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The Week in Review: Springtime Blues

Monday, March 26, 2012

I have no excuse. The weather has been incredible. I have a great boyfriend (I haven't talked a lot about him, but have been meaning to). I have cool friends. I have great buddies at the gym. As we all know, that doesn't always prevent us from feeling down sometimes. Actually, allergies have been known to be liked to depression, so I believe that allergies may be linked to the funk I have been in over the past couple of weeks.

I have just been "blah" this past week. Yes, I was sick last week, most likely from allergies, but beyond that I've just been feeling a bit down. I don't feel like socializing too much, including going to the gym for my martial arts classes. I know I would be fine once I get there, but getting up and getting out the door has been too much. I haven't been to the gym in over a week; today it was because I was just too tired to get up. I haven't worked out much at all over the past week except for a few walks with the dog. I just want to be a couch potato; I want nothing more than to plop down on the couch the moment I get up and watch T.V. all day, and overeat while I'm at it, apparently. This is unlike my personality, so I know something has got me down. I know I would probably be better off if I were doing more exercise, though; inactivity is really feeding into these springtime blues.

My eating has not been good--I haven't been tracking accurately and have been overeating a lot. Despite the binging, I was surprised to step on the scale today to find I haven't gained in the past 2 weeks. I have still been eating lots of fruits and veggies, drinking my green tea and water, and eating a lot of whole foods, but I have not been careful about avoiding wheat. I feel pretty bloated. Over the past few days, I have had a stronger desire to return to my healthier eating habits and will work hard this week to transition back to tracking and eating healthfully.

Anyways, I don't mean to be a downer, I just wanted to jot down quickly my thoughts about this past week. I am feeling better than I was a couple of weeks ago, but have not had the energy to really focus on eating well and working out hard. I can't even muster the creativity to say something clever or meaningful in this blog. I will have to experiment with what will give me an energy boost while dealing with the allergies. Well, here's to a new and improved week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/31/2012 3:08AM

    Hey Erin! Somehow I got off your subscription and had to go find you! Sorry 'bout the allergies...I hear you and have Been sick for the past few days! You know we all go through the doldrums! I think between allergies and wheat you may have a system overload! Take care of yourself...when you feel Better come back and dish on the new boyfriend!
Love & Hugs,

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ALISHAB3 3/27/2012 7:57PM

    The likelihood is that its the wheat contributing to your feeling blue. The feeling of depression is how our brains feel when you are losing brain cels, its basically cellular death (your body not your phone!). The reason (not the only one!) that exercise assists with depression is that it improves your brains ability to absorb nutrients including but not limited to glucose and oxygen. If you just switch some potatoes in for the wheat based foods, you may start to feel much better. emoticon

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DDOORN 3/27/2012 9:37AM

    Yeah, tough to fess up to those "blah" or "meh" days...but yep, they've been "springing" up 'round these parts too...ugh! So inexplicable, but very real!


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JSALERNO 3/27/2012 5:24AM


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SYZYGY922 3/27/2012 1:22AM

    Don't worry about being a downer! I'm a downer probably 75% of the time. emoticon

Sometimes we get into these funks but if we keep pushing through (even minimally) eventually they pass. You're still in the game, so keep chugging along!

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    I would chalk it up to the allergies and maybe even the change in season. Whatever it is, I hope it passes soon for you.
Take care!


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SEATTLE58 3/26/2012 9:53PM

    Sometimes it takes longer to get out of a funk than other times, and it wants to just take the time to get out of it on it's own, it seems. I've been there, done that. It's not the best feeling either, but sooner than later, it can turn around on you, and you feel brand new! I hope this is soon for you and you'll be back sparking to beat the band! We all want you to feel better, we all need you to be on SP with us. We just need to know that you're here with us! Each one of us fails and we're all in this boat together. I'll be picking myself up after failing today! Ugh! That's the best I can do! So, I'm hoping that you will be soon back on the saddle again too! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SMILINGTREE 3/26/2012 9:46PM

    I hope it passes quickly. Sometimes we just have to get through those sorts of blahs, but hopefully they will be fewer and farther between. That's my hope anyway ;-)

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SPOONGIRLDEB 3/26/2012 9:34PM

    I hate feeling blah like that but I think we've all been there (more than once LOL). Just keep focusing on positive things, and do try to make yourself get up and get out and exercise. Do it for the dog's sake!

