Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Therapy

I am not having a good day, internet, not at all. This morning, on my way home from dropping J off at school in the pouring rain, I was rear ended in my 7-month old car. This is just weeks after I had to have said car taken to the dealership for a new transmission. My poor car, I think maybe it is cursed!

Then I got a phone call that was no good news at all, about something I have no control over, which is very hard for me to deal with. I am a wee bit of a control freak. There is nothing I can do about this but fork over boo coo dollahs and hope for the best.

So, I decided that I needed and was deserving of some chocolate therapy. Don't worry, I did not reach for the Three Muskateers or the Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chocolate chip muffins (OMG, are they to die for or what???). No, no, no, I did chocolate therapy the healthy way...

Oooh, yeah...Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter (purchased just this morning at Whole Foods - don't remember where I heard about it, but so much better than my old guilty pleasure, Nutella) on half a toasted whole grain sandwich thin. Now that's therapy I can live with! Yum, yum, yum. I think I am going to have to leave that jar at work, though, so it does not disappear at home (I am not naming any names, but they start with J, C, & E, and maybe one chocolate addicted Fat Mama, too).
When I get home, I am taking the spastic 80 pound puppy for a long walk and then calling this day DONE! Tomorrow will be better, right?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

D is for Dedication

I just spent the last hour and a half installing a new router (F is for Frustration) just so I could tell the internet that I ran 2 miles today in the rain. Not drizzly sprinkling rain, but "East Coast tropical downpours" rain. I could not take Nan with me because iPhone + Rain = Bad Idea, so I don't know how long I ran, just that I went to the 1-mile post, turned around, and sloshed all the way back. A nice older gentleman training for his 7th marathon ran the first half mile with me, but he kept talking to me, and after 5 minutes of huffing and puffing out answers he kindly ran on. I think I ran that half mile faster than I would have otherwise, though.

So, yeah, me! Now I am going to bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Numbers game

Have you ever noticed how many numbers we use to define ourselves? Age. GPA. Salary. Number of bedrooms our house has. Credit score. Credit limit. And, of course, The Big One (or, hopefully, the small one!)...weight. I really try to look at weight as "just a number." I want to be more than a number. I want to believe how I look and feel about myself, how my clothes fit, how healthy I am is more important . But...BUT...the number on that damn scale still means a lot! It's a clear measure of our success (or failure), even though it can't really give us the whole picture, like how much is water weight, or "that time of month" weight, or that it looks like we gained but really it's only because we lost fat and gained muscle. It really should be only one measure of our success, but so many of us live and die by the scale! I only weigh myself once a week, because I know if I tried to do it any more frequently I would obsess over it endlessly, and really, I have enough I am obsessing about at the moment!

That said, this "magic number" is something that has carried weight (no pun intended) all my life. If you throw a date at me, I can tell you pretty accurately what I weighed during that period of my life. In fact, my weight is tied up in pretty much all of my memories - oh, I was skinny then, those were good times, or I was heavy then, I don't like to think about those days. Sometimes I wonder how my kids will remember me, or tell their kids about me, because I am in hardly any pictures - I refuse to let myself be photographed. I use the excuse "I'm always the one behind the camera."

I have been thinking a lot about my goals lately. I knew I needed to "nail it down" so to speak, but it suddenly seems like a Very. Big. Thing. To put an Actual Number out there, a target that I might miss, a goal I might not reach. I know, though, that without a goal, I tend to be pretty aimless. I know for sure I would not have run three days a week for the past 6 weeks without a plan and a goal . I'm not sure why it was so hard for me to do this - well duh, of course I do. I was afraid to set myself up for failure. Do I play it safe and aim for something I know I can reach and be satisfied, or do I take the risk and really push myself to be the best I can be?

So here's how my thought process went...In high school/early college, my low weight was around 140, and I considered that a good weight for my frame. I went up and down for a few years, then settled somewhere around 160 in my early 20's. When I got pregnant the first time, I was around 175, and for some reason, that is the number that has stuck in my head ever since as a "goal weight." In my mind, after having three kids and passing the Big 4-0, that just seemed like the best I could do. Every time I went to WW (numerous times - I've really lost count at this point), they would give me a much lower "lifetime" goal weight, but I would argue and say no, no, I am middle age, I have three kids, I have big bones, etc etc blah blah blah so on and so forth. I didn't really care what the "professionals" had to say, I had determined what I felt I could accomplish, so they must accept it.

Up until about a week ago, that was the goal I had set for myself. 175. It did not feel entirely satisfying, but it felt achievable. Then I started feeling like I was being kind of wimpy about it - I mean, did I want to do this or did I want to half-way do this? How hard was I willing to work? So, I lowered it to 165. I mean, that's close to what I weighed 20 years ago, so surely I could feel good about weighing what I did in my 20's, before pregnancy killed my abs and every gram of fat I ate took up residence around my belly or on my ass. But then I started reading some amazing blogs, women of all ages, Mamas and Not Mamas, who had lost 100 pounds or more, and I started to think...Could I? Would I? Dare I?

I didn't want to be someone who had to lose 100 pounds - OMG if anyone had said that to me a year ago I would have eaten myself into a coma stressing about it, but now, today, I think...I think it's doable. So, my new, official goal is to lose 100 pounds from my highest recorded weight of 250. 100 POUNDS!!! That's twice what my 7 year old weighs. Just slightly more than my 12 year old weighs. But you know what? I'm already halfway there, so I am going to keep on trucking, doing what I need to do, one day at a time.Ah, it feels so much better to have a goal!

