My Training Advice: Newbies

***I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience.  What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation.  With that said…

The Complete Newbie Runner

Before I decided to make my life change I was pretty chill about working out.  In fact, a meander through the mall while I followed my toddler daughter was counted as a workout.  I just didn’t.  At least on purpose.  So when I started running it was incredibly intimidating.  Sustaining a jog for even a minute sounded intense.  

  1. Run for your comfort level: I found Katie, from Runs For Cookies, and she started running by planning a 30 minute walk.  Over a period of time, she started trading walking time for running time.  She started by running for 30 seconds, walking for 29 minutes 30 seconds, so I did too.  The next day she ran for one minute and walked for 29.  The next day was two minutes of running, 28 walking and on and on.  You may simply need to condition yourself for a long walk before considering running at all.  Eventually I got annoyed with the timing thing and just went for distance.  After I could run for about seven minutes straight, I pushed myself to run a mile, then a mile and a half and so on.
  2. Add Distance: I started adding another half block, full block etc.  I would tell myself I could walk when I got to the next goal destination, but then I would self asses: was I stopping from legitimate exhaustion or because of fear?  I found out that it was usually fear.  After about a month of running, I was able to run 20 minutes at a time without stopping.  
  3. Make Goals: I made a mileage goal every week and found that some weeks I would run a little bit every day, then other weeks I’d be busy and I’d cram more distance into one day.  The result was that when I should be adding miles turned out to be fairly straightforward and common sense.  I joined Run the Year in an attempt to earn 2016 miles in 2016, and boy.  That got me moving toward half marathons and long distances just for fun.  Yeah.  Fun.🤣
  4. Treat Yourself with Rewards: I like medals, craft supplies and beauty products.  When things are hard for me, I never hesitate to offer myself a treat for meeting my goals.  I’ve earned boots, make up, a squatty potty, NKOTB merch and more.  While I don’t care much about the reward by the time I’ve usually earned it, often it can be the thing that propels me forward at the onset.
  5. Dress Like a Runner: If you commit to the clothes you’ll make sure you use them.  If you have the clothes, you’ll blend in better at the gym, on the road or at the track.  You may feel like a poseur, but it will help you as you try to fit in until it all feels normal.
  6. Ladies: Buy a Good Bra: I get nauseous if the ladies bounce around too much.  My back hurts, not to mention how self conscious I get when my chest is bouncing around with some pretty terrific motion!  I like Living Comfort, the Juno and Jubralee have excellent support.  They’re the only ones I don’t have to double up to keep things in control.
  7. Sign Up For an Event: I signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k.  It was taking place six months after I started training- more than enough time- but it allowed me to be certain when the day came that I’d be successful.  I’ve since learned that having a race in front of me makes all the difference in the world for motivating me to continue training.  I never want to embarrass myself or not finish, so I train my butt off leading up to most events.  I’m never training to be competitive with anyone except myself.  I mostly just want to finish.
  8. Allow Yourself to Fail (Call it Learning): Whenever you fail or fall off the wagon, instead of seeing yourself as a failure, choose to see how successful you were before you took your misstep.  You learned so much from that attempt, use that to make yourself that much stronger this time around.  
  9. Fresh Starts Happen Anytime: You don’t need to wait until tomorrow or Monday or summer or 5:00.  Every moment is an opportunity.  Don’t let it slip by.
  10. Be Unapologetic About Your Health Shift: Whether its running, weightloss or going vegan, people feel the need to question your shift in a way that doesn’t always feel good.  I realized that some of my relationships were with people who wanted a fat friend for one reason or another.  They’d caution me against losing too much weight, tell me that running would ruin my knees, warned me that Bradley may get jealous when his hot wife emerged, that they better start losing weight too otherwise I was going to be smaller than them and on and on and on.  It was sad and strange.  My health choices made people I love question their own and they felt judged.  They wanted the old Tamara back.  The one who made a lot of food for holidays, decorated cookies as a weekly hobby and who wasn’t afraid to commit to a weekend full of pizza, donuts and video games.  I had to learn that without me I have nothing.  If I lose myself I lose it all.  Staying heavy would eventually make me very sick, very dead. I wasn’t going to be able to be anything for anyone if I didn’t get healthy, so I had to stop listening to the naysayers.  If it was between my knees and my heart, I said I’d kill my knees because I can’t live without my heart.  

