Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post from Caitlin @ Weights and Measure

Caitlin's a recent newlywed from Canada who hopped on the fit train in an effort to drop about 50lbs. She's a fellow Weight Watcher (woop woop!) who wants to get healthy before she and her hubby try to have some baybehs! Take it away, Caitlin:

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Hi! I’m Caitlin from Weights and Measure. I’m super excited to be guest posting for Carolyn today as she’s off gallivanting in Ireland (lucky lady!).

Here’s a little bit about me, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit my little piece of the Internet (I hope you’ll stop by soon!).  I’m a 30-yr-old, Canadian, newlywed, working hard to lose some weight and take care of my body so that my husband and I can start a family. I attend Weight Watchers meetings and am working out at the gym (mostly running).  You can find me on Twitter @weights_measure and on Instagram @weightsandmeasure.


 

I’m not sure about you, but I travel a lot. Sometimes to nearby cities for just a few nights and sometimes cross-continent for conferences and work-related fun. In the summer months, I travel to multiple music festivals (mostly for work) and am often faced with many less-than-healthy food choices, which is challenging when following Weight Watchers (or any nutritional plan).

I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past (it works, that’s why I’ve gone back), but have never been organized enough to get through the summer season and be successful at losing weight. This summer, I’m determined to stay on plan and keep seeing a downward trend on the scale. What’s my key to success? PLANNING.

I have a small collapsible cooler that I’ve been dragging around to festivals and packing for road trips. It’s been a lifesaver. Inside the cooler you’ll find cutlery, plates, cups, bowls and napkins. It’s a picnic paradise.

When planning a weekend away, I plan my meals accordingly:
  •  Eat breakfast at home/hotel/wherever we’re staying
  • Pack my lunch and snacks
  •  Buy my dinner

WHAT I EAT:

Breakfast: I’ve been packing my favorite whole grain cereal (Heritage Flakes by Natures Path). I usually have access to a fridge and buy a small carton of milk when I arrive at my destination. Add a few blueberries or raspberries and that’ll keep me full through the entire morning.

Lunch: I’ll pack a salad with protein (chicken, turkey, hardboiled eggs) or a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It really depends on how long I’ll be outside and how much time the cooler will be in the sun. I do have ice packs in there to keep everything cold, but I get a little weary of keeping things in this particular cooler for more than six hours. Things that are normally kept in the fridge, that is.

Snacks: I’ll pack fruit (apples, oranges, grapes), sliced and diced veggies, hummus, Babybel cheese, crackers, almonds, Popchips, WW snack bars and dark chocolate. I don’t pack ALL of that for one day, but that’s generally what I choose from. I always make sure I have some sweet and savoury snacks available to keep me from buying my weakness – KETTLE CORN.

Dinner: I always look for the healthiest option available. Sometimes I’ll grab a Subway sandwich and pack that away for dinner (not my favourite option, but it does in a pinch), other times I’ll have sushi or a vegetarian option. I try to stay away from burgers, fries or anything deep-fried. If I don’t know how to figure out the points for my meal, I go by my WW leader’s rule of thumb – count it as 14 points and move on. That’s been a pretty safe bet for me.

I’m trying to avoid alcohol right now because I find that when I drink I make poor food choices, so you can bet you’ll find me with my 1.5L water bottle in hand at all times.

I’m slowly proving to myself that I can continue to live my hectic, fun, sometimes transient, lifestyle and not sacrifice my health. I’m thankful I have the time and resources to stay on track even when I’m on the road.

How do you stay healthy when traveling?


Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post from Tiffany @ The Fit Train

Full-time mama Tiffany has been killing it on her weight loss journey so far. She's a big fan of Miss Jillian Michaels, who terrifies me! But checking out Tiffany's progress (especially her guns!) is almost enough to convince me to give her famed workouts a try.  Check her out!

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Hello to all of Carolyn’s readers! I’m so excited to be guest posting here at Fitnasty for Life while Carolyn is away in Ireland (I’m only slightly jealous).

I’m Tiffany and I blog over at The Fit Train where I talk about my journey to get fit, healthy and lose some weight all while working full time and raising my 2-year-old son, Wyatt.

                        

Any of us embarking on a “get fit journey” usually have an ah-ha moment. That moment where something happens and you decide you’re ready to take control and do something about it. Mine had been a long time coming.

I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy. The day before having Wyatt, I weighed in at 222 and was completely disgusted with myself. I swore that I would lose the weight before Wyatt’s first birthday. That day came and went, and I was still pushing 200. Life got in the way, or that’s what I used as my excuse. I was a newly single mommy, working full time and didn’t see how it was humanly possible to fit in a workout, or prepare healthy foods.

The extra 60-70 pounds started to take its toll on my body. This past fall I had illness after illness before finally getting a really bad case of pneumonia in December. It lingered and took several months to fully recover. I knew I was not going to break this vicious cycle if I didn’t change anything, but was struggling to find the motivation to truly do something about it.

