"Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time."

Happy New Year! It is a day I relish for it's optimism and good intentions. It is a day when many make a resolution to eat better, eat less, exercise more, and become healthy. And I hope they all succeed. I have learned a great deal through my weight loss journey and one of the lessons I have taken from it is that the journey will not end. It will not end when I reach my goal weight, when I run a marathon, or when I am the "perfect size". When I reach a point when I no longer need to lose weight, my diet will not change, my exercise habits will not alter, nor will I stop monitoring my overall health. These habits have become my way of life. I cannot imagine giving them up. Well, I can imagine having a nap instead of whining my way through bicycle crunches as I did earlier this evening, but I digress. The point is that building healthy habits does not happen overnight. It is a slow, continual process that builds strength through each passing day. For those who are beginning a weight loss journey today, I wish upon you the patience needed to establish healthy habits. If you struggle to make big changes, make small changes. Switch from white bread to whole grain bread. Engage in acts of accidental exercise: Park your car at the back of the parking lot, take the stairs, and never pass up an opportunity to take a walk with a friend. No matter how small the change, you are developing habits that will lead you to improved health. 

For this new year, my resolution is to keep focused on the road ahead, jump back up when I fall, and to not pass up any opportunity to help someone along the way. This past September, I ran a 5K where I had been running with the same pack of people throughout most of the race. As we approached the final quarter of a mile, I started to falter during the final incline and proceeded to slow my pace significantly. One of the guys I was running with started shouting at me that I was NOT going to start walking now and that we were going to finish this race strong. I was tired, had a pain in my side, but I begrudgingly picked up my pace and completed the race with a strong finish (but terrible finish line photo). Often times help does not come in the form of compassion. I've had a lot compassion directed towards me when I was heavier. And it did not help me lose weight or become healthier. I am not saying that compassion does not have a time and place in a weight loss journey, because it most definitely plays an important role when supporting others throughout their journey. However, we often need a kick in the ass. Thank you mystery runner for kicking my ass when I needed it most. I hope to pay it forward in the coming year. 

" Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it"

What Wall?

What Wall?

The Wall. Only 870 of 1500 riders will even attempt "The Wall". It starts with 2 miles of climbing from 4% increasing to a 6% grade. And now you are at the heart of the beast. The final 10th of a mile has a grade of 22%. The entire Tour de France did not have a climb this steep. And that's my husband climbing the 22% grade. You will see that most of the others with him are walking. Of all the riders I observed attempting The Wall, only approximately 1/3 rode the entire climb. And Jason was one of them. I think he was surprised by this accomplishment, but I never had any doubt he would make it.

The Wall was encountered 20 miles into Day 4 of a 397 mile bicycle ride from Lansing to Sault Ste Marie. Completing DALMAC is a great accomplishment for any cyclist. But I think that it is special for someone like Jason, who has lost over 150 pounds. Of course it is an inspirational story of someone who used to huff and puff going up stairs and became someone who climbed "The Wall" and  completed a 5 day cycling tour across the state of Michigan. But that's not why I think it is special. What I know, what Jason knows, and what anyone who has lost over 100 pounds knows is that "The Wall" was not the biggest obstacle Jason encountered. Starting a weight loss journey carrying an extra 150 pounds was the biggest obstacle. Running a 5K for the first time and feeling like you are going to die. Dripping sweat all over the living room floor trying to just make it through a cardio workout. Chasing down the cycling whippets while you are still trying to lose weight. A weight loss journey is full of physical and mental obstacles. And unfortunately, most often the biggest hills are at the beginning of the journey. As Jason climbed "The Wall" this past September, I was proud of him for making it up that hill when so many others could not. But I was most proud of the work he put in to getting to that hill, and for all of the other bigger walls he has already climbed.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”

I originally created the Milk Girl blog is to share my weight loss journey with others. Along the way, I have mentioned the enormous amount of support I have received from my husband Jason. Not only is he my partner in my weight loss journey, he is my inspiration. Jason has lost over 150 pounds over the past couple of years through hard work and dedication. I could devote several blog posts to this incredible accomplishment. But this post is dedicated to the results of his weight loss journey and where it has taken him. 


