The ‘Beautiful Woman’ Does Leg Day

I left the house this morning feeling really boring.  Uninspired.  Unspecial.  Plain and simple like a lump of oatmeal.  I was rushed- I stayed in bed too long, cuddling up with Bradley and my little boy, when before I knew it I needed to be out the door, much less out of bed.  I rapidly threw on my clothes, gathered my hair into a quick ponytail and dashed out of the house, knowing full well that a day canoodling with Netflix was really what I wanted.  But I didn’t.  I made it to work, into my classroom and was taking off my jacket when I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room.  I’ve trained myself not to catch those glimpses.  You know the ones, when you catch yourself off guard and really see yourself.  Sometimes you’re surprised, sometimes disappointed, rarely am I pleased with those glimpses which is why I intentially avoid them, but this time.  Wow.  I looked tiny.  I know, I’m still a size 14 and in no way am I trading in my amazon girl status, but seriously!  Compared to a few years ago, this woman has totally changed!

Then I walked all over campus collecting compliments and I got to feeling pretty good about myself!  It was a wonderful unsolicited shift from the plain, boring oatmeal feeling I had just an hour prior.  What a way to start my day!  Then the cherry on the top of the proverbial sundae was delivered.  In walked one of my seven-year-old, second-graders who stopped in his tracks, looked me up and down and remarked, “Mrs. Littlejohn!  You are a beauuuuuuuutiful woman!” 

Mic drop.

I mean, seriously.  How could the day not be just wonderful after a build up like that?  I sailed through the rest of the day feeling cute and sassy.  After I arrived home and told Bradley the story he helped me celebrate with the impromptu and goofy photo session as is evidenced above and I followed it with a pep talk unlike I ever give myself in the mirror.  It’s rare that I let myself feel pretty and I told myself just how amazing I really am that I did all this, that I should be so proud, and that Tamarella Past is so glad that I finally did it for real.  Today was a wonderful exception, thanks to several kind colleagues and a second grader who is quite the future heartbreaker!

I’ve been looking around a little for strenght/muscle building menus that I can do quick and easy.  I saw this somewhere on Instagram so I searched it out on, where I found this one among a list of many others.  I ran the past two days, so I decided today was, at last, leg day.  I did this one time through completely.  It did not take me 15 minutes- more like ten.  It was, quite honestly, a lot harder than I thought to do that many reps, however.  And jumping jacks didn’t seem so hard when I was a kid!  I meant to do the workout twice, but ended up having to eat dinner right as I finished my first go round.  By the time dinner was over my calves and thighs were quaking.  I realized once was enough, this time, right in front of my 5k/Base2Space climb on Saturday.  I’ll do it twice in a row in the very near future though.  🙂

Cap’n Awesome Flies Again

In case you weren’t aware, I have an alter ego: I am Cap’n Awesome in addition to being known as the great and powerful Tamara Shazam.  Cap’n Awesome has the power to teach while also having fun and being awesome, while Tamara Shazam has the power to run and lose a ton (or around 150 pounds) of fat!  Cap’n Awesome started out as an ironic name*, so I love that I get to giggle about my own secret…  Anyhow…

{I took two quick pics at Zumba.  I thought ONE of them would turn out.  Sigh.  I suppose I call them derpy run pics for a reason.  😂}

Cap’n Awesome is back in the house and she is bringing all kinds of awesome with her.  Why, might you ask?  What hast thou done in this month of September that has you dancing a jig?  I have a tendency to be really, REEEEEEAAALLLLY hard on myself when it comes to diet and exercise. I have really high standards for myself and when I am not toeing the line I can be very disappointed in myself and it can quickly twist to anxiety, depression and full on panic.  It all comes from knowing myself really well: I was able and willing to look the other way for 20 years while I sat in a bed or on a couch shoveling as much crappy food into my mouth as I wanted.  I followed no rules about diet or exercise, I just didn’t want to care, so I didn’t.  Of course, deep down I really cared.  Of course I did.  But I never let my fit girl speak up and be heard, so my apathetic girl took over and got louder and louder, drowning out any kind of common sense that may have been bouncing around my brain.  I know what I’m capable of (eating and gaining a lot) and I believe that I have to be really firm with myself or I am deathly afraid I’ll backslide right back into the 300’s.  