Overdue letter...

Dear Abs,

I know you think I have forgotten about you. You have been deep in hiding for many years, hibernating under pounds of jiggly fat, but consider this fair warning: I know where you live, and I am coming for you. Resistance is futile.


P.S. - You can tell your friends tris and glutes that I have them in my sights, as well. There will soon be nowhere to hide!

What a week

We are going through an IRS audit at work, and between getting ready for that and running the kiddos around for extracurriculars and social events, I was dragging my tired butt to bed way early (for me) this past week, forcing me to ignore my brand new blog for far too long! Blogging is my new therapy and I've been way stressed not being able to dump all my random and long-winded thoughts out of my brain for the last five days!

I actually managed to write something down (old school, man, paper and pen!) while I waited for E's soccer game to start on Saturday and during half-time, so to save my audit-addled brain from having to think too hard at the moment, I'm going to share that for now!


Saturday morning was weigh-in. I definitely felt more confident than last weekend, but was not prepared for the result...195.4 lbs! That's a loss of 3.8 lbs - where did that come from? I stayed on program all week, but between my work schedule and running three kids all over God's creation, I haven't done too much more than my running. However, I am not complaining - I'll take it! Only .4 more pounds and I can go collect my "55 Pounds Gone" badge over at Scale Junkie. Whoo hoo! So far, I have been really happy with my progress, but I'm starting to worry that it's going to start getting more difficult soon. I'm trying not to think like that, I'll cross that bridge if/when I get to it and just keep doing what I'm doing as long as it's working.

A Humbling Run

Before I passed out on the couch on Wednesday night, I was planning to post about my great run (it really sucks not having my laptop, thank you very much, spastic 80 pound puppy). This is the trail where I have been running:

Notice how nice and shady and flat it is? It is one of the many Rails to Trails in the country - if you have one in your area, you should check it out. They are converted train tracks, which both takes something no longer in use and recycles it and makes for a great place to run/walk/bike because railroad grades are generally very low, so the trails are quite flat.

Anyway, on Wednesday, after picking up J (late) and dropping off E (late), I did not have enough time to drive to the trail and get my run done before it got dark and time to get back for E. So, I decided to run in my neighborhood, which feels more like this:

Ok, it's not really that bad, but it is very hilly, and the first (and only) time I ran in the 'hood during week 2, I think I actually died at least twice. But it was either brave the hills or no run at all, so off I went, and this time I OWNED those hills! I had a great run - felt strong the whole time, good pace, no pain, breathing good. It was the first time I really felt like a runner and not like a Fat Mama people stare at and think, "Boy, she's got a long way to go!" In truth, I started feeling pretty cocky.

Fast forward to Friday night. Once again, I intended to run at the trail, but once again, carpool duty put me behind schedule (do you detect a theme yet?). As it so happened, I ended up right across the street from the park where my 5k is going to be (t-minus 54 days!), so I decided to go run the race route. Well...that cured my cocky. I got my butt kicked! I was able to finish the run, but I was hurting at the end. I think the combo of the hills and running on asphalt when I am used to my nice soft crushed gravel trail aggravated my shins. On the bright side, once I iced them when I got home I started feeling better immediately. I definitely have to start running there at least once a week to get my body used to it, but I don't have to look forward to it!

Sunday morning I did go to the trail, because I love being there in the morning. My new thing is to run as long as Nan tells me to without turning around, and then walk back - doubles my exercise and my "me time." Sunday I was to run 25 minutes, so I started the run at the trail head where the "0-mile" marker is. When my 25 minutes were up...

I could SEE the 2-mile marker - you can't really see it in the picture because I suck at iPhone pics, but it's that little shadow in front of the yellow arrow! I was that close. Next time, people, that post is my bitch! I had a great walk back and STILL made it home before any of the kiddos woke up. I do love Sunday mornings!

Well, lunchtime is over - back to audit hell. Later I will post my goals (I promise!).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smile and breath, Smile and breath

Two words...teenage daughter. I am over here practicing my Smile Therapy so hard my cheeks hurt. I am getting some funny looks! So glad tonight is my run, amazing how I look forward to it, it de-stresses me, and I only have healthy snacks here at work so I can't nosh my way through my frustration. But you know, I don't even want to! I'm just going to smile and breath my way through the day, until 6:30 - then it's just me, Nan, and the trail!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hodge Podge

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI see that I was introduced over at Scale Junkie today - most of you finding me seem to be coming from there. Welcome, fellow challengers (challengees?). Please leave a comment for me so I can visit you, too! I'm having so much fun reading other blogs - I need to get a better system of organization in place, because I am getting so many great ideas - I just keep bookmarking random things, and I know I will never find them again when I want them! Not to mention the inspiration & motivation I'm getting. It is wonderful to be part of a community of people with the same goals and facing the same struggles as me, and it totally keeps me on track! My spastic 80 pound puppy sat on my laptop yesterday, so now I have to sit at my uncomfortable desk in my room, with no tv, instead of kicking back on the couch catching up on my DVR while I surf, but I am trying to get around to all of you, and I will be sure to say hey when I'm there!

The past few days have been super busy, so this will be a bit of a hodge podge post with lots of random thoughts. Ever see the Harry Potter movie where Dumbledore pulls the threads of thoughts and memories from his head? Well, that's what I feel like right now...I will do my best to pull them each out in one piece so I make at least a bit of sense, but I am a little ADD so try and keep up, k?