 Then, one night, I was sitting on the couch after getting Wyatt to bed earlier than normal. Despicable Me was still playing on the TV. There were cars and crackers scattered across the floor. I remember quietly cleaning up our evening of fun, careful not to wake my precious little boy. Suddenly, I felt a pit in my stomach and I just started to weep. Wyatt was sound asleep, the house was now clean and I was alone with myself.

 I cried because I didn't know what I was going to do for the rest of the evening. What had I done with my time before I was a mother? What did I enjoy doing? Did I used to have any hobbies? What was I passionate about other than motherhood? Who was I?

This was the motivation I had been searching for. I started by re-teaching myself to crochet and would work on my projects after Wyatt went to bed. Slowly, I replaced my “craft time” with my workouts, and eventually started working out when Wyatt was awake. He loves our workouts and it has truly become our favorite part of day.

                          
Four months later I have lost 25 pounds and am on my way to a healthier, new and improved me. It’s hard to find the balance sometimes, and it can be overwhelming and exhausting, but I know that I’m teaching my son great habits at an early age. He is what keeps me going every single day.


I have a long ways to go, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to make healthy changes, or struggling to find balance in this thing we call life; just take it one small step at a time. There is always time. There is always a way. You can do it. You can and will accomplish anything you desire in life if you want it bad enough. 





Friday, July 26, 2013

So Long, Farewell

Quickly popping in to give you an update on my morning 8-miler: it was awesome!!

The weather was absolutely perfect for running: low 70's and with a tiny bit of drizzle for the first 3 miles. After yesterday's rest day, I was feeling SO ready this morning. From the very beginning, I knew it'd be a good run. I felt strong, my breathing was smooth, my legs and feet were good to go. 

I found myself consciously trying to slow down a little bit, because I went out around a 10:10 pace for the first mile. As my distance is increasing, I don't want to try to push my pace beyond my comfort zone, because my main concern should be endurance. That said, when I was still cruising and feeling good around mile 6, I knew I could push it for the last two miles. I finished in just shy of 83 minutes, meaning my pace was 10:21/mile, right in my sweet spot of 10:15-10:30.

Look at the calorie burn! That's a lotta Guinness! ;)
Today I fueled with the Clif ShotBloks, which definitely are my favorite method. I tried the margarita flavor this time and wasn't a huge fan of the taste, but they still give me a good burst of energy about 10 minutes after eating them. Though, I think I may need to start eating actual food before long runs. I definitely felt my stomach growling around mile 3. 

But I HOUSED a huge breakfast of an omelette with sautéed mushrooms for breakfast when I got home. Necessary.

Don't judge a book by its cover. This thing was delicious.

With that outta the way, time for my to pack for the motherland. My flight is out of Chicaco at 6:35pm, and I'll be waking up tomorrow morning in Ireland!

But first, a quick announcement about next week. I am so excited to have some of my absolutely favorite bloggers stepping in to guest-blog for me while I'm out of town! Look forward to some great posts about new eating philosophies, staying on track during vacation (relevant!) and finding your own motivation. 

A huge thanks to the lovely ladies who are guest-blogging, and I'll see you all in a week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sizing Successes


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Checking in for my favorite linkup of the week, Lex, Ashlee, and KTJ's NSV linkup! 

1) My pajama pants are too big. I've had these pants since at LEAST the beginning of college (6 years ago, yikes), and now they're too big. As in, sometimes they fall down even though I try to tie them up tighter. Guess it's time for some new ones?

2) I ran while I was in Nashville! Working out while on vacation (even though I was only in Nashville for 36 hours) is a huge mental block for me. But I knew I had to make it happen in order to get in 4 runs last week. Despite going out and having drinks—mmmm bushwhackers— until 3am on Friday, we woke up at 9am to get in a steamy hill-filled 3-miler on Saturday morning. My calves were screaming!

3) I bought regular sized jeans at Forever 21! When I started this journey, I was wearing a 16 (from their plus size line). I remember feeling SO excited when I sized down to a 14. Now, I'm wearing a size 30 from their regular line! Holy moly!!

My face is in regards to the shirt, which
made me look at least 6 months prego. Bought
these jeans though!
I actually don't completely hate my legs in these white pants.
Now I kinda regret not buying them. 


4) I ran 7 miles last week! I apologize in advance that all of my NSVs in the coming weeks will probably include the week before's long run. But 7 miles was completely new territory for me! Despite 90+ temps and having to stop in a Walgreens for an emergency bathroom break circa mile 4.5, it was actually relatively smooth sailing. Let's just say, I won't be fueling with Clif Gels ever again-- taste was fine, but the texture was pretty freakin nasty. Like eating warm baby food when it's already a million degrees out. I've got 8 miles on the agenda tomorrow and hoping that this week's cooler temps keep me going!