September is hard.  I start back at school, and while I like that my diet gets revised, it’s hard to keep up on my exercise during the weekdays…  Everything just gets wacky.  So, today I got home and went for a run.  I was only going to do a mile, I just wanted to move a little, but ended up doing more.  After I was done, I started looking at my Strava and I counted my runs for September.  I ran outdoors nine times.  I ran on my treadmill two or three times.  I went to Zumba twice…  If I workout or run tomorrow, which I’m planning on doing, I’ll average working out every other day for the month of September!  Not bad!  While that certainly is not ideal in keeping with my goal of working out five days a week, it’s nothing to sneeze at, either!  I went from being really down on myself and calling myself lazy to feeling pretty good about things.  Cap’n Awesome, indeed.  😉

This was our run today.  My goal is to run ten miles this week, just to get moving again.  I’m considering Zumba tomorrow as I haven’t been on a Tuesday in ages, but that may have to wait until the weather is a wetter, the afternoons a little darker and outdoor running isn’t so appealing.  There’s gorgeous weather this week and with hardcore autumn just around the corner, I feel the need to take advantage of the sunshine while it’s still out there!  

*For those who may wonder…  The name Tamara Shazam is derived from my birth name of Tamara Suzanne, and name Cap’n Awesome came from a friend of mine who wrote a blog post one time and called herself Cap’n Awesome, but in the totally not awesome, ironic kind of way.  It was so funny, so clever, so hilarious, just as she is.  I hijacked the name and now use it on campus and even have a purple cape with my CA initials on it!  Who woulda thought that name would stick???  I’m glad it did though.  It’s SUCH a funny and AWESOME name!

Leg Day…  Ahem.

I got home from work last night and was just,  plain antsy.  I was planning to do a ‘leg day’, but since I’ve never researched or done a ‘leg day’, I had no idea what one should look like.  Mostly I just knew it sounded official, and saying in my head all day that I was going to do a ‘leg day’ when I got home really made me feel like I was going to get it done.  I got dressed in my workout gear, put my shoes on and headed downstairs where I proceeded to stretch and stretch and streeeeeetchhhhhh and then jog aimlessly around my couch until I threw my hands up in the air, looked at Bradley and announced that I had no idea what I was going to do.  Leg day, suddenly, was elusive.  I decided to google a few Zumba routines when Bradley suggested I go meet Gigi who was on her way back from a friends house!  I zipped out the door to find her a mere 20 or so paces from our door, but we ran to one another anyhow, hugged, and then she asked me if I might like to go for a run with her.  

SHE asked ME to go for a run!!!!  Long ago, I admitted that my secret sub-mission of running was to build a running relationship with my daughter, one that is smoothed over by familiar tempos and muscle motion.  One that will hopefully be the salve that calms our tempers and brings us back together when she returns home from college or for Christmas when she’s all grown and married, herself.  I want running to be our touchstone.  Our secret place.  And yesterday was the first time she sought it from me.  Mission accomplished.  Now to keep it, to nurture this marvelous thing that has begun between she and me, so we can savor it for years to come.  

 Today I planned another ‘leg day’ and the same thing happened.  Got home, got dressed, and realized I had no idea what to do, again.  So, I spent 30 minutes on Pinterest exploring different workout menus.  After all that was done, I felt like I had worked out, so I took off my workout gear, sloughed my sneakers and put on my leggings.  Yawn…  But, I think, at last, I have a direction to go in and something to try!

