Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review...Resolutions vs. Decisions

2011 has been an interesting year.  While I sit here reflecting on the year, I may not be 100% happy with where I am right at this moment, but I won't let that overshadow what I've achieved.  Let's review my goals for 2011 and how I did.


Goal #1: Get faster at my 5k (3.1 miles) running time.
My fastest 5k in 2010 was 42:27. 
My fastest 5k in 2011 was 32:16.  GOAL ACHIEVED!

Goal #2: Run a 10k race (6.2 miles)
Finished my first 10k race, running the entire time, in 1hour 11 minutes on Thanksgiving day. 


Goal #1: Reach ONE-derland (weigh less than 200 pounds).
Reached ONE-derland on March 5, 2011.  GOAL ACHIEVED!

Goal #2: Reach 100 pounds lost, from 285 to 185.
Reached 185 pounds on August 31, 2011.  GOAL ACHIEVED!


Goal #1: Healthy Cholesterol panel.
In August 2009, triglycerides were at 228, in August 2011, measured 106.   GOAL ACHIEVED!

Goal #2: Healthy resting heart rate.
In August 2009, resting heart rate was 112, in August 2011, measured 61.  GOAL ACHIEVED!

Goal #3:  Not need that horrid C-Pap Machine to sleep - cure my sleep apnea.
Current report as of 12/31/11.  Only used the machine a few times in 2009...suffered with exhaustion for awhile...but have not snored since 2010!  Sleep apnea cured! (according to me; the doctors can stuff it on this one as they told me I would never be cured of sleep apnea, even with losing weight - the CPap machine industry is a racket if you ask me).  GOAL ACHIEVED!

You might be reading the above thinking it's a bit of overkill.  How many times is she going to say "goal achieved?"  AS MANY TIMES AS I ACHIEVE GOALS. 

That's right.

Every goal you set and achieved along your journey, no matter how big or small, needs to be celebrated.

I'm sitting here on New Years eve, December 31, 2011, thinking over my last year and considering the next year.  The entire months of November and December have been a bit of a "bust" as I've traveled like a fiend and been slightly "off" for a few months, then completely off track for the last few weeks.  A nasty cold led to not running and all the travel led to me backsliding alot in my eating.  I absolutely physicaly feel like CRAP right now and I know exactly why.

So January 1st is tomorrow, and like the last two January 1sts I've celebrated, for me it will not mean making "resolutions" that won't last.  It's about setting new goals for 2012.  Because, I have proven that I CAN achieve the goals I set for myself. 

And while I'm ending this year, likely up about 10 pounds from a few months ago (ouch - will confirm when I arrive home tomorrow), I am still VERY PLEASED with my 2011 progress and all of the awesome goals I've achieved. 

And VERY HOPEFUL about 2012.

Here is an excerpt from a blog post this time last year, where I talked about the difference between RESOLUTIONS and DECISIONS.

Lets start by talking about New Years Resolutions.

{insert groan here}

This is where I go on a serious rant, so please depart if you have found the wrong page (lol).

Because the word resolution takes on such a flippant meaning in our culture.

The dictionary defines resolution as:
"the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc."

Our culture defines resolution as:
"something we do every January 1st as kind of a joke, sometimes with all intentions of breaking it by Valentine's day, if we make it that far and then we'll all laugh about how badly scraped we are from falling off the wagon and letting it drag us 300 yards."

To me, diets are like resolutions. Diets from the start, are doomed to fail. For every person that says "but this diet really worked for me" I have to ask a hundred times "if it worked, why oh why are you having to do it again?"

If something works, it works forever.

Does it need new batteries sometimes? Yes. But it still works. Diets have no warranty. You can't get your money back. But they are for sale everywhere. And they all claim to be "it." Trust me, take it from a girl who has lost 100 pounds. I sort of know what I'm talking about here. When you get ueber restrictive, you will automatically resent it from the start. The diet is all that stands between you and ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and french fries. The diet is why you are miserable at the buffet. The diet causes you to hate yourself when you slip up. The diet makes you physically uncomfortable when someone (or everyone) brings in birthday cake. The diet makes you snippy with your family and makes you kick your dog.

How unfair to everyone around you...and how unfair to YOU.

Diets spun from resolutions just give you a short term good feeling before your resentment wins out and then they leave you with self-loathing, anger and sometimes more weight than you came into the diet with! How in a million years is that worth it? Not to mention most of the popular ones cost money! Forget it!

So I challenge you to ditch resolutions in the American sense for 2012 and ditch your silly temporary diet plans...and make DECISIONS instead to be healthy in 2012 and forever.

The dictionary definition of Decision is:
"the act of or need for making up one's mind."

I love that. Making up your mind. That is what a healthy lifestyle is all about. I had to decide, like really truly honestly decide that my life and health was worth a little bit of hard work (ok a lot of hard work) and some sacrifice. And I didn't change everything overnight.

This business of starting to be crazy restrictive on January 1st is ludicrous. And unlikely to last.

Instead, once you've decided, really decided (and seriously, I mean decided, not just wished, hoped and thought about it) then you can begin to make changes.

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to determine if you're really ready to make this decision:

1) Am I willing to change the way I eat? Try new foods? Track my input (food) and output (exercise) until I've maintained my healthy weight for 6 months?
2) Am I willing to MAKE time to exercise, doing something active at least 3-5 days/week?
3) Am I sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do I want to feel good? Do I want to live again?

If you can say "yes" to all of these questions, then you might just be ready. But it doesn't stop there.

Now the logistics.  Here is a to-do list once you've made your decision:

1) Talk to your family. They have GOT to decide to support you. If they are going to be eating fried twinkies while you eat as many super foods as you can cram on your plate, I can tell you this is not going to last. Ask your family if they are willing to go on this journey with you. Don't cut all their favorite foods out of the house (this is where self-control really comes in). But ask them to support you and cheer you on, and help them realize that not having crap for food in the house will help you immensely.

2) Talk to your doctor. Don't ever start an eating or exercise program without talking to your doctor about what would be best for you. I'm not a doctor, I'm just a fat girl who knows what worked for me...there is my disclaimer.  Some of you may have issues with sugar due to diabetic conditions, or other issues that may cause you to need to eat differently than me, or others you know who are trying to get healthy.  It is really an individual thing when it comes to health. 

3) Research and find some activity/exercise that you might enjoy. Be willing to try different things! Not everyone will want to be a runner like me! Maybe you will like cycling? Maybe swimming? Shoot, I started just by walking! Do what you can... just MOVE.

4) Make a list of healthy lifestyle changes you want to make. Here is an excerpt from my list August 2009:

*reduce caffeine
*drink water - go for 64 ounces.
*eat less fried food
*move more - do something active 5 days/week
*eat more vegetables
*makeover favorite fattening recipe into a healthier one

I made these changes one at a time.  Small, incremental, doable changes.  Not cold turkey, overnight misery.

5) Research and educate yourself about nutrition.  The more you know, the better your decisions will be.  Research Super Foods. Go ahead, google it. Or take a look at this article on Web md: Super Foods Article .
Set a goal to try to incorporate super foods into every single day. You won't regret it - and I guarantee you will find you like more foods than you gave a chance ever in your life. I can totally say that. I love asparagus, broccoli and fresh spinach more than I ever thought I could. And I'm being completely serious here and have not been brainwashed by farmers of green items.

So are you in yet? Think this over...and DECIDE. Really decide to make a change. I know if I can do it, you totally can.

My 11 year career in human resources and my degree in marketing have absolutely not prepared me for this journey. I have made this journey my own and constantly learn as I go. And you can do the same!