Jason by the Mackinaw Bridge in 2011.

 

In 2002, Jason and I spent our anniversary visiting Mackinaw Island and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during a week-long vacation. Many of the pictures taken of Jason during this trip are frequently used as his "before" pictures, as he was near his heaviest weight at this point in his life.

Jason on Mackinaw Island in 2002.

An event occurred this week that reminded me of those pictures of him in Mackinaw in 2002. This week, Jason signed up for the 2012 Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) bicycle tour. He will be riding his bicycle over 300 miles over a course of five days. The tour ends with the crossing of the Mackinaw Bridge. 

Looking at the man in the 2002 picture it may be hard to believe that the same man will be riding his bicycle across the state of Michigan later this year. But for me, it is easy to believe. I know how far he has come and how strong he has become, both physically and mentally. I know that he will not only finish the tour but will be flying along faster than most others. 

I have been thinking about how amazing Jason's journey has been from that picture in 2002 until now. Despite his accomplishments, he often is the last person to recognize how far he has come. I know from personal experience how the reflection in the mirror often does not match how you have come to visualize yourself. Jason is not the fat kid anymore. His waist is sixteen inches smaller than when I first met him. He doesn't shop at the "big and tall" shops anymore and he doesn't need a seatbelt extender on airplanes. He can run a 5K without walking. He can bike 30+ miles without stopping. He is not the fat kid anymore. Fat kids don't ride their bikes from Lansing to Mackinaw. 

I am sharing this story on my blog to serve as a point of inspiration. Jason's story is a testament to the fact that you can change. Our bodies are amazing and they can and will respond to positive changes we make in our lives. 

"Go through the motions and the motives will follow"

 

Jason and I after running a 5K on New Year's Day.

When I began my weight loss journey, I would have never imagined that exercise would become a daily habit rather than a scheduled task. I read a quote recently that stated: "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going". It is an excellent description of both the exercise and weight loss process. I understand that many people beginning their weight loss journey may scoff at the thought of exercise becoming a habit rather than a task. But it does. I do not know when it happened. There was not great moment of epiphany. It just became a truth somewhere along the way.

Over this past summer, I suffered an injury and could not exercise for a short period of time. I soon became restless and anxious. I realized that exercise had not only become a habit, but a good way to clear my head and relieve stress. I was so relieved when I could run again. If I could enter a time machine and go back and visit myself during the first month of my weight loss journey, I would tell my former self that exercise would eventually become enjoyable, a daily habit, something to be missed during periods of injury. My past self would laugh and say "yeah, right", while she sweated and cried on the treadmill. But maybe she would at least be a little bit more optimistic. 

It is January. Many of my favorite foods are flying off of the grocery store shelves. My ranking of RunKeeper is lower than in recent months. People are eating better and exercising more as they work towards their resolution to eat better, exercise more, and loss weight. Unfortunately, I know this will soon change. The healthy foods will soon be fully stocked, my RunKeeper ranking will soar, and paczkis will be flying off of the shelves. All because many people will give up. They will give up before good eating and exercise becomes a habit; before they gain faith that all of the hard work they have put in has been worth it. I hope they do not give up. I hope that they keep going through the motions, because the motives really will follow. 

What a difference a year makes

Crossing the finish line at the 2011 Capital City River Run/Cooley Race for Education 5K.