Super Sunday

I actually made it to Zumba this morning!  After my photographic discovery yesterday about what Zumba does for my core I was pretty anxious to get back in the gym to continue the trend!  I rallied that fam at 8:30 to get in the car and drop me off at the 24 Hour Fitness that is near my house, different from my usual one.  I decided to just give it a whirl, even though I’m always a little nervous they won’t let me in because I have the wrong kind of membership or something…  But the Totem Lake 24 Hour Fitness is pretty nice and I got in without a hitch!  It’s a lot bigger with more equipment than the one that I usually go to, and it inspires me to do some weight training with all of that stuff just hanging out there…  But I think I should take up the offer for the free training session that came with my membership before I get into all of that.  I’ve seen ‘that guy’ at the gym misusing weights and I don’t want to be him.  😉

The class itself was great.  It was obviously a very well established group of older-than-me people who clearly knew one another well- there was a lot of greeting and hugging going on.  But what I liked was that they also said hi to me and the other people around me.  I didn’t feel isolated or or like an interloper or anything, so that was nice.  The instructor was pretty fun and energetic.  I could follow along with most everything and was literally dripping sweat for the hour.  I was disappointed to learn that this instructor doesn’t usually teach the Sunday morning class, so I’ll have to go again soon to see what the regular person is like.  After the class, the other people were really sweet, giving me thumbs up and complimenting how well I did.  It was a little like being a kid or something in that crowd, but since I’m rarely infantilized as the Amazon woman that I am, I just went with it, thanked them and then jumped on the treadmill for 15 a minute run while I waited for Bradley to return to fetch me.  It was is of those proud days- I got a good workout and 10,000 steps in all before lunch, AND got reinforcing weigh in that I’m on the right track and making smart choices.  Yeah!  197!  Again!  

Saturday Shazam 

I’ve been sitting on the couch for about an hour now with my iPad on my lap and a million ideas galloping around in my head about what to write about, but I keep not writing!  Ha!  I at least need to write about our run today.  My goal was seven miles, in prep for my half marathon, but it just started feeling like I was running forever and ever.  I realized that it’s not so much the running that’s a challenge, it’s the boredom and monotony of running that gets to me after a while.  I feel awesome and powerful after I finish, but the duration can be killer.  I may not be worth more than six miles…  But then again, that’s fear talking me out of trying and going for it.  I suppose that’s what’s good about having signed up for the half marathon: it’s do or die time and come October 11th I have no choice.  I’ll be running 13.1 miles!  Or at least I’ll be ambulating in some capacity over 13.1 miles.  I would love to run the whole thing, and I’m definitely going to try, but I’m allowing myself the forgiveness to walk parts if that’s what my body needs to do.

The story behind these pictures is that I bought that shirt when I first started working out on the hard core.  It was my effort toward that rule I have of looking the part and buying the gear to go with the exercise.  I’ve only worn the shirt a handful of times because I hated the way my belly poked out, but every once in a while it made its way to the track.  Last fall I remembered the ‘before’ picture from this set that I had at my disposal, so I put the shirt on, snapped some pictures and made a side-by-side comparison with the intent of sharing it on my website, but I was shocked to see that it looked hardly different at all!  The bust and shoulders fit different, but the belly was still sticking out there like the prow of a ship.  I thought I had changed more than that…  I quietly tucked the picture away and didn’t think about it until today.  After being so disappointed the last time I put it on, I actually pulled it out today intent on donating the disappointing relic, but I decided to put it on one last time.  I was shocked.  LOOK AT WHAT ZUMBA DID.  Zumba gave me a waist and finally toned up that belly a bit!  I know ‘they’ say that you can’t work out a target area, but you sure can lose a little bit of fat (about 12 pounds) while also toning the muscle under it and make a huge difference in your womanly curves over five months!  Hello, hourglass!  I feel so proud, looking at these pictures.  I never expected this.  I’m literally moved to tears tonight at my own story, as self involved and ridiculous as that is.  31 year old, 340 pound me wished and hoped that I could do this, but I never actually dreamed I would.  I’m so grateful to myself for the hard decisions I made, the dedication I’ve put in and the amazing life I get to lead because of it.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.

