Monday, February 17, 2014

Weighing Heavy

About 5 years ago, I went to the doctor.  I have an inactive thyroid so I was at the doctor to get my regular check-up.  I refused to weigh when the nurse brought me back to the room.  I hadn’t weighed in months, possibly a year or two.  I knew the situation wasn’t great and I didn’t want to face reality.  I was 24 years old.  My doctor looked at my chart and with a gentle but honest tone told me that if I didn’t make changes immediately, I would be a diabetic before I was 25.  He also listed a multitude of other problems that were on my radar.

I left the doctor in a state of numbness.  I was fat.  I knew this.  I had good friends and a supportive family but I knew I wasn’t happy.  I also didn’t feel well.  I was exhausted all the time.  I had acid reflux constantly to the point where I would regurgitate some of  nearly everything I ate.  I felt pressure on my chest when I tried to sleep.  I couldn’t breathe well and had trouble when I laid down for bed.  I was also disgusted by the way I looked.  Mostly I felt invisible and had become stagnant in everything I did.  I was depressed.

When I first started considering making the changes the doctor suggested, I started slow.  I had tried to lose weight quickly many times and always gained the weight back.  While I was trying to decide what method I would use, I started waking up early  two or three times a week and walking 5-10 minutes around my neighborhood.  I will jog 13.1 miles straight on March the 8th and I’m telling you that I walked 5-10 minutes a couple times a week to start out with.

I was still finding myself eating too much so on May 30th, 2009, I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting.  I had no idea how much I weighed but put a number in my mind that I considered outlandish so I wouldn’t be too shocked.  When I glanced around the room, I sized everyone up.  It wasn’t out of meanness but I wanted to see if there was someone that I could see that looked like a success story.  I walked up to the counter and after joining, I was asked to step on a scale.  She discreetly wrote the number down on my book and told me the meeting would start in a few minutes.

I walked in, sat down and opened my book to the number that was on the scale.  The number I saw took my breath away.  It was less than 3 pounds away from the crazy high number I had decided I couldn’t be close to.  I had no idea it had gotten that bad.  I wanted to run out of the meeting.  I sat there, though, listening.  As soon as I got to my car, I burst into tears.  I had a major mountain to climb and I had failed every time before then.

The weight came off fast at first.  I lost 50 pounds in about 7 months.  I was motivated and I didn’t feel deprived most of the time.  It took me almost 2 years to make it to the 100 pound mark.  I know that may seem like a long time to people but I was able to have some fun in there.  I have mastered the ability to get immediately back on the wagon after a bad weekend.  I decided I’d rather it take a long time to lose the weight and learn how to live my life than lose it in 6 months and be stuck with a lifestyle I can’t maintain. 

I have some major changes that I still haven’t made.  I’ve got habits that I can’t seem to break.  So, the work isn’t done and truthfully, it never will be.  I know that seems scary but it’s a good thing.  I don’t think complacency is something we should strive for.  Your health matters.  There is too much that needs to be experienced in life to give up.  So, happy five year anniversary to me.  I made a decision and though I haven’t been perfect, I’ve stuck with it.  I challenge you to do the same. 

The lowest point I ever reached had me down 115 pounds.  Five years later, I fluctuate but I have never gained more than 15 pounds back.  When I weighed last week, I was down a couple but I ate like crap all weekend.  I have never reached my goal but I’ve also never given up.  I would never tell someone that what they are doing is wrong but when people ask my opinion or suggest a diet that requires starvation or cabbage soup or a juice cleanse, I politely tell them that it’s not for me.

When you decide to lose weight, especially if you need to lose a lot, there is no quick fix.  THERE. IS. NO. QUICK. FIX.  You have GOT to change your lifestyle.  You have got to stop beating yourself up if you mess up.  You have got to never give up.  I haven’t been able to get rid of the control that food has over me and there’s a chance I never will but I can never stop hoping.  My ultimate fear in life is gaining my weight back.  It’s a crippling fear that keeps me motivated.  It’s not just about the weight.  Since I’ve been obsessed with my health/body, the dedication I have spills over to every other part of my life.

I am reminiscing today because for one, I’m almost 30 and I seem to be taking a lot of time thinking about where I’m at in different areas of my life, second, I don’t have a recipe for you and I’m essentially a bad blogger, and finally, I noticed today that it has been a five year journey.  It’s been exhausting at times with some major highs and lows but I would never take it back for anything.  Every time I buy a dress from Belk Jr, I give a little smile.  Every time some stupid goober hits on me in a bar I think about the time when someone once told me I was “huge” when I was at a club.  Every time I go to bed at night and I can sleep on my side without my entire body going numb and without me losing my breath, I know I made the right decision.