Crossing the finish line at the 2010 Capital City River Run 5K.This past Sunday marked the one year anniversary of my first 5K. In honor of that first 5K, Jason and I decided to run the Capital City River Run/Cooley Race for Education 5K again this year. The weather was almost identical to last year's race: sunny and cool. This year I appreciated the cool weather after running in the hot summer sun this past June. Like last year, I was also nervous. But this is where the similarities end. Aside from the weather and the nervous anticipation, this year's race was completely different. Last year I was nervous about being able to finish the race. This year I was nervous about being able to break my personal best record. This year I weigh 40 pounds less than I did last year. The biggest difference is how I felt after finishing the race. Last year, I was exhausted. This year, I wasn't. It was easier. Now that's not to say it was easy, but it definitely was better. This is one of the biggest lessons I want to share with people contemplating the commencement of a weight loss journey: it gets better. While there are always new challenges and the need to push yourself harder to continue to get results, your body adjusts. You can breathe easier, your legs don't hurt so much, and you become faster. Your body becomes more efficient. Last year it took me 50 minutes to finish the race. This year it took me 38 minutes to finish the race. Although I did meet my goal of beating my previous personal best record, I still strive to run a 5K in under 30 minutes. So there is my next running goal. As far as my goal for next year's Capital City River Run 5K is concerned, I am focusing on a much bigger goal. Next year, I plan to run in the Capital City River Run Half Marathon: 13.1 miles!

Jason crossing the finish line at the 2011 Capital City River Run/Cooley Race for Education 5K.

Jason crossing the finish line at the 2010 Capital City River Run 5K.

Using Technology to Lose Weight

I have found that harnessing the power of technology has helped me lose weight. Although I am technically inclined, I believe that everyone can benefit from using technology in their weight loss journey. Not only does technology make recording, tracking, and retrieving data quicker and easier, it makes these tedious tasks a little bit more fun.

There are two services which I use daily to aid me in my weight loss journey: MyNetDiary and Runkeeper. MyNetDiary is an application that allows the user to track their food consumption through an online service. Users complete a profile which is used to determine the calorie allowance for the weight loss goal set by the user. In addition to tracking calories, MyNetDiary tracks various other dietary components such as fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption. MyNetDiary also makes recommendations for daily limits of such components in order to provide a balanced diet. MyNetDiary's vast database includes most of the foods I consume and it is incredibly easy to record consumption. Utilizing autocomplete, one only needs to begin typing the name of the food consumed and a list of matched foods will be provided for selection. In addition to tracking food consumption, MyNetDiary can also be used to track exercise. MyNetDiary is also available as a mobile application for smartphone users who can track their calories on-the-go. You can't beat the cost of MyNetDiary---it's free. You can pay for an upgraded version of the service to utilize different features, but I believe the basic, free service is suitable for most everyone. I cannot say enough about how important this service has been to my weight loss. It has helped me keep on track and has taught me to really think about what I eat and drink.

Runkeeper is an online service that allows users to track their exercise activities. Running, biking, walking, hiking, skiing, snow-boarding, and swimming are some of the activities that can be tracked by Runkeeper. Runkeeper users complete a profile that includes current weight, which allows Runkeeper to track the total calories burned in each recorded activity. Users select to record their activites either manually or via GPS. Users with smartphones can utilize the Runkeeper app to record their activities automatically through GPS. This feature provides users with a map of their activity route, in addition to speed and elevation information. Runkeeper users can utilize Twitter and Facebook features to automatically post notice of their activities to these services. In addition, Runkeeper allows users to join "street teams" with other Runkeeper users to share activities, routes, etc. One of my favorite features of Runkeeper is the "award" notifications. You will receive a notification when you have completed the farthest distance for a particular activity, etc. In addition, you will receive notices of your ranking in the Runkeeper user standings. I find these features motivating; pushing me to break my current record for each activity. Like MyNetDiary, Runkeeper is a free service. One can choose to pay a fee for an upgraded service to utilize additional features such as live route tracking, but I believe the basic, free service will serve the needs of the majority of users. 

There are many other online services to aid users in their weight loss journey. MyNetDiary and Runkeeper are only two of many, but they are the ones that are most important to me. I highly recommend both of them for people who have either just started their weight loss journey, or for those like me who are in the middle of their journey. 

