Category Archives: Weight

Starting over, again

It’s Monday!

You know what that means…it’s a brand new day and a brand new week, which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals and the things I want to accomplish this week and beyond. Today is no exception!

In fact, today is probably the most important Monday I’ve had in a while.

You see, I’ve really let myself backslide. I debated sharing this on the blog at first but I know that it helped me A LOT to read other stories of people who’ve struggled in the same way and who recently overcame plateaus and whatnot.

So here you go — I’ve been eating too much, not exercising enough, and I am now 11-12 pounds over my “happy weight” which itself was 11-12 pounds over my original goal when I first started back in 2007.

The weight in numbers really isn’t what is important, just the fact that I’d lost control and in turn have been feeling like crap. It really hit me when my pants got tighter.

How did I get here?

These past several weeks, maybe even months, I’ve felt like I was falling into a hole I couldn’t dig myself out of. I’ve felt physically and emotionally spent. So I’ve comforted myself with “rest days” and lots of tortilla chips and chocolate (not together, ha ha). I quit blogging regularly. Things got sort of dark at times.

I tried to get myself to “snap out of it” but it just didn’t happen. The only thing I could do was wait and pray because God always gets me through everything! 🙂

Well, I’ve waited and I feel like I’m ready to get myself back now!

I’m still planning to see some doctors for a few different things, including this issue I discussed last week, but I can already tell that I’m on my way back to being me again.

I thank God for what’s been going on because I feel like this experience, as hard as it has been, has given me a whole new perspective on my life. I take so much for granted and my goal is to do that less and less. I am truly blessed.

So, what does starting over mean?

Well, I tried to think back to 2007 and what starting over meant back then. For a combined total of 20 minutes over the weekend, I considered joining Weight Watchers but then I remembered that I didn’t have that much success with it before; that’s not what helped me lose 70 lbs.

What helped me was being accountable to MYSELF and keeping this nifty little journal:

Image Source

Back in December 2009, I wrote about how journaling was one of my keys to weight loss. I believe by going back to what worked so well for me the first time, I have a better chance of getting over this hump. I’m also interested to see if I am getting enough nutrients (fat, fiber, protein) that I haven’t really paid that much attention to recently.

Things have changed a lot since 2007, so I am interested to see what’s going on now and what I can do to improve and get back to my happy place, both with my weight and my life.

For example, on Saturday, I wrote in my journal for the first time and was a little shocked (but not really) that I consumed over 800 calories between 8:30 and 11 p.m. Do that a few times a week and it’s no wonder I’ve gained weight and feel bloated and sluggish.

Sometimes seeing something with your own eyes is just the wake up call you need.

I hope those of you who are struggling out there know it’s never too late to start over or start over again. Also, enlist a friend or two to start over with you, even if their goals are different than yours. It helps to have that support.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thank God for June

I don’t know about you, but I seriously could not be happier that it’s June!

May was a crazy busy month for me and I am ready for things to slow down a bit. Except that they aren’t. In fact, I started Summer classes yesterday! I’m starting a Bible study group tonight. My eyes are already tired from all the reading. Not to mention trying to keep up with healthy eating and exercise!

But I’ll be on more of a schedule, which helps me stay on track in a lot of areas.

Speaking of being on (or off) track, I can already tell that my dreaded, regular Summer weight gain is already creeping in on me. I don’t know specifics, other than the past few weeks I’ve gained at Pound for Pound weigh ins (which I skipped this week). But yesterday, I put on my loosest pair of pants and they are a bit snug.

Ever since July 2008 when I went to Nicaragua, I have trouble keeping my weight down in the Summer. It’s funny because I think most people have the opposite problem, gaining weight during the holidays and wintertime. But not me.

I think this happens for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • It’s hot outside and non-dairy ice cream and sorbet taste really good.
  • I don’t run as much due to the heat and limited access to treadmills at work.
  • Life gets really busy and stressful and therefore I console myself with food.
  • Birthdays, anniversaries, out of town guests, and lots of other exciting things (revolving around food) happen over the Summer.

Hmm…

The good thing is that technically Summer hasn’t officially started yet (June 20th) and today is June 2nd. It’s also a new month which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals. I hope to approach things differently this time, as I think there is no sense in me throwing myself back into “weight loss mode” because I just don’t like being there.

