Weight Loss Journey 1: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side?

***This post first appeared on Sparkpeople on August 26, 2009******

had family visiting this past week. Actually I’m still getting back into my regular routine–I had no idea how exhausting it would be! Anyway, getting glimpse into how others live gives me some insight into my own healthy habits and patterns I’ve developed over time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything and I don’t mean any disrespect. I just know that I have different goals than they do, and fortunately the habits that I have developed are consistent with the goals that I’m moving toward and the “me” I want to be. Here are some of the things I have learned about myself:
First of all, I’m glad I’m not a smoker. My brother and future sister-in-law are who came to visit me, and they both smoke. I didn’t realize planning the next cigarette took up so much of your day, and heaven forbid you run out! Again, no disrespect, but the smell was awful and I couldn’t get my clothes into the laundry fast enough after they left. It made my throat dry, my eyes water, and my stomach churn. Yuck.

cycling-148956_1280
Secondly, part of my nutrition management has been reducing my carb intake. I didn’t do this consciously, but I have all but eliminate complex carbs from my diet, primarily because I don’t like that weighed down bloated feeling they give me. I don’t keep bread or cereal in my apartment, and my main source of carbs fruit. For me, I’ve just found that I feel better when I eat this way, and I have less gastrointestinal issues (which run in my family) when I don’t eat this stuff. I didn’t really realize I’d done this until my brother pointed it out. Every time we’d go out to eat I would order something, usually a salad, that had a high volume of vegetables over starchy carbs. He kept asking me “Are you allowed to eat this? Are you allowed to eat that?” and it was funny because I’m not on a “diet”, per se. I just try to make healthy choices. He was great. He knows I’ve been losing weight and was nonjudgmental, but was interested in the choices I was making because they were so different than how he would choose to eat, which is intersting because both he and his lady are very picky eaters.
Third, I don’t enjoy fast food or the after effects. My future sister in law told me her favorite foods are bread and snacks (chips, doritos, that kind of stuff). One night she was here she went to Jack In the Box at 2 am for sirloin burgers. I realized that I hardly ever eat fast food. My only weakness in that department is a vanilla ice cream cone from McDonalds (only 150 calories) that I indulge in from time to time. I just can’t imagine eating that kind of greasy food at that time of night. Not only would I feel greasy that night and all the next day, it would wreak havoc on my stomach. Maybe we have different body chemistries, but I just wouldn’t be able to eat like they do and feel like my body was working as well as it could.
Finally, my energy level. I had walked a lot before they arrived so that I could get in all my minutes for the week before they arrived; also I had a ton of energy at the beginning of last week and wanted to capitalize on it (good thing too because this week I’ve been exhausted!). I found myself wanting to do very active things with them–we went out dancing, played with a friend’s children, went bowling, and almost went to the mountains (we ran out of time and decent weather).
It’s interesting to me to see how seeing someone else’s lifestyle can be an eye-opener as to how your lifestyle is working for you. I’m perfectly happy with the choices I make about how I eat because I feel like my body functions well on the types of foods I nourish it with. Sure, I’d love to have more time to prepare meals with more variety, more fresh produce and interesting flavors. But the fact of the matter is that what I’m doing right now is working for me, and makes me feel healthy and strong.
It has been taking a couple of days to get back into my routine. I’ve been catching up on sleep and I did gain a couple of pounds since my routine and regular eating pattern was thrown off, but I’m more eager than ever to stay committed to what I’ve been doing as I move closer to the person I’m becoming.

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1:  A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Weight Loss Journey 1: A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

*****This post first appeared on Sparkpeople on August 14, 2009****

I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a picture of myself about once a month that depicts the progress I’ve made so far. It’s really great to have a visual indicator of how far I’ve come, particularly when progress is slow. Most of the pictures I’ve taken have been with my cell phone (I have the EnV Touch from Verizon-I love it!) or my digital camera. Sadly, pretty much all of the photos in my gallery are selfies.  If I were ever to lose my phone I would be highly embarrassed; nearly all of the pictures on there are of me, taken by me.

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

Saved deep in a secret file on my laptop is a folder that contains pictures of me *gasp* in a bikini. I bought this bikini in late winter (February or March, I think) with the hopes of one day looking good enough in it and feeling confident enough about myself in it to eventually wear it in public.  Sorry, but these will never be in my Spark People gallery.  The most recent of these I took in the beginning of June, and I’m actually really excited to do this again.  I’m confident that current pictures will look drastically different from the June ones. Every day I jump out of bed and my reflection instantly looks back at me from my strategically-placed full-length mirror.  I actually really like doing this because you weigh the least amount first thing in the morning, and I start my day marveling at how much better I look in my booty shorts now than 3 months ago.  😀 I have a personal goal to say 3 things I love about my body every day, and this is usually accomplished within the first 5 minutes I’m awake, even if I’m running late.  It’s really a great way to start the day and I’m absolutely convinced that’s one reason I’ve stayed dedicated as long as I have so far.  Also, it forces me to look at how far I’ve come instead of how far I still have yet to go.