It's Not Easy...It's Not Pretty...But It's Worth It

Crossing the finish line at the 2011 5K MBC Beer Run

The other day I was thinking about all of the runners I have seen crossing the finish line on TV. They often look happy and excited and are beaming from ear to ear. However, if you do some research online, you will find countless videos of people stumbling, crawling, and dragging themselves across the finish line. I relate to these types of finishes. When I finish a 5K, I do not look happy and excited and I am definitely not beaming from ear to ear. I am exhausted, sweaty, and grimacing. No matter how spent my body is, I always give my all at the finish. My legs might feel like cement blocks and my stomach may be upset, but I will always run as hard as I can the last quarter of a mile of the race.

My most recent 5K, the MBC Beer Run, was definitely the hardest 5K I have run. The race began at 6pm, guaranteeing that we would be running during the hottest part of a June day. In addition, the course contained an off-road portion, requiring one to run through uneven grass around a large pond. I started out the race strong, actually catching up to Jason during the first mile. However, the off-road portion of the course and the heat started to wear on my body during the second mile of the race. During the final mile of the race, I was extremely nauseous and actually was sick during the final stretch. Sweat had filled my eyes and I spent periods with my eyes shut to relieve the stinging. I finished strong, but lost two minutes off my personal best time. But I finished. While I was impressed with the top finishers of the race, I was most impressed with the final finishers of the race. Overweight and over 50, they walked the entire 5K. And they finished. They started the 5K and they finished the 5K. Dale Carnegie said "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." For someone trying to lose weight, the prospect of a 5K can be daunting. But you can get there, one step at a time. You may not be the fastest, you may be last, but you started something and you finished it.

Jason finishing the 2011 5K MBC Beer Run

While I have described how physically terrible I felt at the end of my most recent 5K, I have not yet addressed how I felt mentally. I felt great. I felt invincible. I felt proud. I wish I could bottle up this feeling and give it to everyone who has just begun their weight loss journey. While there are many reasons one begins a weight loss journey, the feeling I had at the end of the 5K is the reason why we keep going. Our bodies are amazing. Never doubt the ability of them to bounce back. Do something today that you thought you could not do. You will be surprised to see how tough you really are.

My mom finishing her first 5K. She won the second place prize for her age group.

 

I am riding a bike!

On a cold day in February, my husband Jason and I started planning a brief trip to Sanibel Island, Florida. As I was reading all about the island during my online research, I arrived at a terrible realization: biking is big on the island. As you have probably seen on my exercise routine page, I do not like to bike. Here are my exact words: "I hate biking, so I don't ride our exercise bike---EVER". It hurts my knees and I am a slow rider. Of course, I came to this assessment when I was 100+ pounds heavier. Regardless, I have avoided the exercise bike (and my real bike) during my weight loss journey. Faced with the possibility of lazily sitting on the beach while my husband rides a rental bike around the island, I begrudgingly climbed on the exercise bike. The first ride wasn't terrible, but it wasn't exactly fun. However, I was determined to get myself in "bike shape" for our trip to the island. For the next six weeks, I rode the exercise bike every morning. I began riding faster and faster and it got easier and easier. About a week into this routine, I realized my knees did not hurt. I was ready to bike!