I will be working on a blog post of my goals for 2012, and should be ready to post that this week.  For now, as I reflect on 2012, I encourage you to celebrate the goals you've achieved.  Even if, right this moment, you aren't where you expected you would be. 

Maybe you've made poor choices for the last few weeks of the holidays (like me) or the last few months (ahem - still like me).  Maybe you aren't sure you can make a lasting change.  I'm here to tell you that you CAN.  And if you set some good, realistic and achieveable goals for 2012, you will.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Me and Mud Mountain

You may have wondered where I have been lately.  Well, aside from being insanely busy with some year end projects at work, I have also struggled with what I could say here.  Yep.  Been busy, but partly avoiding you on purpose.  Sorry.

In the last almost 2 years since I began blogging, I have developed a feeling of responsibility to all of you who are reading.  I feel responsible for giving you good advice, sharing my successes and struggles, and overall leaving you with things to ponder and encouragement to run with.  There is a blog I read where I feel the blogger seems to have good intentions but jumps from diet to diet, and excuse to excuse, never finding success and never moving forward but never admitting they fail, just jumping to the next thing, exclaiming "this must be it!  this will work!"  Until it doesn't.  Again.  It pains me to read blogs like that; its like a bad train wreck though and I can't look away.  I keep hoping they will get it.

So that huge sense of responsibility has kept me from blogging since my 10k debrief at Thanksgiving.  I have not felt like I had anything encouraging to say, and I was struggling.  It's not like I want to pretend this is an easy, perfect journey, I've been painfully honest before for anyone to accuse me of that.  I just didn't have the words.  And maybe, until this last 24 hours, didn't really understand what was happening anyway.

This last 20 pounds is anything but a cinch. In fact, if you look at my weight loss, I have only lost 3 pounds since I finally hit 100 pounds down on August 31st.  So that means I have lost a little over 1 pound a month for two months.  Um...slow weight loss much?  I'm even struggling there as I keep gaining and losing the same 3 pounds it seems.  I'm back up to 185.  It seems to be my body's favorite number.

Now to be fair, my body is still changing as well. I'm now solidly in a size 12, and even have some dresses that are 10s that fit me well.  I can physically see some changes, but I can also see, and admit honestly to myself, that I have another 20 pounds at least to lose, not due to the stupid BMI chart, but due to seeing the fat on my body and knowing my body fat % is not yet considered healthy (I actually think that chart is right).

So I'm done being fair, and if you follow my facebook page you know that I have mentioned a "slippery slope" here and there.  Let me explain.

My metaphor is that building and changing your lifestyle is sometimes a bit like running up a muddy mountain.  You see footprints ahead of you so you know it is possible to climb it.  You feel strong when you are at the bottom and begin your ascent and sometimes you even make it ten steps (or days/weeks/months) before you slide backward.  There are times you are using your hands and feet, to steady yourself, pull yourself upward, and at other times, you have to have friends giving you a shove from behind in the right direction.  But you continue to look up.  Every success keeps you focused on the peak.  Every failure makes you want to look down...and then you slide a little bit more.  This slope is unforgiving, yet encouraging.  Many have climbed, lost and slid home.  Many have climbed, pushed through, achieved their goals and the climb is a distant memory.  Some, like me, are close to the top but continue to slide backward.

I have yet to crest this mountain my friends.  And I think I know why.  I have baggage holding me back.

I've addressed having issues with food on here.  I'm an emotional eater at heart with little self-control.  Ok, stop gasping, those that have only known me since on this journey, believe it or not I am not fixed of that issue.  But I really think it is more than just being an emotional eater which has become very clear to me in the last few weeks.

I think I am addicted to food.

Oh the sense of relief I'm feeling right now from admitting that out loud, or typing it out loud.  Same thing these days; I did say it out loud to my friend this morning as we were running.

Hello, my name is Clara, and even though I have lost 100 pounds, I am still addicted to food.  I am still on the slippery slope and right now I am hanging on for dear life. 

Last night, I consciously chose to eat something I would never have touched 6 months ago.  Chicken fingers, french fries and a biscuit from Bojangles.  It smells good when people in the office eat there, but they have all discouraged me from eating there as they know my general food rules.  And I ate there anyway.  This followed a day of many unplanned treats, as vendor gifts are pouring in by the basketful. 

All of this is following a few months of more travel than normal and being busier than ever.  I think I began to go sideways on Mud Mountain.  I was using both hands and feet, but not moving forward.  Just sideways.

I've come full circle and am back where I was in August.

Listen, this is still not the worst place to be.  I am happy with my progress.  But I realize there will not be further progress until I fight this food addiction head on.

Know how I came to this realization?

Through other people.

Now, no one has staged an intervention (though I would really welcome one if any of you are interested), I haven't had anyone sit me down and tell me they are concerned, and I am not upset with anyone for supposedly sabotaging me.  None of that has happened.

A few comments here and there are what clued me in to the realization last night that something was not right.

Last month while traveling, I had the opportunity to eat at a really awesome restaurant in SC.  The food selection was incredible. I absolutely could have made a good choice.  But the sweet potato chips sounded really good, and how bad could they be?  So I made the choice to have pretty much an entire plate of fried food.  FOOD FAIL.  Fried crab cakes (which were not actually good compared to the broiled ones), hush puppies, sweet potato chips and fried shrimp.  And lots of diet coke to wash it down.  A comment was made, by someone who spends alot of work time with me, that they had never seen me eat anything fried.

Twisted my good ankle on Mud Mountain.  Continued to move sideways.

Later on that really sunk in.  In the 9 months I have worked for this new company, I have maintained my good eating habits in work situations; like when we all go out to lunch, etc.  Not perfect, but never ordering fried food.  This is how I lost the weight, and this is how they knew me.  Fried food was out of character.  Huh.

Then the food has just been rolling in, literally, over the past few weeks.  Holiday treats from vendors.  Amazing dipped this and that. Candy in the office.  Freaking cookies!  I have not had my snacks with me and therefore, I have indulged way more than I should have. 

I was hungry on Thursday afternoon and one of my co-workers offered me an apple.  I didn't want an apple, I said.  I wanted something else.  An apple would have been a perfect choice, and would have made me feel fuller longer.  My co-worker asked me if I was drinking my water like I usually do.  Another interesting, thought provoking comment.  I mean, I was drinking water.  But I haven't been up to my normal 4 bottles a day lately.  Clue #2 that me and Mud Mountain were preparing for departure.

I ended up eating a bag of popcorn from another co-worker. Popcorn really isn't the worst thing.  So why did I have to eat a bunch of maple dipped peanuts after that?  Seriously? Especially on a day where I already indulged in some chocolate covered raisins.

Then we went to a bonfire at a friends house and ate hot dogs, chili, chips, chocolate chip cookies and smores.  Yep.  All of that.

My body is freaking out.  Mud Mountain opened up a trap door and invited me to jump in.  I continued to shuffle sideways.

Yesterday I ended up indulging in more cookies, more double dipped maple nuts (yep TW that's where they went) etc.  And then I met Mr. Bojangles for dinner.  And he sang to me.

Full frontal face plant on Mud Mountain.  Complete with backward slide and bojangles man singing. 

When I got home with my food, my husband was shocked at what I had ordered for dinner.  He was being very careful, but was asking me questions about why I made that choice, etc.  I wasn't offended by his questioning, more just convicted by it.  He said he knows I feel better when I'm making better choices.  He just wants me to feel better.  I haven't even mentioned my diet coke consumption as of late.  Ridiculous.