    That’s a hodgepodge of advice, but hopefully someone gets what they need.  😉

    Feeling All Kinds Of Sunday

    This past week was harder than I expected.  We stepped back into the classroom on Tuesday, 1/2 and, for all intents and purposes I should have been ready to return, but man.  It was a grind!  I came home this weekend and slept hard- 10 hours both nights.  I may be ready to face the next week, yet!  I couldn’t bring myself to take down my holiday decorations yet, though.  It’s still Christmas at Lj House!  

    I had a solid week.  I got 10,000 steps on most days and was able to squeeze in three runs and two gym workouts- not bad!  In addition to working out, I did the hard job of shifting my eating habits back to a more reasonable place.  Telling myself no was so hard, but by the end of day one, I already felt stronger.  Ts morning I still weighed 234, so I feel safe claiming my five pound loss! Four more pounds till I reach my dietbet!!

    Going into next week I want to: 

    • Run three times: 4 miles and two runs just to stay running (1-4 miles, long run next Saturday, total of 6-10 miles)
    • Spin-n-lift class on Monday 
    • Zumba or lifting Thursday
    • Continue to eat smart
    • Dial back night eating even more- ditch the cereal and just go with the banana, don’t eat past 8:00
    • Meet Step goals 

    A Solid Start for 2018

    There are times when I’m starting up a new health plan and I’m ALL IN.  Like, I’m an energizer bunny, going nonstop, complete with a smile and encouraging cheer!  But this time?  Nope.  I was excited to get back to a place where I feel proud of the way I feel and look, but it was more like I was resigned about having to do the work.  Last Sunday it just looked hard.  Breaking habits is hard.  Telling myself no is hard.  Letting my tummy growl is hard.  Running or going to a gym workout after school is hard and I wanted nothing to do with any of it except the end result.

    To add insult to injury, everyone at my work unloaded their holiday pantry onto our staff room share table and it was all of my favorites: Twix, Reese’s, Lindt chocolate, angel food cake and the worst/aka my favorite thing aside from donuts: Danish Kringle.  I wanted to cry.  Instead I walked to my dear friend Julie’s room to find that she is in the exact same boat.  She gained weight and wanted all of the snacks on the table.  We linked elbows and didn’t cave, instead secreting away in her room to avoid temptation and stand strong together.  It’s funny how triumphant I feel after something like that happens.  I had the will and determination to stand up to myself in the face of absolute favorite, flaky, delectable, almond-paste-deliciousness and said no.  You’d think I finished a big race, the sense of accomplishment that gave me, but after that day I had an attitude shift.

    My fears and worries fell away as the week continued and things just kept working out.  I never made another trip back downstairs in the middle of the night.  I started keeping a banana or orange upstairs and that seems to be helping me, but mostly I think it was finding out what was really happening: night binging while I was asleep.  I had lingering concerns about the impact of my medication, still unsure if it helps me to gain or lose, but after the bloat, water and hopefully a little fat slid off me to the tune of five pounds during the week, that fear largely left me.

    Remember in Winnie the Pooh when Rabbit tries to lose Tigger in the Hundred Acre Wood in an attempt to help him lose his bounce?  It’s like the opposite happened to me.  And if I’m truthful, I think my fat girl was kind of setting up camp again.  Suddenly it seemed really hard to work at my health and so easy to simply relax, forget about my health goals and let go again.  Have another cookie.  Watch tv sitting instead of while getting my steps.  Lie to myself…  I did get lost again and along the way I gained 30 pounds.  When I weighed myself on 1/1/18 I weighed 239 exactly.  I was shocked.  Today I weigh 234 and my fat girl is shuffling down the hallway, headed to her magician stand where she’ll concoct a plan for the next time I’m weak.  She’s always there.  But at this point?  Tigger’s got her bounce back. 👍

    Fat Girl Problems

    While I can’t blame her for everything, I think I may have solved part of the weight gain mystery: some people sleepwalk and some sleeptalk.  It’s been told to me by my husband that I do those (plus more) but now I can add sleep eat to this charming list of special features.  How do I know?  Apparently, Bradley has casually started keeping track.  It started a few months back, soon after I started on my medication.  I was startled awake with crackers in my mouth by Bradley, asking if I meant to be eating at 3:00 in the morning.  I retorted something defensively about being hungry, but really didn’t know what was up.  The night before last, I was startled awake when I dropped a box of crackers that went everywhere and made a big sound.  Last night I was awakened, in the pantry again, by Freddie who came downstairs to check on me.  Two nights in a row!

