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Why you need the exercise AND the diet - the proof is in the pictures!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Three years ago I trained up for my first 5Km, my only motivation for it being that I wanted to lose weight. I was under the impression that as long as I started an exercise routine I would lose weight. I trained up and managed to run the race in 37 minutes, but only lost 4 pounds!

I managed to gain back the weight I had lost and came to the conclusion that I needed to train for a longer race - maybe if I ran more I would lose more. So, in 2011 I ran my first 10km.

I loved this race. I managed to lose about 6 pounds while training for this one and felt a great sense of accomplishment at completing it in 59.33. However, during the last km, I began to experience pain in my left leg, which left me unable to walk the next day (I found that a pretty scary experience) and resulted in my future runs always ending with the same sharp pain shooting through my leg at the 30 minute mark. I persevered, and ran two more races, but my training and my times suffered. I didn't lose any more weight, and, actually gained everything back again.

It was after The Nun run, (hence the fancy dress!) that I began to consider that perhaps there was some truth in what people were saying about needing to diet as well as exercise.

After a lot of debate, I joined sparkpeople. I had also been advised by my doctor to stop jogging and start strength training and cross training in order to strengthen and heal my leg. That was in September 2011. Gradually, as I began to lose weight and get stronger, I began to start jogging again.

Today, I ran my first race since the Nun Run. It was the Race for life 5km, which I completed in 25 minutes! Not only that, but I came 23rd out of the 9000 or so people taking part ! And, I managed to do the whole thing pain free!!

So, I'm converted : if you want to lose weight, don't just exercise, count your calories too!

thank you, sparkpeople.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELLYBABE2 5/31/2012 1:42PM


So true there are no short cuts you definitely have to do them both, healthy diet and exercise!

Sometimes I think we need reminding of that especially when it's a long journey you occassionally get complacent with one or the other.

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2BEABETTERME 5/28/2012 8:19AM

    Fantastic time! And, a great lesson learned!

Keep up the great work!
emoticon emoticon

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JOANNA202 5/27/2012 4:47PM

    Well done on perservering through the cross training - I know it hasn't been your favourite but obviously paid off. You should be incredibly proud of that finishing place, AND you look fantastic!

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ANATASHIKI 5/27/2012 1:06PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 5/27/2012 11:54AM

    So very true...

You did a great job with your strength training-cross training-diet combo,
being able to do the 5K without pain or complications, and finishing in 25 minutes - this is a wonderful achievement!

Also, you look fantastic, like a young girl!

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MNJONES2 5/27/2012 11:31AM

    Congratulations on the wonderful race. You are different from most dieters as what they want to do is count calories and not exercise! LOL - me included!!

I am glad your leg has healed and you are enjoying racing. Best wishes on your journey to good health.

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    That is fabulous!! great job! I loved the photos! haha and you are so right.. one without the other just doesnt get the results that are right there in front of us-we just have to accept we need both to be in the best health! good job!

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20 weeks since reaching my goal!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

And I'm still skinny emoticon!! Because I still find myself a little surprised by that whenever I jump on the scale.

I think I have been at my current weight now for about two months. My original goal was 59kg (130 pounds, I think) and I went on to lose another 5kg while I think I was still making sense of what maintenance actually means!! I've been at 54kg for about two months now (give or take, I seem to be able to stay within half kilo of that weight every week for the last little while). I'm happy at this weight and feel quite relaxed about it, which is great. I do still have to remind myself on a weekly basis that I have actually done it, especially as the longer I am at this weight, the more normal it feels and I start to forget what an achievement it is for me.

Which leads into the inevitable 'its all about how you feel inside' part of maintenance. Because it is is simply one of those undeniable truths. If I don't feel so great on the inside, I end up looking at myself in the mirror and thinking 'you've gained weight' even though my precious scale denies it!!

My new realisation is that I need to start eating healthier. I eat less, but I still eat too much sugar. So, I've signed up to the 'tame your sweet tooth' challenge and have started by challenging the cookie monster inside me. In the last two weeks I've started allowing cookies back into the house, thinking I could handle them, but, seeing as yesterday I ate 11 of them in about ten minutes, I think I still have a long journey ahead of me!!

It's simply a case of not being fully aware of what I'm doing and I also think I may be in a bit of a rut with my routine meals. So, I will be investigating an alternative to my usual ham sandwich at lunch (I do love them, but have been eating them every week day for about five months now!!) to see if the variety will make me less likely to crave a cookie at 4.30pm.

I also think I need to research a healthy 4.30pm snack. My budget limit is 1800 calories, so I can definitely afford to eat a healthier snack at that time. I just need it to be as appealing to me as a nice chocolate cookie is.