I hugged Mud Mountain and we shared an ugly cry.

In all honesty, I haven't actually cried about this realization even though I should have.  It isn't like an earth shattering revelation that I am in shock about.  I think underneath my looking-good-in-my-size-12-exterior, I have simply been avoiding the fact that I have a problem I have not yet dealt with. 

And until I really learn about and deal with this problem, there will be no scaling this mountain. 

There it is, my friends. Challenge explained.  Now, what am I going to do about it?

I'm going to pray.  Alot.  If you have read my profile, you know I am a Christian.  I'm not going to judge you, so don't judge me...I won't be preachy here but I will honestly share what I truly believe is going to help me over this addiction that is blocking my access to the top of this mountain.  God is.

I am simply not strong enough on my own to do this.  Or, by now, 27 months after starting, it would be smooth ascent to the peak.

As described above, I'm between a ledge and a mudhole.  I need divine intervention.

My husband is a pastor, and my own prayer life, partly due to being busy but mostly due to not making time, has been anything but regular.  Yep, gasp again.  Preacher's wife is not a saint. :)

Today I will finish reading a book I've mentioned on Facebook called "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst.  She is a Christian author who writes in this book about satisfying your deepest desires with God, not food.

Since I began reading her book I've continued to struggle, though I've had some amazing realizations. 

At first, I was skeptical, as she talks about how she is pretty restrictive on treats in her diet.  I don't ever want to be diety, as you've heard me say a zillion times.  But as I read more, her rationale is that she may one day get to the point where she is strong enough to, say, bake 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies and only eat one and not sample the batter.  10 times.  But she isn't there yet.


But I was made for more than chocolate chip cookies and their evil dough.

There are tons of amazing thoughts, good, direct, thought provoking questions and relevant scriptures in this book.  Today, I'm going to purchase the workbook to go along with it and begin working through this food addiction once and for all.

I will take you along on the journey with me, if you're interested.  I almost have that feeling before you start a new exercise program, or start taking a new class at the gym. 

I have anticipation of healing this addiction.

I have excitement over being stronger than I've ever been and finally losing weight again.

I have joy knowing I am not on this journey alone.

It starts with asking that no one give me any food treats for Christmas.  If you want to give me a holiday mug, just give me the mug. :)  No candy, no cookies, etc.  I'm not swearing these things off, now, I may end up going cold turkey as I learn more about this issue and how to handle it; but as of this moment I'm not making a proclamation that sugar is the devil and I'm done with it.

Though it may be.  And I might be.

Time will tell.

Thanks for listening to my rant...and for praying for me if you feel so inclined.  I want so badly to have my light shine brightly for others; I desire to help anyone who wants it, to get healthy and love themselves more than food. 

My heart truly is in the right place.

Now lets get my head there.

Love you all,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 10k

Let's do an update on a few things that have happened during the last few weeks.

As you know, I have been experiencing some issues with my right foot.  Out of kind of nowhere, I started having pain after running, and then pain starting when I ran.  It happened kind of quickly.  According to the weight bearing xrays, for some reason the arch on my right foot is super or hyper pronating, causing the bones in my foot to roll inward, which then causes the bones on the top of my foot to smash together when I run, causing a new and special kind of pain.  My podiatrist said that had we not caught it sooner we would be looking at having arthritis set in.  Rather than get the custom $300 orthotics, I decided to give some different inserts a chance.

While these inserts have been working to some degree, I battled new blisters and finally went back to my older running shoes (not worn out, just not my favorite) and sort of found some balance. 

I ran my first 10k (6.2 mile) race on Thanksgiving.  It was an amazing experience.  I ran for 71 minutes straight.  I've never run more than 58 minutes, or 5 miles.  It was incredibly challenging, both physically and mentally.  The race was mostly trail, with some pavement.  I've never run on trails before, and always used the reasoning that it was due to my clumsiness.


I did survive ~ I just had to watch the ground more closely than usual.  At less than a mile I had rolled my good ankle (which happens to be attached to my bad foot) but it didn't hurt that bad so I kept going.

Something I've learned about myself is that I don't like to stop and walk.  Some people use the Galloway method of running, where they run some and walk some, always, even for marathon distances.  While Mr. Galloway has some very good reasoning behind his training, it is just not for me.  I don't discount others who do it, or their choice to take walk breaks. I just won't.  I find it much harder to run again, which is why my speed workouts once a week annoy me, though I know they are important.

That said, this race was not about finishing in a certain amount of time, or setting any records.  It was about running 6.2 miles without stopping.

Even up to the starting gun I was not 100% sure I would do it.  Could I do it, physically?  Sure.  I had run at least 5 miles more than once and felt like I could continue.

But I'm convinced that running is 90% mental.  No matter your amount or intensity of training, if your head isn't right, you will not do what you set out to do and you'll find yourself stopping short, and then being angry and disappointed.

I've experienced this in many training runs myself.

Throughout the course, there were several people doing the run/walk method, several of which finished before me (lol) but there was something else I noticed. Some of the people I passed around mile 4 and 5 who were walking looked utterly defeated.  They looked angry at themselves, and I sensed that they did not achieve what they had set out to achieve that day.  I could not help but feel empathy for them; and I wanted so badly to get them all revved back up to finish the race.  But I was having enough of a time keeping myself moving.  It's weird, but in every race, I am always the only one pacing at my pace.  I'm either that slow, or good at pacing while others burn out.  I pass alot of folks in the last 1/4 of races.

I tried to pace myself around an 11 minute mile (30 seconds slower per mile than my 5k pace), but it varied widely from 10 - 12 depending on the terrain.  I had to be careful as trail running has many little "obstacles" from mud to tree roots to pine cones, and at times the sun streaming in through the trees meant I could not see my feet at times.

I ran the entire race.  6.2 miles.  71 minutes straight.

The last half mile was the toughest for me.  Both knees hurt, and my foot was hurting.  I honestly know if I had stopped at that point I would have fallen over.  But I pushed through it.

Talk about pain.

But glorious pain it was.

Crossing that finish line felt amazing.  I still wonder if it really happened.  6.2 miles?  Just a little over a year ago 3.1 miles seemed an impossible feat.

My foot needed to be out of my shoe pretty much immediately.  Some ice and aleve later it felt fine.  Friday my ankle was killing me...good thing I have a checkup appt with my podiatrist on Tuesday.  I may try to run that morning.

In other news, I'm planning a post in my head for later on this week about the slippery slope I've found myself sliding down.  Stay tuned if you want to learn from my mishaps.  It will deal with a very real issue that I've been pulling back the layers on over the past few months.

For tonight, celebrate with me.  I have much to be thankful for this year, and reaching my 10k goal despite the issues with my foot prove that if you are determined enough, you can accomplish things you never imagined you would.  I still don't believe we can "all be anything and everything we dream" or we would all have record deals and sport contracts. But I do believe that if you find something you are good at, and practice it alot, you can amaze yourself.  I could easily have talked myself out of running that far on Thanksgiving day.  I could have come up with several really good excuses for it, and many of you would have agreed with my logic.

But I didn't.  Despite my own doubt, I did it.  And no one, and no thing (including foot pain) can erase that fact from my ongoing legacy.  It is now part of my history.  And a part I am particularly proud of.

Feels good.  Now, what's next goal-wise?  I'll be pondering that.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to NOT Gain Weight on Thanksgiving

Yep folks.  It is possible.  Completely, totally, utterly possible to enjoy Thanksgiving to its fullest WITHOUT GAINING AN OUNCE.