    My Orca Running Ambassador Top Nine from my Instagram takeover

    When I shared my findings with Bradley, he responded that it’s no wonder I’m so tired lately: he hears me getting up 4-5 times per night, banging around, opening doors, wreaking all kinds of havoc.  I know I get up once or twice, but 4-5 times?!  Then he admitted that he’s been survailing me a bit, watching me.  He agrees that there’s no way my food input should result in this kind of weight gain and my nocturnal binge eating is undoing all the hard work he sees me putting in.  Then he said, “Your inner fat girl figured out how to play after all these years,” which is both funny and sad.

    I know how much I weigh now.  I’m not ready to post it here.  I’ve lost 2.25 since 1/1.  Gigi and I ran today.  I’m doing the work, eating right, working out.  But damn my inner fat girl.  I hope finding out her secret is enough to banish her for a while again.  She can come party every once in a while, but this has to stop.  

    I remembered, however, when Katie from Runs for Cookies fell off the wagon and went from her 130ish to over 150.  She had a moment of realization hit her, too, and she had to get back to basics.  She got back to weightwatchers and working out in earnest.  She fought off her fat and got back to her comfort zone.  I’ll say again like I said at the beginning of my body project: if she can, I can too.  

    Today’s run that turned into a walk 😂

    2018, What Will Become of Thee?

    I keep thinking about this blog here: Tamara Shazam.  Throughout December I wrote minimally and didn’t even really think about it.  My enthusiasm is still here to blog, but my drive is minimal.  

    That’s not to say I don’t have goals because holy moly, I do.  I’ve gained a bunch of weight.  I’ve been working out like a demon, but it hasn’t been nearly enough.  Apparently.  Last time I weighed myself I was in the 220’s. I thought it was my medication, but my doctor disagrees and directed me to a nutritionist and I’ve been there before to no good end so I didn’t go and…  I guess this is as close as I’ve been to giving up.  Letting go.  Falling off the wagon and forgetting how to stand up and get back on.  

    Then, I realized I was choosing clothes based on which ones disguised my fat rolls best.  In spin class I’m having a hard time bending over my fat roll to ride comfortably.  I only look slim in my workout clothes anymore.  My fat is mushrooming out above and below my waist, so I’m determined to get things back in control…  I’m just not certain how this website fits in with that.  I’m good at instagramming right now if you want regular snapshots into my life.

    My plans are as follows:

    • Lose 30-40 pounds.
    • Run run run- three days a week, with the kids to get back into good running shape like two years ago with Run the Year.
    • Continue body pump 1-2 days per week.
    • Squeeze in Zumba and hiking when it makes sense.
    • Kick, claw, bite and fight my way back to my healthiest version of me.  I’m worth this promise.

    Run these races:

    *Orca races- if you sign up, use code tamarashazam18 for an extra 15% off. This code will work for all 2018 Orca races!

    Merry Christmas, Happy Everything!

    Can you believe what landed on us for Christmas Day?  The snow was simply magical.  The last time I had this happen, I was 17.  It was 1990 and I was a senior in high school.  My grandma lived with us as well as our exchange student from Germany: Ute.  That year we had a date to ride the ferry to see our cousins in Kingston.  Talk about over the river, through the woods!  We headed over the Puget Sound, into the woods and up a bunch of winding hills!  In the snow.  With my brothers, grandma, Aute, me my mom and dad all in our car.  We couldn’t get up the hill and had to be saved by our cousins who could drive all over the place with no problem.  Anyhow.  I hadn’t any plans to workout on Christmas Eve after Zumba that morning, but there I was, walking around through the snow flurries by house lights and singing carols.  Talk about a magical night!  Waking up the next morning was just as beautiful.  After the exctiment of presents ended, we headed back out in the snow to take a walk and find the best sledding hill.  We got our steps in and even got sweaty in the process!  The snow was a gift on many levels. ❤️

    Another Disney Adventure 

    In our quest for experiences over things, this year we offered our kids a choice: our usual Christmas with lots of packages to open on Christmas Day or a trip to Disneyland, a Macklemore concert and a small Christmas morning focused on one another, not the gifts as much.  They chose Disneyland!