I hope your allergies and your funk get better soon!

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The Week in Review: Ah...ah...ah-CHOO!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I am not someone who has ever had any particular seasonal allergies, but I have been hit very hard with hay fever over the past week. It seems like a lot of people have been hit hard with allergies thus far this spring. I have been a sniffly, itchy-eyed, lethargic mess. My workouts have gone a bit to the wayside and I skipped the gym today. I made it in Monday but "only" did an hour of Jiu Jitsu and that took it out of me (I normally workout 2-3 hours on mixed martial arts training days).

I have still been fairly active over the past week, but my body clearly needed some rest. I was finally able to sleep a lot today and feel a bit better. I have also been taking loratadine and using eucalyptus and tea tree oil for aromatherapy. I try to avoid drugs whenever possible, but I need to hit these allergies hard with some antihistamines.

Now, allergies are no excuse for the binging I did this week (ordering from my favorite pizza place), and it goes to show that I still battle with balance (either eating well and working out, or not doing either particularly well). It was "only" 2 days of poor eating, but it could have been avoided with a little forethought. I am low on food at home and need to get to the grocery store.

Not much else to report--I've been resting whenever possible. Nothing exciting this week.

I'm already out of steam. Now...*sniffle*...could you please pass the tissues? Ah...ah...ah-CHOO!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Take care of yourself Erin. I have had allergies all my life so I sympathize.

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DDOORN 3/22/2012 3:36PM

    Yuck, hope the allergy demons leave you alone soon!


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    Same thing going on here. It is too early for these warm temps and the pollen.

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CANNIE50 3/21/2012 10:22PM

    emoticon emoticon You have my empathy - I am all too familiar with allergies. My strategy is to pretend I don't have them and their strategy seems to be to remind me that I do indeed have them. I am glad you got some much needed rest.

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MUSICALLYMINDED asks: lose weight or gain health?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My good SparkPal MUSICALLYMINDED asked in her blog today whether we are on this journey to lose weight (especially for vanity reasons), or to gain health? My honest answer is that it is for both reasons. I do look better now than I did 50 pounds ago, but that is also because I look much healthier. While the scale may not always move in the right direction or may stagnate for a while, choices that are good for health can be made every day (as she shows in her Good Choices blogs). I have taught myself patience so that I don't get too concerned about the vanity part, but I am happy when I am losing weight. It usually means that I am doing well with making healthy choices.

Check it out and let Tracy know what you think:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I agree. Both are important and we should be rewarded for our efforts with both.

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DDOORN 3/16/2012 9:30AM

    Agree...these hardly have to be mutually exclusive goals...! :-)


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JENJESS48 3/16/2012 9:16AM

    I think most of us are in the "both and" category - I know I am. Different days bring different motivation needs; sometimes I can get by on health-related motivation and other days I just want to look good in that new dress, lol.

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2BE-MY-BEST 3/14/2012 9:19PM

    I will do that. Thanks for sharing. Joy

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SEATTLE58 3/14/2012 9:16PM


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The Week in Review: 50 Pounds down...and chocolate n' peanut butter

Monday, March 12, 2012

This week I celebrated finally surpassing the 50 pound weight loss mark (see yesterday's blog). It took 15 months with lots of ups and downs. I have been fine with slow weight loss (and am an advocate of losing slowly), but reaching the 50 pound loss point has been a major long-term goal for me because 50 pounds officially feels like A LOT of weight lost. Crossing that line makes me truly feel like I can reach my goal of losing 136 pounds.

My workouts this week were pretty good and I hit it hard. I like my more laid-back approach to training now. My main training tool is a 75-cent spiral notebook where I write down the workouts I plan to do for the week, then I check them off and enter the day I did them. I am consistent enough about working out that I don't need to schedule which days I do certain workouts; I do them on the day that is most appropriate for my energy level and time. Tailoring my workout plan according to my energy level and time has allowed me to work harder during my workouts because I'm doing them when my body thinks it's best, not when I think I "should" be working out.

I was much better about tracking this week, although I seem to do fairly well with intuitive eating recently. There have been days when I have tracked at the end of day and I had eaten when I was hungry and until I was satisfied, and was spot-on. I know that ultimately I need to track, though, partially for tracking the calories, but also to make sure I am getting enough macro- and micronutrients.