I should know. I've lost weight this week for 2 years in a row.  And I plan to do just that; or at least maintain, this week.

Want to know how?

1) MOVE YOUR TATER, NOT JUST YOUR FORK.  That's right.  Get off your tater and do something active first thing in the morning.  Go out for a walk, ride your bike, whatever your current fitness level allows.  But start the day off with a burn and it will help get your metabolism revved up for the day.  In fact, if time and schedule allows, go for a second walk later on after you eat.  You'll feel much less miserable than if you just sit there after you eat.

2) PLAN YOUR PLATE.  What do you LOVE to eat at Thanksgiving and what can you live without?  I try not to eat anything I don't absolutely love on a holiday like this one.  So choose those things you know you will really enjoy.  We have 2 meals to attend tomorrow, one at lunchtime the other one around dinner time.  I plan to eat at both.  I love my mother in law's "dressing" and sweet potato casserole.  I love my mom's stuffing, cranberry chutney and pumpkin pie. and I'll eat turkey at one place or the other.  I can live without the 12 other courses like mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans cooked with ham, salads, etc.  I also don't eat the crust of pumpkin pie as pie crust, which isn't even sweet, carries alot of the calories of that particular pie.  I plan my plate at each place and while I am fuller that day than normal, I'm not miserable.

3) ENJOY THE PEOPLE, NOT JUST THE PLATES.  This is key.  Thanksgiving isn't about gluttony, and yet we've turned it into that.  Think about what and who you are really thankful for and make that your focus.  Sure, the food is wonderful, and the traditions ring supreme in your childhood memories.  But more than the food, I love the togetherness this holiday brings; as well as the reflection on what blessings I've experienced this year.

Here's a short list of my blessings this year, in no particular order.

*A God who loves and forgives me of my failings, whom I can run to anytime, any day.
*My loving and supportive family and friends, specifically my amazing husband and sweet girl.
*An amazing job where I get to do what I do best every day.
*Better health than I've ever had in my life.
*Enough.  We have enough.  Not excess, we aren't rich, but our needs have been supplied.
*Boots that zip up my calves.
*Strong, muscular calves that made it tough to find boots to fit. :)
*Wearing a size 12 after living miserably as a 24 for a long time.
*A body that allows me to RUN.  Legs that work, lungs that respond.  The new goal to celebrate in the morning of running 10k (6.2 miles) for the first time ever!

I AM BLESSED and have so much to be thankful for this year.  How about you?


Saturday, November 5, 2011

So Much Has Happened!

Where to start?

I went to a podiatrist on Tuesday morning.  The first thing they did was x-rays - I wondered what the heck another x-ray would do, until I realized these were weight bearing x-rays.  So I stood on my bad foot and let them take more pictures. 

The doctor came in and showed me the pictures.  It is kind of amazing to see what is happening to my foot.  It is not fractured, that is the good news.  However, I have bruised the bone...

What is happening is my arch is no longer supporting my weight - so when I put weight on my foot, my bones are starting to hyper-pronate, which means the foot is rolling inward.  This causes my metatarsals to hit against my talus bone (top of my foot) in a new and special, er, painful way.  He said we caught this early; many times it turns into arthritis.

Solution?  He said custom orthotics.  I asked how long it would take before I could run again.  He said as soon as I had my orthotics. 

So Thursday I went to have an impression made of my foot.  When I got there, I asked what the actual diagnosis code was on my prescription.  She looked it up and said, "huh, it says Black Heel."  I googled that and it is a skin condition on your foot where it turns black...not what is happening to me.  I realized it must be wrong. 

When I met with the orthotic specialist I told him I wasn't comfortable with the fact that the dx code was incorrect...could we find out more?  We talked about what was going on with my foot.

Turns out this guy treats a number of members from the local runners club.  He said he wasn't sure if I needed these orthotics - that maybe an over the counter insert he is very familiar with would work.  He found my doctor, talked it over with him and returned.

Solution - spend $20 on over the counter inserts (made by Spenco) before spending $300 on orthotics that might not work anyway...and are non-refundable.

He sent me to a drug store and I picked up a pair of the inserts.

I could not WAIT for Friday morning so I could try them out.

I made it an entire mile before it started hurting...then I walked home.  I had put the inserts in my minimalist shoes (Brooks Green Silence) and they have pretty much zero arch while it was better than without, it was not quite right.

So combo #2 was up this morning.  Spenco inserts in my Brooks GTS 12s.  I had some pain while running but then it sort of went away.  My foot was even a little numb.  I decided to keep going and ran 2 miles.  The funny part is, once I've run, it hurts the rest of the day.  But while I'm running it is bearable. 

Because I know there will be long term effects until I get this figured out, I am back to the drawing board again.

So today I put together Combo #3.  Spenco Inserts with my Brooks GTS 12s, and an additional arch insert in my right shoe.

I plan to try Combo #3 in the morning.  I need to know what is going to work before I fly out Monday!  I am going to the hotel gym each morning, even if that means I only get to do the elliptical. 

I'm just so excited to be back out there somehow.  Even if right now my foot is hurting and I need to ice it again. :)

No pain no gain, right?

Or loss that is.

I did ok eating wise this week.  Not as bad as last week.  Not as good as it could have been.  I'm continuing to work through my head issues; did you know that those are never truly fixed?

You can adjust habits, get on a good roll, but you will always, always face challenges with food if you started off with food issues to begin with.

Does it get easier?  Sure!

But it is never something you're cured of.  Having lost 100 pounds in 2 years I definitely can attest to that.

Please know I mean for that to be informational, not discouraging.  I think its important for people to realize that this journey is not easy.

But it is SO worth it.

Going to try to post some outfit pictures this week.  Have done some shopping lately and found some awesome new duds.  I'm trying to buy things that I will be able to wear 20 pounds from now still.  I invested in a black blazer that will likely fit me forever. 

That is what makes it worth it. :)

Big hugs to all of you out there...will be better about blogging my updates this week!


What I ate today:

Breakfast: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Lunch: Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich, small chili
PM snack: shared some Junior mints with my wee one
Dinner: Loaded Baked potato soup (homemade)
Dessert: healthy pumpkin muffins

ran 2 miles...and shopped shopped shopped!  Total of 2800 cals burned all day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 1 of Possible Broken Foot Saga

Hey all, so Day 1 went ok.  I did get up early and rode my exercise bike for a half hour.  I turned up the intensity/resistance to 7 so it was harder than normal (I keep it at a 4 most of the time).  Lots of sweat so that is a good sign.

Started off well with eating..had a few minor slips here and there but all in all pretty good.

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios with Almond Milk
Snack: Banana
Lunch:  Half bbq chicken salad and cup of chicken noodle soup from Panera with wheat roll
Snack: 2 pumpkin muffins (made with just pumpkin and cake mix - they were good!) and 6 Candy Corn Pumpkins. 
Dinner: Grilled chicken salad

Yes.  I gave in on the pumpkins.  But really, 6 pumpkins is nowhere near as bad as it could have been...

Am I rationalizing?  Maybe.  I promised you I would blog the truth, so here it is.  Good, bad, and in-between.  :) 

One VERY positive decision I made today - I packaged up the rest of the candy corn and gave it to someone upstairs.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with an ortho doc/podiatrist.  Hoping he sends me right away for the MRI so I can get that done quickly and know before the week is out what the prognosis is.  I learned tonight that this particular doctor is big on casts.  That will NOT be fun especially given I am traveling all week next week.  But at worst, I think I'll end up with an air boot.  We'll see.

Will let you know how tomorrow goes!  Got another date with the exercise bike in the morning - scintillating!  Yeah, a little sarcasm never hurt anyone, right?