The big day arrives and we pick up our rental bikes on the island. These bikes are completely old school: single speed, wide handle bars. I tell Jason that I need to practice riding around the parking lot before we jump on the bike trail. I hop on the bike and start slowly circling the parking lot. When I am satisfied that I can ride the trail without killing myself and others, I decide to stop by grabbing the brakes on the handles of the bike. There are no brakes on the handles of the bike! I start screeching to Jason that I can't stop the bike and he shouts over that I need to back-pedal to stop the bike. Remember? Like riding a bike when you were a kid, he says. Oh, yeah. NOW, I remember. Once we review the braking guidelines for old school bikes, we are off on the trail. I feel like I am just learning how to ride a bike again. I am slow and a little jerky. Oncoming bikers and walkers make me nervous. I get off the bike to cross streets. Kids are passing me on the trail. And then...I realize that I am having fun. I stop thinking about how bad I am at riding a bike and how nervous I am about hitting someone.  I just ride. At this point I am riding in front of Jason  (who is a very good biker), and I finally stop because I realize that we must have passed our destination. Jason pulls up and tells me that I was pulling away from him on that last stretch. What? I was pulling away from speedy-biker Jason? Woo-hoo!

Somewhere on that ride around the island, I learned to love riding a bike again. I still cannot believe how much fun I had riding a bike after all of these years. I really felt like a kid, with the wind blowing through my hair and turning back to see if Jason was still there. Look mom, I am riding a bike!

Jason took this picture during our ride around the island.

 

One Year Anniversary!

One year ago today, I began my weight loss journey. One year ago today, I cried in my car in the doctor's office parking lot because I weighed sixty more pounds than I thought I did. One year ago today, I decided not to get the high caloric take-out lunch I had planned on eating after the doctor's appointment. One year ago today, I changed my life.

On my one year weight loss journey anniversary, I weigh 113 pounds less than I weighed one year ago today. I had hoped it would be more, but I know that I have done my best to get where I am today. And I know I will reach my goal weight. The last three months have been frustrating; struggling with a weight loss plateau. However, my pants continue to get looser and I continue to be able to do things I would have never been able to do one year ago.

One year ago, I could barely jog for 30 seconds. One year ago, I couldn't do a jumping jack. One year ago, I couldn't do a sit-up. One year ago, my back and knees hurt frequently. One year ago, I had heartburn daily. One year ago, I needed a seat belt extension when flying. One year ago, I had just bought new summer clothes because my clothes from the previous summer were too tight. One year ago, many of my shoes had become too tight to wear. One year ago, I looked like this:

 

(Thanks to my mom who saved such a flattering picture.)

 

Today, I can run 6 mph for several minutes at a time. Today, I can do 50 jumping jacks. Today, I can do sit-ups. Today, my back and knees never hurt. Today, I never have heartburn. Today, I can fly on an airplane without a seatbelt extension and have plenty of room to spare. Today, all of my summer clothes that were too tight one year ago have been donated because they are too big for me now:

(I could not zip up these shorts one year ago today.)

Today, all of the shoes that were too tight one year ago now fit. All of the shoes that fit one year ago today no longer fit because they are too big. Today, this is what I look like:

(I apologize for the poor quality photo. I took this shot using my web cam before my workout today.)

 

I wish I could go back in time to tell my old self that everything will be okay. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by my weight reality and wondering how I could possibly ever lose that much weight. I am so grateful that I had the support I needed to get me through those first few weeks; those very hard first weeks. While I can't go back in time, I can encourage others who are now where I have been. I know how hard it is to take those first steps. I know how painful it is, both emotionally and physically. My journey has been successful, but it hasn't been without its ups and downs. I have made mistakes. But when I have fallen, I have picked myself back up. When it gets tough (and it still does), I remind myself of my goals. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Just never, NEVER give up.