This past week I had a couple of splurges (yet still lost 8 freaking pounds--go figure). They were splurges, not binges. My boyfriend enjoys baking and so do I, so we baked peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies. In the past, I would have probably eaten about 1/4th of the dough, and probably 10 cookies before the time the cookies were even cooled off. This time, I just enjoyed spending time with my boyfriend as well as the process of making the cookies. Of course, I had to lick the beaters, and I had a cookie right out of the oven, which was what I really wanted. I took about a dozen cookies home and planned on having 3 of them; the rest are for the guys at the gym. Having those cookies in my house used to stress me out. I had the ones I planned for and was satisfied with them. That has been an ultimate goal, to not just stop eating, but to be truly satisfied with the food. After all, the point of eating a treat is to feel happy about it, so I am very excited to have reached the point where I GENUINELY enjoy having "just one." I feel like I am starting to have the mindset of a lean person. I will be blogging this week about some of the sensory integration work I have done to help me overcome my food cravings.

This week I plan on keeping on truckin'. I am in a great place and will hang here for a while. One major goal I have this week is to finish and post some of the blogs that have been rolling around in my head.

Have a great week!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 3/13/2012 11:46AM

    Congrats to your 50# success! Nothing like keeping it simple & effective, re: your "75-cent spiral notebook."

I could never do that kind of baking without triggering myself...ugh!


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CANNIE50 3/12/2012 8:59PM

    You are stronger than cookie dough emoticon
50 pounds lost emoticon
Boyfriend emoticon

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    You are totally Awesome Erin!!!
I love chocolate & peanut butter so much....hmmm....sometimes maybe too much :)

I am going to get nosey here, but I don't remember you mentioning a boyfriend before emoticon

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    that is awesome about the cookies!

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    Congrats on achieving the huge milestone!!

Those cookies sound great!!

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JSALERNO 3/12/2012 2:44PM

    you did great! those cookies sound great too. I love peanut butter and chocolate but my BF doesn't. But he loves peanut butter.

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KKINNEA 3/12/2012 1:12PM


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SPOONGIRLDEB 3/12/2012 12:53PM

    Great job! I can't wait to read your block about "sensory integration" - I have been really struggling the last week and a half with my eating. I've been craving bad food, and indulging, which I haven't done except rarely over the last 6 months. Any tricks to help deal with those cravings would be very welcome! The way it's been going, if I'd made those cookies, I'd have eaten the whole batch right out of the oven :-(.

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GIANTPANDA 3/12/2012 11:31AM

    emoticon Congratulations!

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MNGIRLIE 3/12/2012 11:06AM

    Way to go!!!

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ARCHIMEDESII 3/12/2012 10:22AM


Congratulations on losing 50 pounds !

emoticon emoticon emoticon


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MSBLT82 3/12/2012 10:15AM

    congrats on 50 lbs!

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VICKLET31 3/12/2012 10:11AM

    emoticon emoticon on 50 pounds so far!!!!!

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DAREDEVILME 3/12/2012 10:05AM

    Wow, 50 pounds...that's got to be a great feeling. Way to go!
I like your spiral notebook for workout tracking. That's a really good idea.
Keep on Sparking!

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JITZUROE 3/12/2012 9:59AM

    Wow!!! Well, shoot, you are right you know, this is no small feat, 50 lbs IS a lot of weight! I am so proud of you!
And your mentality has clearly shifted to a greater pathway. I too would have eaten (more than)1/4 of the dough, plus too man cookies to count later. You are amazing!
As I am luck to know you in Spark land.....

Keep on truckin'.... Like you said.

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MILLISMA 3/12/2012 9:59AM

    emoticonyou have done such a great job! It's amazing how through this journey we are learning to change our thinking. You go girl!


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Beyond the weight: Fifty Pounds and FABULOUS!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I finally crossed the 50 pound loss mark this week! I have had plenty of ups and downs in my weight over the past year, but the overall trend has been downward. This week I was hell-bent on hitting the 50 pound loss mark, and I surpassed that and am also out of the 250s! My little kickboxer avatar is now kicking the astronaut right in the face on my tracker; I have been patiently watching her creep closer and closer over the past year. I "only" have 45 pounds to lose before I am in Onederland, and 45 pounds seems like a manageable amount to me.