Which brings me, lastly, to skinnymeg.  This is not me.  This is is skinnymeg, AKA Megan from  I’ve talked about her before, but over this weekend things got very real for Megan and me.  She posted this picture (legs n booty) to her Instagram in recognition of her 1 year anniversary of her commitment to building muscle, and look at her.  Simply amaaaaaazing.  And then after I got all obsessive on her and started digging deep into her blog I found this:

And I was all like, wow.  That top planking one is like my twin with all the sagging skin.  The bottom is her now, after she started weight training.  So I’m a little more interested…  A little more inspired by this woman.  A mom.  A boutique owner and decorator of the home I would like to inhabit exactly as it is… 

And then I saw this stomach picture and decided that whatever she’s doing in the gym is exactly what I need to be doing.  Because, damn.  Know what?  I kinda want that and I kinda think I might be able to do it.  At least I want to try.  We will see.  Megan eats pretty clean and spends a lot of time lifting.  I’m not sure I have her level of dedication, but at the eve of 42 it’s kind of go time if I want to give it a try.  I did the orange shirt, maybe I can do this too.


I’m going to Zumba tomorrow morning at 9:00 at a gym I’ve never gone to!  Kinda excited!!!

I Beat the Blerch!

I was excited beforehand.  Like, ridiculously excited.  It’s true.  

And it was totally worth the brouhaha.

I never thought I’d be that guy.  You know- the one paying $55.00 for the ‘privilege’ of running silently along a trail with 1000 other people on a drizzly, Sunday morning and calling it the best time ever.  Never, in a million years!  But it was! After crashing out at 8:30 the previous night (fist week of school will do that to a girl), I woke up at 2am to drink water to make sure I’d be hydrated, then at 5:00 I bounced out of bed, full of vigor, ready to hit it!  We arrived at the race over an hour early.  I thought there’d be traffic, but really there was just a lot of standing around, looking at the Nutella sandwiches and looking for The Oatmeal author, Matt Inman, who was bounding around in a bright-green, inflated sumo suit.  I thought I took a picture of him as I passed the care station during my run, but I really just ended up with a fantastic picture of my palm.  Of course.  Before the race I was lucky enough to run into some old friends of mine from childhood, Denise and Mark, who also ran the 10K and a colleague of mine, Jessica, who I’m also running the half marathon with next month, so I spent some time chatting with them and chasing Jude around the barn until the race time arrived.

When the run finally began, it was lovely!  Paved and gravel, flat, no hills to speak of and plenty of room to run.  And there was something about the spirit of the run.  That we were all there for the Blerch, because The Oatmeal brought us together, there was just something kinder and more forgiving in the crowd…  If that makes any sense.  Like, we had an understanding.  We didn’t talk, but we shared something in common.   They started marking the mileage at two miles, and true to their word, there was a rest station at three miles stocked with water, gu, Nutella sandwiches, cake, cliff bars and blerches with bigfoots on couches!  It was pretty crazy!  I quickly sat down with my bearded Blerch, he wrapped his arm around me and told me I didn’t need to run.  I could stay riiiiight there.  But I hopped up and bounded back the other way down the trail.  

I’m so proud of myself.  SO PROUD OF MYSELF.  My goal was to run the entire distance, and except for that brief and blerchy-selfie-sit-down, I ran the entire 6.2 miles without stopping.  My numbers were not fantastic, my average mile was in the 12’s, oddly enough, but I did it*.  I made it.  I beat the Blerch!  Afterwards there was indeed cake and other junky food, but I can’t eat any of that right after a run; I can’t even drink water right away! So all that glory that was lost on me had to be bestowed upon my kids, who were altogether too happy to eat my cake, chips and running gels for me.   I looked around for the mythic purple drink, but alas, there was none to be found.  I heard a rumor that there was some the previous day.  Those blerches drunk up mah purple draaaank!  That’s ok.  I’ll just have to go run it next year!  I read in the post-event email today that they’ve already made reservations for next year!  And Gigi wants to run the half marathon with me!  We’ll be beating that Blerch again, come this time next year! 

 Stats for the stats junkies: 

This weigh-in didn’t hurt my feelings, either!  😉
*Of course Strava crashed during the run, so I can’t even compare numbers.  I say odd because I was able to use Strava for the second three miles and my splits were in the 11’s and I felt a lot faster during the first half of the run…  Ah well.

