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Guess I'll figure out exercise soon

Hi friends!

Yesterday, I posted about my renewed efforts to journal my eating habits in order to fight off any additional weight gain and hopefully lose what I’ve put on the past few months. In addition to eating too much, my exercise habits have been suffering terribly.

I did pretty good last week and over the weekend I did a lot of walking. I’m still going to try to move as much as possible, but as far as structured exercise or stepping foot in a gym…I’m just not feeling it right now.

I skipped the gym yesterday because I had a doctor’s appointment that took forever and I ran out of time, then today I brought my clothes but I just can’t picture it happening.

I’m sure I could talk myself into it and get a modest workout in, but I’d rather wait until I am feeling 100%.  Until I am excited about it again. There is a bigger story to all of this but it’s not something I’m ready to post about just yet.

The past few days of food journaling have been great, so I’m hopeful that regular, beneficial exercise will fall back in line soon enough.

Thanks for your support 🙂

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!

Back on track

I just wanted to take this moment to share something with you today. You might remember, back in July, I was experiencing a slight weight gain that startled me a bit. I was also tired, somewhat unmotivated and bored with my “routine.” The summer seems to be a time of temptation for me too, with holidays, cookouts and birthday parties galore.

Once I did some investigating (thank goodness for this blog), I found that I was eating too much and exercising too much for my body. I had lost a bit of control. I also had a sneaking suspicion that some of the sugary foods I was eating were not only NOT satisfying me, but that they could’ve been increasing my hunger.

I decided to start with reducing the sugar in my diet first (checking labels, cutting back on fruit and watching “bad” carbs like baked goods and processed snacks) and I was immediately impressed. My energy was better. Food tasted better. Workouts were more productive. It’s amazing how getting a chemical out of your body will do that 😉 I also realized how carb-dependent and heavy my diet was and I made adjustments to that as well. There is nothing wrong with carbs…I just had that “pyramid mentality” of thinking I needed at least 7 ounces a day and that’s just not the case.

Then, just 8 short weeks ago today, I got really serious. I started counting calories again, though not obsessively, and I realized that I had been eating more because I thought it was what I had to do, instead of listening to my body and paying attention to my habits. Once I started tracking, I could see what days resulted in what calorie intakes and it all started making sense again. I don’t set a range for myself, I just tally up what I have for the day. I know I’m going to have to eat more on days I work out, around my menstrual cycle, and due to some other biological factors. Somedays, especially if I’m not very active, I will eat less.

But having that sheet in front of me also showed that I sometimes eat out of stress, boredom, etc. and I believe I have remedied that now. I think I might almost be a recovering emotional eater! Tracking my meals also helps me plan for the week and be super efficient at grocery shopping. I’m spending less money now and using up lots of things that have been sitting around the house for too long.

I have a very healthy relationship with calorie tracking now. I don’t try to limit my numbers or beat myself up if they go above a certain range. I just live.

And I have noticed that since I’ve been doing that, reducing sugar, and controlling portions again, I eat much less. I don’t eat out of habit or by the clock anymore. I’m not eating a certain number of calories because so and so eats that much. I have stopped comparing myself to other people, other runners, other women my age and size. We are all so different!

I eat when I am hungry, with real foods that I want to eat (not that I think I have to) which satisfy me, with an occasional “treat” (but not every day). Sometimes I don’t need a snack after dinner. Sometimes I don’t need one mid-morning. Sometimes I have a light lunch or a heavy dinner. Sometimes I’m not hungry for breakfast first thing in the morning, so I wait until I am.  Nothing wrong with any of that.

On the exercise front, I have still been working out 5-6 days a week. But I’m not killing myself anymore. I still get a good mixture of cardio, weight training and yoga when I have the time. But I went from sweaty, long and intense workouts that made me want to pass out to shorter, more moderate level workouts that still make me sweat, but don’t zap my energy for the rest of the day. That don’t leave me too tired that I can’t do anything when I get home from work. That don’t make me extraordinarly hungry for the rest of the day and so on. I don’t rely on “calories burned” to determine the quality of my workout anymore. I don’t set time limits…even small bouts of exercise are effective.

Right now, the only thing that matters to me is that I am moving. That I am having fun. That I am honoring my body by giving it what it needs and not pushing it too hard. A little pushing is okay 😉 If I need to rest, like yesterday, then darn it, I will rest. There is nothing wrong with taking a day (or two) off now and then. And naps are such a good thing too!

I also weigh myself reguarly, one time per week, always on Monday mornings before I eat breakfast. I find it is a good way for me to start off the week. Whether it is up or down, it gives me the motivation to set some weekly goals, even if that is just to keep doing the same things. But this works FOR ME and I know not everyone can see it this way. In fact, I used to let a weigh in disrupt my entire week. Now, it is just a side note. I’ve even had slightly “up” weeks since I started this new “track” but I haven’t let it affect me negatively.

Well folks, it has all paid off. In the last 8 weeks, I have lost exactly 10 lbs. I am still not back down to my “happy weight” yet, but I am very happy with where I am at right now. I feel great and I feel the healthiest I have EVER been. I love my diet, my workouts, and the way my clothes fit. I love not being stressed out about food or exercise anymore. Everything seems to be back on track.

I just want to say that if there is something you are struggling with in your life, including weight, don’t give up. Don’t succumb to the stress and the pressure. Search yourself, be intuitive and find a healthy balance for you and only you. Use others as inspirations but not guides. Listen to your body and only speak to yourself positively. If you think you might need professional help, don’t be afraid to seek it out. I think it takes more bravery to do that than anything. You are worth it.

Be kind to yourselves and each other. God bless 🙂