100 POUNDS DOWN!!!!!!!!

I have been waiting so long to post this entry. I have thought about posting this entry while I have been running on the treadmill, sweating through push-ups, and limping up the stairs after a rough workout. I wondered what day I would finally reach this goal. As it turns out, it was the day after Christmas. Therefore, I thought that I would begin this entry by stating my Christmas wish had been granted. But reaching this goal has nothing to do with wishing. Or hoping. Or a weight loss prayer. The truth is, I worked my butt off for every single pound. Most importantly, I did not give up. And there have been so many times when I wanted to give up. Especially in the beginning. I am not ashamed to admit that I have shed many tears throughout this journey I began April 15, 2010. During the first week, I sobbed on the treadmill, while clutching the machine for dear life, with my eyes shut, because I could barely run the 30-second 4mph intervals. I can now run lengthy minute intervals, hands off of the machine, eyes open, while checking email on my iTouch. But there are still times where I want to give up. Today I sweated and grunted my way through an hour-long weight training/cardio session. Sweating so bad that I had to close my eyes so that my contact lenses wouldn't fall out. Squeezing my eyes shut and whimpering while trying to hold a reverse push-up for what seemed like eternity. Wanting so badly to give up, take a shower, and lay down on the couch. But I did not give up. I finished what I started. I might fall down from time to time, but I keep getting up. My husband is an avid bowler and has rolled many perfect games. He always says that the key to bowling a perfect game is to focus on one frame at a time. I have learned that the same philosophy can be applied to weight loss. Focus on one workout at a time, one meal at a time, one pound at a time. Before you know it, you have lost 100 pounds.

The pictures above are my "before" and "after" shots wearing the same coat. I kept this coat, even though I don't wear it anymore, for the sole purpose of using it in my "after" picture. You won't see this coat again until I reach my ultimate weight loss goal, which will most likely be sometime next summer.

As this is my moment to celebrate, I am going to go Hollywood and take a moment to thank everyone who has helped me reach my 100 pound weight loss. First, I would like to thank all of my Twitter followers that have supported me and have provided encouragement. A special thank you goes out to @Trisharee and @ljwoodworth who not only support me in the Twitterverse, but in my "real" life as well. Next, a thank you goes out to my doctor, who on April 15, 2010, wrote down my weight, circled it, and without shaming or disrespecting me, told me I needed to do something about my weight. Next, a big thank you goes out to MyNetDiary, which is the online service I use to track each bite of food that goes in my mouth. MyNetDiary keeps me on track with both my eating and exercise plan. Another big, BIG thank you goes out to @MyTrainerBob aka Bob Harper from NBC's "The Biggest Loser". His workouts are tough, but motivating. I curse at him during every single one of his workouts, but he is the reason I can now sling a 40 pound dog food bag over my shoulder without blinking an eye. Another big thank you goes out to my family. Especially my sister. She bought me my Sketcher Shape-Ups during the first couple weeks of my journey because she believed I would stick with my weight loss plan. Last week she offered to skip going out to one of her favorite restaurants for lunch because it might be hard for me to find a low calorie dish. She loaned me her workout DVDs which became staples of my workout routine. She is always there for me. And so are my parents, who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. And last, but definitely not least, the biggest thank you goes out to my husband Jason. I can say with all honesty, I could not and would not have been able to lose 100 pounds without him. He has been right next to me sweating through all of those tough workouts, running next to me in the park, and holding out that cup of water for me as I stumbled across the finish line of my first 5K. His love and support is unwavering and I am so grateful to have his support. He is truly an inspiration for me, shedding over 120+ pounds, barely resembling the person I first met years ago. Below is a picture I took of him today. Check out his "before" picture in my picture gallery. The transformation is amazing.

 

While I may take a moment to celebrate today, my weight loss journey is definitely not finished. The "after" picture posted in this entry is not the final "after" picture. I will pick up my weights again tomorrow, weigh my food, and log my calorie intake. One day at a time.

86 POUNDS DOWN!

I'm not that excited about the title, I have to admit. Maybe it is because I have been watching "The Biggest Loser" lately, but I can't really get pumped over losing three pounds in three weeks. After thinking that I had broken my weight loss plateau, I hit another one. I then exercised hard for six out of seven days last week and didn't lose a pound. I was so frustrated. But then three pounds dropped off in a matter of a couple of days. I should know from experience that this is the way it goes, but I just miss the weeks where I lost 5 pounds or more. I knew it was going to get harder, and it is. Alright....enough whining. What am I going to do about it? After a lot of cardio exercise lately, I am going to make a switch this week to exclusively weight training this week, and then mix both next week. I am also going to make an effort to drink more water. Let's hope that these changes will get me to my goal of losing 100 pounds by the end of the year.