Whole Foods Haul

I mentioned that I went to Whole Foods over the weekend. I love that store. I could spend a month of paychecks in that store! And, I made the mistake of going before I had lunch, which made it really, really hard to stick to my budget (which wasn't too big since I had already done most of my grocery shopping already)! Here's my haul...

I got some old favorites, but also stepped way outside my comfort zone to try some completely new things. I got:

  • baby spinach & baby greens (for summer salad with strawberries, walnuts, feta cheese - yum!); 
  • frozen haricot verts, my very favorite green beans ever; 
  • swordfish steak (I am so not a seafood eater, unless it's Maryland crabs or steamed spiced shrimp, but I have had this at a restaurant in the past, so I thought I'd try it - just need to figure out how to prepare it); 
  • frozen sliced red, yellow & green peppers (for fritata this weekend); 
  • garlic hummus (my favorite is horseradish, but the brand I used to buy at Whole Foods discontinued it, so a trip to Trader Joe's is planned very soon); 
  • natural peanut butter; 
  • tzatziki (very good with baby carrots, I discovered); 
  • Chia seeds (read about these on Prior Fat Girl and just had to try them); 
  • Clif bars (mostly for my daughter for marching band snack, but I got one for me and yum! so I stole one of hers this morning, must go get more - they are only .99 at WF!); 
  • quinoa - I already have several recipes to try; 
  • asparagus; 
  • some chocolate milk for the kiddos; 
  • an heirloom tomato and a regular tomato;
  • frozen brussel sprouts (that sound you just heard was my mom falling out of her chair). 

Not pictured, Amy's veggie burgers, which I cannot wait to try, and Greek salad from the salad bar, which I had for lunch yesterday - very good!

Library Day

I also went to the library on Saturday. I love to read, but don't have a lot of time for it these days. I spent most of my time in the "health & fitness" digits and got several books, including Skinny Bitch, In Defense of Food, and Fit for Life for Women. As I get through them I will share what I thought and learned!

Best. Workout. Ever.

As I mentioned, I completed my third run of week five on Sunday morning, which was running 20 minutes without stopping, and it was totally awesome! That was a pretty good workout, but I did not stop there. You see, now that my lawn has pretty much stopped growing, I can't burn those calories every weekend any more, so I had to come up with another way, and I had the perfect project. With the help of a few underage volunteers (my kids plus two of their friends who wanted to help!), I went from this...

To this!

There was probably between 300 and 350 square feet of flagstone that we moved, and my arms and legs are still feeling it. I'm redoing my patio, so the idea was to clear this out and sell it on Craigslist, but it was such a good workout, I may just keep it and move it back and forth every once in awhile! Who needs a gym?!

After all that was hauled out, I got busy trimming my seriously overgrown bushes with an electric hedge trimmer I borrowed from my neighbor - totally my new favorite tool, and that was a real workout, too. By the end of the day, I could barely lift my arms. It was actually a really good feeling, and totally makes me want to join a gym (my neighbors might start to wonder just what kind of crazy lady they are living next to if I did start hauling that stone back and forth!).

Ok, I still have a lot to say...have you gotten that about me, yet? I'm a little wordy. I wonder how many calories typing burns??? Anyway, I have a laundry list of things to accomplish today aside from updating you on my exciting comings and goings, so I am going to go get started on that. I have yet to set any really concrete goals for myself, but I will be mulling that over in my head today and post my thoughts tonight! Enjoy your day, and don't forget to smile!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hello, Goodbye

Hello, week 6 of C25k! I made it through my 20 minute run this morning. The last 5 minutes was the hardest, but the first 15 were totally manageable. Last night I took the spastic 80 pound puppy for a walk around the lake where my 5k is, and I think I am going to start doing my Sunday morning runs there - it is paved and a lot hillier than where I run, so I want to get myself used to it before race day. Internet, I gotta say, I am damn proud of myself!

Good bye, Mountain Dew, my guilty pleasure. I no longer wish to waste my precious calorie allowance indulging in you once a week. I'm sure we will meet again under better circumstances, but for now you have been demoted to the status of a distant relative, who I only visit once in a great while. I will always remember with fondness your sweet, high-fructose corn syrupy goodness, but not the pounds you put on my ass.

Hello, cute little top that I wore to church this morning! I haven't seen you since January 2007. I've missed you! I'm glad you were able to be freshened up with a good dose of bleach after hanging in the dusty recesses of my closet for so long.

Good bye, size 18 pants. We had a good thing while it lasted. I tried to keep you around as long as possible, but even with a belt, you were just not flattering to my butt any more. In all honesty, I am not sorry to see you go and I hope I never, ever see you again.

Hello, stretch marks. I don't think you are going anywhere any time soon, but you are a reminder of the three times I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy and another beautiful daughter. I cherish those times and will do my best to love and accept you as part of my history written on my body.

Good bye, diet soda. I tried to ignore all the ugly "rumors" I heard about your artificial sweeteners, but I can no longer live with my head in the sand. I've claimed my power back from my frenemy, denial, and you are no longer welcome here. I am going to miss your fizziness, but not your aftertaste, and I will be starting a relationship with your healthier cousin selzer water with lemon or berries.

Hello, willingness to try new things and force them on my children! I went to Whole Foods yesterday and blew my entire grocery budget on healthy eats. I will share those with you tomorrow, internet, but now it is time for me to get to bed. 5am comes early around these parts!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Psycho Babble

This is a long post and not directly weight loss related, but my journey is about more than weight loss, and I suspect this is something a lot of people can relate to. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or water, or whatever floats your boat - but no alcohol, please, or you might pass out before you get to the end) and get comfortable...if there's one thing I know, it's how to ramble!