Race Season❤️

I just looked at the next six weeks and was shocked at what I saw:

Unbelievable.  I find myself more excited about these races than I have been about many other things in my life that are way less painful.  I’m more excited about the races than I am about my birthday.  That’s saying something.  I’m as excited about racing as I was about the New Kids concert.  BUT, I’m so excited for the Blerch 10K tomorrow.  Bradley drove down to pick up my packet on Thursday.  He got there right as they opened and was 3rd or 4th in line to get my book signed.  Bradley handed off his own comic, about the sad state of arts in education, to Matthew and gave a brief appeal to him directly, asking him if he could throw his weight or influence behind the cause as well.  He said Matthew was lovely and really seemed to spend time with the comic he handed to him before moving onto the next person in line.  I was super proud of Bradley for advocating, so thankful that he went and got my book signed and I was so excited to get my packet/tech shirt that I ripped my work dress off as soon as I got home to try on my shirt and took a selfie all gangsta style in the mirror…  Neglecting to realize that I had my Lucky Charms on display.  😉 Ah well.  I’ll take lots of pictures tomorrow at the race and I’ll give my review of the race as well.  I’m excited to see all the blerches in attendance.  I’m super glad I’m going this year, as Bradley overheard the race organizer and Matthew Inman remarking that they would like to have it in Colorado next year instead of Washington…

And that half marathon?  This is the one that I wanted to try out last year for my birthday.  My friend, Jessica, from work happened to mention that she was considering it on Facebook to me so I just jumped.  I’ve realized its all fear that’s just talking me out of trying it out.  The worst think that might happen is that I end up walking some of it, and that is not a big problem at all.  My plan is just to add a mile per week to my long run until the weekend of the race.  By the time race day is here, I shouldn’t have a real issue with making it…  Fingers crossed!

Do you see that?  I’m just about under 200 again!  I quite like this weight.  I think 200 and under, so far,  feels and looks best  on me.  😉

I’m just so inspired to get going lately.  Don’t get me wrong- summer was great and all- but right before summer ended I started getting antsy.  One day I turned to Bradley and remarked that two months is about how long it takes to recover from working through the year.  When September rolls around and the eight weeks has passed, it’s time to get going again!  My skin starts to crawl with the need to make and do!  I often wonder what I would make and do were I not a teacher.  This year, if I wasn’t in the classroom, I would be making huge paper sculptures out of cardboard, screws and a glue gun or I’d be writing a book.  Or both.  I found myself looking longingly at the things I don’t have hours upon hours to ponder, make and consider over the summer, knowing I don’t have the months it takes to do some of those fantastic things.  This year I redirected the energy into the next school year that lurked in the shadows, ready to spring out, full force in September, by making stuff for my classroom and prepping materials for my students.  This year’s kids totally deserved those summer hours, too.  29 kids in class, yes, but the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful group of 29 kids I’ve ever met.  Each class of kids has a personality to it that sort of defines them, and this one is just sweet.  It’s going to be a fantastic year.

But now that school’s begun, I just can’t get all these races off my mind.  I’m already looking for zombie runs, turkey trots and jingle dashes!  It’s the season to run my butt off, enjoy the somewhat cooler weather, the crispy leaves, the brisk sunshine and a very happy fall!  


I’m like this about miles- just two more miles, four half miles, that’s just 4-6 minutes four times!  Eight quarter miles!  That’s just one side of our block!  Easy!  I do that in my sleep!  And on and on and on and on…

Five Mile Day

I don’t think a single run passes without me marveling to myself that I can do this.  Usually, toward the end of a run, I’ll turn to Bradley and remark that it’s so amazing that I can just do this, now.  Like, I trust that I can just go out and run a few miles, even if I haven’t been training for a little while.  I remember when I first started this project, my friend Hannah was so casual about training for a 5K.  I asked her how long she would need to train and how far she could run in her present state of having just given birth…  And her answer astounded me that she would just go do it.  No training necessary.  She had a relationship with and an understanding of how her body worked, what was difficult and what she was truly capable of.  She knew what I’ve only recently learned: our bodies are capable of a lot- often more than we give them credit for.

