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1/11/11 Starting Template and Thoughts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I went ahead and bit the bullet and joined the 11 by 1/11/11 challenge. The only difference is that (after I realized it wasn't NOVEMBER 11th of this year we were shooting for) I decided I'm setting my bar a little higher.

I do declare that I,Esther, will lose 20 pounds by 1/11/11. Today I weigh 346.0. My weight on 1/11/11 will be 326.0 or less.

I will accomplish this goal by taking the next several weeks to build on healthy habits which relate to the topic of the week.

week one - 10/17: planning/awareness
week two - 10/24: nutrition
week three - 10/31: sleep/rest
week four - 11/7: water/hydration
week five - 11/14: exercise
week six - 11/21: relationships
week seven - 11/28: stress management
week eight - 12/5: rewards
week nine - 12/12: making my health a priority
week ten - 12/19: managing emotional eating
week eleven - 12/26: maintaining motivation
week twelve - 1/2: seeing progress and re-evaluating goals
week thirteen - 1/9:celebrate successes

For week one my goals which relate to planning and awareness are:
- eating: Eat mostly clean, 1600-2000 calories a day
- cardio: Training for HM 3 times a week, cross train 3 more days, active rest on the last day
- strength training: ST 3 times a week and incorporate new exercises to target new muscle groups
- water: Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- sleep/relaxation: Get at least 6 hours of sleep a night
- other: Complete at least 2 races before the end of challenge...figure out which ones.

In addition, for the next week:
I will try 1 new recipe or food. Artichokes, maybe?
I will push myself harder 1 day. On Saturday!
I will read 1 article on planning/awareness.
I will support 2 new Spark Friends.
I will force myself to make-up whatever exercises I opt out of on the day I plan it.

I'll keep you up to date on how it goes!!

Also, a few thoughts.

Yesterday I felt...different. Seriously, that's what I said to myself. I'm walking around in size 26 pants and a 22/24 shirt, clothes that actually fit me, and I thought to myself, "I just feel ...different." I'm not sure what that means right now, but I want to make a note of it for future reference. I do know that yesterday I felt a little sassier, a little more me, and much smaller than when I started out.

This whole plateau thing was crazy. I mean it, I was freaked for weeks thinking nothing was going to happen. And people told me that when it broke, it would break fast and I'd lose a bunch. And then that didn't really happen. I stepped on the scale Sunday and had lost a little over 2 pounds. And I thought to myself, "What the heck happened to losing a lot after a plateau?!" I'm nervous to report this, because I don't want to jinx it, but this is what the scale has said the past couple days. I hadn't intended to weigh-in every day, but I had to weigh-in yesterday for our Biggest Loser Challenge.

Sunday - 348.0
Monday - 348.4 (I think!)
Tuesday - 346.0
Wednesday - 344.0 (I'm not sure about the point something, I just know it said 344.)

I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch. Lord knows the fluctuations my body goes through in a week. But I do know that most times it fluctuates up and down. Only once has it fluctuated down consistently, and I had a good week that week. It came up a little bit at the end, but overall it was a good week, I remember. So I'm hoping to just keep going and bank on staying at or under that 346.0 goal I set for this Sunday's weigh-in. Maybe this is the "big loss after a plateau" I was hearing about. Maybe my scale has lost it's dang mind. Maybe...I don't know. Either way, it has been rather nice to see.

I tried on one of my old size 26s again this morning. I got these jeans at the Goodwill store near my house, and it's an old pair, I can tell. None of that fancy "stretch denim" and no vanity sizing. I had to lay on the bed to get them zipped, but that's more than I could think about doing 2 weeks ago, so I'm moving in the right direction. I refuse to check my progress on the 24s until Sunday.

About those 24s... Yes, I have a pair of size 24 jeans that I bought from the consignment shop. When I got them I couldn't even get them over my hips and belly. A few weeks ago, they started coming up over my hips. Then last week, I was able to get them all the way up, but they're nowhere close to zipping. I've been telling you all that it's my wish to be able to wear them on Christmas Day, and that's true...but I have secret wishes too. Do any of you do this? You set a reasonable goal, and then you set a "push it" goal. I don't want to jinx myself out of success, so I take a goal that could be reasonable if I really worked at it, and then I give myself a little extra wiggle room of time. For example, there are 12 weigh-ins between now and 1/11/11. If I lose 2 pounds a week, which is possible if I don't hit another plateau, then I could be down 24 pounds by 1/11/11. So what do I do? I give myself those 4 pounds for possible mistakes along the way, and I set my goal at 20 pounds by 1/11/11.

So while I do want to be able to wear those 24s on Christmas Day, it's a secret wish of mine to wear them to Thanksgiving lunch with my family. Like I said in my WTF template, I haven't seen most of them in a while, and I want them to see the work I've put in. Until I put those size 26 pants on yesterday, the loss wasn't even evident to me, so getting into a size 24, which I don't think I've worn since high school, would be a big deal for me and, I think, should make some sort of noticable change in my body shape. But, I worry. Thanksgiving is just a month and a week away. 36 days to break through another size. The idea of failing at that scares me, so I settle in my mind the idea of possible failure, and make a much more reasonable goal of Christmas Day, giving me another month to work with. Am I the only one who does this?

Finally, about sizes. I don't understand them anymore. I once thought I did, but I just don't. You see, I wore a size 26 pair of pants yesterday. They had a little give in them, but they weren't stretchy and weren't stretch denim. And they fit quite well, actually. But the last time I wore a size 26, I was in my senior year of high school. I may have also very well been pregnant at the time (another story for another time), but I don't believe my weight was over 300. So....I don't get it. Have pants changed (okay, I know they have some), or have I? Is it possible that my body shape is changing even when the scale is slow? Is it possible that this "fit fat" body I have now is just slimmer than the "just fat" body I had back then? *shrug* I do know that the last time I fit into a size 16 or 18 was in junior high. It was also the last time I was under 200 pounds. So what I expected was 180-190 would = size 16 or 18...but, I don't know....that seems strange now. This whole size thing is something I just can't wrap my head around. When you spend a year just trying to fit back into jeans (size 32), and then fight for 6 months just to be able to shop at a plus-sized store (instead of ordering online), you forget all about what sizes mean.

It doesn't make that much of a difference, but I just wanted to mention it. It confuses me and I have no clue what to expect. I do know that once I get this stupid belly to shrink (it's happening, slowly, I've been noticing more leg lately) that I'll like the way my pants/jeans fit better. I hate having my stomach out there broadcasting to the world, "HEY! I'm fat!"

Leaving you with one last thing. I watched BL last night, and cried. And (no spoilers here) when the eliminated contestant was recapping what he/she had done at home, he/she said, "I used to look in the mirror and see a fat man/woman. Now I look in the mirror and see a man/woman who is overweight, but who is trying to become healthy." That's how I feel now. I'm no longer just a fat woman. I'm a woman who is seriously overweight, but who is trying to get healthy. (They also said they spend like 5 hours in the gym a day, which I find rediculous, each his own!....I guess they are trying to win some big bucks at the end of the whole thing, which could be great motivation, I'm sure!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAIA2011 10/23/2010 3:03PM

    Sizes may be weird these days but there is no doubt that your body is better now than high school because were you hitting the gym with this intensity in high school? I love hearing about how you're doing and what you discover everyday. You are special and you are accomplishing so much that it is just beautiful. I am especially happy the way you are changing how you talk to yourself. That is what I hope to emulate!

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ERIN4771 10/20/2010 8:35PM

    i watched bl as well, and thought rick was amazing for saying that!!! clothes and sizes have definitely changed, it's hard to really know what size you are sometimes, when a 10 in one store is a 14 in another etc.....i like how you keep making goals, and even if you have a bad day, you get back on the horse and keep going, that's motivating to me, so again, i wanted to say thanks!!!