My journey started with my slapping a picture on my refrigerator of myself in a gown before my junior prom–my first big goal is to reach the weight that I was when I graduated high school.  Seeing that picture reminds me of what I’m trying to accomplish.  Additionally, it’s not some random model from a fitness magazine—it’s ME, at one point in my life, and since I’ve been there before I can certainly get there again!

November 2008

November 2008

Now that I have had a measure of success that is visible in pictures, I look at other pictures of me with a different perspective. Of course, I compare myself to how I used to be (who wouldn’t?), but the purpose is to prove to myself that I have made progress and that the effort is worth the results, not to criticize. In fact, I’m gaining a more objective perspective about how big I actually was (and I stress WAS–I will never be that big again).  We’ve all got those pictures where we’re standing next to a skinny friend and think we look so much bigger than them because of the way we’re standing, or the clothes we’re wearing, or the lighting.  I’ve come to realize that, although photography does not depict the total effect of a three-dimensional scene, it is very objective, and can show you things whether you accept them as so or not.  I didn’t realize how much bigger I was than some of my friends, how puffy I looked, how my clothes pinched at my body in what I sometimes thought were flattering ways.  I can see a huge difference in my face; in some old pictures my face seems so puffy I wonder how I was able to smile.

In the past couple of weeks my weight has hit a (temporary) plateau, which has turned into an incredible learning experience. I AM NO LONGER THE GIRL FROM THOSE OLD PICTURES.  When my weight stopped going down for a couple of weeks, I really got scared that I would regain that weight back and look that way again.  Aside from the vanity, this really disturbed me.  I’ve really worked at bettering myself and I’ve stayed committed.  Truthfully it’s been quite easy to lose weight, it’s just a matter of choices, but the things I’ve learned and the path that I’ve put myself on since beginning this journey is not the same path that girl from the old pictures was taking.

May 2009

May 2009

This realization has really come as quite a shock to me.  First of all, in the very first blog I ever wrote I talked about body armor and the fact that losing the weight intimidated me a bit because I had developed this physical (literal) layer of security around myself that protected me from a lot of bad things.  This layer has also distanced me from a lot of good things-new opportunity, exciting experiences, and the intimacy that only comes from allowing myself to be vulnerable.

Gaining back that weight that I’ve lost scares m–not because of how I look, or used to look, or however you want to say it, but because I don’t want to be-no, I’m NOT the frightened little girl that used to hide in that old body.  As the body has changed, so have I.  As I have changed, so have my habits and choices, which is bringing about a new body that more accurately reflects the beautiful person I am within.  I’d like to say “I’ve worked so hard” but really I haven’t.  I’ve just made a lot of good choices, which are showing on the outside. Like I said, it has really not been that difficult.  But the habits that I have now are who I am, and every day that I adhere to good decisions and to the commitment I have to better myself I move closer to the person that I intend to be. To the person I am meant to be. It has all been very exciting, and sometimes intimidating, and the fear that I have now is that the frightened little girl will try to resurface and bring doubts into my mind.  I will try with everything I have to silence that girl, because the girl that is surfacing is strong, confident, positive, and is replacing that frightened girl, regardless of whether that frightened girl is ready to leave or not.

Losing weight is so much more than counting calories and working out. I’m overwhelmed at how far I have come and where this journey has taken me mentally and spiritually.  I’m so thankful that God has given me the courage to be strong even when I don’t want to be, and to make good decisions when making bad ones might feel better.  I’m so thankful for the people in my life who are always commenting on the changes I see and telling me that they’re proud of me, even when I have chosen to focus on the wrong things.  Finally, I’m thankful that I have goals and a vision to be accountable to, and that I’ve written those down and can refer back to them when I’m feeling less than positive.

June 2009

June 2009

I’ve already made a decision to change. The hard part-and it’s really not that hard-is staying committed to the change when your old ways are trying to pull you back.  But I’m choosing to move toward momentum, positivity, success, health, and yes, vulnerability.  I don’t know where these things will take me exactly, but I have a vision in my mind and I’m confident that the future is bright and better than where I’ve been in the past! ************************************************************

Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2? Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again. Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1: The Journey to Success is Not A Straight Line

road-675538_1920***This post first appeared on SparkPeople on August 7, 2009***

I always say that one of my favorite and least favorite things about the small town I grew up in is that it never changes. That, of course, is one of the reasons I was eager to leave there when I graduated high school. Now, it’s one of the things that draws be back years later. Isn’t it funny how things that we love about something can also cause us immense frustration?  It’s like when you first start dating someone and something they do is really endearing; years later it drives you crazy.