It has been four and a half years since my divorce was final. Five and a half since my ex and I separated, and I became a Single Mama. My fat to fit journey is just one leg of the journey I've been on for a long time, and by no means the final leg. In one way, it is frustrating to me, because there is a part of me that keeps wondering when things will be "easier." But another part of me is working to embrace the journey, because as much as I am over Miley Cyrus, the Disney starlet hit on a profound truth in her song - it really is the climb. Just like our muscles do not get stronger without hard work, we do not become emotionally and mentally stronger without facing and overcoming obstacles.

This took me so long to realize. I wish I could have those years back. I wish I could wave a magic wand over my daughters' heads and instill this knowledge in them so they do not have to go through all the pain and misery that I have. A lot of pain and misery that they have witnessed and directly experienced. I can only hope that as we muddle through, I am making an impact on them and teaching them the lessons I want them to learn, and what they remember is not the times they saw Mama crazed, or upset, or hurt, reacting (and overreacting) poorly, but that in the end, they see and remember the strength that I am developing and know that it is in them, too.

For a lot of years, I believed that life would be better "if only." If only I:

had more money
had a better marriage
had a better husband
lost weight
lived somewhere else
had a job
had a better job
was a stay at home mom
wasn't such a social moron
blah blah blah so on and so forth

In short, I was always looking for something outside myself to fix my life, to make me happy.  Even when something came into my life that I had been excited about, something I was convinced would make me happy, the feeling was short-lived and I was looking toward the next thing I had to have to be "happy." I don't know that I ever truly enjoyed anything. Then one day I realized that no matter what my circumstances, I was never going to be happy until I decided to be happy.

There are a lot of pithy sayings, like "you get what you give," and "happy is as happy does," and "where attention goes, energy flows," but there is a lot of truth in all of them. You wear negativity and misery like a sandwich board. People see it on your face, in your demeanor. It is a turn off! Even close friends and family can only tolerate complaining and a poor me attitude for so long. It is the same with weight. If you think like a fat person, it's doubtful you are going to be a not fat person any time soon. I have read my share of self-help books in my life. In fact, I am a very good "reader" and "researcher." I was a font of knowledge on self-improvement and weight loss. I knew what to do - I just didn't know how to get started on the doing. And when I was able to get my butt in gear and start something, I was an absolute professional at shooting myself in the foot and sabotaging my efforts. My life reads like a Quitters for Dummies book!

Deciding to be happy was the easy part (the deciding is always the easy part, right?). But I was still struggling every day, often crying on my way to work, on my way home from work, trying not to cry in the bathroom at work. How was I supposed to convince myself to be happy when everything still seemed to just flat out suck? Then one day something came to me. I have no idea where it came from - I must have read it or heard it somewhere and it lodged itself in my subconscious somewhere (I even thought for awhile that I had made it up, but I know I'm not that smart) - but at the time, it seemed like someone had thrown me a life line when I was drowning. I called it Smile Therapy.

Whenever I started to feel sad, anxious, angry, frustrated...whenever that ugly voice was shouting in my head...I forced myself to smile and think one happy thought. Be grateful for one thing, no matter how small. When my ex lost his 5th (and then 6th, and 7th) job since we separated, I forced myself to smile. When he told me he was getting married and going on an exotic honeymoon, I smiled (right after I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of me). Whenever I thought I was going to win an award for Least Patient Mama That Ever Lived, I smiled. When one of my lovely daughters tugged on my Very. Last. Nerve...I smiled. And oh my God, it worked!

This is what I have since found about Smile Therapy (turns out I really am not that smart, and it is a real thing):
Research has shown that when you smile, your brain assumes you must be happy.
Smile therapy actually lowers the stress hormones cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenaline and produces hormones which stabilize blood pressure, relax muscles, improve respiration, reduce pain, accelerate healing and stabilize mood. If you’re feeling down the stress hormones secreted with a scowl may increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, increase susceptibility to infections, and exacerbate depression and anxiety.
These are some pretty good reasons to smile, but there's another reason, too...when you smile, people smile back, and that is an awfully good feeling! As I went around smiling like a lunatic, I started to find that things really were starting to look up! My positive to negative thought ratio starting improving. I started feeling better about my life, even though nothing had really changed, only that I had made a conscious decision to Be Happy Now, and smiled my way to a better attitude.

I decided to love where I live. I had wanted to live in NC for a long time, and moved here after my divorce to be closer to my parents, but after I got here, I became convinced I would be happier somewhere else. Once I decided to love where I live, and become invested in my community by finding fun places to go and things to do and getting involved, I did fall in love with it. Now I drive around town and think, I'm so lucky to live here, in a place I love! Thinking about it makes me smile (for real!).

I decided to love where I work. I was absolutely blessed to land the job I did not long after I moved. I had to go from a stay at home mom to a full-time working mom, and that transition was brutal at times. I found everything to hate about my job. Most definitely I treated it as a JOB, something that was unfairly forced on my due to my divorce (even though when I was married, I hated always being broke and I found staying at home with three kids completely overwhelming and NOT fun). Once I decided to love my job and started looking at it as a career instead of just someplace I had to be 8 hours a day to pay the bills, I found that I was blessed not only to have a job in this economy, but to have been lucky enough to have found a challenging and fulfilling career that is perfectly suited to me, and work at a place I enjoy going in every morning.