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CAROBEAR1 10/20/2010 2:45PM

    Been reading few of your blogs since I recently did my first 5K and was cruising on people who were talking about theirs...I like your forward momentum and I'm keeping up with your blogs to try to regain some momentum for myself...I set a "SIZE" goal for myself last year and when I got there (lost 60lbs) I didn't know what to do...I realized I still had weight to lose and how it had been hard work but nothing too difficult and then haven't gotten back to it with my momentum lost I moved back up one size and can now only say I lost 50lbs :( but my 5K might have started it going again...
AND reading great blogs from people with momentum!! Thanks

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ATROTTIER 10/20/2010 2:27PM

    So true about having a fit/fat body!! I was thinking about this recently for sure! I was wearing a size 26 jean when I was at my highest of 282 lbs sedentary so YES you are doing awesome!!! I'm shocked that I can get into some size 18's right now - even though I have two tighter pairs sitting in my closet waiting for me...I'm able to get them over my booty and zip them but sitting down might be uncomfortable at this point (belly issues)...I'm thinking 10 more pounds and I will be strutting my stuff!! The size thing is weird and we are so much more healthy so we carry our weight differently I think then someone who weighs the same but doesn't work out on a regular basis. It does make the journey much more better right to be getting into those smaller sizes that in our mind were so much more unattainable before we started!!! Whoo-hoo!! Girl you got this like crazy - love your pic!!!

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MEGSFITNESS 10/20/2010 2:20PM

    My secret goal has always been to love myself and to let myself believe that other people do/will too. Photographs are always hard for me to look at if they're below the face. So, I have a 'secret' goal to find 1 good thing about my body if/when I see it in a photograph. And I try to tell myself every day that my boyfriend won't quit loving me when I get smaller boobs.

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TEAM-SARAH 10/20/2010 1:14PM

    It's so hard to put height/weight together! I mean I wear a 12 and I'm between 190-200 but some twelves are bigger than others and it all depends on the brand and the cut and where you carry your weight! It's tough to nail down. Just try (if you can) to not get too wrapped up in the numbers. If you think about it rationally, the sizes clearly do not matter and are not consistent (easier said that done, I know, especially when it comes to weight loss!)

Just keep working hard you're doing amazing! I think you've set some really awesome goals for yourself. It'll help keep you motivated through the dreaded holidays!

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KITHKINCAID 10/20/2010 12:32PM

    Um, yes, I have secret goals. I think we all do. You 'set' the realistic ones, but then you secretly hope to bust through those far sooner than expected. Everyone wants to 'win' at something. The tough thing is with this whole process, every time you 'win' you detract a bit from the overall goal of just being healthy and just living your life. I struggle with that almost every day. Sometimes the push is worth it, but at the end of my weight loss, I don't want to have to continue to push all the time - all this work should just come naturally at that point I'm hoping.

And lady - I wrote a whole blog about Vanity Sizing and about how America's idea of what constitutes an "18" has changed DRASTICALLY over the last 5 years. Case in point - I'm wearing a pair of size 20 jeans today that I pulled out of a bag of clothes from over 6 years ago. According to Lane Bryant, I am currently a 14/16 top and an 18 bottom. Well - I had to suck every last ounce of myself in to get into these jeans today, and my muffin top hangs out over the waistband. So...make of it what you will. All I say is - as much as the number matters, it doesn't. Depending on what stores you shop in, everything is different anyway. Why we can't just all go to men's sizing is beyond me. At least with them a 32 pant means 32 inches. Done and done.

Sorry! Long comment disease...oops.

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RIGBY31 10/20/2010 12:22PM

    I have a stack of neatly folded size 22's in my closet that I refused to get rid of because a) spent good $ for and b) loved the styles. I'm close to wearing them again. Right now they pull and stretch every which way. But my path will soon lead directly to them as my go-to outfits. Keep up the fight!

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XTMONT 10/20/2010 12:07PM

    "Is it possible that this "fit fat" body I have now is just slimmer than the "just fat" body I had back then?"

Yes. Yes it is.

Plus as I've discovered, no one makes sizes the same way. I have work pants that range from 14 (Atelier by Nordstrom) to 18 (Lane Bryant). So who knows....except that I'm not defined by any of my numbers, be them sewn into the back of my pants or flashing at me on the scale!

And when you get into those a picture!

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LONGWINDINGROAD 10/20/2010 11:27AM

    I completely understand the secret goals! I have the goals I tell other people and the goals I'm secretly hoping to achieve...this way if I only make the goal that I shared with everyone, I will still feel like I've accomplished something!

You're doing an amazing job! I think that with your determination you'll be able to zip those jeans up by Thanksgiving...even if you decide not to wear them (because zipping and being comfortable are two TOTALLY different things!!), your family will see the change in you...physically AND emotionally! Keep up all your hard're going to do amazing things!

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RAVENSONG37 10/20/2010 10:46AM

    A few things...yes that "fitfat body" takes up less space. So, don't try to figure it out too much...just go, shop around and wear what fits. I have pants in my closet from size 8 - 14 which all fit me reasonably well. It's crazy-making! Also, you can totally meet you goal by Thanksgiving...and even if you dont, your family is totally going to see the changes you have made. A pant-size does not define all the work you have put it in!! Lastly, that comment about being an over-weight person who is becoming healthy really struck me last night too. Next it will be about seeing a healthy person in the mirror!!

Love you Es!

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MAGPIE17 10/20/2010 10:28AM

    I think you're doing fabulously, and I think that you can achieve your secret goal. You can already get them on, you just need to be able to zip them up, and I believe you can do it by Thanksgiving!

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Yesterday Was a Good Day...Kinda (& WTF Template)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yesterday I was rejoicing in the 6 month Spark glow. I decided that, plateau or no plateau, reaching my goal of 70 pounds in 6 months or not, I deserved a reward for the hard work I've put in in the past 6 months. So I gave myself 100 bucks out of my savings account and I took my lunch break to go shopping at Lane Bryant.

I walked into the store ready to try on 28s, and grabbed a few know, just in case. Color me shocked when the 26s actually fit and I found myself with a new pair of black pants for work (which I'm wearing today, thank you), a new pair of bootcut jeans (I've moved from their Blue "Curvy" to Red "Moderately Curvy" thanks to my hips finally shrinking.), and a new size 18/20 tank top. Oh, and the real reason I *had* to go shopping - a new bra. No size difference there, I still got big melons! *lol* But the last bra I had started poking me last week. (Stupid underwire!)

All of the excitement of this shopping trip made it easier to get past the fact that I was sluggish all day, still sore, and was attempting to talk myself out of an easy 2 mile training walk/run after work. (I even "forgot" my workout clothes at home...*sigh*) Whatever! Progress cannot be denied! I rushed home, changed, and headed out to the gym with my oldest son.

By the way, I finally got the insurance papers all submitted for my insurance company's Weight Management Program. I started the process back in June, but it was a long, hard road of making sure everyone else got their crap done before I could be officially enrolled. And then yesterday, I finalized the paperwork and attempted to have the gym switch me over to that plan. (There was a guy filling in who didn't know how to do it, so he just let me workout last night and told me to talk to them about it tonight. *LOVE* my gym!) For the first 3 months, I will go from paying $38 a month for my membership, to paying $45 a month co-pay for the same. However, I will get the benefit of a fitness assessment and the exercise physiologist or PT, whatever she is, to evaluate my fitness level and work with me on what I can do to improve the areas I want to improve. (I've already started a list of questions for her in my head!) So, yes, for 3 months I'll actually be paying MORE than I am regularly. But for the rest of the year, I will drop down to a $14 a month co-pay for my membership, saving me $195 over the next year. SCORE! Plus, the program requires you to check into the gym at least 2 times a week to remain eligible, so it will help to keep me accountable!