I don’t want to say things like “I need to lose x number of pounds in x number of weeks.” That’s just not realistic for me anymore. I don’t even really care about the numbers. I just want to feel good, be confident and for my pants to fit better.

I talked to my friend Kim yesterday (who always encourages me) and told her that I need to do this without resorting to calorie counting. This did work for me when I went through my big weight loss, but it’s just too time consuming now. As you can tell, I’m busy enough as it is!

She reminded me of a few keys to getting back to my happy place:

  • Only eat when you are hungry
  • Eat fruits & veggies for snacks when possible
  • For goodness sakes sloooooow down when eating

It’s true. I’ve been known to inhale a Jimmy John’s vegetarian sandwich in 5 minutes flat, in the car, on the way to a friend’s house because I was short on time. While it’s good that I don’t skip meals for being too busy, I’m still cheating myself by woofing them down.

Finding time to exercise is also going to be a challenge these next couple of months but thankfully, I’ve just received ownership of Josh’s gym card because he just wasn’t using it anymore. It’s going to take some effort on my part to get out of bed an hour earlier and get to the gym before work but the benefits will make it all worth doing.

For more on my fitness experiences, check out my other blog River City Fitness.

So that’s it folks! No diets, no counting, no heavily detailed journaling. Just fresh healthy eats, mindfulness, taking my time/being patient and plenty o’ exercise. Let’s do it!

Pound for Pound: Week 11

I have to say that after all the revelations I’ve had the past two weeks, especially in regards to weight, I didn’t even really want to weigh in today. Not because I’ve given up but because I’m feeling okay where I’m at.

But I committed to this challenge back in February so I am going to see it through.

  • Last week’s weight: 149 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 150.3 (+1.3 lbs)
  • 8 weeks to go/8.7 lbs to goal

Thoughts? Last week, I weighed on my scale at home (because I was not at work) and this week I weighed at the gym at work. At home, I also weigh with no clothes on and this week at work I decided not to change into shorts because if I’m really comfortable, it won’t matter if I weigh with my pants on and it saves me time too. So there you have it.

Another revelation

Yesterday, I had a really bad headache, partially caused by being overheated, so I was laying on the couch last night with the A/C on and just wearing shorts and a bra. Usually, even in my own house, I would be too embarrassed to sit around like this, but for some reason last night I was totally comfortable.

You see, even though I lost a lot of weight almost three years ago, I still carry the “scars” from it — excess skin, stretch marks, etc. Even though I am more comfortable in clothes that fit me well, I still have trouble with things like bathing suits, tight fitting shirts or anything spandex (which no one should wear, really). But why? It is because I don’t like the way I look in certain things? Do I really care what other people think?

One day I pointed this out to a friend of mine when I was wearing a shirt that showed my “rolls” and she said: “Sarah, I’m pretty sure you are the only one who notices it.” Maybe she’s right. Maybe it is okay to be 5’5″ and weigh 150 lbs (especially when you consider at one point, I was at 225 lbs). Maybe it is okay to be way too “chicken” to have surgery to remove excess skin because it would be too expensive and painful.

What I do know is that I have worked VERY HARD to get what I do have. I have walked, run, weight trained, done yoga, and treated my body very well through a healthy diet, especially now that I have started the Happy Herbivore 30 Whole Days challenge. So to me, that means I should be proud of my body, the way it is right now. Because look what all it’s done! So as I sat there on the couch last night, I felt good about myself. I felt comfortable and happy with my body.

So what now? Since I am in a healthy range, the weight really doesn’t matter. I’m still going to monitor it because Lord knows I won’t be comfortable if it starts going up too high (which has happened to me the last two summers). But I’m not going to stress and I’m not going to try to push my body to be something that it’s not. Because I’m fine just the way I am. Whether I stay around 147-150 forever, or someday I do manage to get to 135-140, I will still be me.

Maybe all this confidence is coming from my new haircut?!

Thanks for being such great blog friends! I will see you all later with a recap of HH30 Day 3 🙂

Pound for Pound: Weeks 9 & 10

Remember the Pound for Pound Challenge? I almost didn’t.