Right now I’m finding that one of the things that caused the most frustration when I first began my weight-loss journey is bringing me comfort- the fact that weight-loss and health is a long-term process, and one day won’t make or break you. Lately I’ve not been practicing the  best eating or exercise habits, and I’m definitely feeling it in my energy level, sleep patterns, and attitude. However, I know that one day, even one week, of bad habits won’t stop my progress as long as I’m committed to be health on a long-term basis (which I am).  I know that although I was quite a bit over my caloric range for more than one day in the last week, it’s not the end of the world.

Fortunately, because I have such a strong desire to not only maintain the progress I’ve made, but also to continue on my journey, I’ve not gained any significant amount of weight back, despite my poor habits. In fact, when I measured myself on Tuesday I found that I’m continuing to drop inches in some areas. I do feel a difference in how I feel, my posture seems to be more stooped and I just feel tired. The majority of the changes I’ve noticed in my body physically, however, persist. My desire to continue on my journey is overriding my fatigue and sometimes annoyance at being accountable to myself.  I continue to log all the calories I’ve eaten even though I have one over.  I don’t like myself when I deliberately eat something that is over my caloric range, but I’ve done it anyway.  Mostly, I’m angry at myself for not treating my body better, because I know I deserve better and that I’m worth the effort. All that being said….one day doesn’t make or break you. Because of the foundation I’ve laid for healthy habits since the beginning, I know I will continue on my journey despite the fact that I’ve stepped off the path a couple of times.  It’s ironic that I was so frustrated in the beginning that my healthy habits were not yielding immediate results; now I’m very glad that a couple days of poor habits are not yielding immediate results-the progress I’ve made so far remains unchanged.  People at work are still commenting on how much weight I’m continuing to lose, and that’s encouraging as well. I like being able to tell people the amount of pounds I’ve dropped is increasing. Additionally, I’m impressed at myself; the drive to be better seems to be stronger than I initially realized. It’s forced me to remember what I really want, why I really want it, why I deserve it, and to remind myself that I have to work for it.  I’m thankful I wrote the post, Focused and Philosophical, that outlined all of these things when I was experiencing one of those initial attitude “highs”.  It has forced me to remember what I’m working for, and that there are other people relying on me to succeed besides myself. All these emotions seem to conflict but instead of kicking myself for making poor decisions, I’m commending myself for being angry at myself for those decisions. I need to be accountable to what I want, and I’m holding myself to that standard because I know it’s something I can achieve. Tomorrow is another day–no, TODAY is another day, another opportunity to turn it all around.

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1: Running in a Thunderstorm Makes You Move A Little Faster

thunder-953118_1280*****This post first appeared on Sparkpeople on July 28, 2009*****

Today I had one of those days when you’re forced to stop taking yourself so seriously. There has been a lot going on this week, some serious stuff with close friends, so my exercise has been more sporadic. Today I turned down some quality time with one of my favorite people in the world because I HAD to get in a walk. Now, I’ve walked in the rain before, which can actually be quite pleasant as it takes the edge of the humid North Carolina summer heat, but this was a different thing entirely. When I left my apartment I thought I could squeeze in four miles of walking before the sun went down. At the end of my first mile, the skies turned dark, the wind changed direction, and I could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance. The second mile runs on a hill where there are fewer trees, so I determinedly continued into my second mile, fixated on completing my goal of four miles. The skies didn’t open up, but the thunder continued and worsened and lightning started striking all around me. I think there were actually two storms converging on one another, because the two purple masses in the sky seemed to be moving toward each other.

I’ll be honest; I was scared. I swear there were times the lightning seemed only a few feet away. Since I hadn’t been to this park since last Thursday (it’s Tuesday) I was determined to keep going, and I was actually surprised at the amount of energy that I had. A good portion of the time, I was running. I think it was a combination of the pent-up energy I had from not doing cardio in so many days and my strong desire not to get hit by lightning! All I kept thinking about was my mother’s voice telling me not to get too close to the trees because lightning travels through the trunks. Then were the conflicting voices telling me I had to finish the four miles because that was my goal “even if it killed me” and the prayers I kept saying to God thanking Him for keeping me alive.