As for my workout last night? The plan was a 2 mile walk/run training to begin my half-marathon training, followed by a full round of ST. I didn't want to do all. But I went anyways. I set my Nike+ Sensor watch after my 5 minute warm-up, and started by jogging the first tenth of a mile. I walked then until it said .40, and then jogged another tenth to .50. At .90, I jogged again until I hit the one mile mark. Then walk again until 1.40, and jog to 1.50. And finally, I ended it with a jog from 1.90 to 2.00, where I stopped my watch (YAY!) and did a 5 minute cool down. I probably looked like a fool. I was still sore from Sunday. My hip wanted to act up pretty badly, but whenever it did, I worked on just focusing on my steps and stride, trying to steady my gait and run a soft jog. The result according to my sensor?

2.00 miles
Final Time: 33:27
Pace: 16:41

I can totally live with that! I opted out of my ST for the night (I know, I know....but I was SORE and tired and a million other things and I honestly felt like I couldn't continue on much more without damaging the hip and/or knee further). I woke up today with a really sore hip, but with a knee that's feeling quite good. And then I put on my new black pants, paired it with a new top I got from KITKINCAID (Thank you!) and I'm feeling pretty good about myself today.

Here's how the rest of the week's training plan is set:
Tuesday - Zumba & Boxing
Wednesday - 2 mile walk/run training & Full ST
Thursday - OFF (City Council Meeting)
Friday - Tennis, Elliptical X-Training, and Full ST
Saturday - 2 mile walk/run training

I'm leaving you with the new WTF Template. Keep me accountable! Do your own as well, if you'd like. Six weeks left and those 24s are still hanging on the back of my door...with the amount of 26s fitting now, though...I'm seeing a better chance to zip them by Christmas!

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~*~ WTF(all)??? Challenge Template 10/18 - 10/24 ~*~
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There are SIX WEEKS of WTF??? left and Yoovie tells me that is PLENTY of time to make a huge difference in my body SO HERE WE GO!!!

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I want to give myself a real challenge for the next SEVEN days, so I dare myself to [begin half-marathon training and burn at least 3,000 calories this week while staying within my calorie ranges].

To make sure I can meet this dare, I will [stick to the training schedule I've set for myself and use a lot of the same foods I've been using the past few weeks to regulate my caloric intake].

I'm also claiming bragging rights on the fact that I [technically ran TWO 5ks] last week! (One on Sunday the 10th, another on Saturday the 16th) AND I RAN SOME OF BOTH!

I would also like to focus on my [LEG] muscle groups this week by [bringing in a ton more ST including squats, lunges, and whatever else I can find].

For cardio, nothing will stop me from [reaching the goals I've already set for myself. I've worked in rest days, and I won't allow myself to crap out on the other days instead! This isn't the NFL Draft! NO TRADING!]

Three things I will not eat this week will be:
* Cake/Cupcakes/Muffins
* Hot Dogs/Hamburgers (general cookout foods)
* Candy bars/Chocolate (I need to lay off for at LEAST a week!)

My excuses that I cannot use this week will be:
1. It hurts. (It's fine when it's real pain, but sore and HURT are two totally different things!)
2. I can't do this.
3. I'll never get where I want to be anyways, so who cares?!

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Part 2: The rest of your life

How have you been doing when it comes to your weekly ritual of 'you' time?
Not well AT ALL! I've been so wrapped up in work, home, whatever else is going on around me, that I forgot to take a moment to breathe. I did watch How to Train Your Dragon with the whole family the other day, and it felt so great to just do SOMETHING together in a relaxed setting that I really want to repeat that again this week! (New movie or activity, of course.)

Are you particularly motivated or scared into action by a specific event approaching? What is it?

1. Thanksgiving. The first time I'm seeing my extended family since before I started here. My sister has lost all her extra weight and is now a trained running machine, so I'm terrified people won't even notice the hard work I've put into these past 6 months!

2. Yes, you heard me, I'm training myself for a half-marathon. Screw the naysayers (mainly, me)! I can do this if I train for it! And the 1/2 I'm looking at isn't until March, so I have plenty of time!

3. VEGAS BABY! My friend hasn't confirmed the dates yet, but she did send me an option of dates in and around my birthday for a Vegas trip, just the girls. I WANT! (And I want to rock a pretty dress too!)

4. My friend's wedding next July. Seriously, this is now constantly on my mind. Could I dare think I could be around a 20 or so by then? Or, *GULP*, even an 16 or 18? Is that even doable? I have NO idea, but I'm working toward that as we speak!

5. Oh yeah, Christmas! DUH! I want my size 24's to actually fit me so I can wear them on Christmas Day! They've gone from not able to get them past my hips, to on my hips, partly, but nowhere near zipping yet. We're going to get there, people!

What will you do this week to keep balance between staying on top of your fitness and maintaining sanity in the rest of your life?
Look, the fact of the matter is, I have a ways to go before I'm really truly happy with the ability and size of my body. I have a LOT of work ahead of me. So the goal is to simply ask myself, "Can I do this or more for the next year?" If the answer is yes, we're good. If it's no, I have to analyze whether that is my excuse monster talking or whether the level I'm attempting to maintain is actually too high for my actual fitness level.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAIA2011 10/23/2010 2:48PM

    You.Are.Awesome! I love to hear about all your workouts even though it makes me feel seriously inferior. LOL (OK, not really joking!)

Keep going with your bad self!


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KITHKINCAID 10/19/2010 4:09PM

    Yey! You got the clothes! That was fast :)

Hope you like them and that you can get some wear out of them. Some of the stuff in there I wore constantly - they were my favorite sweaters! If you don't like something though, or if it's too big (apparently you're already in an 18/20 top!) then feel free to donate it or pass it on.

You'll totally be in those 24s by Christmas. And now you have a pair of 22s to "nail to the wall" as YOOVIE says.

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RIGBY31 10/19/2010 3:56PM

    Whew! You amaze and exhaust me! I want your energy, staying power, persistance! You rock!

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CHICAT63 10/19/2010 2:55PM

    Woohoo, you did just awesome at that pace by the time your half-marathon comes around you will have it under 3:00 for sure ! You are to be very proud, keep it up Sista !!!

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TEAM-SARAH 10/19/2010 1:40PM

    I haven't been around lately, but so glad to see you are still doing amazing. A half marathon?? wow girl, good for you!

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CANOGAPARKGAL 10/19/2010 1:20PM

    I'm now following your blog, and sending congratulations on all of your accomplishments. VEGAS! yes. emoticon emoticon

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XTMONT 10/19/2010 1:19PM

    Love the reward! Keep up the good work!

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MAGPIE17 10/19/2010 11:48AM

    LOVE How to Train your Dragon! Got it for my birthday this weekend! WTG on the intervals last night, and rock this week, Esther!

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FLWRCHLD97 10/19/2010 11:25AM

    You are emoticon. Congrats on your anniversary too!!! I don't think I responded yesterday, I meant to send you congratulations yesterday, I'm sorry about that. You have come so far in your journey, I am constantly inspired by you and your progress.

Thank you so much for sharing and keeping it real (even when you struggle, I struggle too so it's comforting to know that I'm not alone - not that I want you to struggle, but it seems like it's a necessary evil to becoming healthier!).

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MEGSFITNESS 10/19/2010 11:16AM

    I love how realistic and excited your WTF! template is :) And I'm excited for your 26's!! You're so close! SO CLOSE!

I'm also excited about your Lane Bryant adventure :) So what I'm more excited about--I'm almost too small for that store!!! I had to shop at JC Penny the other day. HAD to. It was so very uncomfortable being pushed out of the comfort zone of a store dedicated to "women like me" but then I realized how many more options and combinations and PRICES that it opens up for me. I'm excited for you to get there too.

Oh, and I'm Right Fit Red too ;) Love 'em.

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 10/19/2010 10:57AM

    Congrats on the new pants. That's always a great feeling (and one I'm sure you'll feel Christmas with the pants on the back of the door)!

2 5K's is also amazing, and I have no doubt that you will be able to get ready for your half in time. What an amazing goal.

You have a great plan of attack for this week, so stay the course and you'll hit your numbers for sure!

