Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Here's the challenge for this week:
MAIN CHALLENGE: Most of us probably have a number of non scale victories, even if we aren’t to our goals yet. This week, reflect on those gains. Have you had health gains so far in your journey as a result of the changes you’ve made? Is your blood pressure down, or maybe your off some medications, or your asthma has improved? Maybe you’ve moved from obese to overweight? Share a health gain that you have made so far in your journey with your team for the main challenge this week. Also share a health goal that you have, that you have yet to achieve, and some things you will do to make it an accomplishment in the future.
Now I am a BIG advocate of Non Scale Victories, or NSVs as we call them here at Spark. In fact, that is the only thing that gets me through the month sometimes, especially when my loss is slow. So for this week’s challenge it was fun to see just how far I’ve come in my journey at Spark.
Here are my major NSVs:
When I first started out on this journey 3 years ago when I did the online “Real Age” test, it said that my Real Age was 44 years old. I remember thinking…my gosh….and then I actually felt relief that it didn’t say I was 50 – imagine that! Relief that it was saying I was over 10 years older than what I was….
I retested myself the other day and my "Real Age" is now 33 years old and I am 36 years old. (Soon to be 37, but shh…). I'm actually getting younger!
I went from being above a 45 (over VERY obese) to being under 35, which is only obese, to 32.4, which is ALMOST just overweight. It is my goal to be under 30, and then finally under 25, which is my ideal weight.
VO2 is a measure of how much oxygen your body can consume during maximum intensity exercise. I started off two years ago and my score was so bad it literally was not on the chart. It was 21.1. My boot camp instructor had to draw a line way below the worst on the chart and say “you are here.”
Since then I went up to 24.7, which was still Very Poor, but at least on the chart. From there I went to a 31, which is “Fair”, and I’m happy to report that NOW I am at a 34, which is actually deemed "GOOD"!!!
Now I am working toward "Excellent", which is a score of 35.7 and up.
I gained much of my weight the first year of being married. Maybe it was the stress, maybe it was that I was too happy, content, whatever it was, my wedding ring, the antique set that I loved - didn't fit me after a year of being married. It was so unfair. My understanding hubby said I should just take it in and get it resized (I just love that man). My stubborn nature said, no. If I couldn't get back down to the size that I was when I was married, then ppfft. Forget it. Well I am happy to say that not only does my wedding set fit me now, BUT....dare I say it is a tiny bit LOOSE.
Other major NSVs include:
Pants – went from a size 26 to a size 14/16, or from a size 3XL to a L.
Jeans – went from a size 28 to a size 16. I would like to be a 10/12 eventually.
Shirts – went from a size 24 to a size 14, or from a size 3XL to a size M.
Bra – went from a size F to a triple D and finally down to a respectable C cup, lol.
Running – went from being a non-runner to running 5 5ks last year and 1 8k this year with plans to run 2 10ks this year and a 15k as well. I eventually plan to run a half marathon.
Smile factor - in every picture I am now smiling - in the past I was not. 100% improvement!
Spiritually - I have found myself and don't feel lost anymore. I feel I have a purpose.
Happiness - Oh my, I went from being depressed and not ever wanting to get off the couch to being a happy, vibrant person. I am now fun to be around, and not only when I was drunk, like before.
Energy - I now have loads of it! And I need it with 2 young kids!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Start weight: 209.5
End weight: 207
Weight lost: 2.5 lbs.
Total weight lost this year: 18.5 lbs.
Goal weight progress: 29 more lbs. to go to goal weight!
Onederland progress: 8 more lbs. to reach ONEderland!
Total weight lost: 91 lbs.
Total fitness minutes: 1,374
My goal this month was to lose 4.5lbs, bringing me to 205. I lost half of that, losing 2.5 lbs. this month. I’m happy with that, I went through a plateau this month where I kept gaining and losing the same 3 lbs. I learned a lot about myself during this process. I am a strong woman and I don’t give up. I am persistent and I will reach my goals.
Oh, and did I mention? I reached OVER 90 lbs. lost – 30% of my weight!! And the size of a newborn calf.