Now please excuse me while I go panic and pack for Ireland tomorrow. Aside from the euros I picked up from the bank today, I'm completely unprepared. I'll be checking in on the blog tomorrow before I leave, with a fun little announcement about next week!

What NSVs are you celebrating this week?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What the Heck?

Pretty Strong Medicine

I'm linking up with Heather, Ash, Bailey, and Amy for the usual Weigh In Wednesday. 

All I have to say is WHAT THE HECK?


Previous Weight: 176.4 
Current Weight: 174
Change: -2.4
Total Loss: 54

Seriously. What.The.Heck?

After last week's strict adherence to the plan, accompanied by a small gain, I have to admit, I gave in a little bit last week. Well, a lotta bit. 

I confessed on Monday that I ate like absolute crap all weekend. I ate TWO beefy five-layer burritos on Saturday night (no regrets though, they were damn good). By the time I got back from Nashville, I had eaten every single weekly and activity point for the week.

Cornbread with brunch. Because Nashville.
In a desperate attempt to get my ish back together, I've been chugging water like it's going out of style. I completed all 3 of my scheduled 4-milers since Monday. I ate fruits and veggies and no more T-Bell. I earned 20 APs in 2 days, and was—shockingly—rewarded with a decent-sized loss on the scale (especially considering it's period week).

So, I think the lesson here is that I actually DO need to eat more than I was. To everyone who offered helpful advice after last week's frustrating weigh-in, thank you! I had perviously eaten my 49 weeklies, but not my (70+) APs. Moving forward, I'm going to find the balance of exactly how many extra points per week (above my allowance) that I need to eat. Last week, between weekly and APs, I ate 99 additional points throughout the week, above my daily allowance.

I'm really encouraged to see a loss on the scale. Other bloggers have talked about a strange complacency that sets in once you start to approach your goal, and now I totally get it. A complacency that says "Hey self, you've lost over 50lbs. This cupcake/taco bell/kahlua milkshake won't kill ya!" And I am ALL for small indulgences and allowing treats. There are things I will never give up (I'm talkin' bout you, Jimmy Johns). But giving in to every indulgence I want is a fast road back to 228-town. And I'm never going back there.

I've come a LONG way. I'm pretty happy with how my body looks [...in clothes at least]. But I'm NOT complacent at 174. Next week I'll be in Ireland, but the week after that, it's back to the plan. 

I've got 24lbs left to lose, and I'm not stopping until I get there.

Ever have a surprising weigh-in after a bad week?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Running for a Cause

I think one of my favorite parts about running is that it can bring people together over so many powerful (and personal) causes. Think back to how connected and pained the entire running community felt following the tragic events of the Boston Marathon. But, on the flip side, think of how much it means to a shelter, a hospital, a pet adoption clinic, an elementary school, to receive a check from the generous donations of runner who are simply passionate about a cause.

Have a hard time running for yourself? What about if you were running for a great cause? The lovely Sami (who blogs at Simply Sami) is hosting a virtual 5K race to raise money for the Maggie Bertram Foundation for the Fine Arts. Sami's sister, Maggie, was just 16 years old when she died in a tragic car accident in 2012.

Whether you're a seasoned veteran runner or just starting week 1 of C25K, you can join Running for Maggie! It would mean so much to Sami, and it would be honoring Maggie's memory to have you participate. From Sami's blog:


HERE ARE THE DETAILS!!
THIS IS A FREE VIRTUAL 5K FOR ANYONE TO PARTICIPATE IN!!!

Below is the Running for Maggie Race Bib. Print it out (right click on the picture and go to Print) and wear it during your 5k (3.1 miles) or just print it out to use for a picture after! You can print it off in any size you want; a 5x7 would probably work best. Write whatever you would like in the open space, maybe your name or whoever you want to dedicate your run too. I will also be emailing this out to everyone who emails me that they would like to participate!!!


Snap a picture of you with your race bib and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (or all of them) using #running4maggie and I will post all the pictures to my blog and the Running for Maggie Facebook page so everyone can see everyone who participated!!

Do your 5k anytime during the week of August 5th to August 11th, and remember you can run and/or walk it! No times, no crowds, just a 5k to honor a beautiful life!

Bloggers – I know that you will be so excited about this….for participating you can win a FREE BLOG DESIGN by Hubby Jack! You must participate in the 5k & linkup and I will have Rafflecopter randomly pick someone!

(there is a Running for Maggie button at the top right of my blog if you want to grab it and put it on your blog for the rest of July!!)

Non Bloggers – For participating you can win a FREE Running for Maggie T-shirt or Tank! You must share your photo's using social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram) and the hashtag #running4maggie to win!!!!!!

PS - IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A RUNNING FOR MAGGIE T-SHIRT, EMAIL ME AND LET ME KNOW! I HAVE TO TALK TO MY SHIRT GUY WHO IS ON VACATION....LUCKY! I am thinking they will be around $20 with most (shipping and amount of shirt included in that) of that money going to the Foundation!