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SUSIEMT 10/19/2010 10:57AM

    Esther I love your blogs! I hope you don't mind if I copy and paste just a bit of it (the part about what I will not eat.) to my own page. I felt like you had really been looking at my nutrition tracking and said I will not do what susiemt has been doing!LOL
Seriously, you can be down to an 18/16 by July! You can do it!

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KARVY09 10/19/2010 10:43AM

    We loved Vegas and it was the perfect getaway so I definitely hope you get to go!

Congrats on your new purchases and what struck me most about this blog... your pace is getting better and better all the time. I remember when you were wondering if you could break a 20-minute mile and look at you getting closer and closer to 15! Think of it this way, if you can work up to a 15-minute mile by March, you'll finish your half in less than 3.5 hours. Can you imagine that? I can.

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 10/19/2010 10:40AM

    Esther... that is an AWESOME!!! time :) I am SO proud of you :)

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What I Learned in Six Months on Spark

Monday, October 18, 2010

Well, it's official. Today is my 6 month Sparkversary. I began my journey here on April 18, 2010 with no real sense of how things would turn out and whether this time would be THE time. Now, six months later, I'm almost 70 pounds lighter and a little bit wiser about what it takes to be a healthy human being. So how did my six months turn out? Here's the recap.

April - May
I struggled to find my place and had a lot of peaks and valleys along the way. I worked on resisting temptation, including a few peanut butter cups I left sitting on my desk for weeks, staring at me, just daring me to eat, eat, eat. I started out simply measuring EVERYTHING I could, and started to feel like I better understood portion sizes. I struggled through graduation and the eating and drinking that came along with it, and then learned that even after the fall I could get back up and start the next day anew - a big lesson on seeking out consistency, not perfection. I tried a lot of new foods and really started to learn what cooking healthy looked like, but I still heavily relied on Spark tools to keep me on task. For exercise I did a lot of walking and worked on my inStride cycle (it's like a hand-cycle, just pedals, that can also be used by the's used a lot in rehab facilities and cost me about 30 bucks on Amazon). Some nights it was all I could do to shove in 15 minutes of cycling, sitting in my recliner in front of the TV. I started attempting SP's ST sessions that were recommended for me. I lost about 20 pounds that first month and felt good to continue and set new goals for myself.

May - June
I thought about the goal of walking a 5k before the year was out, and the idea both scared and excited me. I tried it out one day, just to see if I could, and though I made it the entire 3.1 miles, I knew my body wasn't ready to "race" that much yet. I still had a lot more training to do to get where I wanted to be. But as much as I knew I wasn't ready, I started to understand that I could be, and two new words entered my vocabulary - "training" and "athlete." Could a fat girl be an athlete? I tried Zumba, and failed miserably the first time, but refused to give up on it and soon learned how to modify enough to work my ailing body into doing the full 60 minute workout. I did Yoga and started becoming more flexible. I still struggled with peaks and valleys throughout each week, but getting back up started to seem a little easier as I struggled my way out of each hole I built for myself. I also went on Depo and started to worry that the shot would hinder my progress. I contacted my insurance company about their Weight Management Program (which I will call today to finalize...took a while!). I joined AB and started my first real challenge (SIYC) with other Sparkers. It was a lesson in learning to set goals and working toward achieving them. It was also a lesson in letting go if those goals didn't pan out exactly how I wanted them. I started my 30 in 30 challenge, 30 consecutive days of working out for at least 10 minutes a day. I lost about 8 pounds or so.

June - July
The month started with a 5.5 hour hike through the Hocking Hills area and, while I struggled, I also surprised myself with my ability to endure. Suddenly the rock walls didn't seem quite so large and impossible if I just took one step at a time. I then experienced my first slow weight loss week following a bit of overdoing it on the hike. It was a lesson in not expecting the scale to give immediate results following extraordinary effort. I got back some bloodwork from the doctor and was placed in the pre-diabetic range, but also told that what I was already doing here at Spark would fix those problems if I kept at it. I had an interview in New York that I stressed major over, a return flight that made me feel, once again, like the fat woman nobody appreciated for her accomplishments and learned that no matter what I did, there were stereotypes against "fat people" that I couldn't completely escape. It was a lesson in outward appearances, inward emotions, and learning to let go of the expectations of others. I got my hair cut and was nervous about the short cut given to me, but soon realized that my hairdresser thought my thinner face could take a little shorter cut and it made me feel good to realize that I was displaying outwardly the progress I was making. I started to get tough with myself and demand more, setting higher expectations and realizing that I had the power to achieve them if I put in the time, energy and effort. I lost almost 15 pounds in my third month!

July - August
I started this month out just thinking about changes, seeing changes, and hoping for future changes. I ranted that three months had passed and I still hadn't dropped a pants size, and then had to recant when I realized that I actually had. I was down from a size 30 to a size 28 and feeling SO proud! I started to learn about how I could make healthy choices no matter where life put me. I could still allow my family the foods they enjoyed while I enjoyed the healthier options my body began to crave. At some point in July, I started training to walk that 5k, and signed up for the Debbie Green Memorial 5k in Wheeling, WV. I gained weight while still feeling changes in my body, and started to learn that the scale isn't always what we make it out to be. It was a lesson in letting go of the numbers and not letting them stop you from moving forward. I struggled with the idea that I was a "poser" for not running the 5k, but walking it, but then realized that I was training for walking in many of the same ways that a runner trains for a race - I labeled myself an athlete, with WALKING as my sport, and settled in my mind that walking and being good at walking was a FINE accomplishment and something to be proud of. I set out to make a month-long workout calendar and the drive to succeed in the fitness arena was born. I had training schedules and devoted myself to them, and I loved it! I joined the gym (after I gave up waiting for my insurance company) and added machine ST, regular Zumba classes, boxing, rowing, and the elliptical to my workout routine.

This month was a big month for me. My fourth month on Spark, I walked my first 5k, learned what it was to set a time goal (under 60 minutes) and meet it, learned what it was to push to the finish even when it hurt (and BOY did it hurt! Check out the race blog to see a picture of the blister I got in mile one that popped in mile 3! Brutal!). I met SPUNKYDUCKY and Spark became a part of my real life. I was made both Done Girl of the Day and Spark Motivator, and was given my first popular blog post award. It was amazing excitement rolled up with the fear of expectations of others encroaching upon what I *thought* I could handle. And what I learned from all of it is that I can motivate others by simply being me, by getting through the peaks and valleys and coming out the other side, by having bad days and pushing through, by trying and failing, by falling apart and putting myself back together, and by just staying true to the goals I set for myself and really being honest with myself about what I wasn't able or simply didn't accomplish. I learned a LOT about myself that month! And after my first 5k, I started training for a 10k, and I struggled with the 5-mile mental mark (probably much like I'll struggle with the 10-mile mark as I train for my half-marathon).

I reached the 50 pound total lost mark, losing about 8 pounds that month.

August - September

This was a very important blog to me. VERY important. I was so proud to see it make it to the popular blogs because I felt it was so important for everyone to see that sense of triumph. It was all about breaking through the mental barrier of 5-miles, but it was also about redefining myself and letting go of how I once thought of myself. The fat girl was one I had to let go because I began to realize that I no longer felt like the fat girl anymore. Yes, my body was (and is) still fat, I am still morbidly obese, but the inside drive and fire, the muscles I could feel under all that fat, were the body of a skinny girl coming to life. I looked at the mirror and I saw a different person, I saw the person I always wanted to be and I felt, for the first time in maybe forever, PRIDE in myself.

And while all the happy stuff was going on, I started a long struggle with the scale. It didn't give me what I knew I had earned. It wasn't showing the progress I could see with my eyes, and I declared battle against it, against the 360s, and against every expectation of a fat girl that the world had built up for me. And another word started to run through my head - "runner." It was something I truly wanted for myself. And the waiting to get there was killing me. I was ready mentally to take on the challenge, and I struggled with the fact that my body wasn't quite ready to respond to what I wanted it to do. I had to learn about taking the time to work to what you wanted, I had to learn patience, and I had to learn that I was seeing everything in the wrong way. I confessed that I still felt not a part of many of my Spark groups and friends because of the considerable amount of weight I still had to lose, and it took several people standing up to me and telling me not to discount or discredit their struggles for me to realize that the "woe is me" attitude was NOT getting me where I wanted to go. We were in this together - 20 pounds or 200 pounds, we are all fighting the same expectations and struggles against an addiction that is likely one of the most difficult to battle. You can't quit food the way you can drugs, alcohol or smoking, so we ALL are here to learn how to make healthy choices and make ourselves okay with food on an emotional level.

