I’m proud of this weekend. I’ve been afraid of running, as I mentioned. Running indoors too much coddled me and made me soft with my hill-free running in front of the television. On Saturday we decided to kick that bad thinking pattern to the curb and I picked a 3.2 mile route that is one giant loop. There would be no option of stopping when we came by the house. This was a real run, and wanna know what? I ran my first mile in 10:19. The others were slower, but I was pleased to see I could still pull a faster mile. Later that day we also took the kids and dog for a walk. All-in-all it was a super day!
The next day, we invited a few friends to the track for a run, and I got to run with my friend, Esther, who I am running the half marathon in June. She was full of fire on Sunday morning, so she was better than television and the 2.5 we did before my groin started to pull few by faster than I would have thought!
It was a great weekend for both exercise and celebrations- yep! That’s a few times now that I’ve seen myself under 204! The low end of my range is 203!!! Woot!
People often ask me what I do and what I have done to lose the weight. At first, the list was small, but now the list has grown and grown to be a set of life rules that I don’t even think about anymore. It’s like how I’m a vegetarian- I don’t even consider options on a menu that aren’t vegetarian. These are the things I do, without question, without fighting myself. Of course I fall down from time to time, but this is the consistent stuff that I try to stick to.
(And I’m not a doctor, nor do I suggest that you should do what I do. I’m only telling you what I do and did to lose 137 pounds.)
On a recent hike on the Lime Kiln Trail
Try to walk 10,000 steps per day.
Don’t let yourself watch TV until you’ve met your walking goal. If you’re dying to watch TV and haven’t met your goal, march in place in front of the television until you meet your goal. Then you can sit down. (Sometimes this is really hard to do!)
Get intentionally sweaty five or more times a week for at least 20 minutes at an interval. Longer is better.
The more consistent I am results in feelings of power over my destiny, control over my food and better mental health. I’m not usually depressed when I have a solid exercise routine… Hmmmm… Connection? I think so!
I don’t know about you, but I’m super disappointed in myself if I fail to meet a goal. Keeping my plan for the week and weekly goals in mind is a tremendous driving force as I keep moving forward in my health and wellness quest. I make goals for the kinds of foods I want to eat for the week, about keeping a food diary for a few days, about how many miles or minutes I want to run and also longer term goals like running the half marathon in June or getting below 200 by my 40th birthday!
Start slow. Do only what you honestly feel like you can.
When I started running I could only run for thirty seconds- and I let that be a celebration. When I first started taking control of my food, I let myself be weaned off of things slowly. Had I shifted over to what I eat now, I would have been miserable. It’s ok to take to things like a fish to water, but it’s also ok to ease yourself in and get used to it as it feels comfortable.
It’s ok to get scared.
I freak out all the time and worry that I can’t do what I think I can do. It’s ok for me to freak out and start again. Presently my brain thinks I can’t run long distances outside anymore. I’m not sure what is up with that, but my answer has been to run short loops over and over that keep bringing me by my house. That way if I get too tired or overwhelmed I can stop anytime. The good news is that I don’t need to stop, usually, so I just end up learning that I CAN do it and it rebuilds my confidence.
I knew I was changing my life when I began this project. This is not a temporary shift in behavior. When I’m done losing weight, I want to keep it off. I want to be active as a great grandma or at least alive to greet him or her. I have to work to maintain this, so I can’t go back to my stagnant, carb-rich diet existence. The shifts I’m making now are ones I’m committing to making for my life, not just to get skinnier.
Eat as much vegetables, fruit and clean protein as you want.
As a vegetarian, without investing in a bunch of highly processed fake meat soy meat replacements (which I love) it’s hard to go too wild. I think of clean vegetarian protein as stuff like plain tofu, eggs, beans and high protein yogurt. It’s hard to really go nuts and overdo it on any of that stuff so it’s not a huge risk for me. I’ve learned to LOVE fruits and vegetables in a whole new way. It’s been a really pleasant surprise.
Don’t deny yourself, control yourself.
I’m a chips and ice cream girl, so we buy chips and ice cream in serving sizes. We buy chips at costco in the lunch packs and eat those and are amazed at the savings in calories and cost. I buy the single serving sized ice cream and that keeps me in check.
I really try not to eat after 7:30.