Between my slight mental breakdown, subsequent recovery and then illness/allergies, I managed not to post about the weigh-ins and my thoughts on the challenge for the past two weeks. Guess I had other things on my mind?

Last time we “met” I had decided to give up calorie counting for a while and focus on choosing wholesome nutritious foods and eating intuitively. This choice was even more liberating than the last few times I’ve made it. I think it might actually stick this time too.

I had also mentioned cutting back on caffeine, but I’m sorry to say this has not gone well. In fact, I think I may have actually increased consumption of coffee the past two weeks. But as the weather gets warmer, my cravings typically become fewer, so we’ll just see how it goes. No reason to stress about it 😉

Speaking of stress, during Week 9, I was in the midst of a stress meltdown. But, even though I took a step back from blogging, I did not hide away and drown my sorrows in food. I also took a step back from exercise even though it was a week before my half marathon. Sometimes getting your mental state back on track is more important! No, it always is.

Stress, less exercise and Aunt Flo led to a slight weight gain for Week 9:

  • Week 8: 150.4
  • Week 9: 151 (+ 0.6)
  • 9.4 lbs to goal

But, during that following week, I had another major breakthrough. I finally admitted to myself (and others) that I do not handle stress well at all. Even if my mind tries to deny it or “fake it”, my body pays the price. I have to get control of what stresses me and do more to relieve myself when stress does come up to that uncomfortable level.

I kept my focus on healthy eating, easy exercise, relaxing hot baths and putting my trust back in God. I remembered what is good about my life and what I can do to change the things I’m not so happy with.

I remembered that I’m only human and it is okay to break down sometimes. In fact, I think it might just be the best thing that could’ve happened. I’ve learned more about myself the past few weeks than I have in a long time.

I finished my school work early so I could focus on the race and nothing else. And I didn’t stress about my race either because I knew I was going to have fun, no matter what. And I did!

I took two days off of work this week because I was feeling run down and sick. I gave my body the break it needed. Now I feel better, both mentally and physically. I’m in a really, really good place. Now if I can just stay here…

The weigh in on Monday was just a minor detail:

  • Previous week: 151 lbs
  • Week 10: 149 lbs (-2.0)
  • 7.4 lbs to goal (9 weeks to go)

With 9 weeks to go, I have absolutely no idea what will happen. In 10 weeks, I have a net loss of 2.6 lbs. So in the next 9, I could lose another 2.6, or 1.6, 0 or 10.

But you know what? It doesn’t really matter!

I’m not giving up on the challenge, in fact I’m still very inspired to keep going toward my goal. But I am NOT going to put myself under pressure. I am not going to stress about it. Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when I’m under pressure and stressed, NOTHING goes well. I can’t live that way anymore.

Looking forward to what the rest of this week holds. If you missed past weeks and want to catch up, check out my Pound for Pound Challenge page 🙂

Pound for Pound: Week 8

Check out my guest post over at Namaste Mari! Mari is such a great blogger and friend, it was such an honor for me to share my story on her blog. Thanks Mari!

I went into today’s weigh in quite confident and with a renewed focus, since I recently decided to stop counting calories for a while and see where that takes me.

Over the weekend, I had a couple of splurges but nothing too major. And I stayed quite active last week, getting in some runs, weight training and dog park trips with Suzie (which are good for exercise and the soul). The weather was absolutely gorgeous and continues today! 🙂

So let’s cut to the chase and see how I did!

  • Last week’s weight: 150.8 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 150.4 lbs (-0.4)
  • Total lost to date: 1.2 lbs (8.8 to goal)

I lost the exact same amount that I did last week and I am grateful for it. Even though I have less to lose now than I did at the beginning of my journey, I still know that slow and steady wins the race.

Even though I have 8.8 lbs to get to my goal for this challenge, I still have 11 weeks to go. And even if I don’t get there at that point, I might a few weeks after that. I’m not concerned!

Goals

This week, I have decided to cut back on coffee. Not because I think it’s bad for me, but because I’m in a rut. I hate ruts, whether it be with food, exercise, etc. 