I walked a 10k with my son and realized that my body WAS ready for more, but I struggled with what MORE it could take and what MORE I wanted to give it. I'm still struggling with this, in a way. I started to learn about which exercises gave me the most bang for my buck and started hating long nights at the gym. It led to several times opting out of even going in place of spending time with my family. Suddenly, my family was becoming a major motivator and a major hinderance (I mean that in the best way possible). The word I needed (and still need) is balance. Month 5 was hard for this reason alone. I lost another 14 pounds or so.

September - October
Okay, you want the real hard dirty they are. Month 6 sucked. Major. But that sucky month, I think, has been the most important of all because it asked me to deal with the inside and really get down to the business of learning about where I started, what I want, where I'm going, what I've come from, and why I struggle so much with food. I had to learn to push through the excuses I fed myself to not work out, to not make the best choices, and MANY, MANY times this month, I have failed miserably. The excuse monster won more times than not, and I dealt with the thought that I couldn't go on fighting myself in a battle that I would lose either way. And then this thought hit me. As I considered giving up, I asked myself what I would be giving up. I asked myself what about my former life was so much more appealing than what this new life I had built for myself had in it. And do you know what I realized? Nothing. There is no "going back" because I don't want the life I had before. Sure, I could eat whatever I wanted and not think about exercise or food logging, but I was tired, sore, angry, anxious, upset, emotional, out of breath, physically exhausted, mentally drained, and my stomach was ALWAYS upset. I felt ashamed of myself around other people, so I lived as much of my life at home as possible. And I missed the sun and I remained miserable and testy. Sure, eating a chocolate cake tasted good, but I realized this month that I could have my WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, ACTIVE new life, and eat my cake too! It didn't have to be all or nothing, it didn't have to mean that I would trade cake for feeling good about myself. I could feel good about myself, enjoy my family more, enjoy myself more, and still have a bite of cake now and again.

So while this six month period signaled my big plateau as I tried to break the 350 mark, it meant the most to me in lessons because I learned that this WAS my life. There was not OTHER life to "go back" to, because there wasn't anything back there for me. THIS is where it's at, baby! And I'm riding this one all the way home! I'm not saying I won't struggle. Boy, will I struggle! But I know now that these struggles are much more worthwhile than the struggles I experienced before. And I'm stronger both mentally and physically than I ever was. I started to feel beautiful even though the scale didn't move. I would move my body in the bed and think, "Dang, my legs are getting small!" Dare I say it, I needed that plateau so that my mind could catch up to what my body was doing.

I struggled, and I got back up. I let go of my need for perfection, my need for immediate number results on the scale, and let myself realize just how far I had come and just where I wanted to go. I did the 5k I promised myself in month 1 I would do with my mom and sister, and I had a wonderful time. I met one of the Sparkies who inspired me in month one to dream a little bigger (RAVENSONG) and walked (and ran, partly) a race with her. And that word that I struggled with for so long --- "run" --- suddenly didn't seem so unreasonable. I had put in the time ST my knee and hips and I realized that while I felt soreness after a race, it was no longer unbearable and I could work through it. I ran even more of my 5k on Saturday and was surprised at the way my body responded more positively than negatively to the challenge. And I felt my spark renewed.

I lost a total of about 4-5 pounds this month, but I gained SO much more!

My wish for all of you Sparkies is that you enjoy continued success, and that you remember that the scale does what it wants to and that can feel horribly limiting at times, but the only way to truly be limited, is to limit yourself. Deal with the emotional challenges when those times come. Challenge what you think of yourself, who you think you are. Dare to dream of who you want to be a month, 6 months, from now. Sometimes we have to lose a battle to learn a lesson and win the war.


My wish for myself is 6 more months of learning, growing (mentally) and shrinking (physically).

* Drop to a size 24 pants (by Christmas)
* Finish at least 2 more races before the end of the year
* Train for a half-marathon at a 17 mile pace
* Let Spark's lessons filter into the rest of my life
* Try to not be so hard on myself
* Challenge expectations
* Change those cannots into soons
* Do what you do, and
* Never, never, never give up....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAIA2011 10/23/2010 2:43PM

    What a great blog! You are doing such amazing work and it is really showing! You are a champion!


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SPUNKYJOY77 10/21/2010 7:47AM

    Thank you for sharing your journey! What a victory!!! 1 emoticon

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HEATHER_TEACHAH 10/21/2010 6:10AM

    what an AMAZING 6 months!! I'm so glad to see that you've grown from your struggles this past month :)
I'm excited to see what the next 6 months have in store for you!!

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MERALO 10/21/2010 5:10AM

    I love your goals, and I'm so proud of you. Keep it up, you'll get to each of those goals, I don't doubt that for a second.

When you're training for your HM, check out this website

It's helped me a big deal, and I'm doing my first HM on 13 November with the aim to walking it in the runner's cut-off time. That's a big goal but I'm only 10 minutes over at the moment so I think I can do it. You can too!


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DSD831 10/20/2010 1:55PM

    Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap...I am giving you a standing ovation!!!!! You are phenomenal!!! fantastic blog. You hit so many of my same thoughts and struggles and so clearly put a voice to what so many of us go through in this journey. The one thing you said that resonates with me and stays with me daily is that if I "fall I could get back up and start the next day anew - a big lesson on seeking out consistency, not perfection." While you learned this in your first month or will be the thing that makes this time different. Bravo to you for honesty and for inspiring others. I wish for you continued success and more learning moments as you pursue your dreams and new accomplishments!!

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BOBBIGAGNON 10/19/2010 10:21PM

    Thank you for caring enough to share your journey with us.

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YATMAMA 10/19/2010 5:18PM

    I rejoice with you over your great accomplishments!!!

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KITHKINCAID 10/19/2010 4:02PM

    Many many congratulations Esther!!! I hear ya - month 6 is where it all comes down. You stop losing weight so fast, and you really have to buckle down and ask yourself some serious questions. You know that I've been through exactly the same hurdles this month. But we both made it through and we're better off for it!

Can't wait to see what the next 6 months brings!

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CHICAT63 10/19/2010 2:56PM

    All things add up, Esther you are an INSPIRATION !!!!! To think of all you have accomplished in 6 months and more is to come I am sure.

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MAGPIE17 10/19/2010 10:52AM

    So proud for you, girl. Keep it up, you're fabulous!

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CANTONIO 10/19/2010 9:40AM

    I think this is an amazing post. Really honest and you are just using all your tools. Success is ahead for you, 100%!!

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JADEDHEART17 10/19/2010 3:53AM

    This blog couldn't have been more perfect for me to come across. I am now into my 5th month and to see that you went through similar things as I have and am makes me feel a lot better about how I am coming along. I know everyone is different but it's so great to see that everyone has ups and downs and still sees progress. Congratulations!

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BRITOMART 10/18/2010 11:29PM

    I LOVE your attitude! it will take you as far as you want to go. Much joy on your journey.

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SAL2525 10/18/2010 10:40PM

    Awesome. I think I have been here about 6 months but I have not come anywhere close to what you have accomplished! You inspire me! Great blog! sAL

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GIVEUP30 10/18/2010 10:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KITT52 10/18/2010 9:18PM


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QUEST4CHANGE 10/18/2010 8:24PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticonSparktacular! Awesome accomplishments, epiphanies & progress! Thank you for sharing :)

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RAVENSONG37 10/18/2010 8:05PM

    I heart you Esther. I loved you 6 months ago and it's just gotten better from there. I hope you realize some day just how incredible you are.