Reached 1,374 fitness minutes! Woo hoo!
Worked out for 10 days in a row for 20 minutes or more. Streaker!
Started the swimsuit boot camp – I stress started…but I am going to re-do it in June, every day. Going for another streak.
Started to train for a 10k.
Set a new PR for a 5k time - 34:08 and that was with 5 minutes of warming up by walking.
New Goal: To run a sub 30 minute 5k! (OK, I may not reach this in June, but sometime this summer would be nice. It’s fun to have something to reach for).
New Fitness Goal: To run, walk, bike 60 miles in June.
Weight goal: To lose 4-6 lbs.
I reached for carrots instead of chips with dip.
We had family over and I made a healthy salad for myself, but enough for others so that I wouldn’t be eating ribs.
My old swimming teacher did NOT recognize me at the gym – and I was in a swimming suit. She was in shock when she learned it was me, and turns out word has spread in my old gym about my success since my Mommy Boot Camp. Woo hoo! She said my face especially looks different.
I felt sexy dressing up as a pin-up for my husband’s 40th birthday surprise party.
At a company meeting a guy I hadn’t seen in 6 months freaked out about my weight loss, he said, and I quote “You are a shadow of your former self.” – it was quite a compliment, but it reminded me of what Jenn KITCHKINCAID said about people’s comments about weight loss, I didn’t like the term that much after thinking about it…but I’ll take it. I like how Jenn said that we are not shadows, or ghosts of our former selves, but that “In fact, YOU are probably feeling fuller and more sure of who you are now than ever before.” – if you haven’t read Jenn’s blog already entitled “The Language of Losing Weight”, it’s a must read, the link is below.
And best of all, this month I got to meet and hold my twin nieces!
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
This journey is not a quick-fix solution. I am worth the time invested in myself and not one minute is wasted on my health.
Don't be so serious. Have fun with it. This is your life, the journey is EVERYTHING.
Below is my May SparkSummary Calendar.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
For the bonus challenge, we are to share a tip for success that has helped us progress so far with our team. It can be anything, from how you make sure you get enough sleep, or batch cooking, sneaking in workouts, anything that has helped you improve yourself on this journey.
Here are my quick and dirty actual “tips”, followed by other things that I feel have helped me in my journey.
Switch Out. When I hit a plateau switch things up. Add more strength training, or use SparkPeople’s meal plans. The meal plans are great because they keep food balanced and for the most part clean, and also I get great ideas from them. I would never have thought to put cream cheese, walnuts and raisins on a wrap before for lunch, but now it’s one of my favorites. How about PB&J without the “J” – using blueberries instead. I had that today. Delish. AND they give you a grocery list - the work has been done for you!
Calorie Cycle, aka “Trick your Brain”. So last week I was exactly at 1600 calories every single day of the week. And guess what? Not only did I maintain, but I gained. Sometimes I think our bodies need a “jolt”, and so now I try to alternate “high”, “Low” and “mid” days into my week, still staying in my spark range. 1600 was the middle range for me, now I’m adding 1400 low days and 1800 high days and this week since doing it I’ve lost 2.5 lbs. (the same weight I gained last week). I think calorie cycling has a lot to do with it. Sometimes our brains, and bodies, just need a jolt.
Save it for later. When I plan and pack my breakfasts and lunches, I save something for later. For example, today’s breakfast called for a waffle, fresh berries AND yogurt. Well, I knew I’d be satisfied after the waffle and berries, so I saved some berries and the yogurt for later, and had that for my morning snack. Then for lunch my sandwich called for carrots on the side, well I’m saving those for later, when I’m hungry for a snack mid-day. I’ve saved lots of calories doing this, and I’m still satisfied. Also if I have a sandwich and am full after half (which sometimes happens, sometimes not), I save that for later, too. Try it, you might like it.
Now for some more detail. You can stop reading here if you wish, lol. Earlier this year I posted a blog about WHY I do this. I’ve gotten several emails asking me exactly what is my secret, what am I DOING to do this, after recently hitting the 90 lbs. down mark, exactly WHAT I am doing. So I tried to formulate that into answer.