    High points from the trip:

    • Riding the Haunted Mansion with Jack and Sally several times was so much fun. 
    • Nighttime ride on the Mark Twain because the Santa Ana winds were too crazy (we were there for the start of the California fires).
    • Our kids bonded and held hands while they walked around the park.  Boof- right in the heart!
    • Appropriately aged boys checked Guinevere out and it was so cute to see her unaffected non-reaction followed by a smirk and blush as they passed.  Cute little 14 year old.
    • Jude was a sweet little boy while we were there.  Disneyland allows him to embrace that imaginative, little kid while he’s there and for a little while, we have a little, young family again.  Plus a teenager.  We always had a teenager. 
    • I was the runner who went back to the hotel and ran errands.  There’s something about being that guy who saves the day and puts a little extra energy in that feels good.
    • I got one of the famous Disney candy canes in the last day.  I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but somehow it was one of my favorite experiences from the trip!


    If I look smug it’s because I’m feeling kinda proud of myself. A week and a half ago I decided to start bringing my best again and could hardly walk after one session of bodypump. Since then, I ran a bunch of miles, I lifted a bunch of weights, I took a bunch of Alleve and kept on going through the misery of being so sore I could hardly walk or get off of a chair! But today? I’m not sore. I added weight to my bar today and finally pushed beyond just showing up. Today felt so good and, yeah, I’m proud I pushed through the last 11ish days to get back to me! Woohoo!! Now things get really fun!

    I also added Diet root beer back into my diet.  Guess what?  I walk around feeling full all of the time. That’s nice for me, yes really.  Suddenly I’m not shoving calorie filled carbs in my face and I appreciate that more than the lack of fake sugars.  It’s like I have a trade I can make and that crutch helps so much.  What’s next?

    • Keep getting 10,000 steps per day
    • Body pump twice this week and run twice
    • Add journaling food into the habits
    • Stay off the scale.  I hopped on to see I was down to 224 and hopped on the next day to see 229.  Just.  Stop.  
    • My doctor offered to send me to a nutritionist again.  Ha ha ha!  She said it’s not the meds.  I think I problemsolved it and don’t need to return to that place.  What a waste of time, energy and money.


    Well, well, well.  So many things.  My mind is whirling with the what to do about the weight gain.  This is kind of a post I don’t want to write because I don’t want to deal with what is happening right now.  Even more than that, though, I don’t want o have to lose the whole 150 again, so I approach this post with trepidation.  It’s forcing me into a corner of responsibility and who wants to deal with that??  Anyhow…   

    First, I realized that I needed to make a plan.  Not a plan for the version of me that was fairly healthy and much smaller one year ago at this time.  I need to go back to square two or three.  By that I mean meaning small shifts in behavior.  As I took inventory, I realized that over the past year, my health habits have deteriorated.  I let the 10,000 steps go, the clean eating, the five-day-per-week workouts, to watching of health shows, the researching of healthy choices, the diet soda- I let the myth of myself assume my body and got lazy.  I run, therefore I’m healthy.  I lost 150 pounds, therefore I’m healthy.  But if I don’t maintain that, I’m not so healthy!

    So these are the things I’m tackling this week:

    • 10,000 steps per day
    • 5 workouts this week
    • 7 -10 miles
    • I’m not tracking food this week because it’s Thanksgiving and I don’t want to start on a week when I’m destined to struggle.  That said, my plan is to make smart choices all week and allow a celebration feast on Thursday.  I’m worried that if I track, I’ll go ahead and do it Thursday, too, then get upset that I’m eating over calories even though that’s expected.  Does that make sense?
    • No weigh ins until I figure out the medication situation.

    I did pretty good this week in the working out arena.  I started getting my 10,000 steps in per day on Tuesday.  I ran last Sunday and Wednesday, I went to body pump on Saturday followed by a walk later that day and a 5k today, Sunday!  I like the way my body feels when I’m getting good workouts, but I’m hurting right now!  Yesterday’s class was tough on me and made me realize how much I’ve lost since working out so regularly last summer.  I’m looking forward to all of the time off so I can tone up over Thanksgiving and Winter breaks!