I was drinking a cup of coffee every morning but just out of habit, not always enjoying it. Sometimes I’d have another during the afternoon because the first one wasn’t enough. So we’ll see. Today, I haven’t had any, just tea. I can definitely tell I have a caffeine addiction!

I’m also planning to follow my mini marathon training program as closely as possible this week. I’ll be reporting on that over at River City Fitness!

If you want to catch up on past weeks of my Pound for Pound Challenge, there is a page for that 🙂

Pound for Pound: Week 7

What a difference a week makes!

Last week, I had a major revelation. It was a wake up call, to say the least. Even though I gave up eating bars for Lent, I really feel like this was what I was really meant to learn: that I need to treat my body well by eating wholesome, nutritious foods and not to rely on junk when my health or my emotions are ailing.

So, I made some new rules for myself and my personal eating philosophy. And I feel so much better now! I believe getting back on track really helped me do well in my 10 mile race on Saturday too 🙂

Since I am in the middle of a weight loss challenge here at work, let’s see how I did in that area:

  • Last week’s weight: 151.2 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 150.8 lbs (Difference: -0.4)
  • Total lost to date: 0.8 lbs

Obviously, I feel pretty good about this number, especially after my huge gain last week. I almost expected a bigger loss, but I really feel like I did my best this week, which is all I could hope for. I ate nutritious and whole foods, kept processed stuff to a minimum, and had a positive frame of mind the entire week. Plus I ran 10 miles for goodness sakes!

I’m still a ways away from my original goal of losing 10 pounds for this challenge. However, there are still 12 weeks left to go, which is plenty of time. I just need to keep things in perspective and be patient with myself.

I also noticed that I blogged my eats for an entire week! I am definitely feeling like the old me again. When I am proud of what I am eating, it’s easier to share it here 🙂

Goals

This week, my goals are: keep eating the way I have been this past week, maybe even including some more variety in my fruits & veggies, take some walks with Suzie in the evenings, and to take at least one relaxing bath at some point this week — I did this last night and it was amazing. I soaked in some epsom salts for my muscles, lit a candle, and put on soothing music. Nice way to wind down a busy weekend 🙂

What are your goals this week?

In case you’ve missed previous weeks and wonder how I got to this point, check out my Pound for Pound Challenge page!

Pound for Pound: Week 5

I can’t believe we are five weeks into this challenge already! We still have a long way to go (ends June 30th) but I’m sure it will fly by.

If you’ve missed any of my weekly updates along the way, check out my Pound for Pound Challenge page.

Last week, I felt like I had finally overcome emotional eating and I still feel like I am in control of that. I don’t think it’s something you get over permanently but I’ve definitely made a step in the right direction.

I also wanted to focus more on what makes me happy and stress less. I feel like I worked on that this week but I’ve still got a ways to go. Going to a conference with my husband and some really great Christian friends definitely boosted my spirits though!

I also challenged myself to get in two days of weight training, which I am proud to say I managed to complete!

And I journaled every day but had to break the 9:00 rule a couple of times while I was out of town just due to scheduling. But I only ate if I was hungry, so I am proud of that.

Overall, even though I was out of town Thursday-Saturday, I felt like I did pretty good with my eating and exercise. I wrote down everything and exercised in the hotel gym Thursday (ran 2 miles) and Friday (morning-elliptical and weight training, evening-ran 3 miles).

I did not eat ONE thing that was not vegan the entire trip, even though keeping it this way was very challenging at times. So I had a clear conscience as well.

Let’s see how I did…

Last week’s weight: 147.8 lbs

This week’s weight: 147.5 lbs (-0.3)

Total pounds lost: 4.1 (5.9 to go)

I am so excited that 5 weeks in, I am getting close to halfway to my goal (of 10 lbs). I definitely feel like I have faced a few challenges along the way so far (like going out of town) and yet have been successful. This is a great feeling!

I’m telling you guys: journaling, exercise and attitude. That is what is working for me. I don’t “diet” or restrict my calories, I just eat when I’m hungry and portion control so I don’t go crazy. I average 1700-2000 per day depending on my activity (I eat more on long run days).

I exercise about 6 days a week, sometimes running, sometimes weight training and sometimes taking the dog for a nice walk. It doesn’t have to be a certain amount of time or a certain intensity to be effective. Every little bit counts, just make sure you do something!