It's all good.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's All in the Plan

I have spent this entire day wallowing.

Sad faced, slow moping, eating crap "comfort" food wallowing.

I didn't eat dinner since lunch was so ridiculous, we all just snacked tonight.  And I made cookies (half a batch, but STILL). 

Did it help?


But with all the wallowing came some planning.  If you know me well, you know having a plan is huge for me.  I have to know what's next.  And with my healthy lifestyle its been no different.  Planning is a HUGE key aspect to my success.

Planning meals.  Planning activity.  Planning for speed bumps.

And man, have I hit a big one.

I'm 90% sure I have fractured my right foot.  On the top of it, above the butterfly tattoo.  I took a week off, as nothing showed on the x-ray but about 3/4 of a mile in to my run today, I felt that familiar pain.  I ran a mile, then walked the mile home.  Completely and utterly bummed.  Apparently stress fractures don't show up on an x-ray right away anyway.

I wanted to cry several times today but have held it in.  It isn't going to help.  And my nose will be stuffy/runny and then I'll have a headache. Nope, not cry worthy.  Yet anyway. It might be when the doc tells me how long to stay off it now...

So, today was about asking for prayer and having pity on myself.  I literally dreamed about running last night, so to wake up and get to go this morning after a week off was amazing.  It made the letdown that much harder to bear, however, when the pain came back.

So tomorrow I'll be calling the dr back and letting her know what the sitch is...and asking for an MRI to be set up.  Once we know for sure what's going on, then we'll go from there.  I don't think I'll need to wear a boot or anything like that, but it will probably be flat shoes and little to no weight bearing activity.

No running.

No Zumba.

No Tae Bo.

No Biggest Loser workouts.

Freaking UGH!

Now that I've sufficiently wallowed, the dust is settling, I have a tummy ache and am in need of a plan.  I only have 5 days to get this worked out with the dr as I fly out next Monday on a 4 day trip.  I need to have my routine figured out before I go so I can still work out while traveling.

Yep, I am not taking {insert # of weeks} off completely. I WILL find something I can do and I will DO it.

And I will rid my office of the candy corn tomorrow morning.

It is really difficult to eat well when I'm not running.  I don't know if its because I associate my food more with fuel when it is being used as such, but I need to remember that even if I'm not running, my body still needs good, healthy fuel to run efficiently.

I only rode my exercise bike once this week.  My butt goes numb after awhile and I get bored (its a recumbent bike).  Starting tomorrow, I'm going to get up early, bump up the resistance, then ride it for an hour at least.  I have a book I've been trying to read so I can do that simultaneously.

So the plan consists of eating within my range, and making the BEST choices I can, and exercising in the BEST way I can.  At least doing something.

And for some reason, when I decide it, say it, blog it and plan it, 9 times out of 10 it becomes my reality.

Last week I spent too much time denying that I could really be that injured and just trying to get through the stupid week so I could run again and everything would be fine.

This week I'm going to deal with it head on, make the best of an undesirable situation, and blog as much as I can for accountability.

Sound like a plan?

Good.  I needed one.

As much fun as its been to wallow, it has gotten me nowhere.  Fortunately it was only a day.

Setbacks are going to happen on your healthy lifestyle journey.  This isn't my first injury.  It's my first "not cool story" injury.  But despite any setbacks I've experienced, I've always come out stronger and still overall successful.

I may not be running a 10k on Thanksgiving.  But I will still be giving thanks for a number of things.

Catch you tomorrow for my first accountability post of the week.  I'll be including a "what I ate" and "what activity I did" as well as an update on my foot.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Better Safe than Sorry...

So, I just returned from the doctor's office...let me back up a few days to give you the scoop.

On Saturday I had a glorious run.  It was beautiful outside, I felt great, so I just kept on going.  A total of 5 miles in 56 minutes.  It felt amazing.

About mile 4, my right foot started to hurt, on the top of it, then it went numb.  Wasn't a terrible pain, but when I felt like going past 5 miles, I decided not to push my luck, just in case.

Sunday I ran 2 miles, just a quick run.  It hurt for about a half mile, then was fine.

Yesterday afternoon my wee one wanted to go for a walk.  I laced up my shoes but could not walk more than a mile with her, my foot hurt so bad.


So today I called the sports med place in Dothan, which couldn't get me in until Friday morning.  I'm not the type to sit around and wait for the scoop on whatever might be going on, so I went to the urgent care instead as I knew they had xray machines.

While they cannot see a fracture, they didn't rule it out.  The radiologist still has to look at the films, but in the meantime, the doc has put me off of my foot for 1 week.  No weight bearing activities.


Yep, that about sums up how I feel about that.  They gave me this adorable post-op shoe to wear - it feels like it is the wrong foot, and as I was adjusting the strap, it broke (oh, darn!) so I will be looking for something else to wear, or I may just wear flats all week.

I had my Zumba clothes in the car.

I could not be more bleh about all of this right now.

But if I have learned anything from being sidelined in the past, its better to be safe than sorry.  I know this personally.

And if I want to run that 10k in 4 weeks, I'd better err on the side of caution.

That is so hard for me - I'm not at all a cautious person (in this regard anyway, I am when it comes to being a passenger in a vehicle - lol).

So please pray for my sanity this week.  I have to make it to Sunday with no running or Zumba.  I'm going to ride my recumbent exercise bike until my butt goes numb, but that won't register any calories burned on the Bodybugg so I'm preparing myself for another bleh week.

My weigh in by the way, yesterday, was terrible.  I was up a pound.  What the HECK?  I think it must be sodium from the traveling last week.  Or the movie theater popcorn and fro yo I had for dinner on Friday  night.  But come ON, I ran 5 miles on Saturday...should have mitigated ALL of that.

Or not.

This whole exact science of losing weight is ANYTHING but exact.

But, I digress.

The point of this post was to ask for prayer.  I'm at risk at this moment of eating all 4 of the leftover jillian michael's healthy brownies (therefore defeating the purpose of them being healthy brownies).  I'm trying really hard not to let myself just give up, even for a day.  I won't be very happy with myself if I do.

Hang in there with me and say a prayer for me, will ya?


Sunday, October 16, 2011

And the Secret is...Focus

What an incredible week.

I wondered how I would feel reporting to the world today about everything.  My most recent weigh in, the crazy hilly race yesterday, how I was doing with my eating.

Well, I am very happy to say that I have good news.  On ALL fronts.

As you know I spent much of September losing and gaining the same 3 pounds.  Well, I have finally released them forever.  Well, Mandisa says released - she says you shouldn't say lost as you really don't want to find them.  But maybe since released sounds kinda gross I will say exterminated.  Wait.  Not much better.

Back to the point, I am excited that I've lost another 2 pounds past my 100 pound mark.  I'm solidly 183 now.  I honestly don't remember the last time I was there and actually stayed there.  Probably around that weight when we got married, but again, I gained it back quickly.  Stopping your program will do that to you.

Duh, right?

This weigh in was great as last Sunday I weighed 185.8 and it sucked.  I was so miserable about it, but I faithfully reported it to my Body Bugg program and waited while it told me I must be sneaking oreos.  Really, it just adjusts your intake amount for the last week and accuses you of eating way more than you tracked.  Not very fair I felt, though this week it ended up jacking my intake down saying I had eaten less than I reported since I lost 2.6 pounds.  It is making me realize that while losing weight is scientific (less calories in, more calories burned), it isn't a one-size-fits-all perfect, fault-proof science.  Although when I really think about it, here is what I've come to realize.