It’s a rule I have that I break more often than I like. When I follow it, though, I really lose weight and feel in control.
Look cute even when you’re not at goal.
I am not making myself wait until I reach my goal to buy new, better fitting clothes- I want to look and feel good at every stage so I’ve bought a lot and left a lot behind. I miss them and when people I’ve given hand me downs to share that they’re wearing something I formerly owned it makes me so happy!
Start growing your hair out right when you start.
It may seem vain and silly, but I’ve never ever had long hair, and growing it out made me feel like a different person. It often helps me see myself as I am now, which is way harder than you would think. In my minds eye sometimes I’m still the short-haired 280 pound woman I was two years ago. The hair helps make the visual shift easier to process.
Promise to keep the promise that I will really do it this time and I won’t break the promise.
I realized that I would readily break commitments, deals and promises that I made to myself. I decided that if I was going to see myself and a capable person who was truthful, dedicated and hard working, I was going to have to actually follow through. I haven’t broken my promise yet and don’t plan to. My belief in myself is so different and has altered my confidence and willingness to work on deeper issues within myself.
It’s all on me to do this.
My will drives this dream, not my belly or my laziness- my will. I use the word determination as my driving force. When I feel weak, I always remind myself that it’s my determination to power through that makes this possible. No one else can force anything. No one else should need to motivate me (though I do appreciate motivation) , determination is taking responsibility to myself, waiting for motivation is passive. Thank you Katie from Runsforcookies.com. 🙂
Be honest with yourself.
I lied to myself all the time, telling myself it was PCOS that did this to me, that my insulin issues made me pack on the pounds… But truthfully, pizza and donuts make it easier to pack on pounds. The PCOS and insulin resistance just really enjoyed the fodder and I became a highly functional fat making and storing machine. It’s amazing what I am capable of hiding from myself and justifying. Saying no to those lies was a huuuuuge step for me.
Journal your food.
Do it a lot at first and then as you need when you fall off the wagon. This just helps to remind you of what serving sizes are and you have to put that honesty thing into practice pretty fiercely here. I would journal even nominal amounts like eating three Cheetos and stuff like that. 100% honesty really helped me to see what I was really eating. Hint: it was too much.
Let people know what you’re doing. You will succeed very publicly, and falling back down, publicly, will be hard. You have no idea how important this website is. Sometimes my runs are photos opportunities because I need something for a post, but then I forget to even do a selfie. 🙂
Use an exercise tracking device for your smartphone.
As you rack up miles you’ll be impressed with yourself. I found the mileage counter to be incredibly exciting as I wracked up miles!
Buy real exercise clothes and a few really good bras.
That way you’ll feel like a real exerciser. I find that if I’m wearing my gear I’m self conscious if I’m walking. I run harder when I’m dressed for it.
Drink lots of beverages with meals.
When I want seconds, I really want a glass of water. I drink the water and don’t want seconds anymore.
Celebrate success with tangible rewards.
For some reason I like to dangle the carrot even more than I like the prize when I get it. The reward of meeting a weight goal always surpasses the boots or whatever I’m getting, but I still do it. I suppose it’s for those moments when I can’t feel the excitement of what it will feel like when I weigh whatever…
Build up your lean muscle mass.
I know that this is an uphill battle after 40, but I feel like it’s one worth waging. It’s difficult to build lean muscle mass now, but if know it’s possible and I feel like spending time lifting and getting stronger will do a lot for my health as I age AND lean muscle mass burns a lot more fat. I also have fantasies about plumping up with muscle to fill out my loose fleshiness.
Get the kids involved.
I realized that my lifestyle will influence my kids. I don’t want them to have the battles I’ve dealt with, so I want to teach them these skills now and have them imprint as a blueprint for the care and keeping of their bodies. So far, so good. She wants to be a personal trainer or fitness instructor of some kind (not as a PE teacher, though) and he is starting to run like greased lightning.
Do whatever seems interesting in the quest to move forward with health.
If I get motivated to continue to exercise by signing up for a race then I definitely need to do that. If I have an interest in an online weightloss contest, it’s ok to take the risk and try for it. While those events may not help after the event is over, leading up to it gets me to a good spot.