I invite you all to like the Running for Maggie Facebook Page. You can tag your pictures on Facebook or post them on the R4M wall! I cannot wait to hear about everyone’s 5k! Don’t forget to use #running4maggie and that you can now use hashtags on Facebook!

If you are not a blogger and want to share your experience on my blog, let me know! I can feature you on link up day! :)

Please remember if you have any questions at all, email me at sciaccio3@gmail.com and thank you to everyone for participating!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Coming Clean

They say you are what you eat.

In that case, last week I was:
  • wine, so much wine
  • french fries
  • tacos
  • cornbread
  • Taco Bell (lordy)
  • A dangerous Nashville drink called a Bushwacker (basically a Kahlua milkshake)
Man, oh man. 

I was in Nashville this past weekend for my sorority sister's wedding, which was absolutely amazing. Laura, the bride, was actually my "big" in my sorority (as in "big sister," for those who don't speak sorority). I was terrified that the wedding would be outside in the Nashville heat, but thankfully Laura knew that indoors was a better choice. We were inside in a charmingly rustic venue called Houston Station that had exposed brick and wooden beams, really beautiful lighting, and a giant dance floor :)

My pictures are all pretty crummy, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Suffice to say, the ceremony was short and sweet, Laura looked stunning in her dress, Jason (the groom) was very handsome and so much fun (I'd never met him before!), and we all had a blast.

Cocktail hour is for selfies with Sara! 

Time to pony up and get back on that wagon. According to WW,  I've eaten every weekly point AND every dang activity point I've earned so far this week, and they don't reset until Wednesday. 

But I now totally understand that when you eat like crap, you feel like crap. I feel sluggish and dehydrated, and my skin is rebelling against me. Send help. And by help, I mean salads.


Operation Skinny Jeans

With that, time to get my ish together with Jess' weekly goals linkup. First, a quick recap from last week's goals:


1) Running Game Plan. I took an unplanned rest day on Tuesday because my body was struggling. I just can't run more than 3 days in a row, and that's perfectly fine. I made up for it with a bootcamp class on Thursday that thoroughly kicked my butt. I now have an appreciation for the love/hate so many bloggers have for burpees. Other than that, I got in 4 runs (one of them on the Nashville hills-- woof), including my big 7-miler on Friday!

Never again, Cliff Gels.
2) Track Everything. Success! Well, I didn't track the damage from the wedding night on MFP, but I did track it on WW. I didn't need to relive the Taco Bell sinfulness twice.

Now for this week's goals:

1) Hydration. I've been more lax about drinking water because my unemployed schedule can be weird. But I gotta flush out my system and get back on track, which means starting with the basics. I'm aiming to hit 100oz each day.

2) Running Game Plan: I leave for Ireland on Friday, so I'm going to take the same approach with my schedule as I did last week. 

Monday: 4 miles + Ripdeck
Tuesday: 4 miles + Arms
Wednesday: 4 miles + Ripdeck
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 8 miles (!!)

I'm also slated to have a 9-miler while I'm in Ireland. I'm HOPING I'll be able to do it while I'm there (and fit in 2-3 additional shorter runs). If not, I'll make it up the Monday after I get back. 

3) Keep it clean. I'm going to do a mini-grocery shopping trip tomorrow so I get stock up on fruits and veggies for the week. I gotta take control to get back on track after all the unhealthy choices this weekend and so I'm feeling good for my long run on Friday!

How do you detox after a particularly sinful weekend? 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Calling Potential Guest Bloggers!

Friends, Romans, Fellow Weight Loss Bloggers!

I'll be venturing to the Emerald Isle (AKA Ireland) the week of July 28th.


@ Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland during my
Study Abroad in Ireland (November 2010)
If anyone is interested, I would love love love to have some guest posts to fill in throughout the week I'll be gone. I'd be more than happy to return the favor while you're away, too!

If you volunteer, you'll make me as happy as this guy was when he "borrowed" my sunglasses:

The Irish LOVED my shutter shades.
Leave a comment or email me if you're interested!

Cheers!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Little Victories

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I meannnnn, I didn't have any scale victories this week, so I suppose it makes sense to keep charging ahead by focusing on what I did do right. Per usual, linking up with KTJ, Ashlee, and Lex for their NSV Linkup!