In hindsight, it really wasn’t that dangerous, but it felt like it at the time. I felt so silly, all these thoughts, and feeling like I was in so much danger. Meanwhile the other crazy people on the trail seemed to be taking their sweet time with not a care in the world. I must have looked like a cartoon character. Every time there was a bolt of lightning I would start sprinting, then slow back down into a walk until another bolt of lightning hit and I took off again like I’d been slashed by a whip. I’m sure I was the picture of anxiety. You could probably slap my face on the “before” picture of an ad for anti-anxiety medication (the “after” picture, of course, being the expression I wore when I finally reached the sanctuary of my car). Unfortunately or fortunately, I’m not really sure which, my sensible side took over and I stopped after that second mile, just about when the rain came pouring down in torrents. I have seen a lot of storms, but this was definitely one you didn’t want to be caught outside in, especially in a park full of big, lightning-conducting trees. Needless to say, I didn’t take the extra minute to stretch until I was safe (and relieved) in my apartment. What is the purpose of telling you this tale? I’d like to say that I’m an overcomer and achieved my goal regardless of the obstacles in my path. However, although I am an overcomer, circumstances can change your plans a little. I realized that while it’s important to make your health a priority and achieve your goals, you have to be flexible and adapt when things don’t turn out exactly as you plan. I think I’ve been getting into a rut with my exercise lately, not being very creative, but the important thing is that I’m still doing it and still making it a priority. Also, I haven’t been spending that much time on SparkPeople lately. However, reconnecting today was definitely helpful. Today is weigh-in day and I didn’t lose this week (I think I’ve got girl issues contributing to that anyway) but when I plugged in my measurements it was motivating to see the graphs that showed that I’ve lost inches on EVERY area that I’ve measured, and I have consistently measured my body every week since the end of May. As I write this I’m shifting my focus to the positive-no, I didn’t do four miles today, but I did run more than I have any other time! Who cares that my motivation was avoiding getting hit by lightning! Who cares that I didn’t lose any pounds this week–I’ve lost 15 pounds in two months! I’m adding clothes to my “too big” pile daily! Most importantly, though, I’m still committed to making the effort, and I’m not giving up on myself. And, thankfully, there are other ways to work out than running in a thunderstorm…

running-573762_1280

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1:  New Meaning to Down and Out

Weight Loss Journey 1: New Meaning to Down and Out

 **This post first appeared on Sparkpeople on June 23, 2009**

Weight Loss Journey 1: Focused and Philosophical

woman-506120_1920**This post first appeared on SparkPeople on June 9, 2009**

It’s been a few days since I’ve written a blog post so I thought it was time. First, I want to say that my progress is going really well. I’m really excited that I’ve got positive, uplifting people in my life who are cheering me on and applauding my efforts. The support on this site, too, is incredibly encouraging and helpful. Most importantly, though, I’m really proud of myself for staying committed, working through the rough patches (although, admittedly, there have been few), and cheering myself on instead of tearing myself down for waiting so long to do this. There are two women at work I’m quite close to; just about every day I’ve asked them if they’d like to walk with me; neither have said yes yet. Regardless, I’m taking steps (literally) toward a healthier version of me, and if no one wants to come along for the ride, that’s fine by me. There may have been a point in my life where that might have bothered me, or I might have felt like I shouldn’t walk because no one else went with me. No more. I’m going to achieve my goals whether people are cheering me on or not, because I’m worth it. I’ve wasted far too many precious moments of my life telling myself what I’m not, what I lack, what mistakes I’ve made along the way. Now, I choose to tell myself how awesome I am, what I can achieve, what I’m becoming, and I know that I’m equipped to handle anything that comes my way.

Truthfully, I think it’s taken me so long to really get committed to my health because I didn’t think I was worth the effort. But I have grown to a place in which I will no longer settle for mediocrity, excuses, or unfulfilled potential. I no longer beat myself up if I make a mistake. I’m not perfect–no one is, and that’s okay–and since I’ve given up that battle life has gotten easier. Yes, habits are formed by the decisions we choose to make each day. However, if you beat yourself up over that one mistake you made yesterday, you’re repeating your mistake over and over again, instead of thanking God for another day and another opportunity to turn it all around. I’ve learned to tell myself over and over again how far I’ve come (of course, I still have a long way to go, but the hardest part is getting started, right?) instead of how I’ve messed up along the way. Because ultimately, it’s things you overcome that teach you the most about what you can accomplish, not the things that you allow to get the best of you.

So what am I working on right now? Well, we only get to live life one day at a time. Thank God! I’ve learned that trying to live the next week/month/season/year/decade all at one time is overwhelming, but I take advantage of the time that I have right NOW, and make it productive and rewarding. I don’t have the same crazy excited level of energy I did when I first started out. That’s fine, it would be impossible to maintain and eventually I would come crashing down. The challenge I’m facing is to give myself time to let the changes take place. I didn’t gain this weight in a week, so I’m not going to lose it in a week, either. And although my energy level is still high, and I want results NOW, I know it’s unrealistic to expect to look on the outside what I picture myself looking on the inside. I’m still picturing the me I want to be–no, the me I am becoming–to stay fixated on the end result. Focusing on that helps me to make the day-to-day decisions that will make that picture become a reality. It just won’t happen overnight.