My attitude has to be positive. Even if I had gained weight this week, I would’ve been okay with it. I also didn’t expect to lose a lot, so I didn’t set myself up for disappointment that way. Just do the best you can and go with the flow. Be happy and confident!

It felt so good to stock up my refrigerator and pantry yesterday and I’m looking forward to a good week of healthy eating and moving. With the exception of today, the weather should be lovely this week so I am really looking forward to that.

Thanks again to all the ladies who guest posted for me while I was gone. You all rock!

Checking in with Lent

Did you all give up anything for Lent? How’s it going? I gave up eating bars for Lent, which seems silly but it has been quite the challenge. Like any good or bad habit though, I feel like a few weeks was all it took to break myself of eating them. I really think I’ll go back to eating bars sometimes but mostly Larabars (which have few ingredients) or making them myself.

Goals

I would like to get in 2 more days of weight training this week and make that a regular thing. I’ve been doing my own Body Pump style workout but I think I might change it up and try some heavier weights with less reps this week. Gotta keep the body guessing!

I also want to get outside as much as possible. Spring is finally here and after the long cold winter we had, I must take full advantage 🙂

What are your goals for this week?

Pound for Pound: Week 4

In case you are interested in catching up on past weeks, I have made a new Pound for Pound Challenge page!

Honestly, I was not sure what to expect this week. Last week was sort of a roller coaster; it started off really good but then took nose dive toward the end of the week.

Nothing really bad happened, I have just been feeling a little blue thanks to hormones and the usual annoyances of adult life (like money, rent, banks, etc). So that is why I have not blogged until now. But I’m done complaining!

Going into today’s weigh in, I felt pretty confident that I had done the best I could this past week. I tracked my eating very well and felt good about that. I didn’t get my two weight training days in but I did get one. And a yoga class!

I managed to get some cardio exercise in Monday-Saturday, including taking some walks with my dog who needs more exercise in her life!

I ran three days last week, which is right about what I’m comfortable with. Four is good too, but any more and I’m tired, burnt out or hurting. No thanks 😉

So, how did the weigh in go?

  • Last week’s weight: 149.2 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 147.8 lbs (-1.6 difference)
  • Total lbs lost for challenge: 3.8

Obviously, I’m very pleased with that result. I even checked back through my old records and I have not weighed 147 anything since April 2009. Wow!

I also had a breakthrough over the weekend that I wasn’t expecting.

On Friday night, I was feeling pretty meh, so I went to Meijer on the way home and bought a non-dairy chocolate bar (because I’m a vegan emotional eater, after all).

But even though I was going to allow myself to have it, for comfort, I had to work myself up to even eat a piece of it.

Then yesterday, when I was feeling sad, I tried to think of a dinner or a snack that would “cheer me up.” But I couldn’t.

In fact, I was even more in tune with my hunger yesterday than normal. What’s going on?

I think I am a reformed emotional eater! I think I have finally realized that while food (including non-dairy chocolate) can be comforting, it does not make you feel better. It does not solve your problems for you. It’s temporary.

While I feel like I have been in control of my eating for a long time now, this is the first time I felt completely free. Has that ever happened to you before?

Goals

My goals for this week are:

  • Work on my mood, doing things that make me happy and stressing less about those that don’t
  • Two weight training days, attempt # 2
  • Keep going with journaling and the 9:00 rule

What are your goals for this week?

Pound for Pound: Week 3

In case you missed them, check out Week 1 and Week 2.

What a weekend!

On Saturday, I ran my second best 5K, woo hoo!

Kim and I after the race!

We also had nice enough weather to take the dog for a walk and did some major grocery shopping. Then we had dinner with friends and played cards, during which I enjoyed a few amaretto sours! It had been a long time 😉

Yesterday, I got to take the dog for another nice walk and attended an Oscar party at my friend Courtney’s house. While I stuck to mostly carrots & hummus, I did manage to eat my fair share of tortilla chips and jelly beans!

But I know that one weekend of enjoying myself a little too much isn’t going to do that much damage.