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L*I*T*A* 10/18/2010 6:22PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NERDDAVE 10/18/2010 4:29PM

    Great post! I was thinking "that's what I do!" at a lot of points in what you wrote at various points of the last 6 months. You're definitely a motivator, and this post is destined for another popular blog post. Congratulations on all your achievements, I hope to have those kind of epiphanies too.

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    You are in inspiration, encouraging us to reach a little deeper and do more. Great blog.

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MNGIRLIE 10/18/2010 4:06PM

    What a great 6 month recap! Great blog and thanks for sharing with us.

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WALKERSSS 10/18/2010 3:49PM

    WTG losing so much weight in such a short time. I loved reading your blog and took much from it. Wanting the ability to leave reeses in front of me and not eat them. emoticon I admire your accomplishments and will mark today as a change for me. Since I can't do anything about the reeses I've been eating for about a week now, today I have a new determination. The Reeses are gone..thank goodness. I hate halloween. lol

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BARBARAROSE54 10/18/2010 2:52PM

    thanks for writing this blog and inspiring so many of us. When I see someone doing it I know I can too !

Good luck on reaching all your goals emoticon

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RUSSELLORAMA 10/18/2010 2:42PM

    emoticon This is an AWESOME blog! I am so proud of you. Thanks for motivating me today!

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MEGSFITNESS 10/18/2010 2:32PM

    Happy emoticon!!


Great job, Esther :)

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KATHY_10 10/18/2010 2:02PM

    Happy emoticon Anniversary. Your Doing Awesome..Keep it Up

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ATROTTIER 10/18/2010 1:47PM

    CONGRATS TO YOU!!! You are such an inspiration and I love that you have written all these blogs during your journey here and just to go back and reflect on everything you have went through is so cool, right? The half-marathon idea sounds really got me thinking about doing one...I wouldn't have said that probably 3 months ago!! LOL!!

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MOMFAN 10/18/2010 1:30PM


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PRETTYINPUNK_04 10/18/2010 1:07PM

    Love this blog! emoticon for sharing your wisdom. emoticon on all you have accomplished emoticon And I know you will reach a size 24 by Christmas emoticon

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GOGOSHIRE 10/18/2010 12:57PM

    What a great blog, Esther! Thanks for sharing!

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DETERMINED_SOUL 10/18/2010 11:39AM

    WOOHOO!!! Great job and Great Blog! I am so motivated to push myself even more now, thank you for sharing.

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COOLMAMA11 10/18/2010 11:14AM

    emoticon I loved your blog, it really made me stop and evaluate what I have been doing here on Spark, I have been trying, but I see I could be doing so much more..thank you for the proud my Spark have come a long ways..congrats on your successes!

Elaine emoticon

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DOWNTOWNJEN 10/18/2010 10:54AM

    I actually sat up straighter as I read through your blog. You are a natural writer and leader. Keep on keepin' on - you have an incredible future ahead of you. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful, honest insights with the rest of us. I know that it means a lot to me personally as I start this journey.

You rock!

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SPARKLINGHOPE 10/18/2010 10:54AM

    Amazing perseverance!!! Congratulation on developing such a sucessful plan in part by Sparking! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KARVY09 10/18/2010 10:49AM

    Happy Sparkversary!

You've done amazing things, Esther. Be proud!

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YICHE12 10/18/2010 10:49AM

    Thanks for sharing this! It was very well documented, etc. Bravo!

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METTAKARUNA 10/18/2010 10:45AM

    Congratulations on your progress! You are an inspiration to many here. Good luck on reaching all of your goals, they will be achieved. =)

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ARCHIMEDESII 10/18/2010 10:40AM

    What an absolutely inspirational blog !! Congratulations on that phenomenal 70 pound loss !! As for plateaus, those are a normal part of the weight loss process. You're going to experience more of those as you lose, we all had them, so don't worry. They will pass with time. As you correctly said, this is all about embracing a healthy lifestyle !!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MRSSIBRAT 10/18/2010 10:29AM

    girl you are amazing and I am so proud of you and to be your friend!!

I love this

"My wish for all of you Sparkies is that you enjoy continued success, and that you remember that the scale does what it wants to and that can feel horribly limiting at times, but the only way to truly be limited, is to limit yourself"

this is what I need to remember so thanks for the reminder!!



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READINESSISALL 10/18/2010 10:27AM

  I loved reading this blog so much. You've done an incredible job, and thanks so much for bringing us all along in your journey. I love your goals, and have total confidence in you and your abilities to achieve them. Keep up the great work!

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Weigh-In Day - Week 28

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weigh-in Day

Starting Weight: 466.6
SP SW: 416.2
Last Week: 350.4
Goal this Week: 348.4
Actual Weight: 348.0
Loss/Gain: -2.4
SP Total Loss: 68.2
Total Loss: 118.6

I'm going to admit it, this week has been crazy. I stopped really logging because I didn't have much time to do it. I just ate what I knew was right, ate when I could and/or when I was hungry. As for workouts? Monday I skipped the gym and didn't do much of anything. It wasn't until just before dark that I took a chance and took the boys and Joey out for a training walk/run before yesterday's 5k. Tuesday I meant to go to Zumba, but instead went to see my boy at football practice. I missed last week's game and I missed all of my boys, including the Hubs. It was a lovely night just spending time with Hubs and the boys. Wednesday I was on my way to Columbus, OH for work. I worked out in the hotel gym that night, both cardio and ST. Nothing like my normal workouts, but I pushed a bit and made sure I put in some real time on it. Thursday morning I woke up earlier than I really needed to, and couldn't find a reason to NOT use that time to workout again. So I used the hotel gym, and my knee messed up. Friday I did nothing in prep for yesterday's race, and then yesterday was the 5k.

So, I went on autopilot and felt proud of myself for being able to do that when everything was going a little crazy. More importantly, I stopped thinking about my plateau and about what I couldn't do.

Today I woke up not expecting much other than a very sore knee, but nothing is as expected I guess. Sure, the knee is a little sore, as are my ankles and hips, but it's not unbearable. I'm super surprised! I know that walking and doing regular things on my knee after it pops out helps in heal better, but I had never run on it before. It's interesting to see that my knee is really liking the exercise on it.

So this week we're back on track.


emoticon Weight Goal: 346.0
emoticon Nutrition: 1800-2100 calories
emoticon Training for a possible 1/2 in March
That's right, I'm seriously considering doing a half next year and have set up a training schedule that will have me ready by the end of February (I hope!)
emoticon ST 3 days this week - M, W, F

This Week's Fitness Schedule:
Sunday - Rest Day, Short easy walk maybe
Monday - 2 mile training, full ST
Tuesday - XTrain: Zumba
Wednesday - 2 mile training, full ST
Thursday - XTrain: Zumba
Friday - Tennis, full ST
Saturday - 2 mile training

Tomorrow is my 6 month SparkVersary. 6 months! WOW! Here's to six more months of progress and learning, and to fitting into those 24s by Christmas! (I'm not giving up on that goal yet!) Today I am under 350 pounds and almost to 70 pounds lost. Sounds pretty darn good for 6 months of hard work, lessons learned and getting through the struggles.

Upcoming races I'm thinking about:
ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run & Walk 4.5 mile walk - October 23, 2010 - Oak Hill, WV
Toys for Tots 5k Run & Walk - October 30, 2010 - Morgantown, WV*
Indian Summer Run?? - October 31, 2010 - Athens, WV
Veterans Day 10k Run & Walk - November 6, 2010 - Wheeling, WV
Nick Caldwell 5k Memorial Run - November 13, 2010 - St. Albans, WV
Wilmington Turkey Trot 5k - November 25, 2010 - Wilmington, OH
Green Bank Turkey Trot 5k Run & Walk - November 27, 2010 - Green Bank, WV
Egg Nog Jog 5k?- December 18, 2010 - Cincinnati, OH
Running from an Angel 5k/10k - January 8, 2011 - Lake Mead, outside of Vegas**
Shamrock 1/2 Marathon - March 20, 2011 - Virginia Beach, VA***
Just a Short Run 8.1 Mile Run/5k Run/Walk - March 26, 2011 - Allison Park, PA
Cleveland Marathon (5k/10k/Half) - May 15, 2011 - Cleveland, OH

I'm not saying I'm going to do them all, I'm just looking at them and trying to remember what looked good or I've thought about doing. I may add more later.