I don't really have a secret, I've been doing things the boring way, just eating healthy, working out, etc. There are a few main things that I think helped me especially in the beginning (but I still do them).
Here’s my list. Remember, what works for me may not work for you. But this is my list, take it or leave it, or take one step vs. all of them. I am a spiritual person, but you may not pray. That’s fine, just perhaps believe that you do have the strength to do this instead of literally praying.
There are no rights or wrongs on this journey.
Good luck, just believe and know that you CAN do this!!
1. Pray - I didn't have the strength to make changes on my own - I had tried so many times in the past to change and just couldn't. So I turned to the bible whenever I felt the urge to binge (my background is I used to be a compulsive eater, in H.S. I was anorexic and bulimic). This satisfied me in a way that food couldn't. I realized I was turning to food to fill me up, and knowing this helped me, plus turning it all over to God. He can handle it, I can't. Only He can take away my urge to binge and purge...not me. I am weak. But through Him, I have strength.
2. Track everything I eat - every morsel that goes into my mouth I track. I use the nutrition tracker to do that. Also Sparkpeople has been the #1 weight loss tool I've used – I love the fitness tracker, reports, teams to support you, it's great. Sort of like Facebook but for a healthy lifestyle.
3. Exercise. I started out not being able to walk even 1/2 mile at a pace that wasn't a snail's pace. I began with Leslie Sansone's DVDs and worked up to 1 mile. Then 2, then 3, then eventually 5 miles. Then after Marlo was born I joined a "Mommy Boot Camp" at Good Sam's Wellness Center. That gave me the desire to run, since I was the last in the pack and it frustrated me and pissed me off. So now I run and have run 5 5ks, 1 8k and will run 2 10ks this summer and a 15k in the fall.
4. Don't forget strength training and stretching. I try to strength train at least 2x per week, if not 3. Also stretching after any cardio and strength training is key to avoid injury.
5. Patience. I'm a SLOW loser. I've been doing this for 2 years, and only lost 40 lbs. each year - this year I've lost 16 so far (which is a lot for me). But some people lose quicker - I have good friends who have lost 100 lbs in just ONE year. That is awesome. I wish my body worked that quick. But my body isn't like that. It likes to hold onto each and every pound, so I have to be patient with it and just continue eating healthy and working out.
6. Don’t compare. You are you. I am me. We are all different and come in all shapes, sizes and speeds. Find which one you are and work with that.
7. It's a journey - Enjoy it! I want to be healthy, and so the things I do I would do even if I never lost another pound. I LIKE running, I LIKE eating cleaner foods, trying to stay away from less processed. This helps me when the scale doesn't move. Knowing that I have this amazing, brand new life and I'm happy - even though I still have a ways to go.
Most importantly, believe that YOU CAN DO THIS. It's entirely possible.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
This week’s main challenge was to help each person in planning their summer vacations, since we all know it's hard to stay on track during a vacation!
Our challenge this week was to pick a city that you are going to this summer, or somewhere you want to travel to, and blog about 2 healthy restaurants or types of food and one healthy activity available in that city.
We travel to our cottage in Michigan near South Haven every summer and there is an amazing restaurant called Clementine's. They actually have huge towers of french fried onion rings with sides of ranch that COME with them - you don't have to ask, sort of in a whisper, if you can have ranch with that - it already comes with it. They also have to die for Bloody Marys. Cheeseburgers. Melts. You name it, they have it.
But, last time I was there I found something healthy on the menu. A warm spinach salad with fresh chicken (not fried) and just a decent amount of blue cheese crumbles. A hard boiled egg and some raspberry vinagrette dressing. Now this is my go to choice when we visit this restaurant.
Another restaurant in the area is the Phoenix Stret Cafe. At this place it's pretty darn difficult to pick something that ISN'T healthy. They have about ten salads to choose from, a "mini breakfast" with smaller portions, and even a tofu scramble. Yep, this is the place to go to. And the food is good!