If I compare my calories this week to those of weeks prior, the amount I ate wasn't necessarily that different.


Not Quantity.

Sick of hearing that quality is more important than quantity?  Yeah, me too.  But bear with me here.

Want to know the difference between this week and other weeks?

I ate BETTER food.  Healthier.  Got in my fruit and veggie servings.  AND my daily dark chocolate.

And I didn't crave weird junk food.  Dessert still taunted me at that buffet I was telling you about the other day (the one with the white devil pasta).  But I conquered it.

And again, I'm that much stronger.

So what's the "secret?"  There really isn't just one thing.  It's a combination of good choices that moves you in the direction of success.  And if something isn't working, its time to re-evaluate, get dead honest with yourself and change something.  Anything.  Shock your body for once.  Get it out of its routine.

My break did that for me - not only giving my knee time to heal, but giving me a chance to rest and reset.  I needed a brain break too I think.

One choice I made this week was going daily with my chocolate again.  Dark chocolate every day is going to have to be my thing.  In fact, the dark chocolate of choice has been those mini-york peppermint patties.  Oh my heaven.  Just one tiny one is enough to satiate me. 50 calories of happiness.  And during the day I've been fine since I started doing that regularly again.  Worth it.

Another choice was making sure I got my water in - and planning my meals and sticking to my plan.

More choices - my activity.  I ran Monday morning, did Tae Bo on Tuesday night, ran Wednesday morning and did Zumba Wednesday night, then ran again Thursday and took Friday off as a rest day before my 5k race Saturday.  Yeah, pretty active week.  And I'm planning another one right behind it.  Because my body is responding well to it.

My focus has been a little off lately.  I've been focusing on the scale not moving, my cravings being out of whack, and wondering if I'd ever get under 185 for serious.

What got me back into my groove was putting my eyes back on the small steps that it will take for me to meet my goal.  Each time I exercised.  That much closer.  Every healthier food choice.  That much closer.  Every blog post where I'm pouring my heart out to potentially no one but its still cathartic...That much closer.

Let's talk about the race yesterday.  I will likely get misty eyed.

I ran my best race time EVER.  32:16.  This same race last year, I ran in 40:04.  What a difference a year makes. Check out the difference in the two photos:

June 2010 - October 2011  1st 5k race vs 7th 5k race

Champions of Hope race 2010 vs 2011 40 pounds lighter

At the start line I was nervous as usual.  Unsure of myself and my ability. But all week I had felt this freakish determination like I was going to kill this race.  I had no idea how, as I knew it was the hardest race I'd ever run.  They even changed the course but talking it over with someone before hand it didn't change for the "easier."  Just multiple, different hills.  Fortunately no time to be nervous.

I looked around and instantly felt overwhelmed with emotion.

Everyone wore these - and several had more than one name on it like mine did.
It was amazing to see all of these names flying around me.  Everyone was running with a purpose. With a focus.  I vowed not to lose mine.  Some teenage boys were goofing around during the first mile and distracting me so I put in both earphones and zoned out.  As soon as we were down one hill, we were going up another.

I had the same experiences as before, but kept telling myself - this is MY race, not the person who just passed me.  That helps me pace so much.  I know many people burn out toward the end.  Sure enough in the last mile I began passing people like crazy.  People who had stopped to walk.  People way skinnier and fit-looking than me.  I hoped they couldn't hear me wheezing.

The last hill was murder.  Then I pictured my friend Irene and could hear her saying "Go Clara" in her Staten Island accent.  Literally a minute later "I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge came on the playlist.  PERFECT timing.  I zoomed past people going uphill.  I knew we were nearing the end.

When you round the last turn the finish line is still .2 miles away, but you can see it clearly.  I poured out all I had and then realized the clock said 31 something.  Now, I wear a Garmin, so I could have done the math myself, but I was so focused, I hadn't looked down in awhile.  I burned it across the finish line, amazed as I realized it was my fastest 5k EVER.

Faster than I'd even run one in my non hilly neighborhood.

I can only credit sheer and utter focus and determination.  Oh, and the people praying for me (thanks!).  Seriously, I've never been more elated with a finish.  And my hubby got a great picture too.

Wish I had seen my hubby and daughter - I might have smiled and waved!  the time says 32:24 but my official chip time was 32:16 due to how long it was after they said "go" and I had not yet crossed the starting line.
I placed 20th in my age group.  Yeah, not the most impressive ever, but I wouldn't have even placed last year.  130th out of 309 people.  Still, closer to the top half than the bottom half!

So all in all, what a great week and weekend.  I am so excited about how I'm feeling, not just physically strong (a tad bit of knee pain this morning during my easy 2 miles but no pain at all yesterday) but also mentally strong.  Spiritually strong.

A force to be reckoned with.  When I'm focused, that is.

Stay focused friends.  Sorry for the long post - if you're still here, thanks for riding along.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Running with a Purpose

This blog post started in my mind over a week ago.  I was struck then with the memory of a dear friend while I was folding clothes.

I came upon a pair of running tights I bought recently that were made by Under Armor and have the pink breast cancer ribbon on them.  I thought I might wear them at the upcoming Champions of Hope race in Dothan to raise money for cancer research depending on the weather.  It made me think of my friend Irene.

I met Irene when I was a kid, honestly I’m not sure how old because it feels like I always knew her.  She was the thirty-something single lady who lived across the street from us with her dad.  We always waved and her dad would give my older brothers ice cream every now and then but that was the extent of the earlier friendship.  After her father passed away, Irene stayed in the house and eventually bought a dog, a little white bichon frise named Powder Puff.  I fell in love with that dog and it drew me to Irene, so we became friends.  She tolerated me, tried to teach me to sew (unsuccessfully but really, it is just not one of my talents), kept me busy by giving me math problems, playing board games with me and sometimes we cleaned together between sips of saspirilla.  From Staten Island, she had a wit and spunk about her and could dish out the sass as well as take it.  She went on amazing trips and always brought something back for me and Liz.  She loved to laugh and tell stories.  Her stories were the best.

Irene always told me she was 18.  And I believed her.

When I was 10, Irene was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It happened pretty quickly and my parents and Irene shielded me from much of the details.  I don’t recall her being extremely ill.  She was always an upbeat and positive woman, full of life.  She had a mastectomy, and shortly after her treatments were finished she became engaged to a man she had dated on and off for several decades.  They were married when I was 12 and my best friend, Liz, and I were her Jr. Bridesmaids.  What an experience that was for a kid.  Irene sewed our dresses herself.

My family moved away that next year and I only saw Irene a handful of times after that.  Liz kept me updated as to how she was doing and I would call and catch up with Irene from time to time.  But life as a teenager kept me busy and in trouble, so I didn’t make the time I now wish I had.

When I was 21, I married the most amazing man ever.  I had been in quite a few weddings up to that point, and I loved dearly the girlfriends I had made.  But I felt strongly about having just 2 people in my wedding party, as we were also having it in a tiny church.  Irene and Liz.  I wanted to look back at those pictures and be just as close to the people in my pictures later in life as I was on that day.  Liz has been my best friend since we were 6 months old (we still talk about once a month).   It being a busy day I hardly noticed how gaunt Irene had become and she is simply beaming beautifully in all of the photos.

Irene battled the cancer on and off for about 10 years total.  I never really knew how sick she was, as she always managed to be smiling, even when she was walking with a cane and she rarely talked about her illness.  Her cancer had spread to her bones and eventually everywhere else and I remember her telling me one night on the phone that it would be easier for her to tell me now where the cancer was not, rather than where it was.  