* Hollynn - Did you see this one?
** A friend of mine wants to take me to Vegas for my birthday...I have a feeling I'm a little nutty considering the first thing I did was look up to see if there were any races around that time there. This is on my 30th birthday - wouldn't that be a great present to myself?
*** SPUNKYDUCKY is forming a team for this race and I'm thinking this might be a good 1/2 to do considering the support will be there.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGPIE17 10/18/2010 11:14PM

    Congrats on your 6-month sparkiversary, and WTG on getting below 350!!

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ATROTTIER 10/18/2010 1:39PM

    AWESOME job on the weight loss this week girl!! So proud of everything you have done!! All the races sound so great...I saw that Vegas one on there and thought for a split second that maybe I could meet you at that one...Vegas is only 6 hours away and we like to go in Jan...I don't like planning things too far in advance but that might be pretty cool!! Anyways - you are a racing queen!!! Take care of that knee my friend! emoticon

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MOMTO6PLUS2 10/18/2010 12:41AM

    Cheers to 6 months! And what great goals you have in place emoticon The next 6 months are gonna be awesome!!!



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ERINBEAR1876 10/17/2010 10:28PM

    What a fantastic weigh-in!!! I love your goals, and your fitness plan for this week rocks. Oh, I sure love tennis. I think Maci has been playing tennis, and I wanna play *pout*.

Oh, you are going to kick that half marathon's booty! You bet your bottom you can do it!!! I love your plans for that, and I love how you're continuing to look at races down the road! I wish they offered more around here, that's for sure!~

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KITHKINCAID 10/17/2010 8:40PM

    You and Hollyn are the best! And yes, a 5K for your birthday would be awesome :) I say do it!

So check it out - you stopped worrying, did the best you could this week, and the scale dropped! Way to go!!! And - happy 6 months :) I just celebrated mine - it's such a great feeling. Here's to the next 6 and more after that!

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DITTY1013 10/17/2010 5:10PM

    I am super impressed by you! You're doing an amazing job, and you're inspiring me to think about signing up for a race, too. Keep up the good work! emoticon

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CHICAT63 10/17/2010 4:09PM

    You are doing AWESOME, way to go on your loss this week ! You did it, you are under 350. Remain confident in regards to fitting in the 24s, you can do it !!!! Same thing for me i.e.: races, running partner or not I have registered for three more, he,he,he, addicting ! Remember it is not the time but finishing that counts over everything. Have a great week Esther !!!

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_AIYANNA_ 10/17/2010 4:00PM

    You're doing amazingly well, Esther!!! I'm so proud of you :) Congratulations on all your progress this week xxx

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TIGERJANE 10/17/2010 1:44PM

    WOW! Way to go on your loss this week! It's amazing how well you've done on here in such a short amount of time. Truly inspiring :) Nice to see a race in my old hometown on your list - Cleveland! I love your plan for the week, so organized and completely realistic yet challenging. So jealous of your race schedule! You're going to do SO GREAT!

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MACILINN 10/17/2010 1:31PM

    Woohoo! awsome wt loss! sounds like it was a busy week! whewwww it's great that you still ate w/i cal range w/o logging in. Just beaware that you have done so good for so long that you are on autopilot, and it's easy to veer off course if your not careful. Isn't it great your autopilot will give you a minus these days! before sparks could you say that??? I know mine was heading up to the clouds. Great job!

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GOGOSHIRE 10/17/2010 1:00PM

    Good job on the weight loss, Calli!

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STARTLIGHT 10/17/2010 11:44AM

    Congrats! on your weight loss. The journey is never easy but taking one day at a time makes it less of a challenge. Good luck and keep going. Remember it's the journey itself that leads to the end. KEEP SMILING! emoticon emoticon

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MAIA2011 10/17/2010 11:24AM

    It's so cool to read your excitement here. I hope you do a half! You have a great plan in place so rock it!

I admire you so much for soldiering through and breaking the plateau! AWESOME!

(I think there might be a lesson here in that you stopped watching the pot and it boiled for you. You know, Confucius say.)


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DOWNTOWNJEN 10/17/2010 11:00AM

    Amazing!! emoticon

Great job on going "auto-pilot"! emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/17/2010 10:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
You are a MAJOR inspiration to all of us! What a terrific record. And it is so interesting that sometimes when we forget about the just...goes away...
emoticon emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 10/17/2010 10:41AM

    Keep up the good work. You are doing amazing. emoticon

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Auggie's 5k - Count Them...FOUR! Races in 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apparently I've caught the racing bug. Last week I gave you a race report from the Dayton Corridor Classic 5k, which I did with my family and Becky. This week was a promise I made to myself and Hollynn and Ron back in August after I finished my first 5k. The race was the Auggie's 5k in Wheeling, WV, which goes to support the Ohio Valley's SPCA.

Race #1 - My first 5k
Name: Debbie Green Memorial 5k
Date: August 7, 2010
Location: Wheeling, WV
Weight: 365.2 (the next day's weigh-in)
Biggest problems: Horrible blister on my right foot that took at least a month to fully heal, and the mental block of thinking "I can't do it" and "Walking isn't as good as running, I'm a poser!"
Highlight: Beating my under 60 minute goal and meeting Hollynn (SPUNKYDUCKY) and her husband Ron (PENGUITO)
Final Time: 57:21 (18:30 pace)

Race #2 - A race with Ethan
Name: Charleston Distance Run/Walk 10k
Date: September 4, 2010
Location: Charleston, WV
Weight: 356.2 (weigh-in the next day)
Biggest Problems: Mentally it was the 5 mile training mark and the idea of a HUGE hill in the middle of the race. It was also dealing with a hurt little boy when he didn't get a medal. (Which was later corrected by a Spark Friend and my boss.)
Highlight: Hearing my son say things like, "The only way out of this is forward." Oh, and the big fat cheeseburgers that we totally earned!
Final Time: 2:09:01.72 (20-21 pace)

Race #3 - A race with family (including Logan)
Name: Dayton Corridor Classic 5k
Date: October 10, 2010
Location: Dayton, OH
Biggest Problems: A lack of real training following my 10k and a sinus infection.
Highlight: Really bonding with my family throughout the race and racing with Becky (RAVENSONG)!
Final Time: 56:09 (18:09 pace)

Race #4 - Reuniting with SPUNKYDUCY, running, and a race with Joey
Name: Auggie's 5k
Date: October 16, 2010
Location: Wheeling, WV
Weight: 349.4 (according to when I got home)

So I tried my best to train a little for this race, but didn't really get in a lot of time. It's been a really busy week at work, including a trip to Columbus, OH for work on Wednesday/Thursday. Still, when we got to the hotel I ate a veggie burger and then changed for the hotel gym. (Great gym, but small. Still, they had TVs on all three machines, you can plug in your earphones and change the channel to whatever you want without annoying your neighbor.) I worked on running spurts here and there. On Thursday morning I did it again, actually running 1/4 mile straight at a 15 min/mile pace, but on my second running spurt, I felt pressure in my left knee when I landed on it. Once I got back to my room, it had popped out. So this morning I was past "loose" and onto a very sore and stiff knee, still I signed up to run this race and promised myself I would at least try.

We got to Wheeling a little later than I wanted, so I ran into the school in order to hurry up and sign in and get my bib (after my husband nearly ran me over with the car! *lol*). As I was leaving the bathroom I caught sight of Hollynn and suddenly felt much calmer. For some reason, this girl settles me. (As Becky did last week. Gotta love your Sparkies!) I headed out to grab my dog, Joey and figure out where the starting line was.