I decided to love myself. For a long time, I let my fat come between me and life. I isolated myself. I was embarrassed to go out and do things with my kids because I was fat. The thing that makes me the saddest about that period is that not only did I deprive myself of a lot of great experiences, but I deprived my kids, as well. While I would lay on the couch every weekend in a deep depression, watching tv and napping, they were complaining that they never got to do anything fun. It breaks my heart to this day!! I had not made any friends in the years I had been here because that incessant, persistent, convincing negative voice in my head made me believe that no one would really want to be my friend. I remember like it was yesterday the day I finally told that voice to shut the &*(%& up, because life did not start once I lost the weight. It was passing me by every day. It was so hard, but that was the day I came out of my cave, began reaching out, and lo and behold, it was also the day the pounds started coming off. I forced myself to meet people and forged some close friendships that I enjoy to this day, with wonderful people who I believe were brought into my life for a reason. People who are living life and encourage me to do the same!

Last year a lot of good things happened for me. Two things that I am most proud of are being recognized at work with a promotion and buying a house as a Single Mama. I was over the moon! I woke up every day thinking, "oh my gosh, this is what happiness feels like." I was having a conversation with my mom one day shortly after I moved in, and she mentioned how great it was that I had achieved these things that had made me so happy, but I corrected her. I told her that I had achieved them precisely because I was happy. I would not have been able to achieve them had I still been mired in misery. It was like once I made that decision, to not put my life on hold until things happened to make me happy, but to be happy with where I was, no matter what, I opened a door to good things. I was putting out good energy, and it was being returned to me.

I am by no means saying that I have everything figured out. I am still a Single Mama. I still struggle every day. I still have times when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. I have a long way to go. But now I have a powerful weapon at my disposal to ward off negativity, and I don't let myself wallow nearly as much as I used to (sometimes a good wallow can be healthy, but I limit myself the same way I limit myself to only one serving of Nutella). I now know that when the going gets tough, the tough SMILE!

Break on through to the other side

Weigh in day! I tried to tell myself as I stepped on the scale that it is just a number, and I am more than a number, and I would be ok if I did not break the 200 mark this morning. Most of the week I felt pretty confident, but this morning I was not - I'm a week out from that lovely time of month that brings bloating and cravings, so I was really preparing myself to accept that I had a little more work to do....

It wasn't necessary!!!


Two pounds gone this week, whoo hoo! When I entered it into my LoseIt! app, my weekly calorie allowance dropped a bit - now I have 1325 per week, so I can tell I am going to have to start getting a little more creative and try not to worry myself too much about all the holidays coming up!

Everyone is still sleeping so I am going to get in my aerobics workout before the craziness of the day starts. I'll be back later because now that I'm blogging, I have a tornado of thoughts spinning in my head, so you can look forward to a big "brain dump" post at some point this weekend - aren't you lucky!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My mind is amazing (and so is yours!)

I just finished my run and Nan really kicked my butt tonight! It did not help that it was so humid it felt more like swimming at times (sidebar with Mother Nature: hey, Earth Mama, it may have escaped your notice, but fall officially starts in t-minus 4 days, so if you could get on the ball and dispense with this summer weather, it would be much appreciated - thanks!). Running after work is always harder than my Sunday morning run because I am worn out from a long day of kids and work, but tonight I went out thinking, "feet (and legs, and heart, and lungs) don't fail me now you will NOT fail me now!" And they didn't. There was a little bit of shuffling and gasping, but I pushed through and finished pretty strong with a big smile on my face - ah, the sweet smell of sweat success.

In my introduction, I talked about how at my heaviest, my weight colored every aspect of my life. And now, the confidence I have gained from getting halfway through C25K and my shrinking body is bleeding into other areas of my life, as well. I carry myself a little taller, have more of a bounce to my step, and feel more confident in my interactions with others. Even though I may still be, I don't always feel like the fattest Mama in the room any more.

Well, I just had to get that off my chest, but now I am going to go jump in the shower - I wasn't kidding about the humidity, and I will find out tomorrow if I melted any extra poundage off! Then I am off to watch a movie with friends, armed with a big bottle of water and a bag of plain popcorn. Hope you are enjoying your TGIF, too!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Float away, float away, float away

I have really been concentrating on getting my water in every day. I aim for a minimum of 64 ounces. Trying to be all eco-conscious, I went out and got myself a stainless 750ml water bottle, but I left it at home one day and grabbed a 700ml water bottle instead (otherwise it's the little styrofoam coffee cup, and I guess I get tired of filling it because I never get my water in using one). Here is what I learned...I do so much better when I can see my water - it is very motivating to me to see how much I have left so I can finish it up and get more! I will keep my stainless bottle for the car, but at work I will use bottled (I refill the same one for a few days and then recycle them, so I feel a little less guilty!!).

Since I've figured this out, I have been sucking down the water, which has lead to - you guessed it - much more frequent bathroom breaks. It's almost embarrassing how many times I go to the bathroom in a day. This morning I had finished 2 bottles by lunchtime, and had made at least 6 trips to the ladies'. It's worse than when I was pregnant! However, I know that the small amount of embarrassment I feel is more than overshadowed by the benefits of getting those ounces in.

Maybe my body will adjust over time? I've never been a big fan of water (remember my 3-Dew-a-day habit?), and I've never really consistently kept drinking enough to know if eventually I will stop having to pee every 15 minutes! Guess I will just keep sloshing my way to and from the loo for now.