I’m not perfect. It’s ok if I fall off the wagon in any capacity. What is not ok is to let myself stay down. This is not a battle that is won over a year or two, it is a battle that is won by the second. I may have screwed up and eaten something I wasn’t planning for or I might not work out as hard as I was hoping, but as long as the next second or minute or hour is turned back around I’m ok. I don’t wait until tomorrow or Monday or the new year to get a fresh start anymore. A fresh start can happen immediately.
This morning I promised myself that I would, indeed, run outside today. There are two reasons: one is that I miss my husband and want him all to myself to thirty minutes without being interrupted. The second is because I’ve become an outdoor scaredy cat runner. I’m scared of the terrain all of the sudden. I get scared that I’ll get tired and not be able to make it home or something? It’s totally silly, whatever the reason, and I was determined to break the cycle of waiting until it’s dark to get my workout in and running on the treadmill in front of the TV.
The moment I pulled into the driveway was the same moment that the clouds decided to tear open and let their mighty contents fall on my neighborhood; it was a deluge. I felt defeated and pleased at the same time- Bradley wouldn’t want to go- it was raining! But I was wrong…
In fact, my whole family was waiting downstairs, sneakers on, laces tied and running gear ready! They were all ready for a run! Bradley started talking to me right away about how I used to relish running in the rain, how I used to prefer it to dry running because it cooled me down, and before I could utter a single complaint, my dearest cheerleader sparked some important memories of rain running…
So out I went with all of them, into the rain, to run a little over 1.5 miles. Gigi breezed through the whole run, Bradley and I were fine, but it was my little Jude, chugging along, that made me feel so proud. He has suddenly decided he’s an Lj runner, too, and has started running several miles per week, he joined cross country and is determined to run miles. It’s pretty cool to see.
And as much as I wanted my husband to myself, it was pretty special to be out running with my husband, son and daughter. I always wanted to be a part of a running couple. I never thought I’d be part of a running family. I’m so glad I promised myself I’d run a mile outside this afternoon!
My new all-time low is 203.4, as of Friday. I’m so excited to be three pounds away from 200 now!! Onederland is totally in my sights now and I’m determined to get there before I see my 41st birthday on October 29th. It’s funny how my birthday has become such a marker to me, though it only makes sense that the day I was born be the day that I measure my success. I should be getting better every year and making effort to maintain some level of health. I suppose it’s a very good thing to take stock once a year, make a goal and see if I can meet it.
To support this goal, I’m still doing a lot of low impact cardio. Like I wrote last week, I’ve been running and using the elliptical for at least thirty minutes a night, often closer to an hour, at a heartrate between 130-150. I’ve also been fastidious about hitting 10,000 steps per day, and so far I’m pleased with my progress! Since school’s beginning, I’ve gone from 210 to 203.
Last week I walked and ran about 12 miles and met my 10,000 steps goal daily. I love working out on my treadmill and find that it is so low impact that I can run and run and run, and before I know it, 45 minutes have gone by and it feels like 20. That is a very good feeling!
We had fruit flies, I tried this trick and Bradley illustrated it 🙂
I’ve been going around and around lately trying to figure out what I want to post on my website. If I’m perfectly honest, I’ve had a bit of a tough time lately because I just don’t know what to write. Sometimes I think it needs to be dedicated to fitness and weight loss, and other times I feel like it needs to have more about who I am and how I live my life, like a lifestyle blog or something- with importance placed on Weight Loss and fitness of course. Mostly think, though, that September rolls around and life just takes on a whole new complexity as I get rolling with the new year and new students.
This year has had additional stress because I moved schools and grade levels. I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal, I have moved schools before, I have started at new schools before, I have started new jobs before and it has never been a big deal. I’ve always thought of myself as very flexible and that I adjust very easily to new situations.
It has been hard, though, to adjust to the newness of the place. It’s weird to walk around and not know anybody. I mean, I know some people, but the majority of the staff is still nameless to me. I say hello and talk to many, but am having that difficulty. The culture of the school is very different than the ones that came before. There’s nothing wrong with anything, but it’s an adjustment. More than anything, however, the extra commute stinks, coupled with the adjustment of my work hours, I leave home at 7:30 and get home around five. That’s a full hour longer than I’m used to, and I really feel it in my family time. I miss my kids so much, I miss Bradley terribly and they are missing me. You wouldn’t think an hour would be that big of a deal, but it is!