Shane, me and Joey before the race. SO glad I gave Shane my jacket before I started...I got warmed up super quick!

We were soon joined by Hollynn and Ron, who got to meet Joey.

Joey did pretty well in the big group of people until about 6 people wanted to pet him at once and he got nervous. I don't blame him! I would've felt surrounded and threatened too! He didn't snap or bite anyone, just growled once and did a lot of hiding behind me.

We started the race at the start of the gun (which scared Joey) and even though I started running with everyone else, I was soon left by myself at the back...the VERY back! *lol* I kept telling myself it was alright and that all I really wanted out of this race was the run a little and to hopefully beat 55 minutes (secretly hoping to beat 50).

Surprisingly, Joey slowed me down a bit. We had trained with key words, though, and every time I said "GO" he knew it was time to really move it. Unfortunately I had to tell him a million times, and he got REALLY confused when the front runners started passing us going the other way around mile 1. Still, I kept him on task and we passed the mile one marker who told us we were at around minute 17. (I checked beforehand, I needed to stay at about 17.5 to make sure I beat that 55 minute goal, so it felt good to hear that!)

We had to stop for Joey to relieve himself once, but once I passed the water station, Hollynn and Ron were coming back around and told me that the turn around was just ahead. I was jogging when I could, and when I couldn't, I was walking as fast as possible. I kept telling myself, "Go! Just go! Keep going!" The last 1/4 mile or so before the turn around, I was all alone on the course. I hate being last, but someone has to be there.

At the second water stop (the first stop, revisited), I didn't much need water, but Joey did...and the girl there wanted a photo of Joey. *sigh* We left the water stop and I took off jogging to make up a little time. Once I got to the 2 mile marker, the guy told me I was at about 34, and I thought, "I totally got this!" I did the math and realized that even if I did a 20 minute mile pace, or just a touch faster (which is now my comfortable pace) that I would beat my goal of under 55 minutes. So we went, and I thought about giving up, and I asked myself why I was doing this, and I was feeling so much pain in my knee, but I just kept moving forward. I looked down at Joey (who was also getting really tired) and said, "Look, even if we quit, we have to keep walking this way to get back to the car to go home. We might as well do our best and just finish this."

I walked most of the last mile as my knee was super tight now, but once I saw my kids and Hollynn running toward me, and Hollynn telling me I was going to beat that 55 minute goal I had, I tried to run again. But it hurt...a lot. And I apologized, but went back to walking, which Hollynn assured me was just fine. I turned the corner and I could see the finish, and I tried to run up the hill (what the crap is it with hills at the end of races? 2/4 of the races I've done have ended with an uphill. Seriously?!), which went VERY slowly, and ran across the finish line.

I don't remember seeing the clock other than noting that it wasn't 55 yet, but Ethan swears it said 52:32 (this race wasn't chip timed and I was at the back, so give me another few seconds! *lol*).

RUN! (Okay...jog...)

Hollynn and Ron were there once again to tell me what a great job I did, and that always feels great! And my kids and Shane being there telling me "Great job!" felt even better.

We did it again! Me, Ron, and Hollynn in that post-race glow!

I don't think I've ever sweated this much in a race before, honestly. That running really had my heart going. I'll need to drink a ton of water for the next 3 days just to refuel! *lol* When I started, my hair was completely dry...when I was finished, it was soaked! I had pit sweat, elbow sweat, chest sweat, knee sweat, and lower back sweat that was ridiculous! As for Joey? He was super, super thirsty!!

Me with 4 amazing boys who support me no matter what! I have a wonderful support group surrounding me every day and this picture will remind me that no matter what the scale says, what the 3 boys in this picture say is much more important to me.

Biggest Problems: The knee and a slow dog! *lol*
Highlight: Having another one down, running, and feeling that race spirit once again just being around Hollynn and Ron! We've already been discussing what's next.
Final time: 52:32 (16-17 something pace?)

3 Months
-15.8 pounds
15.5 race miles
4 races under my belt
3 Sparkies met
8 family members raced with (including the dog)

Plateau or no can't argue with that progress and accomplishment. Plus, I've cut my time from 57:21 to 52.32.

Now...when's the next race? Mom's got a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving she's considering. There's a 4.5 mile trail challenge walk next weekend I'd love to do. There is a 5k and a 10k I have my eye on for a "maybe" in November, and a 5k Egg Nog Jog in December. Plus, I'm seriously considering trying to train to walk a half, just to say I did, which means maintaining a 17 minute pace (or under) for 13.1 miles to beat the time restraints. No matter what it is, my goal is to just get better...slowly, but surely.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGPIE17 10/18/2010 10:51PM

    Esther, I am so d@mn proud of you! Way to go, girl!!

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ATROTTIER 10/18/2010 1:33PM

    Incredible!!!! emoticon

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LOOKY-LOU 10/17/2010 12:26PM


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HEATHER_TEACHAH 10/17/2010 10:27AM

    I am SO proud of you!!!!
I'm sending you a million hugs, can you feel them?

now rest that knee and drink your water :)

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WATCHMEGO2 10/17/2010 9:21AM

    Girl, you are totally rocking it!! You should be very proud of your accomplishments!

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CBARRETT10 10/17/2010 12:47AM

  You are on fire!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENGUITO 10/16/2010 10:46PM

    Way to go!

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CONDZMOMOFJJQ 10/16/2010 10:33PM

    YOU ARE AWESOME! I'm am SO inspired right now. I'm scheduled for a run in the morning and I was going to no-show it! My legs are sore and my confidence is shattered! I DON'T want to be last!!

After reading your blog, I am convinced that you are absolutely right. The point is that I finish and that I do my best!



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CHICAT63 10/16/2010 10:04PM

    You go Girl, running/walking with a dog amazing ! Mine can't run straight she is all over the place ! emoticon emoticon

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RUNNINGOLLIE 10/16/2010 9:43PM

    Awesome blog and accomplishments!!!!!!! I really like the Freedom Run (it has a 5 hour limit so a 22 min/mile max pace)-it's really fun and Antietam is nice to run through!

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RAVENSONG37 10/16/2010 9:32PM

    So proud of you Es! Great job staying in there and doing your thing. Shaving that kind of time off is incredible. I don't know if you realize how hard it is to drop that kind of's really awesome!

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BOBBYD31 10/16/2010 8:58PM

    your doing great, keep up the good work! if you do the trail be very careful they are slippery with rocks, leaves, roots etc easy to fall on trail runs. but keep up the fantastic work maybe you can walk the 8.1 mile at just a short run and the half marathon at pittsburgh marathon.

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JEREMY723 10/16/2010 8:30PM

    Great job and how wonderful to have Sparkfriends in person for walk/runs! And Hollyann no less:)

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KARVY09 10/16/2010 8:24PM

    You've done amazing in the last three months, seriously! Congrats on your run (yay, running!) and for many more in the future!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 10/16/2010 8:09PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JILLIAN_155 10/16/2010 8:06PM

    What an inspirational post! Thank you for sharing your experience and WTG on all those race miles. That is something to be proud of!

Where is the Turkey Trot you're thinking of doing?

I live in Buffalo and we have one here that is on Thanksgiving day as well. Ours is an 8K so just under 5 miles. I'm considering doing it....not sure yet!

Jillian :)

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SPUNKYDUCKY 10/16/2010 8:05PM

    I have been waiting for you to post this! YAY! I am absolutely telling you the truth when I say the only reason I hauled my butt up to Wheeling again was to see you guys (although I am really happy I went, this was my first race in 7 weeks and it felt great!) I am as always, so proud of your accomplishments and your desire to continue to push forward. My team is ready for the half if you want to join. I can't remember if I told you: the Irish Duckies, Virginia Beach, March 20th (7am -aaarrrggghh)...Any of our sparkies are also welcome to join the team.

Comment edited on: 10/16/2010 8:06:25 PM

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 10/16/2010 7:59PM

    Awesome girl, just AWESOME!!

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