Tuesday is my weigh-in and measure day. And while I’m weighing myself in between Tuesdays (just to check in), that weight doesn’t “count” in how I’m tracking my progress. In a year (or less), when I’m at the weight and fitness level where I want to be, it’s not going to matter that all the weight didn’t come off in the first two weeks. I know there will be times when the weight will just fall off (which I am speaking into existence) and there will be times when it’s a bit more stubborn. There will be times when the numbers will drop like a rock and times when it kind of hovers in the same area. There will be times when all my clothes will feel too big and times when I feel a little, uh, puffy. The point is, I won’t let these small changes deter me from the desired result.

belly-2354_1920

So what is the desired result? I have learned that this must be very clear in my mind so that it can be achieved. What is it that I want? What is it that I don’t want? Why is this so important to me? Why is it worth all this effort?

 

I don’t want:
To be the fat girl in all the pictures
To think “If only I was thinner”
To have health problems at a young age
To get stuck in a seat on an airplane, a roller coaster, or at a concert
To be the one that slows down a big group
To be the one that everyone feels a little bit sorry for during an athletic activity
For my family to think I’m lazy or sloppy
To let my thoughts OR my body hold me back from experiencing life
To feel like I have to hide
To compare myself to others or to feel like I have to “measure up” to a certain standard
To let myself down
To believe the lie–I AM important, I AM special, and I AM worthy of success!

I want:
To feel good about what I’ve accomplished
To feel beautiful
To believe others when they tell me I’m beautiful
Others to notice what a change has happened in me
To be able to cross my legs under a table
To be able to shop at any store I want and not worry whether they carry “big-girl” sizes
To look good naked
To wear a bathing suit in public without feeling self-conscious
To feel healthy, confident, and strong
To be able to run around with my kids when I have them
To go skydiving (there’s a weight limit, my brothers have checked it out)
For people to say, “Wow! You look better than you did in high school/college!”
For guys to check me out in the mall every now and then 
To astound others with my endless energy and positivity
To be able to walk with my head held high and know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to achieve 


Because:
I deserve to be healthy
It’s important to me to take care of my body–I only get this one for my whole life!
I want to live a long, healthy, and productive life
I feel powerful when I work out
My future husband deserves a hot wife
My future children deserve to enjoy fun stuff with their mother
Other people watch what I do, and can be motivated by my success
I want people to respect the hard work I put into bettering myself
I am an overcomer, and I refuse to let obstacles keep me from becoming what I was meant to be
If I don’t do it now, then when??? The circumstances will never be perfect 

Tomorrow I get to take some more measurements and weigh in. I know that these are just numbers, and that they do not measure my value as a person, only the size of my vessel. The things that I have control over I will take control over, and let God handle the rest.

Best wishes to all on your journey. Be good to yourself! And love yourself no matter what! 

Thought of the Day: “An individual has no limitations except those set up and accepted by an individual in his own mind.” ~ Napoleon Hill

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1:  Let’s Get Naked

Weight Loss Journey 1: Let’s Get Naked

**This post first appeared on SparkPeople on June 3, 2009**

It’s Tuesday-time to take my measurements again! I’ve decided to do this on a weekly basis to measure my progress. I’ve been (back) on SparkPeople for a week officially now, and I think the first week went pretty well! However, there has been NO change on the scale. Regardless, though, my clothes are fitting better, I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, and I find I’m better focused and more productive at work and at home.

Still, though, I’d really like some objective measures to chronicle my progress. I took my measurements today and compared them to last week. Half an inch here, an inch there–it added up to 9.5 inches! So I’m pretty excited about that. Having never used measurements as a tracking tool, I have no basis for comparison so I’m really not sure if that’s a good amount to have lost in a week or not. But, at least I know my body is changing and that there’s actual physical evidence of it.

I’m in the mood to be silly this evening, so I thought I would do something fun. Here are some other areas of change (on my body) I’ve noticed that really can’t be measured or are more observational. Some of them are just a little bit bizarre, but hey, I don’t make the rules. :-) I suppose this is me making a desperate attempt to focus on positive changes instead of being annoyed at the scale. Hopefully this doesn’t gross anyone out, I’m being completely transparent here…It would be interesting to hear about how changes other people have noticed in their bodies as well! :-) Imagine what it would be like to measure some of these things…