Today was my first full day on my lower calorie "allowance" and I did fine. If anyone had told me a month ago that I could not only get through the day on 1340 calories, but do it without feeling hungry or deprived, I would have pinched myself to make sure I was not asleep. I am totally encouraged by my day, but I am also not going to stress if I have a day or two a week where I go over that. When I used to do WW, I was always most successful when I stayed at the lower end of my point range most days and allowed myself to hit the high end or use bonus points one or two days a week. It helped to allow myself to splurge a bit now and then and still know I was on track, so that is my attitude now. We'll see how it works! One thing I do need to work on, though, is eating more protein - I am definitely a carb addict!

Unfortunately, I did not get up in time to do my aerobics this morning, and tonight was J's open house at school, so I will count today as my rest day for the week. Tomorrow after work I get to run, and I hope I have another good one! On Sundays I always run in the morning, and anyone who knows me might fall over when I say this, but I wish I could always run in the morning. I have always been a night owl and I'm sure my mom has fond memories of trying to drag my butt out of bed for school, but now I really enjoy getting up early and starting my day before the rest of the household is awake (now I am the one dragging butts out of bed and I know my mom is having a laugh about that!).

I am so glad tomorrow is Friday, it's been one crazy busy week. Does life ever settle down?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My body is amazing (and so is yours!)

I don't mean in a "don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" kind of way (not yet, anyway!), but that if we can just get our brains out of the way, our bodies are capable of amazing things.

On Sunday I completed week four of my C24K program. Each day last week, I had to run 3 minutes, walk a minute and a half, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, and repeat. Usually I find that the first run of the week is hard, the second run is even harder, and by the third run my body is adjusting and it is easier. Last week, though, I felt like I struggled every day and was planning to repeat the same runs before moving on to week 5, which frankly scared me to death: day 1 - R5, W3 x3, day 2 - R8, W5 x2, day 3 - OMG run for 20 minutes straight!

Well, when I got to the trail tonight, I decided to go ahead and try W5R1 - how would I know I couldn't do it if I didn't try? And don't you know, apparently Nan (that's what I call my British Get Running "coach") knew something I didn't, because not only did I complete all three 5 minute runs, but I felt stronger and better than I ever have during a run - I settled into a good rhythm, comfortable pace, didn't have to constantly think about my stride and breathing, and there was no gasping or shuffling! Half the time I was running, I was doing my "visualize the 5k" thing and the other half I was in disbelief that I was actually doing it and enjoying it. I am still nervous about Sunday's 20 minute run, but I definitely have a lot more confidence in myself now!

On Sunday, I set a goal for myself to do some kind of physical activity every day. So far, so good. On Monday morning (at oh crack of dawn hundred) I did 30 minutes of aerobics (Slim in 6), on Tuesday morning, I took the dog for a brisk 30 minute walk (my goal is to eventually have him run with me, but I gotta get myself situated before I add a spastic 80 pound dog to the mix), and today my run. Tomorrow morning I plan to do my aerobics again. It's almost gotten to the point where I feel antsy if I haven't done anything on a particular day, so I'm taking that as a good sign that I am developing good habits!

On another note, I decided to cut back on my calories a bit. I originally had my goal in my Lose It! app set at 1.5 pound loss per week, but I kept getting to the end of the day with a ton of calories "left over" - and I am by no means starving myself! - and of course I was using that as an excuse to nosh my way through the evening, so I thought I would bump it up to 2 pounds a week and see how it goes. Today I put on a pair of pants that I was struggling to button a few weeks ago, and they were loose! Whoo hoo!!! I am actually looking forward to weigh in on Saturday - it's felt like a good week so fingers crossed that I can break 200!

My biggest struggle so far is trying to keep everything else in my life together as I incorporate an exercise routine into my schedule. As a single Mama (and I know that every Mama feels this way, married or otherwise), I always feel like I have too many balls in the air. Now that I've added this ball to the mix, I feel like other things are suffering. I have always put my kids' needs first and mine at the bottom of the list, so this is a big change for me and there is a lot of guilt associated with it. I know it is something I just need to keep working on, but suggestions from other Mama's who have successfully navigated these waters are much appreciated!

Off to bed now, so I can make it through my aerobics tomorrow morning!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eat and Run

Today was run 3 of week 4 of Couch to 5-Kick My Butt. This week I had to run 3 minutes, walk a minute and a half, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, and repeat. On Wednesday's run, I was shuffling like an old lady by the end of the second 5 minute run, but I finished! On Friday's run, I struggled just as hard to finish that last 5 minutes, but this morning I felt much stronger and wasn't panting like a dog the whole time. I still think I am going to repeat the week's runs next week, though, to make sure I'm ready for week 5 - which ends with a 20 minute run (ack!). As I run, I am mostly concentrating on my breathing, but I try and imagine myself running my 5k, and that keeps me going. My confidence grows with every run. Fall is in the air and I run on a beautiful trail through a nature preserve, and I look forward to my runs even more now (that just blows my mind – I actually LOOK FORWARD to exercise!!!).

Up until this point, I have not been doing much other than my three runs a week – I was afraid to add anything new since I literally started from ground zero (a.k.a. my couch), but now I am trying to work in some aerobics a few mornings a week. Since I have to be up at 5am anyway to get J off to school (crazy, right?), I figure I may as well put that time to good use. Thursday was my first day, and I didn't feel it until Friday, but in a good way. I could tell I was working muscles that had been hibernating for years. Saturdays are my yardwork days, I weed and mow and do whatever I can to get red-faced and sweaty and burn off some calories! I have a wicked hill in my front yard, and pushing that mower up and down is a great workout (no self-propelled mower for me!) - in fact, in the hour it takes me to mow my lawn, I burn 437 calories!! Talk about motivation. I was actually bummed yesterday because with the cooler weather and lack of rain lately, the lawn didn't really need to be mowed, but I did get a few hours of weeding in (338 calories an hour, people). I will totally have the nicest looking yard in the neighborhood, and I may even volunteer to so some yard work for my neighbors!