I’m not going to say that I’m entirely unhappy, though, or anything even close to that- quite the contrary. As I’m adjusting to my new setting, I’m finding myself in more of a comfortable place than I have been in a long time. I’m actually believing in myself again, I’m seeing myself as the wonderful, warm educator that I believed I was, then wondered if I actually embodied, for several years. I’m finding joy again, actually. I’m realizing that all those years I taught intermediate grades were wonderful and good, but I think for now my heart is in the early primary grades. I love these little people. They’re busy, silly, out of their seats all the time and complaining about the hard work of counting on their fingers from seven to ten to find out the difference and all I can do is smile and laugh, because what else can you do? Seven year olds defy logic and reason, so it’s laughter, now. I find myself so much more forgiving and I find myself playing along with them, having fun with them every day. I’m finding the joy I was seeking in my job again.
This week, when I saw that glimmer of joy, I committed to finding it. I realized that part of being a happy person and a happy teacher is looking at my job and seeking out the positive things I like about being there. I realized that a few years ago teaching started feeling like a job, and you need to understand that I was the type of teacher who was antsy during her six week maternity leave to get back to work. I enjoyed summers, but really looked forward to getting back in the classroom. Over the past few years I started missing Bradley all day, every day, every moment while I was at work. I started fantasizing about being able to stay home every day, quitting teaching altogether, but I gritted my teeth and forged forward in order to support my family. I saw it as a necessity; selling my life by the minute to someone else, when I’d rather be doing things with my husband and family. That’s not to say I didn’t love the kids or didn’t put my all into my job, but my heart wasn’t backing it up, my will was.
But this year I keep being surprised by moments of joy, and every time I think excitedly, “I’m enjoying teaching!” I marvel and wonder that this is happening. I thrill at my excitement to do my job. We play, every day. We act things out. We sing, we dance! They love openly. It’s just so fun and happy! So while it’s still an adjustment, it’s one worth being patient for and one I’m excited to re-engage with.
Bob started talking about how we shouldn’t have shame about the foods we like, that we can still have them, we just need to figure out how they work into our diets. We shouldn’t hide what we eat because we shouldn’t have the shame. And to differentiate shame from guilt, I’ll turn to Brene Brown’s definition: Guilt- we feel guilty when we ate something bad. We feel shame when we think we are a bad person for eating a poor food choice.
Food has defined me for ages- shame was a frequent visitor in my childhood and young adulthood. After some reflection, I started thinking of all the times I’ve sneaked food. When I was a kid, I would stealthily sneak into the pantry, grab something without making it crinkle, then I’d dash up the stairs to consume it quickly in my room. Forget about Girlscout Cookie time, soccer candy bar sales, or any other fund raiser where I sold food. I would use my babysitting money to eat and eat and eat whatever I was selling, alone, up in my bedroom. It felt awful. When Bradley and I first moved in together, I would keep nuts and candy in my underwear drawer and when Bradley left the house, I would shove it in my mouth as fast as I could, both because I wanted to eat it and because I was ashamed of hoarding food, so I wanted to destroy the evidence that I had bought, hidden and eaten food that my husband would have been just fine with. But I felt deep shame. Weak. Untrustworthy.
I will admit, now, to a current fancy chocolate collection. It began as a transparent way to hoard food (just in case I had a chocolate emergency and needed to binge, I suppose) and now the collection has shrunk to only a beautiful golden star of chocolate and a giant Hershey’s kiss that reminds me of my late Grandma Johnson. I’ve let go of and eaten or shared my stash, and I haven’t been compelled to rebuild it. If I want chocolate I just go to the store and buy it.
Anyhow, that just triggered a lot of thoughts about food and shame and me. I’m glad to say that speaking my truth, reflecting and sharing my demons has made them lose most of their power over me. Openly admitting that I lurve (way more than love) fried foods is really hard. No one is supposed to like that stuff- we just eat it because it’s handy, right? (And delicious and crispy and moist and if there is a better way to make food deliciously crispy then please tell me what it is!) But we act like it’s just repulsive and we feel such repellant shame that most people who do, indeed, love Red Robin’s French fries, will talk down about fried foods because of the shame. I don’t think fried food is the culprit, serving sizes and frequency of intake is the problem. I believe that I can still eat the food I love, in this case, RR fries. I just need to limit it to that one or two times a year we go out to eat. And when I do, I need to moderate myself. No shame needed, right?