1. Area behind your ears–This is a weird one, but when I lost weight last fall I could feel the skin tightening behind my ears! It became more bony. There’s just no way to measure that, except by feeling it I guess.
2. Jawline–I guess you can see this in pictures, but it’s really quite subjective. One of my jaws is actually thinner than the other, although both seem to have gotten thinner over the past week. One of my cheekbones, too. Hopefully my face will become more symmetrical over time, haha. My neck feels longer and more elegant, too.
3. Shoulders–Recently there’s been a reappearance of my collarbones and where they attach to my shoulders. These bones have been “protected” by “body armor” for quite some time-I’m glad to have them back. :-) I guess you can see this one in pictures too, but other people probably don’t scrutinize every inch of my body the way that I do. :-)
4. Wrists and Hands-My wrists have pretty much stayed the same size, but there’s more definition in the muscles and bones of my hands. My fingers are thinner, and I can more clearly see and feel the blood vessels and tendons under the skin on the back of my hands and on the inside of my wrists.
5. Elbows–My elbows are getting bonier; I can see it in the mirror and feel this as well.
6. Flabbiness of the arms–This is another weird one. You know that part of your upper arm that continues waving at people even when you’ve stopped moving your arm? That part of my arm is…looser. I’m not sure quite how to describe it but it just feels like there’s not as many fat cells crammed in there. The bad thing is, it waves more easily, lol. That’s kinda gross. Sorry.
7. Protuberance of bony prominences-What? By this I mean how much I can see of some of my bones, lol. Of course, it’s not good to look like a walking skeleton, but I don’t want to be a big ball of flub either. My ribs are no longer “hiding” anymore; I can see their outline in the mirror. Also, I can feel my hip bones when I’m in bed lying on my back and/or on my side, much more easily than before.
8. Back fat-Yep, you know what I mean. My core is just a little less, um, lumpy. I have a navel ring; it doesn’t get lost in a belly roll when I sit down anymore.
9. A little less jiggle-my body just feels a little bit firmer all over. More sleek, more athletic. I feel like I have better posture and that it takes less effort to move, even just to change positions or shift in a chair. When I walk I feel like my whole body is moving at one time; in the past I’ve sometimes felt like I lead with my upper body and that it takes a Parking Lot Shadow - by Bridgetsecond or so for my lower body to catch up.

I’m being very real here, I know we all have idiosyncrasies we notice about our own bodies. It amuses me that you can’t really pick what part of yourself changes first, but I’m excited to watch the transformation happen.

So, like, I said, no change on the scale but lots of other changes. Small changes…but they add up over time. Also, if I notice even one tiny little thing that’s changed as a result of the things I’ve done so far, it will keep me motivated. I’m excited about bigger and more noticeable changes, but overall I really just want to be healthy. I’m probably focusing too much on the external changes, but those are the ones that are easier to measure. I will continue to chronicle all of the (positive) changes I’m experiencing.

I hope you’re also enjoying your journey! Stay motivated and focus on the you you want to be! You can achieve it!

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1:  Ice Packs in My Shorts

Weight Loss Journey 1: Ice Packs in My Shorts

*This post first appeared on SparkPeople on June 2, 2009*

I had a minor setback when I pulled a muscle in my leg this weekend. I suppose I was a little overzealous-between Saturday and Sunday I walked 10 miles and did an hour and a half of high-intensity aerobics. Keep in mind, I’m still a beginner! So this was a bit much. My body tried to tell me this Sunday night as I was doing my Turbojam (one of the best workouts EVER!!!!) and I started to fill a little pull in my hip/groin area every time I lifted my right knee or kicked my right leg. Determined to be determined, I ignored it and finished the video anyway. By the time I went to bed, I could hardly walk without wincing. All through the night I couldn’t get comfortable; I slept horribly because every time I tried to shift in bed I could feel it pulling. I even took 2 Aleve (which is unheard of, I hate to take medications) but, sadly, got very little relief.
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So I was disappointed to find when I woke up Monday that it was still hurting. Disappointed, because, I knew I shouldn’t work out on Monday! Isn’t that crazy? I’m like an addict, all I want is my endorphin fix! So I gimped around at work and promised my poor strained muscle that I wouldn’t damage it any further. And when I got home from work I walked around with ice packs in my shorts to reduce the swelling and help it heal. But even at home, I couldn’t sit still, and ended up organizing my closets (still simplifying, after all….) and telling myself that it didn’t count as working out so I wouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to stay active.
What a change from a few weeks ago! I can’t believe how much my energy level has gone up and how much I CRAVE exercise, not because it will help me lose weight, but because it makes me feel healthy and confident. I also resorted to cleaning out my closets (that sounds so silly to say) because I didn’t really know what else to do with myself. Mind you, there have been more days than not that I HAVEN’T worked out, but the only thing I could think to do with my displaced energy was clean my apartment! It’s so silly, but I’m really excited that exercise has become a part of my routine so fast. I’m itching for when I can get back to doing two workouts a day.
This is all so bizarre. Seriously, I’m–well I guess I should say, I used to be, about the least athletic person I know. Not anymore, and I’m proud of that!So what have we learned, folks?1. Proper form is important. I think this issue (I don’t want to call it an injury, that sounds too dramatic) was caused by inadequate stretching, and keeping my feet planted when I should have been lighter on them. It’s easy to lose focus when you’re excited and just let loose. Certainly, have some fun, that keeps you coming back for more. But take care of your body and treat it right, or you will pay.2. Pay attention to your terrain. I walk at an outdoor park, and today I was noticing that the majority of it slants down to the right, which puts a little extra strain on the ol’ right hip. I tried going the opposite way (not walking backwards, lol, but starting the walk where I used to end and taking the trail in the opposite direction), which helped somewhat, but it still wasn’t ideal.