Here's what I'm celebrating:
  • My eating was ON POINT last week. Maybe too on point. I earned 83 APs and only ate 6 of 'em (in addition to my weeklies, which I ate all of). But I ate healthy, I cooked a lot at home, and I even resisted the temptation of delicious BBQ ribs on Saturday night. BTW, new favorite meal of choice: any type of fish (except salmon because for some reason I love raw salmon but hate cooked salmon) pan-seared with my Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt + sautéed zucchini + brown rice. Yummus and only 10PP (give or take)!
  • UM I BOUGHT A BIKINI. It's still en route to me from the UK which is apparently the only place where they make swimsuit tops for anyone larger than a D-cup. Stay tuned for whether or not I actually venture outdoors in that bad boy. 
  • I retook my measurements yesterday, for the first time since May 1st. I'm down a dress size, 1 inch in the hips, 1.5 (!!) inches in my arms, 2 inches in my waist, and 1.75 inches in my thighs. I tried to take a picture of my flex, but it still looks weak-sauce even though I actually do notice a difference in my arms. My bust is holding steady at the exact same number it was last time... and the time before that. It's so sad it's [almost] funny, really.
  • Shockingly, I really enjoyed my 6-mile run last weekend. With the half marathon in one month and 3 weeks (but who's counting?), I alternate between complete terror and semi-confident about the race. But hoping to have a solid 7-miler tomorrow before I head to Nashville for the weekend!
What NSVs are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At a Loss About My Gain

Pretty Strong Medicine

Yesterday's post was full of optimism, and today I'm just feeling.... ugh.

Previous Weight: 175.6 
Current Weight: 176.4
Change: +0.6
Total Loss: 51.6

This is the second time I've gained in 3 weeks. Yes, they're small gains, but gains nonetheless. 

I really am at a loss for what I'm doing wrong. I'm doing things exactly the same way I have been to lose the last 51lbs, perhaps even better. I'm tracking (honestly!) daily, eating all of my points daily, eating all of my weeklies (and a handful of the 83 APs I earned last week), working out 5 times a week, drinking at least 64oz of water a day, getting 7 hours of sleep at night. What the heck, body?!

I'm still only doing strength training 2-3x a week, so I have a hard time writing this off as a muscle gain. I ran over 21 miles last week for pete's sake! That's a lotta burned calories!

My only possible guess is that I'm not eating enough, now that my weekly mileage is increasing. I've been simultaneously tracking my intake on MFP, and—with the exception of Saturday which was my long-run day and then I drank that night— my average daily intake is around 1300 calories. According to this BMR equation, my daily intake should be closer to 1,900/day, based on my activity level of 3-5 workouts a week.

Thing is, I'm scared to eat more. For me, there's a very fine line between "eating a little more" and completely justifying every extra snack I crave because I suddenly feel like I need the calories. Also, to be completely honest, aside from once or twice in the past week, I've felt pretty content with the calories that I ate. And those two times that I was hungry, I just ate an apple with some cookie butter and then I was fine.

I'm hesitant to make any changes right now, because I'm going on a 9-day vacation at the end of next week, and I'll be out of the country so I know I won't be tracking. But even if I was looking conservatively at the highest "healthy" weight for my height, I still have 21lbs to go!

Bleh.

Fellow Weight Watchers and calorie counters-- how have you adjusted when you stopped losing? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day by Day

L: October 2012 (228lbs). R: July 2013 (176lbs).

I cringe at the picture on the left every time. Because I had no idea how out of control I had let my weight get. As I've said before, I've always had relatively decent self esteem as an adult (childhood and middle school is an entirely different story). Before I saw this picture, I thought I looked as good as I always did. In fact, I loved that striped dress because I thought it was slimming.

But the photos don't lie.

And when every photo is "a bad angle," something's gotta give.

I certainly didn't get to 228lbs overnight. And I won't get to my goal overnight either. But day by day, I get a little bit closer.

And the fact that I can eat a salad and not feel deprived is progress.

And the fact that it's harder for me to convince myself to take rest days than it is to convince myself to work out is progress.

And the fact that I feel confident in a body-skimming white dress is progress. (I never wore white when I was bigger).

And the fact that, at 24 years old, I just bought my first bikini is progress.

And the fact that I stand up straighter and no longer try to hide is progress.

And now, 8 months after starting, I see changes in myself that I truly never believed I was capable of.

If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Day by day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Super Six

MotivationMonday

Wendy @ Daily Dose of Del Signore
Veronica @ V Watts' Thoughts
Morgan @ Fat to Fit Confessions
Tiff @ The Fit Train
Katie @ The Carb Monster
Alisha @ Coily Locks

It was 6-mile run weekend!

A recap: I was a little nervous because of how hot it's been lately, which has definitely impacted my endurance. Also, I've only run 6-miles once before, and it got tough towards the end. But I went to bed super early (you mean other 24-year-olds don't go to bed at 9:15 on Friday nights?!) and was rise and shine at 6:15am on Saturday.

I had hit up Universal Sole (the awesome specialty running store 2 blocks from my apartment) to get some pro tips on fueling for longer runs. I've read that runners should begin fueling on runs of 60+ minutes, so it was time for me to start. Also, my dad offered me some words of wisdom from his own experience running a full marathon and a handful of halves (he'll be running the half with me in September!):

LAWL. My dad, in a nutshell.
I heeded John-boy's advice and grabbed two different types of fuel at the store: Cliff ShotBloks (in cran-razz and mountain berry), and Cliff Shot Gel (in chocolate and razz). The running guru at the store asked if I ate before my runs (no), so he recommended taking one fuel about 45 minutes before my run, another one 45 minutes in, and then every 15 minutes or so after that. He said to use one type of fuel on each long run, which will help me figure out what works best for me.