To my shock, I stepped on my scale to see I had lost 8 pounds this week. Because I have had large losses consistently over the past several weeks (I lost 9 pounds in February), I am going to try eating a little more. My appetite has been much more regulated since cutting out wheat and I am eating plenty, but I am going to try adding some extra food after my workouts to see if that slows down the losses a little bit. I definitely don't want to defeat the purpose of my workouts by gobbling up my lean muscle mass for fuel.

Although the focus of this journey has not really been on the scale, I was still happy to cross over the 50 pound loss mark this week. Some of the things I have done that have helped me lose 55 pounds:

emoticon emoticon emoticon Having friends in the right places. My SparkFriends have been an invaluable source of love and support. MUSICALLYMINDED has been my daily source of inspiration, humor, and honesty. I am also fortunate to have supportive, yet non-judgmental, family members and friends.

emoticon Focusing on clean eating and eating mostly whole, fresh, and homemade foods.

emoticon Cutting out wheat to find out if I am sensitive to it. Yeah, the bloating went away and I dropped almost 20 pounds within weeks. I would recommend at least cutting out wheat products on a trial basis to see if that helps if the scale has been stagnant--the signs of wheat sensitivity can be subtle.

emoticon Building up activity gradually--very gradually. Yes, I can now work out for 2-3 hours at a time and it isn't a big deal. It took me well over a year to get to this point, working hard when it's okay and resting when I needed it. Had I tried to do 2 hour martial arts workouts, lifting super heavy weights, and doing high-impact activities like running all at once, my body never would have tolerated it. Listening to my body has been key--when it wanted rest, I gave it rest, and when it wants to go super hard, I bring it.

emoticon emoticon Working out like a bad-ass martial artist. The guys at my gym are my ultimate fitspiration, and they treat me like an athlete. I go to the gym for Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes 3-5 days per week and lift weights and/or do a kettlebell workout 3 days a week. I have also started running again.

emoticon Lifting very heavy weights. Powerlifting has made a major difference in my physique and has helped build fat-gobbling muscle. Lifting heavy weights stimulates growth hormone, which I believe is an important hormone involved in healthy weight loss (that's another Nerdrageous Blog! topic).

emoticon Blogging. I am so glad I have been keeping a journal of this journey. It is gratifying to look back on successes as well as setbacks that I have overcome.

emoticon Daring to try new things--even if it means being uncomfortable. I took up the saxophone again and have gotten a lot out of my lessons with my cool teacher Jeff. I also started doing Jiu Jitsu, even though I was terrified at first of being physically able to do it as well as being touched during grappling. Now, needless to say, I'm a little obsessed with Jiu Jitsu and am actually getting good at it.

emoticon emoticon Channeling creative energy. Writing and playing music have helped me take creative approaches to changing my mindset and solving problems.

emoticon Getting organized. I have organized my home and finances and although neither are perfect, being more organized feeds into being healthier.

emoticon Getting enough rest. I have focused on getting more sleep as well as taking a break from exercise when I'm exhausted.

emoticon Meditation. I have not been doing meditation daily, but am making an effort to do more. Meditation has helped increase my body-mind awareness as well as serving as a tool to avoid binges.

emoticon Yoga. I do yoga several times a week, which has been very helpful in increasing my range of motion and decreasing arthritis pain.

emoticon Having a sense of humor. Learning to lighten up about the scale, food, and frustrations has helped me become more patient about weight loss.

emoticon Eat a treat every day. Yep, I eat chocolate every day. I'm not talking about that diet crap, I have a real treat every day, usually a hunk of dark chocolate.

emoticon Drinking water and green tea. I love water, so I have no problem chugging it. I also have 2-4 cups of green tea almost every day.

emoticon Reducing food stress. This is probably #1. I knew I had to majorly change my relationship with food or else I would never keep the weight off even if I were able to lose it. Changing my relationship with food through reflection (writing and meditation) has helped reduce my stress level overall. Food held me captive and was intertwined with every area of my life. Now I have a much more reasonable relationship with food, allowing me to eat healthfully and plentifully without stress.

I am very glad I have been taking progress pictures. Although the scale isn't everything, weight loss is a tangible sign of improvement in my mental health. Here are my first set of progress pictures and some from today (all nice and sweaty from Jiu Jitsu!).