A healthy activity in this city is to run/walk the Kal-Haven trail. It's beautiful in the summertime, I recently went for a walk there in the winter/fall. I can't wait to run, bike, and walk on the trail this summer.
Other things that have helped me survive trips to Michigan are:
- Bring my workout bag with my running shoes, Garmin and any gear I need.
- Bringa Leslie Sansone DVD to do in the morning or at night, and get my dad and sister to do it, too.
- Bring resistance bands.
- Pack healthy cereal to eat at breakfast, bringing healthy snacks like grapes, carrots, unsalted sunflower seeds and granola.
- Bring my own cute water bottle to ensure I'll refill it with drinking water. This keeps me away from the wine and soft drinks. And feeling full.
- I only allow myself ONE, sometimes two...glasses of wine per day.
- I do not eat any crackers, chips, or cheese. One just leads to another.
- I bring my vitamins.
- NO fast food. Period. If I am forced to go through a drive-through I will order a salad with healthy dressing or a grilled chicken sandwich. But I am making my dinner tonight so that I can eat while driving and not stop through a drive-through.
- Accountability. I sometimes do food blogs of the food I eat while there, and the day after I return I also post a blog report on how I did, AND weigh myself Monday morning as an added kick-in the butt.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today I had a difficult run. Summer-like weather has finally hit Chicago and I wanted to go running first thing in the morning. But I had a late night last night watching scary movies and didn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. SO my run had to wait until after planting flowers and then lunch, when the girls took their nap (or attempted to take their nap, I should say).
It was hot. I planned ahead, and wore shorts, only one sports bra and a tank top. I pulled my hair back and I was off. From the start I had an inkling that it was gonig to be a hard run. Once I warmed up it didn't get easler, the whole time it felt like I was running through mud. (I love this expression, but yet I have never really for real ran through the mud, but I imagine this is what it would feel like: running in place almost, the wind against you, the sun beating down and you're not going anywhere. oh, and it hurts, LOL).
The route I take is hilly and at one point as I was barely making it up a hill, an older dude - at least 20 yrs. older than me and who looked out of shape - passed me.
Then as I turned the corner some random woman yelled something out of her car at me, I could only make out the word "run".
That was it.
That was the point where I wanted to throw in the towel.
I just was so tired, I had run 2.5 miles, I intended on 3, but 2.5 is good, right? But that wasn't my plan. I started to walk and a song came on my iPod, "Move Along" by The All American Rejects, the same song that have inspired so many here on Spark, and also pushed me through the hill at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k last month.
I could DO this.
So I began again. I ran, at my pace, and finished the run I had planned on doing.
And you know what? It felt great, not giving up on myself mid-run, and knowing that I could do it. I felt gratitude at the end, for the body God has given me, and for the strength He has also given me. And I want to honor that, and today...well today I know that I did.
And maybe, just maybe that woman was screaming out her car window for me to continue to run, or "You can do it",something encouraging like that.
And if I can do it, believe me, YOU can do it too.
I did a Google search for images that I could post onto this blog and came upon something that could be called fate, serendipity, coincidence, or God. I have a very good friend, Blaize, (DANCINGEARTHMOM) who has been more than a friend, a support, a partner, but more like a sister, a fellow mother, and a good friend, the kind you would love to just talk to over a glass of wine on the porch some night.
Well the first thing that I found in my Google search was a letter from the Universe, which Blaize posts often in her blogs. I found it so uncanny to find this, and it's message so pertinent to ME, TODAY, even though it was initially posted a year ago. I had to include it, it is below.
Blaize, this is for you, too baby, because maybe you needed to read this just as much as I did today. I know you are starting over too, in so many ways, and I know that you will also never give up on your family, or yourself. Love you!
And maybe YOU, Spark reader, could use it, too.
The Universe - You can do it!
Wake up! Remember what excites you. Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours. Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It's all so near. Speak as if you're ready. Paste new pictures in your scrapbook, on your vision board, and around your home and office. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You've done this before. You know it works. You're due for an encore. It's time to amaze. That's why you're there.
And it's why I'm here,
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