And even though I was facing a weigh in today, I did not worry that my weekend escapades would catch up with me. I was definitely not treating my body as a temple! Jelly beans are so NOT vegan. I broke the “9:00 rule” on Saturday and Sunday.

But, I choose not to dwell on things like that. I acknowledged those thoughts and moved on. Negativity will get you nowhere. I know I’m not perfect.

Instead, I reminded myself that today is a new day and it’s a new week, so let’s see what we can accomplish. First, let’s find out how I “did” this week:

This week’s weight: 149.3

Weekly difference: + 0.6

Net weight loss: 2.3 lbs

See, just over half a pound. Nothing to get concerned about. I overdid a few things this weekend, plus sometimes the weight fluctuates for other reasons (hormones, stress, etc).

Especially after losing 2.9 lbs. last week, it’s almost a given to either stay the same or go up a little bit.

This morning when I was getting ready for work, I had an overwhelming sense of loving my body. I treat it well most of the time and I definitely give it plenty of exercise!

I’m happy and comfortable where I am. Jelly beans and amaretto sours aside, I eat very well most of the time. I feel the best I ever have. Running is going great! Life is good.

And while I am hoping to get some results from this challenge, it is mostly about helping the hungry and inspiring my co-workers to get healthy themselves.

Goals for this week

  • Get in at least 2 days of strength training (only got 1 last week)
  • Absolutely NO diet sodas (I have lost control with them and artificial sweeteners make me eat more)
  • Stay positive! 🙂

What are your goals for this week?

Pound for Pound: Week 2

Did you miss Week 1?

This week, I was feeling really good going into the weigh in. I did not care what the number on the scale said, honestly. I do care about this challenge because it is for a good cause but I figure, even if I don’t lose the weight I pledged, I can make a donation to my local food bank instead. 🙂

What really matters is that I am pushing myself, just a little bit, in the realms of healthy eating and exercising. This past week, I managed to get in some sort of activity every single day last week, thanks to a week long gym pass, and it feels so good. I took a body pump-type class, 4 yoga classes (!), and also managed to get 4 decent runs in (on the treadmill) over the course of the week.

God bless the Cardio Cinema! I am so sad my pass ran out though 😦

My eating was also much improved over last week, with only two instances where I broke the “9:00 rule.” I had a little trouble with portion control (dang tortilla chips) at a gathering on Saturday night but one time isn’t going to kill me. However, I did journal every day!

I am also hearing great things from my team members so far. There are 9 other people doing this challenge with me, all at various levels of health and fitness. Being their “Captain” so far has been a great experience. I’ve been sending them emails and messages and hearing back from almost of all of them on a weekly basis.

Being able to share my knowledge and experience of improving my overall health (not just weight loss) is such an honor.

So, let’s see how I did this week!

  • Last week’s weigh in: 151.6 lbs
  • This week’s weigh in: 148.7 lbs
  • Difference: -2.9 lbs

Now, I don’t usually lose that much in a week. I’m chalking it up to something being weird last week, since my weight was 148.5 just two weeks ago. But I did use the same scale as last week, wore the same clothes, etc. Just don’t look at my 2.9 lbs loss and be discouraged. This is just me and this is not normal!

This week, I also had my friend Farrah do my measurements and body fat, which I find to be much more important numbers anyway. This way, if the scale does not go down any further, I can at least tell in what areas I am making some progress.

Measurements (in inches):

  • Neck – 12.75
  • Shoulders – 41
  • Chest – 37.25
  • Waist – 32.75
  • Hips – 39.25
  • Waist-to-hip ratio: 0.83 (moderate risk – ideally this should be below 0.80)
  • Arms – L: 12.75, R: 13.5
  • Forearms – L: 9, R: 8.75
  • Thighs – L: 23, R: 23.25
  • Calves – L: 15, R: 14.5 

Body fat percentage (using calipers): 26.2%

I am happy to have those measurements done for now and it will be interesting to look back at the end of June and see what progress I have made.

Ideally, I would like to see my body fat get at least under 25%, if not 20%. I’d like the waist-to-hip ratio to come down a bit too. Those are the only measurement-based goals I have.

As for my eating habits, I feel like I did pretty good on the goals I set last week. I will be keeping these up into the coming week and set a new goal when I get the inspiration!