owned since 2007 (seriously, I wore it the week I graduated from HS), but felt so dang confident in it, now that I'm 40lbs less than the last time I wore it. 

2) I am THIS CLOSE to being out of obesity range on the BMI chart (.6lbs away, to be precise). It's kindof sad to me that, according to statistics, I'm obese. I run 10-15 miles a week at a 10:30 (or faster!) pace. Really? Still? Just another reason why progress (and not some stupid chart) should be trusted.



3) Mentioned this last week, but I now fit into a skirt that was too small on me when I bought it TWO YEARS AGO. Clothing shopping has been made infinitely more fun now that I know I can consistently fit into regular sizes. I have so much more confidence buying clothes that I KNOW look good on me, not just clothes that I'm happy fit.

What are your NSVs this week?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Swimsuit Season

It's Tuesday night and I'm currently watching Extreme Weight Loss, aka my new favorite show. For the unfamiliar, it's kinda like Extreme Makeover except the contestants are given a trainer and (some pretty insane) weight loss benchmarks along the 12-month process. If they meet their final goal, contestants are given skin removal surgery.

The girl on tonight's episode just ran a marathon. She started at 314 lbs, and about 3/4 the way through her journey, after never running more than 10 miles at once, she ran a freaking marathon. And even though she struggled, and there was a point where it seemed like she might quit, she did it. And seeing the look on her face when she finished, and how proud of herself she was, it was just so empowering.

So now I'm starting to think I may actually be crazy enough to sign up for the Chicago Half Marathon on September 8th. I haven't pulled the trigger to register yet, but my 12-week training plan will start a week from Saturday if I go for it. Eeeeeeeeeeek.

ANYWAY, I ran to Target after work just to "browse," which typically means leaving with $85 worth of stuff I suddenly really needed as soon as I saw it in the store. Well, while browsing the women's section, I saw the swimsuits, and decided I'd try on a monokini (the one piece with side/back cutouts) and decided to try it on "just to see."

Well, it didn't fit.

But, it was actually not terrible looking. And for a girl who absolutely loathes swimsuit shopping (the only chore worse than bra shopping), the fact that I didn't hate how I looked in it is a pretty big victory. Unfortunately it was far too small on the girls (story of my life), but knowing that it's possible for me to actually not hate myself in a swimsuit has me jonesin' for a new one. I've never worn a bikini in my life (literally, never in my entire life, not even as a tot), but now I'm thinking it might be a possibility down the road once I'm a little more comfortable in my body.

Sidenote: However hard you think swimsuit shopping is, multiply that by 10. That's how hard it is for me. Finding non-plus size swimsuits in my bra size is like trying to unearth sunken treasures from the bottom of the ocean. Also you don't have an oxygen tank. Also you're blind. You think I'm kidding. I'M NOT.

After much searching of the internet, here are the suits I've got my eye on:

Source: BraStop
Source: Swimsuits for All

Source: Bare Necessities

Got any swimsuit store recommendations? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's Goin' On

I've been a bad blogger lately, so let's catch up.

Since I last posted, I went out of town to my roommate's lake house in Michigan for Memorial Day weekend. It was amazing to get out of the city for a few days, and we all had a fabulous time. Also... I didn't track for 2.5 days. 

This was pretty monumental for me, considering I started WW two weeks before Thanksgiving, and have religiously tracking my points every damn day since then. Yes, I tracked on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, and even my birthday. But for some reason, I just wanted a little break. There was delicious food everywhere (filet! potato salad! chicken sausage! licorice! lemon squares!), so I took full advantage. And there may or may not have been a quarter pounder in there too (hint: there was).

What did I learn from two days tracker free? Well, for starters, while I ate pretty crappily, I realized I was actually eating LESS than what I normally eat. I didn't realize how much I'm used to eating, because I'm eating fruits and vegetables (which are mostly zero points) all the time. So, without my arsenal of fruits and veggies, I wasn't eating as much as usual. However, of the food I did eat, not much of it was healthy.

But what I also learned was that I am truly thankful for Weight Watchers, because it really has changed my life. Even though I joked for the first week 3 months that "I know I'm doing it right when I go to bed and my stomach is growling," the last 6 months have really changed my life. I feel so much more in control of myself, just from gaining control over my eating habits. I [usually] don't feel deprived, and I completely understand why the system works. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. And, ironically, it was two days spent not tracking that taught me this. Having gone tracker-free, I have so much more faith that these are changes that will stick with me long after I reach my goal weight. In fact, I was more than ready to get back on the wagon after my two days off. I never thought I would say that!

So the downside to my weekend of eating was a 2lb gain, but it was also my time of the month, so I'm not convinced that's the true damage I did. Either way, it was worth it.

And I just snuck a peek at the scale this morning, and I plan to have an amazing weigh-in this Wednesday. The 50lb milestone is coming up next, and I can't wait to get there!

Bought this skirt on the right in college, and it was too small
to wear then. Imagine my surprise when I dug it out
last week for the first time and it's nearly too big!