I apologize if this was cheesy or redundant but I was inspired by a cabbage soup diet someone at work was on.  Everybody’s solution is different so come up with your own.  Just stick with it. 

I had an amazing Valentine’s day weekend with friends and family with goodies and bad food galore.  I hope you all had a nice one too.  I am hoping to bring a recipe to you next week but if for some reason I don’t, I will spare you another long story.  I will actually dedicate most of next week’s blog to the Oscars.  Jordan and I are on our journey to watch all of the movies nominated in major categories again.  I have several left to watch still before the big show but I’m hoping to get them done  by the end of the weekend so I can give some thoughts on them on Monday.

My goal is to follow my diet perfectly until the day before the half marathon.  I want to get a few pounds off to lighten my run a bit.  This way, I’ll feel like I actually deserve the enormous burger I plan on eating afterword. 

My friends and I have something called a Glow Run on Saturday.  It’s a night time 5K and it should be fun and more practice for the big run in March.

I wanted to give a shout out to my friend Heather.  Her birthday is today! So glad I got to celebrate with her this weekend!

Hope y’all have a great week and I can’t wait to share Oscar insight and more health related talk that’s on the lighter side! Bye!

“I still can’t believe someone left you laying around
Something precious like you should have already been found

What if I’d stayed home and done nothing tonight
What if you had looked left and I had looked right
For once in our lives we were both on time…” I Saw A Light-The Band Perry

Monday, February 10, 2014

Some Hearts

Happy Early Valentine’s Day, Y’all! We all know that Valentine’s day is generally a commercialized vehicle to make single people feel bad about themselves but I wanted to express my love to you all anyway.  I am pretty cynical about the holiday in general but have always enjoyed getting/giving Valentine’s because why not share some love with the people you care about.  Over the years, while I haven’t had the best luck getting good Valentine’s from romantic interests, I have been given awesome attention from my parents and friends.  This year, I may  have a mixture of Valentine’s celebrations but overall, I expect it to be a simple holiday.  I am a person that likes hearts and chocolate so that part is certainly my favorite.  For those diet-goers, hopefully you’ve told that special someone to avoid getting you chocolate for V-Day but if that’s what you end up with, I say go for it.  Just make sure you ditch the candy before next week.  You’ve probably earned any Valentine’s day treat you receive!

I wasn’t sure if I’ve shared this before from Smart Ones, the frozen meal company associated with Weight Watchers, but they have some new soups available.  I have only tried the Loaded Potato so far and it was quite tasty.  I eat a lot of soup out at restaurants because it’s usually lower in point value.  I generally stay away at home because usually there are multiple servings in a can and then I’d have to get out a pot and cook.  So, I’m lazy.  Also, since I have it so much, I tend to eat it less at home so I don’t get tired of it.  However, this looked so convenient and low in points that I tried it.  I’m glad I did.  It was filling and tasty and you could pair it with a couple crackers or a little salad for lunch and still have calories/points left for dinner.  They also have Fire Roasted Vegetable, Southwest Style and Spicy Black Bean but I haven’t had any of those yet.

 So, as I’m preparing for this half marathon, I have realized that it is almost as much, if not more, of a mental challenge than a physical one...which I guess can be the case for any level of exercise.  I run four times a week for the training process but once a week, I have a really long run.  I suppose this is to condition my body slowly in order to prepare for 13 miles.  I have increased the time of the long run by six minutes each week.  Last week, I ran 84 minutes without stopping.  I am getting over 7 miles in now and averaging about 11 minutes a mile.  Still though, I am only a little over half way to running 13 miles with less than a month to go.  My success in these runs is determined by my attitude.  Two weeks ago, it was cold, I was hurting and I just kept thinking, the day of the race, I have to do this twice.  When I stopped, I was so excited to stop I stopped too abruptly and really hurt my knee.  I started crying and said to myself, “I don’t know if I can do this.”  Unless it’s food, which is my ultimate weakness, I am a highly dedicated person.  I rarely believe that I physically can’t do something but this has to be the biggest challenge I’ve faced.  Over the week, I started stretching more and remembering that in 2009, when I started this journey, I could only walk 5 or 10 minutes at a time a few times a week.  I never thought I could run a 5K or a 10K, but I did.  So, when I ran last Thursday, I went in with more of a “glass half full” attitude, stretched and started running the path I would be running on race day.  It was long but when I got done, I came to a slow stop before my cool down and felt no scary pain in my knees.  I actually teared up again but this time it was because I actually thought, “maybe I can do this.”  I know that was incredibly cheesy but it’s the truth.  I like to listen to music that keeps me calm and stay positive because if I don’t, I’ll never make it.  I am making a choice to do this race.  Nobody is forcing me but challenging yourself and then succeeding ultimately spills over into the rest of your life.  Even if something is hard, it’s still probably worthwhile.  I am not done yet.  I have a 90 minute run, a 96 minute run and a 120 minute run to get through the next few weeks before the race on March 8th so we will see but I’m starting think I may actually do this thing.