We lost Irene on August 28, 2002.  I was totally unprepared for it.  I had only lost my Mom’s parents at that point in my life, and while I definitely mourned those losses, I was closer to Irene than anyone else I had lost in my lifetime.  My grandparents had lived so far away and she had been just across the street.  I remember being upset that she hadn’t told me how poorly she was doing; but that was her way.  I didn’t have my daughter until December 2003.  While Irene could not have known when we were planning to start a family, she began cross stitching bibs for my baby.  I have 2 finished and 1 half finished bib in a frame that her best friend sent me after she passed.

I share all of this with you to honor the memory of my beautiful friend, Irene.  She fought her cancer with dignity and strength.  She smiled in spite of her pain and pressed on in spite of her diagnosis.  She had to have known her prognosis but she lived life in spite of that.  And she fought every day.

When I run that race tomorrow, she will be heavy on my heart and steady in my mind.

When it gets tough going up the incredibly hilly course and my lungs are screaming and legs begging me to stop I’m going to remember that I CAN keep on going.

Because I’m sure Irene, along with others who have lost their lives to cancer, like the my friend's sister, the amazing and inspiring Shannon, would have given anything to keep on going, to keep on living, to keep on fighting.  They don’t have the choice to push through the pain anymore.  I do.

And as long as I physically can, I plan to do just that.

How can we glean inspiration from suffering?  Ask yourself this question.

Why waste time not living your life when so many have or had less years to live than you? 

Get out there and do something for your health.  You only get one time around at this living thing.  One body, one temple to treat well.  Every choice is one that may extend your life or shorten it.  Don’t waste it.  I’m sure none of these warriors who have gone before us would want that for you. 

This run is for you, my dear friend.  I love you and miss you, Irene Garbarini-Kinsella.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Break, a Battle and Boots

Well, folks, here I am again - sans pictures.  PLEASE forgive me.  I need to take some but my mornings are hectic enough as it is!  Maybe tomorrow...or maybe Friday as I don't plan on running in the morning that day.

I haven't posted since my Pause...or break from exercise for a week. 

I honestly thought I would go stir crazy that 7 days off.  I was absolutely dying to do something, anything.  I stopped myself from hitting the floor in my office to do pushups one day.  It wouldn't have hurt, but once I start something a certain way, I like to finish it as planned.

And finish it I did.

The I had a glorious run the following Sunday.  It felt wonderful to be back out there! 

Please know, in a million years, I never imagined I would *miss* exercising.  I thought, 2 years ago, that I could die happy with my butt firmly planted on my sofa.  I really, honestly, truly missed my exercise and the wonderful endorphins, and sleep, that come along with doing it regularly.

I was sleepy, grumpy and downright fidgety!  I stayed up later and didn't sleep as well.

So it took me about a week to recover from my "reset."  How ironic is that?  BUT I think it worked.

After reaching 100 pounds down at the end of August, September was a battle between the same 3 pounds.  I lost it, I gained it.  I lost it again, gained it again.  It was really annoying as I kept dipping below the 100 pounds mark which was NOT cool. 

I got back to 100.2 down last weekend (yay) and then today am down another .8.  FINALLY. The scale is moving again.

I'm just now back to my regularly scheduled activity.  Some other life things have gotten in the way.  I took a good 3 weeks total off of Zumba (wow, did I miss that!) due to my knee then my rest time, and had my first night back tonight.  It was awesome!  I think I might need to get help to make it to my bed as I feel myself stiffening up but wow, I am glad to be back at it.  Also, my daughter started soccer games and since they are 2 towns away from where I work (really 3 if you count 2 smaller towns in between!) I have to leave early from work to make it to one game per week.  I also traveled for more than half of last week though I did my duty and tested out the hotel treadmill one morning.  I did a hill workout for the first time.  Holy CANOLI!  It kicked my tail.

I have to tell you, eating has been an interesting battle for me lately.  I've found myself having "aha" moments again.

You might wonder, after 2 years and a month of healthy living/eating/consistent weight loss, why in the world do I need to still have "aha" moments?

Because I'm not "fixed" people. 

Am I likely to gain 100 pounds back?

No.  Because I lost it so slowly.  And I got rid of all my fat clothes.  :)

But could I stop right here, at 184 and not lose another pound and battle the same 5 pounds FOREVER?


It's almost harder not "looking" fat anymore.  I look semi-normal.  Since so many Americans are overweight I guess I look even more normal than I would have were it 1980 when we were healthier as a whole.  So because I don't have to shop plus sizes and I can wear designer jeans, it is THAT MUCH HARDER to stay focused.

This reset came at a great time.  I needed rest, time to think, and the opportunity to get underneath the things that have been making it hard for me in September to lose even a freaking pound!

I was talking to a co-worker yesterday as I needed to be talked out of going and snacking on a treat we had in the office - double-dipped chocolate coated peanuts.  I desperately needed immediate help and accountability.  I don't really like those and they aren't dark chocolate.  But a few weeks ago, I ate half a bag of chocolate coated pecans.  Completely unnecessary but they were there! UGH.

As we were talking about it, we discussed a bunch of stuff about food, etc.  Next thing you know, I wasn't even thinking about the peanuts.

I've been allowing myself just a bit of this here and there, and that is ok.  But it had gotten out of control and I found myself eating desserts several times a week.  And all kinds of stuff, not even things I really like.  I'm a chocolate girl, so why was I going after other junk?

I forgot how good and empowering it felt to say "no thank you" and walk away.  How triumphant it was to lose weight the week of Thanksgiving, 2 years in a row when people normally gain.  To end each year the last 2 years with less weight on me than I began it with.

Avoiding those chocolate peanuts was empowering.  Today they didn't even taunt me.  But I had other issues to face - a buffet.  I went to a lunch meeting and the options were spaghetti with meat sauce (white pasta), chicken fettuccine alfredo, garlic toast and sauteed vegetables. 

I had a very small (maybe 1/8 of a cup) of pasta with meat sauce, then a tiny serving of the fettuccine bread and a huge helping of veggies.  In hindsight, I should have just opted for the veggies and poured the meat sauce on top.  Ah, hindsight.

There was a dessert on the table as well - a pudding looking creamy thing with pineapple and some kind of graham crust at the bottom.  A friend tried it and told me it was lemon.  That was easy for me to avoid.

And yet it taunted me.

You see, I will always battle food addiction.  Giving in to temptation, eating too much, and eating poorly feels good for the moment.  The after effects are terrible.

But most "sin" feels good. I just happen to be recovering from gluttony.

It's such a gross word, but it is absolutely true.

My friend Jessica recently wrote in her blog about getting her groove back.  Check it out here:  Jessica's Blog.  Something she says in it clicked for me.  She was talking about eating dark chocolate every day and how that seemed to stave off cravings.

I have gotten out of the habit of eating my dark chocolate!  Gasp!  It makes so much sense.  When I gave it up earlier this year for 40 days, it was TOUGH and I found myself craving all kinds of strange stuff - food (or junk pretending it is food - haha) of all types, the nastier and greasier the better.  I remember thinking that fast in the long run wasn't good for my health - and you would think it would be giving up something like chocolate.

But if dark chocolate every day has helped me lose 101 pounds, then why have I gotten out of the habit?

Well, I stopped keeping it at work.  Because as soon as things got stressful I could mow through half a bag of dark chocolate kisses.  Then I stopped eating it at home.  I just got out of the habit.

And healthy habits, my friends, is how it is done.  A combination of healthy habits that is.  And sometimes just breaking one habit can throw everything off kilter.