On the equipment front, my husband and I just purchased a new scale. We had been using a cheap scale that would often fluctuate three pounds or more within a matter of a few minutes. This past week I was able to pick up a much better scale that had been significantly discounted. This scale measures body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, and BMR. I was a little skeptical about these "extra" body readings, but we'll see how it goes. One thing that these readings did reveal was that my muscle mass is way too low. This is another reason I plan on incorporating more weight training into my exercise routine. Today I picked up a couple of hand weights, as I had been using ankle weights for my weight training (pathetic, I know). These weights are heavier and should help me get a better workout.

On the exercise front, I ran my second 5K with my husband this past weekend. My husband improved his time by four minutes. I improved my time by three minutes. It doesn't sound like much, but I fought hard for those three minutes. Despite my improvement, I came in last place for my age group. I am a very competitive person and I would be lying if I said that the last place status didn't sting a little bit. I know that my improvement over a one month period is good and I also know that I couldn't have even finished a 5K at this time last year. However, it is disheartening to be limited by your body when your heart and mind are so much stronger. I wanted to go faster, I tried to go faster, but my lungs just couldn't keep up with my spirit. My legs are stronger and did not bother me at all. But I was gasping for breath most of the race. But I have to keep trying. And I will get better. And it will get easier as I lose more weight. I will run that same 5K next year and I WILL have a 15 minute improvement.

Here is my post race picture. Remember, this was a Halloween 5K---I don't normally wear a fuzzy pumpkin headband while running!

Here is my hubbie's post race photo. Please note that he did not get into the spirit of the Halloween theme and refused to wear any type of Halloween-related head gear!

83 POUNDS DOWN!

After fighting my weight loss plateau for almost a month, I am finally making progress. Through a process of elimination, I have determined that Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred is responsible for helping me break away from this plateau. I think that the inclusion of weight training, coupled with the intensity of the workout, has given me the boost I need. I have also found that my eating regime has now become routine and requires less attention. Allowing myself days off from calorie counting has also helped me move beyond my plateau. I have found that even though I may not be counting calories on those days, I don't tend to consumer many more calories than I normally consume. Tomorrow will be one of those days off, as my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I am going to eat everything I want at Tomato Brothers tomorrow night!

My exercise schedule for tonight includes another Shred session, but I think that I will be modifying the schedule in light of the beautiful weather. I don't want to waste one of the last warm days of the year working out inside. Therefore, I think I will head to the local park and walk/run three milles in preparation for my upcoming Halloween 5K.

Saffron

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." -John Bingham

Today I ran in and completed my first 5K. I ran alongside over 3,000 competitors at 8:30am on a Sunday in 45 degree weather. If you would have told me last year that I would be running a 5K this September, I would have laughed at the mere thought. How can someone who a brief six months ago could barely walk/run 30 minutes on the treadmill, while clutching to the machine for dear life with her eyes closed, complete a 5K? It definitely wasn't due to talent or natural ability. It was sheer determination, with a side of courage. I am by nature a competitive person. I wanted to finish in the front of the pack. I did not. But I was there. Huffing a little bit, stumbling a couple of times, and feeling that my legs could turn to Jello at any minute. As I stood in a field of runners at the start line, waiting to hear the blast of the horn, I observed the backs of a couple of runners in front of me. The statement on their shirts read "The first step is the hardest step of all". While the first step towards my first 5K was definitely hard, it has not been the hardest step of all. The hardest step of all was the step I took on April 15, 2010 when I decided to change my life and begin my weight loss journey.

76 POUNDS DOWN!

Two more pounds down! I know that a two pound loss for a week is considered very good. However...I always want it to be more. Once you adopt a healthier life style, you want to see the impact of the change immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. I have also learned to appreciate the benefits of weight loss that cannot be measured by a scale. Being able to run effortlessly, absence of joint pain, and having more energy. These benefits are priceless.