As this cookie over-eating trend is recent for me, I'm also going to give myself a treat every evening when I manage to get through the day without eating any! (Renting a movie or downloading a favourite song, probably).

As my outside appearance is a good one now, I really want to start working on what's going on inside me. Starting with what I choose to eat and leading on to what I choose to think about. I hope that will give even more strength to stay at my goal!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELLYBABE2 5/11/2012 6:21AM

    emoticon Congrats on maintaining, it's wonderful to know that it can be done but also a little daunting to think that it's still about your head space and how that makes us perceive ourselves.

Good luck with taming the inner cookie monster (love that one! lol) I've not long done that challenge and it was a real eye opener for me, still about the head space with me lol I so have to get over emotional eating, will probably be a challenge I repeat again I got a lot from it!


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JOANNA202 5/4/2012 1:58PM

    Wow, that's so wonderful that you feel so good and finally think of yourself as skinny :-) Of course you don't want to forget the effort it took to get there, but really nice that's it's so natural that you could.

Have you tried Nakd bars? They're a brilliant invention which have good cakey texture and taste yummy. Chocolate orange is my favourite, but I the ginger one is good too. And my new favourite snack which is less cakey/biscuity but still good, is greek yoghurt mixed with an options sachet. Tastes like Angel Delight :-)

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    I know just what you mean. My body is more sensitive to feeling yucky if I eat bad stuff, now that I'm thinner and in maintenance.

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RHAPSODY131 5/3/2012 7:46AM

    Congratulations! emoticon

I am with you on the healthy snack thing, I've not reached my goal yet and am still on under 1400 calories per day, but I manage to fit in a flapjack finger & stay within my calorie limits.

It's just so nice to sit down once a day with this & a cup of tea emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 5/3/2012 7:29AM

    I liked your "precious scale "part emoticon congratulations for reaching your goal , and you're doing great emoticon

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STALEYK 5/3/2012 5:34AM

    Congratulations! You inspire me to keep going I can get there too! I am proud and happy for you! emoticon emoticon

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BJPENNY70 5/3/2012 3:40AM

    Congratulations on meeting your goal. It is great you are so conscience of staying withing you bounds of weight. Keep up the great work. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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The exercise that never quite feels like work......

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday afternoon, DH is out of town and I am making the most of a flat to myself by dancing up a storm!

This is the exercise I do when I'm tired and home alone. For me, there is nothing quite like it because it seems to feed my soul, my body and my mind more than any other exercise. My main sport is jogging, which I work hard at, but it is different in that it is a discipline: something I have had to follow a training plan with, and something that I need to do on a regular basis to keep at the current training level that I am at. I do love it now, and find I miss it when I don't do it, but, I still have to make myself do it. Dancing is different.

On my own, in my little flat I can dance any way I want to - nobody is watching, nobody is judging, there is no such thing as a training plan for me, I just move my body in whatever way the music is inspiring it to do. And, before I know it, I've been moving around for an hour and I'm feeling a million times better.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 4/22/2012 2:13PM

    This has to be the best exercise for the mind and soul, and not bad for the body either!

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ANATASHIKI 4/22/2012 5:56AM

    thanks for reminding me ! emoticon

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    Sounds fun! I do that when I'm home alone and cleaning or straightening up. Fire up my ipod and dance around. FUN! Have a great time!

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SWAN47 4/21/2012 1:13PM

    That's a great idea! I love to dance and have plenty of room. I think I will add that to my exercise routine. I find it to be relaxing and freeing. Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing.

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The junk food that stayed......and the junk that has gone away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DH and I shared a delicious bag of chunky fries today from our local chippy, and, as I was busy adding it to my nutrition tracker, I realized that I still eat fries quite a bit - not every day - but they must make their way onto my nutrition tracker every two or three weeks.
ice cream is not very common at all for me now. This is one junk food that I've had quite a bit of in the last week, but can't actually remember the last time I ate it! That seems to have been one of the junk foods that has made its way out of my new lifestyle without me even realizing.
I used to bake cookies quite a lot. It has become apparent that I cannot just eat one cookie and stop. So, although I love baking, for the sake of my waistline we no longer keep cookies in the house. This has stopped.
DH and I have a chocolate each every night after dinner from a chocolate box (Hotel Chocolat, for those of you in England) that is so expensive and so rich in flavour that one piece seems to be enough.
So, chocolate has stayed, and, up until last week, I've managed to eat in very good moderation.
I never eat muffins any more. I once bought a muffin from starbucks, read the calories in it, and decided, never again. It's just far too high in calories to justify.
I eat cake once in while - but only if it's a type of cake I truly love. A few days ago I ordered a coffee cake that was just terrible and I stopped eating it. When the waiter asked if it was ok, I acutally said, no!! Gone are the days when I will finish my plate just because it's there.
every Sunday DH and I share a custard tart (Pasteis De Nata) at our local Italian cafe. This is our Sunday routine, and we balance this with a lighter meal in the evenings. I learned early on in my dieting phase that there were some 'traditions' that I did not want to give up so I needed to work around them.
My new lifestyle is certainly not without junk food. I've just realized that I've become extremely selective about what I will eat, and, I seem to eat most of it in cahoots with my husband (who has lost twenty pounds since January and is still working his way down the scale). I think this is why I struggle to say I'm living a healthy lifestyle.
It feels more like a normal lifestyle. One where I'm not eating 7 cookies in one sitting, or eating an entire box of chocolates on my own BEFORE my husband gets home and then rounding it off with a box of pringles before dinner.
So, I'm making peace with the junk food that has stayed. It seems to have found a way into my calorie tracking that is working, and, at least for the moment, I'm okay with that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 4/12/2012 1:31PM