I hope to share a new Hungry Girl recipe with you next week.  I have to be honest.  I’m REALLY struggling with food at the end of the week right now.  I eat perfectly all week and then Thursday night, after I do my big run, I’m ravenous.  Seriously, it feels like I can’t get enough to eat.  Then, it all just spirals. So if anyone has any ideas for something that will fill me up after a huge run that doesn’t taste like dirt, I’m all ears.  I was up a couple pounds this weekend.  I was telling people I know that I must be the only person to go about 30 or so miles on foot every week to GAIN WEIGHT.  I have to say.  It’s more than frustrating, it’s heart breaking.  I know if I did my part with food on the weekends it wouldn’t be as bad but jeez, still gaining?! I wish I could catch a break there.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy any Valentine’s day festivities.  If you are boycotting, enjoy whatever it is you do instead.  Until next week! Bye!

“Some hearts
They just get all the right breaks
Some hearts have the stars on their side
Some hearts,
They just have it so easy
Some hearts just get lucky sometimes
Some hearts just get lucky, lucky sometimes…” Some Hearts-Carrie Underwood

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Way I Am

Hi Y’all! I am sure that you are aware that it snowed in the South last week and we all had a complete meltdown.  Well, I didn’t.  I had to work every day but it was a bit hectic with the ice on the roads.  The snow was pretty but it was no fun trying to dodge ice while I was running last week.  When I was younger, I always wanted it to snow and I hated the summer time and I’m pretty much the complete opposite now.  I really detest being cold.  I’m ready for it to be spring.  We got a taste of it this weekend so that was nice but I think it’s scheduled to be cold again at the end of the week.  My dog wasn’t a fan of the snow either.  It may look like he liked it in the picture but trust me, he hated it.  It totally freaked him out.  When I weighed at the end of the week last week, I was saddened to see that I still had almost five pounds to go before losing the holiday weight.  Sometimes it can be such a struggle to keep going.  I have been working so hard and while my weekends haven’t been perfect, I thought I’d be closer than that.  I reacted poorly to the news from the scale and ate every fattening thing I saw this weekend (you can see pics below) which isn’t what I should’ve done but it’s over now.  I have readjusted my goals a little bit.  I’m not sure if I’ll weigh this weekend or not but I’ve made the goals a bit less drastic but still challenging since I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be.  I have also eaten very healthy today and plan on continuing the trend.  I don’t ever see myself giving up.  This is a lifestyle with me now and one weekend doesn’t define over three years worth of hard work.  Bend don’t break, y’all…bend don’t break.

Since I’m on Weight Watchers, fruit is considered a free food.  This hasn’t always been the case but since they revised the plan awhile back, you can eat fruit of all kinds for zero points.  This is GREAT news, y’all.  Obviously, an Atkins guru would shiver at the thought of eating too much fruit.  I get it, there’s a lot of natural sugar in fruit and if you eat too much, it could eventually be bad for you.  Weight Watchers also recommends you don’t stuff your face with fruit.  However, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been eating fruit like crazy.  The thing is, my belly is extended from all the eating I did over the holidays so if I have a giant apple as a morning snack and then some pineapple in the afternoon then some grapes when I get home in order to fill me up, then it’s still better than the alternative of eating too much in another food group.  I think it’s fine to start off eating a lot of fruit until you get your stomach to shrink down a bit.  We are a playing a mental game here, y’all.  If you convince yourself that your snack is filling you up, you won’t look to something else.  Plus, it’s not like fruits aren’t loaded with nutrients that we need.  Just be careful! If you are eating canned fruit or applesauce, make sure that it’s unsweetened or in its own juice because if it doesn’t specifically say that, there’s probably added sugar you don’t need.

I had a fun weekend…too fun.  I hung out with friends and ate too much.  Jordan and I went to Atlanta to see the Book of Mormon which was fun and we ate at a place called the Vortex.  The food was ridiculous.  I’m glad we don’t have one here. 

Also, Oscar season is upon us and Jordan and I are still in the middle of our mission to see all of the nominated movies for the show this year.  The Oscars are in a month so at some point before then I will post my thoughts on the movies.

I hope you all have a great week.  Don’t give up… Stay healthy and motivated!

“If you were falling, then I would catch you.
You need a light, I’d find a match…

If you are chilly, here take my sweater.
Your head is aching, I’ll make it better…” “The Way I Am-Ingrid Michaelson