February 2011, at about 295 pounds

March 2012, at 243 pounds (55 pounds down)

February 2011

March 2012

February 2011

March 2012

Thanks for all of your love and support, SparkFriends!

"...ultimately, above all else, I want to be healthy and happy and take exquisite care of myself. A scale can't measure that."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALLISON145 3/13/2012 10:55PM

    I had the same experience - I dropped 10 pounds in 3 weeks when I gave up gluten, and the de-bloat was amazing. 10 pounds is a ton for me since I'm so close to goal. Good stuff!

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SMILINGTREE 3/13/2012 6:40PM

    I love your list. It brings into focus that there is so much more involved in becoming healthy than "just" nutrition and exercise. Your changes touch on mental health, your physical surroundings, spiritual health (for lack of a better word to describe the meditation/creative endeavors), and stress reduction. Change happens in so many areas when we undertake this journey. Congratulations on your progress so far, and I hope we get to continue sharing in your journey.

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SKYWATCHERRS 3/13/2012 5:01PM

    wooohoooo! work it, girl!

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KKINNEA 3/12/2012 1:12PM

    Woohoo congrats!! Looking fit!

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SEATTLE58 3/12/2012 11:21AM

    I saw that one of my friends had commented on another one of your blogs, so I had to check you out because of the chocolate and peanut butter blog! Mmmm, one of my favorites and yes, we can have it a little at a time! Yay! You did so awesome with your PB & chocolate chunk cookies! It's all about control and I'm 53 years old and still trying to learn about it! I'm going to add you as my friend because we sound so much alike! I have to admit it, I love to eat and it's hard for me to exercise too at times with my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I stop when I hurt as my dr. advised, but I'm getting stronger! You are doing sooo good and what a change in your pictures! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRACYZABELLE 3/12/2012 3:27AM

    You are looking good lady!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/10/2012 10:33PM

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 3/10/2012 6:02PM

    Congratulations! You've worked hard and you look fabulous!! WooHoo!

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BUBBLEJ1 3/10/2012 5:15PM

    You are awesome! Looking great!

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MAPLECANDY3 3/10/2012 5:14PM

    You look great!!!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 3/10/2012 5:01PM

    I'm not surprised you're seeing such awesome results--your program looks totally solid. And, yeah, wheat is pretty much evil. I dropped it and then realized I DIDN'T have asthma like I thought I did...

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RUNNER12COM 3/10/2012 4:58PM

    Excellent! Love seeing you hit one goal after another!

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    Erin you are just so awesome! You are looking so strong! emoticon

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APED7969 3/10/2012 4:30PM

    Awesome job! Great to see all the progress you've made mentally and physically :)

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SYZYGY922 3/10/2012 4:16PM

    Wow, great progress! You look stronger and leaner! Congratulations!

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DOODIE59 3/10/2012 2:24PM

    Congratulations! And a big thanks for sharing your observations and lessons learned:)

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BEFEARLESSNOW 3/10/2012 1:51PM

    That is so great! You've made amazing strides and should be so proud of yourself!! Keep up the great work! Have a great weekend

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 3/10/2012 12:58PM

    You're doing so great! So proud of you! I love your blog saying all the things you're doing to accomplish your goals! I clicked the "I like this blog" because you do deserve a Most Popular Blog Award. :) I am only 48 lbs away from One-derland, too, and I"m down 53 lbs from my highest of 300 lbs. Hurray! Today I hit the 25 lbs down from the summer when I restarted my Spark journey!

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/10/2012 12:49PM

    emoticon And the number on (or not on) the scale is just the merest smallest part of what you have achieved.

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JILLYBEAN25 3/10/2012 12:46PM

    Woohoo!!! That is major awesome stuff right there! Congrats on the milestone loss and I'll still be cheering the next losses right along with you!


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DARKTHOR 3/10/2012 12:40PM

    Fantastic job!!! Keep putting the same thought and effort into this and the results will keep coming. The scale tells one story, how you feel and what you can do tells another. Keep feeling great!

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SPOONGIRLDEB 3/10/2012 12:00PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

That is so great! I am sure you will be in ONEderland in no time :-).

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JSALERNO 3/10/2012 11:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonYOU'RE DOING FABULOUS. GREAT JOB! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

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