I guess, to make a long story short, one of my most powerful tools has been to admit that I have a problem with certain foods, to name the problem and then I make a plan for how I’m going to publicly incorporate them into my diet. That said, some things I had to leave behind for a while before I was able to eat them again.
I haven’t changed a thing except my intensity. You know how the trainers on tv and in every book or online article you’ve ever read they say if you hit a plateau you need to change something? Welp, that was definitely the case. I haven’t changed my diet or the amount I exercise,* but I did change my intensity.
I’ve been going back and forth about what to do, as you know. I’ve been really focused on building lean muscle mass while also burning fat. That is a really tricky proposition because the workouts and diets to reach each goal are fairly different. I decided to not concern myself with any more muscle build until I get the fat off of me. After the fat is gone, then I can kind of bulk up a little, I guess.
So what am I doing that is different? I dialed back the intensity of my workouts so my heart never goes above149 or below 130 during my workout. It’s working well- I’m finally below 208 and I’m back to my all-time low of in the 205’s! Yahoo! Clearly this is working and I should keep it up.
*The other shift is minor- I’ve been holding myself accountable to 10,000 steps per day. In general, this means on days I don’t work out I need to go for a two mile walk or I don’t meet my goal. On days I do work out I usually exceed the 10,000.
Update: I weighed in this morning at 204!!! I only have four more pounds until I’m no longer ‘obese’ and I’ll just be plain, old overweight!!! Wahoo!
After sitting for an entire summer, watching the scale go up and down, hitting anywhere from 208-218, I am so glad to see movement of my weight to under 208! I know it’s not much, but I feel like doing a victory dance. My nutrition and high activity level are working together, again, in my benefit. Maybe I should have bought that eyelash extension Groupon; I may earn my reward for getting under 200 sooner rather than later!
Yesterday a mass email and Facebook post went out to all of the teachers who left my school last year.* In it, we were wished a great start to a new year and words about missing seeing one another were shared. It triggered a huge outpouring of grief in me over missing out on seeing all of my former staff comrades, all of my former students, their families, their little brothers and sisters. I guess the community at large… It gave me a huge case of the sads, and I got a little worried about my year.
The worrying was needless.
So, the sads yesterday? HA! Today at about 2:00, I looked up at my class of buzzing 2nd graders. They were busily cutting out superheroes with scissors, picking up scraps, chatting quietly with friends and I was smacked upside the heart with pure joy. I am so happy that I can’t even believe it. I was sobbing when I told Bradley about my day, but not with tears of grief, sorrow or anxiety, I was sobbing happily. With joy.
I’m telling ya.
I’m a super lucky teacher this year. I’ve struck gold. 😉
*A tiny bit of backstory- last year the teachers at my school were given a rare opportunity to switch schools. Several of us were excited about change and a fresh start, so we set out to find new homes. Most of us landed at different schools, but we keep in touch and are a nice, little, supportive community.
We ran Friday! Dear reader, it has been a stone’s age since I’ve shared a derpy run pic of the day, but here you are, my sweaty mug, running down the road. We ran a little under two miles at a 11:30 pace. For hitting the actual, real-live road in front of our house again for the first time in a month, I’ll call it a success! Plus? I’ve now met one of my weekly goals- run outside. See how that goal list just propels me forward?!?!
Then, today, we called a couple of friends and had a fabulous time at the high school track running and walking for a little over an hour while the kids ran, walked and played. It was really fun to see two of my favorite friends and actually spend some uninterrupted time talking, running and walking with each of them. One of my friends and I are doing the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in June of next year and the other is just beginning to run. I’ve been hitting the gym pretty well this week, so I let myself have a rest day and didn’t push too hard. Since she’s just starting, we only ran just under a mile and walked at a really good pace for the rest. It was a really fun way to get a workout in on the last official day of summer!
So, to recap my goals for the week:
I’m 4-5 miles in, two outdoor runs, I’ve got two days with 10,000 steps both days and I’ve already hit my 150 minutes of cardio.