So, yeah.  I thought I could run five miles today and I doggedly chased that goal until I did.  That’s why my trail is all windy and weird; it was a wander-run.  Along the way, I tangled with an obnoxious eight-year-old who was determined to make me feel slow.  Seriously, I would be coming around the bend at the track and he kept meeting me at various points on the track to snicker and then dash ahead while his dad stood on the outside of the track, ineffectually yelling every once in a while, with their relentlessly barking dog.  The kid wasn’t a greyhound, I’m no rabbit, and I certainly didn’t need to be nice Mrs. L, the second grade teacher, so I busted off the track and back into my neighborhood where I proceeded to call my neighbors by the wrong names…  

It was a weird run, to say the least, but I absolutely feel better and totally prepared for next week’s Beat the Blerch six mile run.  I ordered a copy of Inmann’s book about running and I hope Bradley can get it signed when he picks up my packet on Thursday!  🙂

All this six miler stuff is making me want to amp up the distance again.  Running at the pacing like I did today never makes me feel completely worn out anymore and I feel like I could go for a loooong time.  Do they do 15k’s?  Is that a thing? Because if I could get there, I’d definitely be inching toward something like a half marathon!

Oh.  And, no.  It’s not a Halloween thing, just a Saturday thing and I thought Gigi was so clever in her brother’s clothes on a random Saturday night!  And the other is of me after the run.  I am out of practice and keep forgetting to take my selfies while I’m running anymore.  I’ll get there…

Blerching It

Next weekend is the Beat the Blerch 10K, brought to us by Matthew Innman of The Oatmeal fame. If you’re are unaware, he is a writer and artist who is irreverent, cynical, honest and funny. He also happens to be a runner who documented his feelings about running in a comic called The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I Run Long Distances. It’s hilarious and honest in a way that I connected to and I’ve been a fan of his comics before even that one came out, so of course I’m participating in the run.

Except… I’ve been freaking out about it. Like, FREAKING OUT. I hurt my back with the move and ever since then I’ve been fairly inactive. My focus was to just be still and hopefully, given time, my back would heal. But it just keeps on feeling the same, like a white-hot knife is being pushed into my back next to my shoulder blade. It mostly happens in the morning, and I’ve learned now that if I put ice on it first thing that it feels better for most of the day. But even with that, I’ve been trying to avoid hurting myself further by being still. I couldn’t wait any longer, though. Like I said, I’ve been freaking out! Intellectually, I know I’m going to be fine To run six miles. In fact, I’m certain that I could pull off the half marathon. It might not be pretty, but I think I could do it. But my inner fat girl is flipping out that I’ve been behind on my consistent cardio and I’ve been really worried that I won’t be able to make it the entire 6.2 miles at the Beat the Blerch race! I was worried about a serious backslide just moments before the race I’ve been looking forward to more than any other!!!  

Last week I tried to counter those feelings by getting on the treadmill a few times. I wasn’t able to sustain longer than 15 or 20 minute period of time however because I had too much going on, dinner to make, lunches to pack, first days of school to listen to. Today I was determined to get a real run in come hell or high water. Imagine my terror when I woke up, then, to the most intense back pain that I’ve experienced since I started dealing with this injury. I was instantly Oscar the Grouch and Senator Sensitivity with an Eeyore cloud following me around raining on my parade. I literally cried because I’m sick of this and being unable to support my goal with exercise! I laid in bed, grousing, complaining, picking fights and being altogether bratty and difficult when all of the sudden the pain went away. Immediately I hopped out of bed, rallied Bradley, changed into my running gear and off we went!

Isn’t it funny how a good run can totally change your attitude while also giving you a clear vision of how awful your behavior was that morning?? We ran 3.3 miles. I took it as slow as possible, but when you look at my splits, I wasn’t the worst for speed. I don’t mind slow miles, but I do like to keep them under 13 minutes (that one 13 minute mile there had some stops, untied shoelaces and neighbor visit). On the final leg of my run today I just felt joy. I love being able to run and move and exercise and experience the world! I’m so excited for next week’s Beat the Blerch!!! I’ve decided that indeed, I may just eat a cupcake, Nutella sandwich AND some purple drink! (Don’t know what that means? Seriously! Go read the comic– all four parts!)