3. Listen to your body. Yes, we’ve all heard that a thousand times. But if you’re rapidly becoming a workout junkie like me, it’s worth it to take it a little slow so you can get in your workout the next day! I believe my body was trying to tell me to slow down (like I said, still a beginner) and had to resort to less subtle communication because I refused to pay attention.

4. Healthy habits are easy to integrate into your life. Like I said, I can’t believe how fast exercise has become one of my favorite things in the world. Maybe it’s because I’m single and have a lot of time on my hands, lol, but I love the rush I get from the endorphins and how powerful and strong I feel when I’m working out.

So how am I doing today? Much better! Taking it easy yesterday was worth it. I walked 3 miles today and am chilling (literally, lol) with some ice packs again just for good measure, but the irritation has almost completely dissipated. I’m excited to get back to 100% though.

The coolest, thing, though, was that as I was walking today I was eager to start jogging. Now, I know that’s about the surest way to exacerbate the strained muscle, so I continued walking, but I’m excited about that because I’m still focused on the future. There are runners that go to that park too, and one of the things that I visualize is running at that park, looking all slim and athletic, and having it be just as easy to run 3-5 miles as it is to walk it now. Maybe I’ll train for a 5K. I don’t know if I’d ever be interested in a marathon, or even a half marathon, but I’m so confident in my abilities now that I’m not ruling it out.

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One other thought: take care of your feet. My feet have been whining at me a little bit, but they support all your weight and take the pressure when you keep piling that weight on. Then, as you try to lighten the load, they still take the most impact when you’re working out.

Thought of the day: You don’t have to play a professional sport to be an athlete. All you need is the drive to train your body, treat it with care, and work to keep it strong. This is much in the same way as a beginning violinist can be a musician if he knows how to use the violin to guide the music to create a song. Learn to guide your body and treat it as an instrument that will allow you to lead a long, healthy, and productive life.

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Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

 

Weight Loss Journey 1: Measuring Progress

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*This post first appeared on SparkPeople on May 30, 2009*

So here we are again, a couple of days into the beginning of my transformation.

The purpose of changing my body is not just to look better, but also to feel stronger, healthier, and more confident. Of those, the most important is for me to have more self-confidence. So far I’ve already noticed a difference in how I carry myself, my energy level (it’s up), my productivity (also up), more satisfying sleep. I have gotten positive feedback from others around me.

At work, seven people have told me that they’ve noticed I’m losing weight (in the past week). I’d be lying if I didn’ say I’m a little frustrated that there have been no significant changes on the scale. I’m fully aware that it’s a long-term process, I can’t expect to see immediate changes, blah blah blah…but with the changes I’ve seen in the mirror I would expect to see some sort of change on the scale. But that’s all okay, I’m driven by the end results, not the current ones. It still would be nice to be able to answer the question, “How much weight have you lost?” I took measurements last week with a tape measure and plan to use weekly changes, along with my energy level and how my clothes are fitting, to give me some indication of how I’m progressing. Also, I know that muscle and fat both have weight, and as the proportions of fat and muscle change, the scale won’t reflect those. It would probably be more accurate to get fat percentage testing…but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. Regardless, it’s still nice to hear that people are noticing the changes that I’m seeing as well.

On the other hand, you may be thinking “Bridget, are you crazy? You’ve only been on SparkPeople for 3 days, you really can’t expect to see huge number changes already”. Yes, this is true. It’s just that there have been so many changes in so many other areas it would be nice to have a more empirical measurement to go by. Also, my journey began before I committed to being accountable to myself through SparkPeople. What a great tool! Above all, though, I think I’m just a little bit tired and not being as diligent as I should be about those negative thoughts creeping in…

Anyhoo, I think I’ll just sign off and go to bed. I’m excited for tomorrow, and I plan to have a very productive day. I’m going to clean my apartment, walk a few miles at a park near where I live, and catch up on some odds and ends I want to tie up. Last weekend (consistent with my new philosophy of simplyfying) I went through my drawers and closets and got rid of clothes that I don’t wear and/or don’t fit anymore. I think it’s important when you’re making new changes in your life to abide by the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality, to prepare your mind for the positive changes that come with taking on something new. So, for me, that means maintaining clean surroundings and remaining productive.

Have a wonderful, productive weekend! Enjoy the rest of May! :-)

Thought of the day: Developing the habit is more important than the short-term results that come with starting out. Consistency is key!

************************************************************

Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!