The ShotBloks are actually two servings per package (6 bloks total), so I ate 3 of the cran-razz around 6:20am with a glass of water. They were surprisingly tasty, and about the consistency of gummy bears. I put the other 3 bloks in a ziplock and tucked it in the zippered pouch in the back of my running capris. Also, running guru said I'd need water with the fuel, so I froze a water bottle overnight and just carried it with me. It wasn't too annoying, and I noticed a huge difference in my endurance with the hydration (I drank the whole 24oz bottle by the end of my run).

Anyway, the run itself felt fantastic. When I started, I actually wondered about tacking on an extra .2 to make it an even 10K (one of my goals) before telling myself to calm the heck down and take it one mile at a time. I usually know within a mile whether a run is going to be awesome or if I'm going to spend the next 2+ miles just struggling to keep my sweaty carcass moving along (you're welcome for that visual). I had hoped to keep a pace of 10:30-11:00/miles, and told myself that distance was more important than speed. But as I neared my turnaround point, I was still feeling great, and I knew I could push myself a little bit on the pace. I fueled around the 37-minute mark while waiting for a crosswalk, and could feel a noticeable difference in my energy level about 10 minutes later.


What you can't see in this picture is that my hat was an entirely
different shade of green by the end of my run. Disgusting. 
How'd I do? My first 6-miler (late April) clocked in at 67 minutes, an 11:18/mile pace. Saturday, I ran 6.22 miles in 63:26, a 10:12/mile pace. BOOM. 

Mindy, over at One Girl Revolution, blogged last week about a confidence-building 3-mile run she desperately needed, and this was definitely mine. I had a 4-miler on Sunday and I didn't feel nearly as dead as I expected to be! A little hip soreness, but otherwise fine. Bring on this week's 7-miler :)



Operation Skinny Jeans


Speaking of this week, I'm linking up with Jess to set some goals:

1) Running Game Plan: I need to change up my training in order to accommodate this weekend's travel to Nashville for my friend's wedding. This week's training includes these runs: 4, 5, 4, 3, 7. Usually Mondays and Fridays are my rest days, but here's my revised game plan:

Mon: 4 miles
Tue: 5 miles
Wed: 4 miles
Thur: OFF
Fri: 7 miles
Sat: 3 miles
Sun: OFF

I'll be on a Megabus to Nashville all day Friday, so hopefully an early 7-miler will make for great napping. And fingers crossed that I can get my booty out of bed Saturday for 3 miles before the wedding festivities begin!

Sidenote: I'm currently getting some awesome blisters on the inner edge of the balls of my feet (both feet). I wear good socks and my shoes are only at ~275 miles. The blisters are smallish and under calluses, but one is kinda painful. Any recommendations?

2) Track Everything: My goal is still about 25lbs away, but I'm starting to think about maintenance phase anyway. I figure I'll either do one of two things: a) Join a WW location once I have 10lbs to go so I can get lifetime status, or b) Forgo WW and switch over to My Fitness Pal. Just out of curiosity, I'm going to start simultaneously tracking on MFP (while still doing WW), just to start to figure out where my actual numbers are, so I can get a handle on calorie (rather than points-based) tracking. Here's my MFP profile if you're curious!

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Non-Scale Victories

I've missed Lex, Ashlee and KTJ's NSV linkup lately, but I'm baaaaack.

Warning: Selfie overload ahead. Proceed with caution.

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Here are my NSVs for this week:

1) After yesterday's mini-freakout about the rigor of my half marathon training plan, I was a little worried about today's 3-miler. But, I hauled myself out of bed to get 'er done before the sun got too hot... and it was a great success! What a difference to run when it's 73 versus 83-- I felt SO much better. I stopped my watch and took a mini-stretch/catch-my-breath break just before the 3rd mile because I was trucking, and then managed to bust out my fastest 5K ever!

Sweatfest.

2) Jess' 10-Week Challenge wrapped up last week and it was such a fun group to be a part of. She's going to make some major (and awesome!) tweaks to it for the next time around, but I found that simply having a really supportive group was really helpful to keep me on track. I will absolutely be participating again next time-- check out the link if you're interested. 