    It's great you managed to create a normal lifestyle that is so healthy.
The not-so-healthy foods you eat in moderation will help you motivated, without feeling deprived of things you like.

My beloved junk food is cheeseburger with small fries - once in 1-2 weeks, and always with a bowl of steamed broccoli : )

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JOANNA202 4/11/2012 4:21PM

    From what I've read all over the place, I'd say you DO have a healthy lifestyle. Let's see, you eat chips (sorry, can't write fries!), a piece of GOOOD chocolate a night, HALF a custard tart a week and the occasional piece of good quality cake?! I actually don't think you can count much of that as junk food. You've turned your diet around!

By the way, not sure if you're in London, but if you are I've just discovered Leon do half size brownies which are dark, orangey and amazing! (Sorry, probably not helping).

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FREES1 4/11/2012 10:48AM

    its all in the balance! like your Sunday tradition! And chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for you so enjoy! Ice cream too has some nutritional value.... I love the way you wrote your blog...

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I may look skinnier, but......

Friday, April 06, 2012

This last week has been eye opening for me. It has been my first proper break in a long time, and, it seems that when my mind realizes it is on holiday, it feels like it needs to be on holiday from calorie counting too!
How strange to observe my hand as it reaches for the popcorn/ chocolate/ dessert just the way it used to six months ago. Mentally I knew this was not the thing to do, but at the same time, I needed to relax. And, 'this is what I do when I relax' was what my mind was telling me.
The spa break was wonderful and I have come home very relaxed, and, thankfully, only one pound heavier. But, I'm also back to struggling to eat things in moderation again. I let myself relax and now I'm finding it hard to reign myself back in again. I've now learned that I equate relaxing with eating whatever I want to. I've even said to myself 'I can start dieting again tomorrow' - another throw away comment from a few months ago that I haven't said to myself for ages!
I need to spend a bit of time reflecting on this new discovery. Awareness is the first step, right? Now to figure out how to feel relaxed without needing to over-indulge in food.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 4/8/2012 12:50PM

    Absolutely awareness is the first step. You might also find that even though it's a struggle to reign things in again, it will be less of a struggle than last time.

The big thing that (sometime stops) me eating too badly when I relax is how rubbish it makes my stomach feel. Maybe if you don't feel that bad, you're not actually eating that badly? Or maybe not...sounds like you're on the road to knowing what to do either way!

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SARALEIGHM 4/7/2012 7:59AM

    It's impossible to eat properly if you're eating at restaurants every meal. It sounds like you exercised a certain amount of control, since you only gained one pound. Over the course of a week I gain and lose a pound or two here at home. Don't stress about what you did, just get back to what you know is right. Now. Not tomorrow or the next day. Your body and mind will thank you.

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    I'm on vacation right now and struggling with eating out for meals. When I go to a restaurant I eat a salad but then I have a cornbread muffin like last night - or 2.5 muffins! And a roll! And tonight I had a chicken spinach salad but then had 1/3 of a piece of peanut butter pie. Or Thursday night I had vegetarian lasagna and then HAD to have a piece of pizza. MEAT LOVER'S pizza. Then later I was really tired and should have gone to bed but had TWO MORE pieces of leftover meat lover's pizza before bed. ACK! Stop the madness! Today was much better but I'm still annoyed with myself. Hang in there and get back on the wagon! :) You can do it!

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MFLYNN8 4/6/2012 6:58PM

    I feel the same way sometimes. i feel like it's a relief to not track something, but then i regret it later :(

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DEEJACKSON 4/6/2012 4:52PM

    I am EXACTLY the same!!! Why is it that when we take a break, we also take a break from our healthy eating???

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