So, I was really getting on track with the exercise thing, but after a few weeks it dawned on me that I hadn't really changed my eating habits. In fact, I had slacked off even more because now, you know, I was RUNNING. Calories burned = more calories to eat. I knew I had to nip that in the bud, and once again my trusty iPhone came to the rescue - I stumbled across another fabulous app called Lose It! which tracks your food intake and exercise. It will even email you a daily and weekly summary of your nutritional stats. It is so much easier for me to do this on my phone than try and keep track of a little notebook and look up every single food I eat - I am a firm believer in KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and it's so much easier for me to be consistent this way, instead of getting to the end of the day and trying to remember everything I ate. Although I've done WW many times in the past, I like this much better than counting points, because I get a lot more information, like the percentage of fat, carbs, and protein I eat every day, how much sodium, etc. The best part about this's FREE!

Yesterday was weigh-in day! Friday at work I had to fend off evil temptation - one of the ladies in the office brought in this yummy looking coconut swirl cake, but I managed to avoid it all day long. Yeah me!

I had a yummy and filling lunch - looks like a lot of food, doesn't it? The goldfish were my little splurge of the day, usually I will have a handful of baked chips. I went into this determined to succeed without denying myself anything, so I try and find ways to get my treats in a healthier way. No sugar-added fudgecicles are great for a low-cal chocolate fix!

So...weigh in Saturday morning made me happy. 201.4 pounds. I haven't seen the other side of 200 in nearly 3 years, so I am going to have to think of a (non-food!) way to treat myself when I reach that short-term goal. I only weigh myself once a week and am trying to concentrate on other things besides the number on the scale, like how I feel and how my clothes fit. I have already noticed a huge difference since I started running - most of my clothes no longer fit, which is great, except that I have not lost quite enough to fit into my pre-fat Mama clothes. I am trying to hold off buying anything that I (hopefully) will not fit into for long. I guess I need to invest in a belt! I have also noticed that now I actually seek out ways to get in extra exercise and eat healthier. Last weekend we BBQ’d at a nearby park with friends, and I took E out on a canoe for an hour and then a paddleboat for another 30 minutes. Whew!!! I have already started looking beyond my 5k and want to start training for a sprint triathalon (when I mentioned this to one of my friends, she asked where the real Liz was and started calling me a pod person). I have found tons of recipes on other blogs and in fitness magazines that I never would have considered trying before, but now I’m looking forward to trying to fit something new into the menu every week. Finally, one of the biggest benefits of doing this is that I am hopefully teaching my girls that fitness can be fun, and it’s not all just about your weight.

One thing I’ve decided to start is a weekly challenge. I have so much going on in my life, and a lot of changes that I am making and want to make. I tend to try and tackle everything at once, epic fail, and then quit. I fill my plate to overflowing both literally and figuratively! I’ve finally gotten it through my head that I need to take one thing at a time, develop it into a solid habit, and then move on to the next, and so I thought a weekly challenge would help me with this.

This week’s challenge: Do at least 30 minutes of some type of physical activity every day

To health and fitness,

Friday, September 10, 2010

Introduction, part the second (even longer)

So when I left you all yesterday, I was teetering on the edge of that diet wagon again. I am sure you have been breathlessly awaiting “the rest of the story.” Get comfortable – here goes!

Thankfully, right about the time that I started to backslide, I also got a new puppy - a very, very energetic puppy, who longed and needed to be walked, so I finally got around to starting the "fit" part of my plan. I was still being very lazy about tracking my food, but with the "extra" bit of exercise, I maintained, and for awhile I was more or less ok with that. Then once again, This and That came to camp out on my couch for awhile, and the numbers on the scale started to creep back up along with that discouraged feeling that always precedes a complete tumble off the wagon.

Two things turned it around for me. One, I saw some VERY unflattering pictures of me that a friend so un-friendly-like tagged me in on Facebook (I of course promptly untagged them!), and I looked so much worse I thought I did, and (b), my fabulous new doctor put me back on my thyroid medicine and an antidepressant, which I had stubbornly stopped taking because, you know, my friend denial told me to.

Suddenly I had energy and a bright outlook to match my big plans and I decided I needed a real, concrete, achievable goal. I stumbled across something called Couch to 5K and got it in my head that I was going to run a 5k - me, who had not run a step since high school and even then, it wasn't much more than a step! Me, who is terrified of looking ridiculous in public - and in my mind a fat Mama bouncing and jiggling while red-faced and sweaty is a somewhat ridiculous sight, and everyone who saw me was going to laugh at me. But I got the idea in my head and it seemed to be there to stay, so I stomped on that stinkin’ thinkin’ and started stepping up my walks, trying to go further, faster, and more frequently to prepare myself for the actual running.

I researched a great app for my phone(*) that would take me through a 9 week training program. I bought some fancy new jog togs. I told everyone I was going to start training for a 5k. And then…well, then, internet, I admit it, I did nothing. I procrastinated. I had excuses. I'm too out of shape to run just yet. It's summer time and I am heat intolerant, so I can’t start just yet. I can’t really fit three runs a week into my schedule just yet. And and and blah blah blah so on and so forth! Well, one day I finally downloaded that great app and SUDDENLY!!! I could not WAIT to start! Why? I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but it got me off my butt, so what the heck…this app adds a check mark when you’ve completed a run and I LOVE checking things off, so I just had to get my first check mark!