For the results: I have a large mirror facing my shower, and honestly, when I look at myself getting out of the shower every day, it's hard for me to see a difference in my body. But I took an embarrassing "before" photo for the challenge, in hopes that the "after" would show a difference, and I'm happy to say it does! This is the first tummy photo I've ever posted.... (I've never worn a bikini in my life, not even as a child) *deep breath*:

Before: 196. After: 178.
(disclaimer: I'm kneeling in the right pic, so my
thighs look svelter than they are in real life).
3) I rediscovered a skirt in my closet that hasn't fit me since my sophomore year of college ('08). It's a size 12 from Ann Taylor. I tried it on today-- not only did it fit, it's almost too big! Now I just need to get a job again so my shopping habit can return to normal ;)


What NSVs are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Weigh In and Burn Out

Pretty Strong Medicine

I'm linking up with Heather, Ash, Bailey, and Amy for this week's Weigh In Wednesday. Click the picture above if you'd like to join!

Previous Weight: 178
Current Weight: 175.6
Change: -2.4
Total Loss: -52.4

After my earlier worries about running into a plateau, I'm happy to see the scale moving in the right direction! My eating definitely could've been better last week, so I'm looking forward to getting back on a better plan and following my goals for this week. I would love to be in the 160's (haven't been there since... HS?) when I travel to Ireland in 2.5 weeks, but I realize that's lofty!

On a less optimistic note, I'm a little worried about my half marathon training plan. When I chose a plan, I ended up with this one because I liked the challenge of 5 runs/week, and knowing that the longest pre-half run was a full 12 miles. But, with my weekly mileage now entering new territory for me (this week is 23 miles! eep!), I'm worried about body burn out.

Currently in Week 4, a third of the way through!

I had an "easy 5" on tap this morning, and it was anything but. Part of the issue is that I've been running too late in the morning, when the sun is already getting pretty hot (I think it was 84 this AM)... so that definitely added to the difficulty. But since finishing the run (in a slow [for me] 56 minutes), I've been hobbling around my apartment. My hips and upper quads are so sore. Like, lifting one leg at a time to put on shoes is painful. It's weird, because I've never felt soreness in this area before.

I'm slated to run 3 tomorrow, with a rest day on Friday, a 4-miler on Saturday and a 6-miler on Sunday. I'm flip-flopping Saturday and Sunday, because I'd rather run my 6 with fresh legs after a rest day. I also visited my local running store (Universal Sole, if you're in the Chicago area!) and got some Shot Blocks and Cliff Gels to test out fueling methods on my long run this weekend. I typically don't eat in the morning before my runs, so I'm planning on fueling 45-minutes pre-run, and then 45 minutes into my long run. Big thanks to Kate from The Wigeon Nest for the tip to test out fueling methods during my training runs!  

Tomorrow morning I will be waking up earlier to get my run in before the heat sets in. I want to be able to gauge whether it's A) the heat or B) my training plan that's making things difficult. From there, I may change one running day into a cross-training day if I need to. I mentioned my concerns to the guy who helped me at Universal Sole, and he advised that it's better to be under-trained than burned out on race day, so I'm trying to find my balance.

How was your weigh in Wednesday? Have you ever had to adjust a race training plan mid-way through?



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Weight Watchers Method



I've mentioned many times that I'm currently following Weight Watchers 360 in order to control my eating and lose weight. What I haven't talked about much -- but love reading from other bloggers -- is how exactly they customize the program to their lifestyle. So, here's a little bit about how I make WW work for me.

DISCLAIMER #1: Weight Watchers isn't sponsoring this post. At all. I just love 'em and want to spread the good word because it's working for me.


DISCLAIMER #2: I realize WW may not work for everyone. My main issues before starting this program were knowing WHAT to eat, and HOW MUCH to eat. Basically, I grossly underestimated the calories I was taking in on a daily basis, which led to rapid weight gain. WW gives me the tools to accurately and consistently track my WHAT and HOW MUCH, but only you can provide the accountability and honesty necessary to stick with the program. Like I said, not for everyone but works for me! 


Daily Allowance
If you're unfamiliar with the program, WW gives you a daily points plus (PP) "allowance," and the foods you eat throughout the day are deducted from that PP allowance. If you're using the app, when you track food it will automatically come our of your daily allowance first. Then, you can customize whether food/drinks beyond your daily allowance are drawn from your weeklies or your APs.

Weeklies
In addition, WW gives you 49 extra weekly points ("weeklies") to use at your own discretion: donuts at work, a dinner out, drinks on the weekend, etc. If you like, you can divide these up evenly and just tack on an extra 7PP to your daily allowance (but I don't do that).

Activity Points (APs)
Workouts are also designated a points value based on duration and intensity. Cardio workouts (swimming, biking, running, dancing) tend to earn the most APs, but how many APs you earn is also dependent on your weight. For example, when I was heavier, I used to earn 7APs for a 31-minute run. Now I only earn 6APs for the same duration run. It's also worth pointing out that running and jogging, although separate "entries" for workouts, are both calculated the same as long as your pace is 12 min/mile or faster. And a 150-lb person will earn just as many points for running an 8 min/mile pace, as they will for running an 11 min/mile pace when the duration is the same. According to WW, people may use all of their weekly APs (in addition to  their dailies and weeklies), and will still be on a track to losing weight.