    On another note, I received most of the stuff on my reward list for my birthday last month.  I need to make a new cash and prizes list!  LOL!  I also think that with my medication throwing me for a loop I need to be less focused on a number right now and more on figuring out how to balance the medication so after I figure that out I’ll re-engage in fatloss again.  Until then, my goal is just to eat and exercise to be as healthy as possible so we know what is the medication and what is me.

    Health Misadventures and a Return to Basics

    I’m in some alternate reality right now and I feel like I’m captured!  I can’t seem to stop gaining weight. As of last weekend, I weigh in at an astonishing 230.  I don’t even want to see what has transpired in the last week…  a few theories:

    • I’m in the 1% of the population that gains weight from my particular medication.  Yeah, it’s rare, but then again, not so much.  For every thousand people there are ten left, gaining weight on this particular drug.  It could be that I’m one of them.  Sucks, but that makes sense as my weight issue stems from a hormone imbalance that throws off my insulin and makes me into an excellent fat making machine.  This medication may be the switch that turns all of that back on.
    • This medication makes me nauseous when it first hits my system, so I take it with food and don’t feel that so often.  But just in case I might get sick, I know I eat more around the times I need to take my meds.  More food, more calories, more fat.
    • I’m hungry around the clock so I eat more without knowing it.  I don’t think this is an issue during the day, but Bradley confessed to me that he’s noticed an uptick in the size and frequency of my night snacking.  On top of that, I’m a midnight snacker now, too.  I often wake up in the morning, realizing that I actually went downstairs in the middle of the night at ate a muffin or banana or pudding or all of them.
    • Or it’s a combination of some or all of them.

    What’s a girl to do who is in a panic about gaining weight faster than a pregnant woman?  Well, if said girl is on a medication she is suspicious might be the cause, she stops taking the medication.  Within 24 hours, all the rage she thinks she felt before she went on prescribed medication returns like thunder, making her realize she didn’t imagine these feelings, at all.  This is real.  By 28 hours she found herself full of the aforementioned rage AND all of the nausea, dizziness, nervousness and exhaustion that accompanies a drug addict who is trying to come clean because it turns out that the meds are addictive and she’s hooked like a fish on the line.  Research online confirms this and a discovery is made that this one isn’t a cold turkey drug.  This one makes you sick like coming down for a month unless a slow weaning process has been underway.  So she goes back to taking the pills and, in four hours, feels much, much better.

    I kinda freaked out about all that this weekend.  I’ve felt out of control before, but never like this.  This is so uncomfortable.  I feel so chubby.  My belly bounces around like crazy now.  My boobs are getting all huge.  Things that were flat and empty are filling out and plumpin up like I’m attached to a hose.

    I was expressing all of this to Bradley today and sharing how grateful I am that he’s a husband who doesn’t care how much I weigh or what size I am and he started shaking his head.  Then he said several important things that I needed to hear:

    1. Yes.  I’m chubbier.  But it’s mostly my perception and isn’t terribly obvious to everyone who sees me.  I’m still wearing the same clothes, I’m still out and about.  It’s mostly in my head.
    2. When I was slender (my perception) I was also running and zumbaing like crazy.  I worked out 5-6 days a week and watched what I ate and was consistently consistent.  These days I’m very forgiving in both areanas and regularly work out only on the weekends.
    3. I’m lifting weights now and seem to be focused on that but I lost all my weight by being a runner and stepper.  I was focused and kept it simple.  Maybe a return to that would be smart.
    4. Diet Coke called to me like other food used to.  With Diet Coke, I was a superhero.  I didn’t need a snack, just a Coke.  Crutches help.  Maybe I need to lean on the Diet Coke crutch again. 

    It was so good to hear all of that!  Sometimes you just need someone else’s calm, common sense eyes to see you, and their calm, common sense voice to say the things you need to hear.  He’s right.  I’m good at losing weight when I get back to basics.  I have fun when I mix up my workouts and go to Zumba.  I love to run because it’s so accessible and freeing!  I’m getting bogged down in math and nutrition and specific plans and bulking and and and and….  I’ve decided bulking up isn’t anything important to me now.  I need to maintain a healthy weight.  I’ll still do workout classes, weightlifting and everything else, but it’s for health, not bulk.  I do need to work on my food more.  I need to figure it how to healthfully eat for my medication AND me.  And maybe a Coke will make me smile.

    I’ve got communication lines open with my doctor, but it feels good to snatch back a little control by making a plan.