This past week I walked, ran, bowled, and sweated my way through the 30-day Shred. I bought a pair of jeans three sizes smaller than the pair I was wearing in April. My husband and I signed up for our first 5K. And most importantly, I have set a new goal for myself: lose 100 pounds by the end of this year. I know that it is a doable goal, but one I will have to continue to work hard to achieve.

74 POUNDS DOWN!...bye-bye plateau...(I hope)

I was nervous before my Monday morning weigh-in this week. I actually removed a hair clip from my hair and double-checked that my pockets were empty (pathetic, I know). The two pound weight loss from the previous week was a relief. After limping around all week from the 30 Day Shred, I wanted to see some results. And I got them!

In addition to the 30 Day Shred torture this past week, I also did a couple of 2 mile walks with my husband at a local park and swam some laps on another day. I also worked on increasing my fluid intake, as I had slacked off on that goal considerably in the past couple of weeks.

My major temptation this week has been this new frosting that my husband the awesome cake maker whipped up last night. Normally, sweets do not tempt me, but this frosting is so good! As I am trying not to eat it, I decided to take a picture of it instead.

 

Speaking of sweets, I discovered another great Twitter account: @DaveZinczenko . Great reminders on how many calories reside in those quick snacks we all love. My husband went into shock when he read the tweet about an 8 ounce bag of Reese's Pieces containing 1107 calories and 29 spoonfuls of sugar! This kind of information definitely makes me think twice before eating an item of this nature. This is another reason why I find it so important to log my calories each and every day. If I really want that bag of Reese's Pieces, then I will have to remember that it will cost me about two-thirds of my daily calorie allotment. Do I really want the bag of Reese's Pieces? No, I do not. But a nice gallon...wait, I mean glass, of milk sure sounds nice...

 

72 POUNDS DOWN...hitting the plateau

Ugh. On my Monday morning weigh-in, I weighed one more pound than the previous Monday. I was discouraged as I had included more exercise last week than I had done in previous weeks. I had heard about hitting the plateau, but I didn't think it would happen to me. So, I have been trying to figure out what I am going to do. I have done some research on the subject and I think that I will employ two methods to try to break this plateau: calorie fluctuation and increased strength training. Lately, my exercise routine has been 100% cardio. Therefore, I am going to re-incorporate resistance band training into my routine. I am also going to give Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred a try. In regards to calorie fluctuation, I am going to try to vary my calorie intake more. Lately I have been eating the maximum calories in my plan, so I plan to try to hit the minimum once or twice a week. Wish me luck!

73 POUNDS DOWN! ...and still counting

I can't believe it's been six weeks since my last post. But I'm back! I am returning to weekly updates and will continue to enhance the site with additional information. Stay tuned!

One of the biggest summer exercise challenges is the heat. I am used to sweating during a workout---it is a workout afterall. But I just don't enjoy sweating by the bucket. During a recent treadmill workout, I spent the final ten minutes of the workout trying to stop the constant dripping of sweat on to the machine.

 Sweating sure isn't pretty...

So, although I can't stand sweating, I keep working out. One thing I have found helpful is to rotate swimming into my workout routine. I don't have a pool, nor do I have access to a pool, but the local lake is great spot to cool off AND get in a workout.

58 pounds down

I have set a Monday morning weigh-in for myself each week. Last Monday, my weight was the same as the previous Monday. I wasn't entirely surpised. It was my birthday week, I ate out three times, and didn't exercise as much as I normally do. I didn't go overboard, I just didn't do enough. This week, I have lost three pounds. I have to remind myself that losing three pounds means that I created a 10,500 calorie deficit, which is pretty good. However, I long for the weeks where I lost five pounds or more. I am going to really kick it into gear this week with my exercising.