The first week of the program, I was to run 60 seconds and then walk 90 seconds - EIGHT TIMES!!! Are you kidding me? That felt like asking someone on crutches to climb Mount Everest! I was so convinced there was no way my fat Mama butt could do that, but I got out there anyway and lo and behold, I did it! Me! On Sunday, August 15, 2010, in the sweltering heat, all jiggly and red-faced and sweaty and, apparently, raccoon-eyed (thanks for the head’s up on that one, daughter who went with me) I completed Week 1 Run 1! I was in shock. Disbelief. Was I dreaming? Hallucinating? I may or may not have done a little Rocky dance at the end of that run.

And...AND...I COULDN'T WAIT TO DO IT AGAIN!!!! Who was this person? That, folks, was the moment I knew that eleventy thousand and one was the magic number, that this time, I was going to stick to it and succeed.  Not because I want it more - I've always wanted it. Not because I finally "have time," because if anything, I have less time - with a full time job, three demanding kids to keep up with, and an attempt to have a life somewhere in the mix, I am like every other Mama out there wishing for about 6 more hours in the day and an extra day in the week. No, I was no longer laying on my couch reading fitness and diet magazines and "planning" all the things I was going to do – I had taken the first step and was DOING IT.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and on that day I took my first step and because of it, one day, I know I will be able to post my thousandth mile!

To health and fitness!

*The app I am using is called Get Running and it is totally awesome. Very nice interface,very  nice lady with a fabulous British accent telling you when to walk and when to run.  I totally could not have gotten this far without this app. This one gets five stars!

Introduction, part the first (long)

If you have stumbled across this blog, it's because I've lost my ever loving mind and made it public. Initially, I intended to keep it for my eyes only, a private record of my journey from Fat Mama to Fit Mama, because I don’t admit my weight to anyone…ever! But then it occurred to me that (1) I have found the blogs of several brave and awesome women that have provided me with a lot of inspiration, motivation, and great ideas, and if I could do that for even one other person, it would be worth it; (2) if anyone ever does find it (I’m not planning to advertise it!), it would be great to get feedback from others; and finally, (3) posting will help keep me accountable, and I promise I will be honest about all my ups and downs.

So with that, I will just jump right in and introduce myself (be prepared, I’m a chatty Mama!) My name is Liz. I am a fat Mama to three girls: E, 7 going on 17, C, 12 going on 21, and J, 14 and looking forward to driver's ed next year! I have struggled with my weight my whole life, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my early teens and with depression in my early twenties (though it likely went undiagnosed for a good many years). Other than a few stretches of time here and there, I have never been very active or gotten into the habit of exercising regularly. I have, however, been on eleventy thousand diets and at times was quite successful...that is, until this happened or that came up (you know how This and That just love to slam you when you are feeling vulnerable), and there I went, off the back of the diet wagon. I have fallen off that damn wagon so many times, I have permanent scars on my arse.

Two years ago I was at my heaviest weight ever - close (and by close I mean nose to nose) to 250 pounds. How depressing to realize that I not only was I heavier than during any of my pregnancies, but that I was a also good bit heavier than many of the pro athletes I watched on tv on Sundays (while downing beer and wings and chips and dip, of course). I was miserable. There was a tape running in my head every minute of every day telling me how fat and ugly and worthless I was. My weight colored my entire life. And yet, at the same time, I was in denial, and for a long time I just kept buying bigger and bigger clothes and didn't do anything about it (I had EXCUSES, man, I was a busy Mama, a busy SINGLE Mama, and I was stressed, and I was depressed, and I was OMG so very tired all. the. time, and I didn't have any time, and couldn't afford a sitter so I could exercise, and and and blah blah blah so on and so forth). Then my doctor put me on medication for my thyroid and I felt a little better and I started walking and managed to lose about 10 pounds, and what do you know, a little motivation started to creep in. But I was pretty half-hearted about it all and denial was still winning.

Then last summer, I bought a house with a beautifully landscaped yard. However, when I moved in about 2 months of growth after the previous owners had moved out, I realized that there was actual work involved in maintaining a yard like that - and lots of it (I honestly do not know how that realization escaped me when I was oohing and aahing over the yard a few months earlier)! I spent every weekend for about a month weeding, trimming, mulching, and sweating and hey, what do you know, another few pounds came off. Then I got the swine flu, and trust me when I say this is NOT the way you want to lose weight, but I try to be a silver lining kind of Mama, so there went another couple pounds. Suddenly, motivation was gaining on denial.

So what to do next? Well, eat my way through the holidays, of course, and then make that age old New Year's Resolution (though these days I call them goals, not resolutions) to lose weight. Except I knew I had to make a long-term, lifestyle change, not an instant fit back into those dusty “skinny” clothes hanging forlornly in the back of the closet change, so my was not to "lose weight" but to "get fit." Losing weight would be a natural by-product. Except that I did nothing – nothing – to get fit. I started doing the WW program on my own (done it so many times in the past, I can calculate points in my head), drinking my water, recording my points, quit my 3-cans-of-Dew-a-day habit and switched to diet soda (blech) and the pounds were coming off. Between January and the end of March, I lost another 15 pounds (if you are counting, I was down to around 213) and I was feeling good! However, I let myself relax indulge over a spring break vacation and after that, I just never quite got back on the program.

Stay tuned to see what happened next…

To health and fitness,