Here's a hypothetical that will hopefully help illustrate things: If I get 30PP/day, and I earn 35APs throughout the week (which resets on weigh-in day), technically, if I wanted to eat ALL of my points each week (allowance, weekly, and earned), I could eat 42PP/day and still stay within WW's parameters.

30 (daily) + [49/7 = 7 weeklies] + [35/7 = 5 APs] = 42 PP/day

Apples + Cookie Butter = NEW FAVORITE SNACK


My Method - Beginning
When I first began WW (at 5'5.5" and 228lbs), I believe I started at 32-33PP/day. It's weird to think now, but I struggled to stay within that number. It took me a bit of tinkering to figure out how to spread my points throughout the day, and I definitely was hungry a lot for the first few weeks because I'd "overspend" on breakfast/lunch. Once I figured it out, I ended up with something like this:

Breakfast = 7PP
Snack = free (fruit)
Lunch = 10PP
Snack = 2PP
Dinner + Dessert = 13PP

I really enjoyed the program, though, because I can hoard my points for dinner on days that I plan on going out (like for Tuesday Trivia), or eat a bigger brunch and then a reasonable dinner. Personally, I have always used all of my extra 49 PPs each week. I typically spend them on going out to get dinner or drinks.

When I first began WW, I was banking maybe 30APs a week. I have a pedometer in my phone, so I used to input all of my daily "walking" time into the WW app to earn walking APs. I wasn't running very consistently, maybe 2-3x a week at the very most. I did not eat my APs (or if I did, it was just a few).

PRO TIP: Don't think you can just skimp on eating and drink alcohol on your daily allowance points so you can "save" your weekly points for something else. It won't turn out well. Because DUH you're not eating enough. On a night I plan to have drinks, I try to still eat at least 24 of my daily PPs. This was one of the trickiest things for me to figure out how to balance.

8 months of weight loss progress

My Method - Current
I recently dropped to 30 and then 29PP/day in just the past few weeks. There weren't that many pounds between these two PP allowances (no more than 10), so it's been a tricky adjustment. As I did in the beginning, I'm working on figuring out how to best spend my points throughout the day. This is what I've been trying:

Breakfast = 4PP
Snack = free (fruit)
Lunch = 10PP
Snack = 2PP
Dinner + Dessert = 13PP

To be honest, I tend to reserve more points for dinner than many sources (WW included) recommend. But I've always (for as long as I can remember) been a night-time eater. I've tried to concentrate more points on breakfast and lunch, to see if I can stave off the night-time hunger, but it doesn't work. When I've done this, I end up still hungry at night, but with less points to use, so I'll usually go for fruit like cantaloupe or pineapple when I'm hungry after dinner.

I still eat all (or nearly all) of my weeklies every week. Typically on food and drinks out, though I've had to sacrifice some on days that I planned poorly while getting used to my new daily allowance.

Since starting to build my weekly mileage toward the end of April, I've been consistently earning more and more APs each week. I've also added 2-3 days of strength training into the mix each week.

One big change, though, is that I no longer count every minute walked (according to my pedometer) into my daily APs. Because I live in a city. I tend to walk more, just by virtue of public transit and errands and all of that. So now, I only add in my walking points on days that I do more than 60 minutes of walking (example: I walked over 6 miles last Saturday).

Still, I earn at least 55 APs each week. I still do not eat back my APs, and use them as a cushion for foods that I don't measure (like, 1-2 crackers, or a taste of someone else's food), or foods that I may have miscalculated.

Chicken, sauteed peppers, brown rice, and teriyaki sauce. Easy peasy dinner.

Extra Tidbits
Starting around the time I started this blog, I made a conscious effort to drink more water on a daily basis. I used to struggle to get the recommended 64oz/day, but now I generally have no issue hitting 100+ ounces each day. I've found that having a cup with you at all times makes a big difference, and also having a cup you can easily measure with. For example, I have a 24oz cup, and [pre-layoff] I aimed to drink at least four of those bad boys at the office daily. Then, any water intake at home pre/post work pretty easily got me over the 100oz.

Honestly, I've noticed a marked difference in my skin and hair, when I'm consistently getting more water. My hair has felt healthier, and I haven't experienced random dry patches of skin that I used to sometimes get in the past.

Also, I can't emphasize enough the importance of fruits and veggies for keeping me full! Even if I'm having a Smart Ones for lunch, I'll often heat up some type of vegetable to go in the meal, which makes it feel significantly more substantial. Also, fruits and veggies make a really satisfying snack that's low in PPs. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Carrots or broccoli + tzatziki sauce (1PP for a quarter cup, usually)
  • Cucumbers or carrots or green peppers + hummus (usually about 2PP for 3tbs)
  • Apples with Better'N Peanut Butter (2PP for 2tbs)
  • Pineapple (free!)
  • Cantaloupe (free!)

What tips or tricks do you use on your weight loss plan?