Weight Loss Journey 1:  New Beginnings

Weight Loss Journey 1: New Beginnings

ulsan-442399_1280**This post first appeared on My SparkPage on Sparkpeople on May 27, 2009**

Well here we go…the first step on my journey. Let me catch you up…

I’m 26 years old, I’ve been overweight for pretty much as long as I can remember. Of course, the most painful memories of that time were in adolescence. As I was finishing high school I was wearing the upper end of “normal-sized” clothing. Once I got to college I gained the dreaded freshman 15 although I tried to incorporate some healthy habits, like exercise, into my daily routine. It never actually became a habit though (not then, anyway). Through college and grad school I was gaining about 10 pounds a year from poor lifestyle habits and some medication I was taking at that time. I managed to stop gaining a couple of years ago, and have been gaining and losing the same 10 pounds since then (which is now gone, I’ll tell you about it in a moment).

During that time I tried several things: the Atkins Diet (which worked very quickly, but was impossible to maintain-I was ravenous!), the Total Body Reshaping System (that actually worked really well and was much more realistic than some other things I had tried), and some other programs from infomercials. There was one that focused more on nutrition than exercise, and had a lot of really helpful information about caring for your body and nourishing it. It also addressed some of emotional components behind eating and choosing to stay overweight. One of the most important things I took away from that program was the concept of “body armor”; staying overweight to keep people from getting too close to you, since people who are overweight tend to draw less attention to themselves than an average-weight person. I’m still dealing with that one. I learned a lot from these different programs that I’m carrying with me on my journey to health and wellness.

Last fall I moved to North Carolina from upstate New York. There were many reasons for the move, but the most prominent was so that I could have a fresh start. I started changing some of my habits and had incorporated exercise into my life sporadically. Finally for good, I lost that stubborn 10 lbs in November, which I’m proud to say I have kept off through the holidays and the first part of the year. The goals on this site don’t include my heaviest weight, which is a thing of the past.

So why the new beginning?

First, I’ve realized that although I was working to lose that 10 pounds in November, I didn’t really commit to the work it would take to lose any more than that. I’m really proud of myself for that accomplishment, and it’s helped me to realize that if I’ve lost 10 pounds, I can sure as heck lose 10 more, and it has opened my eyes to what I’m capable of achieving.

Second, a couple of weeks ago I found a picture of myself from when I was a senior in high school (senior prom). In it I weigh approximately 50 lbs less than I do now. So I told myself, if I was at that weight at one time as an adult, I can sure as heck get there again. I have that picture on my refrigerator and look at it daily. That concept of body armor is still mulling around in my head. I told that picture I’m not afraid to be noticed anymore, and that I’m going to let that beautiful, thin, confident woman out so that the rest of the world can meet her, because she is very special. There’s no need to hide any longer.

Third, I’ve been trying to simplify things in my life. My personality is such that I tend to analyze things from every different angle instead of just making a decision and acting on it. I’ve decided to STOP making things more complicated than they need to be. Life is too short. And although I still analyze, I’m getting better at shutting off that part of my mind when it’s holding me back from going after something. I don’t want to be a year down the road and be in the same position I’m in now. And that goes for several areas of my life, not just my weight. So it’s time to be bold, take chances, make a plan and stick to it, because I deserve everything that I’m willing to work for.

So, now you’re caught up.

Of course, there’s way more to the story than that, but there’s the abridged version. Beginning about a week ago is when I really made the decision to commit to a change. I’ve been working out a lot (I’m getting addicted to it, which is great…gotta love those endorphins!) and being really careful about what I put in my mouth and in my mind. Finding that picture really helped me to visualize where I can be, and also helped me to see where I am. As with any journey, the road ahead won’t be filled with puppy dogs and rainbows, lol, but I’m confident that if I can keep my eyes focused on the end result than I can achieve anything I put my mind to by making good decisions on a daily basis.

I actually joined Spark People when I was in graduate school, but I never really did anything with it. I’ve learned that the most important things to do when setting a goal is to have a way to be accountable to yourself in taking steps to achieve that goal, and to surround yourself with like-minded people who will be supportive and positive and understand what you’re going through. (I could speak volumes on that, but I’ll save it for another day…)

So day one is drawing to a close and I’m feeling confident, focused, and decisive. I’ve never blogged before so please bear with me-a new step! :-) The journey has already begun…

Enjoy your journey! And keep your eyes focused on the goal!

Quote of the day: It’s not the smart that get ahead, but the bold. – Robert Kiyosaki

************************************************************

Inquiring minds want to know: What is all this business about Weight Loss Journey 1 and Weight Loss Journey 2?

Weight Loss Journey 1: I lost 75 pounds from 2009-2011; I’m reposting the blog posts I wrote on Sparkpeople during that time

Weight Loss Journey 2: I have gained back the majority of the weight I lost and have been on a quest since July 2015 to lose the weight again.

Sorry about the timing of the posts, I know that’s probably confusing. But they are only appearing at the same time because I didn’t start my blog earlier. It may be helpful to read the posts by category if you want to catch up. Enjoy!