Tomorrow we are going to run to St. Edward park and back. It’s a 5.3 round trip with some decent elevation and fun things to see. I’m excited to realize that even with a sore back, I might still be able to run. I probably can’t put my Zumba shoes on just yet, but running? Woooohoooooo! And I just LOVE running in the fall weather!!! Squeee!

And yesterday I got my annual haircut and color. I used this groupon and had a fantastic cut from Emily! Soooo happy! She cut all the nasty, dead stuff off and my hair is still long. I’m amazed. LOVE❤️

And if you’re interested in supporting my Base2Space climb, here is the link!

That Time of Year

There are a few times of year that are kind of fresh start times to me. The first is in January, of course. I’m a big one for making goals, both long term and minute by minute, so the fresh start of a New Year’s resolution never hurts. A few months later, right around Spring Break, I usually count the weeks until summer break and realize that’s how much time I have until I’m at home and really struggle so I’d better get some solid habits under my belt before it starts. The last time when I get things into gear is right now. While I don’t think that the onset of the school year is a great time to make weightloss goals, I know that this time if year is fantastic because I get so distracted that it’s really easy to dial my calories back without too much effort while I also focus on maintaining my exercise regiment so I usually end up losing between 7-15 pounds. I’m planning to capitalize on that, for sure! I know I have a tendency to do this often, but Im going to do a quick breakdown of how I got rolling on and what tools I use during my my body project, where I’ve ultimately dropped around 150 pounds… (depending on when I hop on the scale, of course!)


Regarding supplements and crutches:
I always think it’s interesting when people who sell weightloss supplements find out I’m losing a pile of weight. First they get excited and tell me about their product, then I tell them how much I’ve lost… While I’m sure dietary supplements like Spark, Shakeology, pills, hormones, vitamins or drops are great for some people, I just don’t want to become reliant on a system where I need to purchase a product to support my weightloss, muscle build, energy level or weight maintenance for the rest of my life. I want to lose my weight, support my activity, build muscle tone, hydrate and everything else just by using the natural, unprocessed, healthy foods around me.  

That said, I’m also a pretty big supporter of crutches. I understand how sometimes getting started and not seeing numbers shift in the first month can be disheartening and one might need that big, flashy number of five pounds right away to build momentum and move forward. My crutches when I first started were diet sodas and sugar free chocolates from Russel Stover (just watch out for the EXPLOSIVE and LOUD gas that comes with those crazy things). I neeeeeeeeded daily chocolate, still, at that time and felt like my rumbling duvet all night and musical behind were a small price to pay to get the proverbial ball rolling. Diet soda was a years-long crutch that I just got off of last year. I know someone who is doing the HCG diet right now for the summer and is weaning himself off in September. I know people who have had gastric bypass. Do what works for you, just be safe and remember you have the power and determination to step away from the crutches once you get rolling. Even the gastric bypass is just a crutch. Everyone I know who has done it say that it’s a lot of work and is no quick fix! but it did kick them all into high gear.

Regarding pacing:

My first and most important bit of advice: Do what works for YOU.  Are you sensing a theme?

Years and years ago, I adopted the policy that simply not gaining weight was progress. I had to start small because I was so, incredibly out of control with my diet (of donuts, pizza and strawberry soda), activity level (of short, slow walks 2-4 times a week), and weight (a rapidly ballooning 340 pounds). I was 31, stuck and simply needed to stop the freight train from barreling my life down. After I got that under control, I started my slowest diet in the world of losing 1-2 pounds a month, and did that for a few years as well. It wasn’t until I was 39 and on the Eve of my 40th birthday that I really got sick of it and got pretty serious.

My point here is that while I wanted the fat gone fast, it was unrealistic to think that I would be able to battle this demon in a shorter period of time. I was mired into being a fat girl. My identity was so closely tied to being heavy that it was terrifying to think of shedding that part of myself, even though I hated it. It’s funny how something you consider so abhorrent (for it’s limitations on my life) can also offer great comfort and familiarity to the degree that you’ll live with it rather than do the work of figuring out a new, cleaner, more comfortable life.

I lost weight so slowly that it took years for people to figure out what I was doing. I got to try it out, risk free, without judgement, and when I felt strong in my habits and believed in myself, then I was able to really get going and bray it to the world.

You get to set your pace. You get to do it the way you want. You can choose your own goals and ignore what other people think you should do. This is your life and your project. It is in your control and is under your power. You set the rules. Ignore everyone else, believe in your own power, your own determination, your own intuition and make your own plan. You know what you can do and are capable of. Start there.

Do what works for you.

Regarding Exercise

Just like everything else, I started slow with exercise, too. If you read here with any regularity, you know that thirty seconds of running was an accomplishment for me. You know that I started working out, intent on just taking a walk to chat with husband a little every day. As with everything else, it was baby steps. Failure was so terrifying, even to just myself, that I needed to do everything that I could do to be successful. On TV weightloss shows, they often ask the contestants what their big dream is for activity. Some want to run a marathon, some want to do a backflip, some want to zip line- whatever. There’s always something. I always wanted to be half of one of those couples that jogs around the neighborhood together. Like, that signified a good, solid relationship with both fitness and my husband to me. I also have always thought running is really hard. I respect the endurance, tenacity and drive that it takes to be a runner, and it’s well documented that I harbor fantasies of being a half or full marathoner. I’ve wanted to be a hiker all of my life. I wanted to see the gorgeous mountains, swim in the glacial lakes and hug the tall trees. I wanted to be able to look forward to a weekend on the mountain and the opportunity to reflect In a quiet, private place.  I needed a body that could do all of that.

I also want to do everything I can to live longer.  I adore my husband and still haven’t decided if I’d rather die first or if he should, but either way I want to be really old, really worn out, really tired and ready to leave this world when it happens.  I want my death to be the result of my well lived life, not a long, slow death of bad food, a comfy couch spot and over-familiarization with my remote control.  I want to see as much of my kids’ lives play out as possible!  I want to see grandkids born and married and even a great grand baby or two! I’m never going to be ready to leave this world, but I’ll be even less so if I lead an incomplete life.

But that’s me.

And you need to do what works for you.

It’s entirely possible to lose weight by dialing back calories until you run a deficit to lose fat. There are a lot of people who lose a lot of weight without ever changing their fitness. I’ve done it before. When I was 16 I lost 85 pounds by consuming apples and diet coke for months while I taught swimming to fourth graders as my ‘exercise’. Yes, I know there are healthier ways to do it. 😉 I was a teenager. But back then, my goal was not to be ripped or strong or to live a long life, it was to get skinny enough for a boy to notice me. My ‘why’ back then was prom, romance and the potential of french kissing.  Your why has to motivate you and you have to be heart-wrenchingly honest with yourself about it. If you’re in it for appearances then just own that. I have a really hard time acknowledging, outside my husband and me, that I might not be a total dog in the looks department, but deep down inside, in that place that I have a hard time letting have a voice, I know that it’s a little about vanity. Mostly about health, but I like to be pretty, and I feel prettier when I’m not as heavy. A capable, functioning body is a beautiful one to me, but you need to figure out your honest to goodness why and own it to yourself.  You don’t need to share it, but you need to know.

Ok. I have yammered on and on and I’ve been sitting on this post for days. It’s time to let her swim. As always, I like to say that I’m not a doctor and my advice or experience should never supercede your own smart judgment, common sense or doctor’s advice. This is just my Own personal experience and I’m simply sharing what I’ve figured out for myself during my midlife makeover.  

(And cheers- I’m all moved into my classroom and planning curriculum! I’m so pleased with my classroom. We are superheroes to start out the year, again, and I’ll have to post pictures. It looks like a birthday party in there! I just got all giddy as I took a last look on my way out the door tonight… I’m so excited to greet my 29 2nd graders!!!)

*What I failed to realize that it was my lack of confidence and meek, quiet, shy persona I had adopted as a teen that was keeping the boys away. Once I started acting like myself, dating was never a problem for me. I gained all the weight back right after high school, plus 60 more pounds, and never was without a hottie on my arm. Sometimes I think that is so surreal and so drastically different than what I predicted for myself as a kid, and other times I’m like of course, why wouldn’t I get a man I thought was nice AND a babe?!