Trust me.  I needed a V8 in September something fierce.

I know I say this over and over again, but I am so thankful for the learning along the way in this journey.  I feel so much more empowered and ready to fight the next battle every time I win one.  I can rethink my strategy, alter my game plan, and get back out on the field.

The other option is giving up and being happy with my "overweight" BMI and mostly normal looking body.

Nah.  I'm excited to keep peeling the layers back.  And I'm that much stronger and determined to WIN this weight loss war once and for all.  I don't know if I'll go down 1 or 2 more sizes.  20 or 30 more pounds.  It all just depends on how my body feels, what my body fat is and how I feel about how I look.

It definitely won't be dependent on whether or not I can zip a pair of stupid boots up my calves.  My calves are 15.5 inches wide and rock SOLID (yes, I promise a picture!).  There is hardly ANY fat on that part of my leg.  But it appears that knee high boots, or even calf height boots are made for 12 inch calves or smaller.  NOT cool.  I'm on the hunt for wide calf boots (and by the way, I tried on a pair claiming to be for wide calves - yeah, no).  I do own a pair that do fit me, fortunately, but I want a brown pair and they are black.  If anyone has good recommendations please hook me up and I'll share it with my followers who are in similar plights.

Maybe we'll start a club.  From Cows to Calves or something like that.

All that said, this sista is not done yet. I'm just getting started.  Because even when I reach my goal I won't be "done."  I'm in this fight for the long haul, as long as I am breathing.  And now I can say I'm fighting it even harder than before.  I'm that much stronger.

Who's with me?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I love some of the Zumba music - gets stuck in your head for weeks!  Well, I'm in "pause" right now.  Intentionally, but its still a pause nonetheless.

As you know, I exercise...alot.  A huge part of my plan to get to my goal weight and live a healthier lifestyle involves me moving more than I've ever moved before.  My typical week includes 4 runs of varying types, several 3-4 miles, a fast 2 miler and then speedwork on another day.  I also do Zumba once or twice a week and strength train.  Add in a few walks with family and friends and I don't always get a day off of activity during the week.

A few weeks ago I ran 1.8 miles to reach my Zumba class (with a backpack on that carried my Zumba shoes, a full water bottle, etc.).  I did an hour of Zumba, then ran home.  The next day my legs did not want to move I was so sore.  I guess 2 solid hours of working out will do that to you.

Last week my knee started hurting during a run.  Had never hurt in that spot.  Hurt the rest of the day.  I took a few days off of activity and it did ok when I ran 2 miles Thursday.  Then I ran a race on Saturday (my 6th 5k race) with my friend Beth, and my other knee hurt for the rest of the day!  Seriously?

It was really time for a break.

I'm really glad I had one scheduled!

I have read articles that say you should take a break from your exercise routine once every 12 weeks.  The theory is that your body gets too used to the activity you are doing, and it becomes less effective for your weight loss goals.  Taking a break is supposed to let your body rest and reset - and you get to "start over" once you are back at it.

In the last 2+ years the only breaks I have had are for my ankle injury last year (9 weeks of cast and PT), then I had a cold in December 2010 so I took a few days off, re-twisted my bad ankle in March of 2011 and took a few days off.

I have never taken days off on purpose.  And it feels WEIRD.

I find myself trying to decide what exercise I will do when I get home.  I'm getting to work earlier but don't have the same energy.  In fact, I was ready to go to bed about 30 minutes ago (8:15pm here).

As you know from my last post, I really learned my lesson that my activity/exercise and how well I eat go hand in hand.  So I purposefully scheduled the 5 day eating cleanse for this week that I would be virtually inactive.  I have to be more careful about my eating since I can't run anything off!

So I've done 2 days of the cleanse and 3 days no exercise so far.  I'm doing ok I think.  Actually felt this morning like I was coming down with a cold.  Seriously?  Been pumping the Vitamin C to take care of that.

I do feel tired and run down, even though I'm sleeping plenty and not exercising.  But exercise gives me energy!  It's like a light source for me and I'm walking around in the dark this week.

But it is just temporary and intentional.  So I am going to stick to my plan.  And LOVE my run on Sunday morning.

This Thursday I'm speaking at an HR conference in our town on Wellness - talking about how Workplace Wellness starts with You (meaning the HR professionals in the room).  I'm excited and nervous as I never love speaking in front of a crowd, but I know what I have to say is relevant and may inspire someone.  I'm also a participant in the event and I get to talk first, so I will be able to enjoy the rest of the day.

That day, however, I will not be eating my cleanse-appropriate spinach salad.  I decided I need to eat whatever lunch everyone else eats that day.  One of the main things I stress is no diet plans - so if I speak about losing weight the healthy way, then pull out my carrots an spinach salad with goat cheese while everyone else  eats "normal" food that will send the opposite message of my talk in the morning - even if I know what I'm doing is a healthy reset - perception is everything.

The boss who told me that "perception is everything" about 11 years ago has no idea how understanding that has changed my life!  That's another blog post for another day though...

For today, PLEASE be sure to do something active - heck do it for me if you don't have the motivation yourself.  Because I'm sitting here on my keister, motivated enough for ALL of us!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Live & Learn

This has been quite the week!

I was running with my friend Heather on Monday morning and about a mile and a half in my knee started hurting.  It wasn't like an old familiar pain or anything like that - it just hurt around the outside of my knee by the kneecap.  We finished 3.7 miles and the rest of the day it hurt!  Walking around, everything.  It just hurt.  I was BUMMED to say the least.

There was no swelling, which is good, but I have learned one thing - take a break when you may have an injury...or you will spend a LOT more time down than you intend to.

So I skipped Zumba Monday and Wednesday night and did not run again until this morning.  I wore a light knee brace and felt fine.  A little sore but no real pain.

How did this happen?

I was analyzing my activity for the last week and have determined it was overuse.  As a runner, "they" say you should never increase your mileage by more than 10% a week.  I inadvertently almost doubled my mileage last week.  It's been getting cooler outside and I felt great!  10 miles in 3 days is alot for me...

So I have learned.  Sigh.  Once again.

Know what else I learned?

When I'm not exercising regularly AND I'm in meetings in a board room all week, I eat poorly.  It's funny, I just realized today that there is a very strong connection between eating and exercise for me.  I feel like I need to fuel my body well and I make good food decisions.  Not being able to exercise made me feel weaker about my food choices...

And it shows!

I'm not beating myself up here, as I am glad it happened this way.  It gives me a chance to learn something and be stronger for the next time.

I could take this opportunity, instead, to berate myself, belittle my choices and give up altogether.  But I have come WAY too far to let that happen. 

I try to take each setback, each challenge, and glean something valuable from it.  What is the point of suffering without growth?

Growing hurts, that's why there are growing pains to begin with.

Everything painful I've been through has made me stronger and wiser.

That said, think about where you are right now.  Are you still beating yourself up for not keeping up with that cabbage soup diet or the unrealistic 900 calorie a day diet where you gained it all back and then some?

Learn from it.  And love yourself enough to try something more realistic.  Like an overall lifestyle change.

It's do-able.  I should know.  :)


(adapted from and Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook)

1 (15-ounce) can white beans rinsed and drained
♦ 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
♦ 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
♦ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
♦ 3/4 tsp garlic powder
♦ 1 large egg
♦ 72 wonton wrappers, about 1 1/2 (12-ounce) packages
♦ 1 tablespoon flour
♦ 1 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce, microwaved 1 min or until warm
*Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Place the beans, pumpkin puree, ricotta, Parmesan and garlic powder into a food processor. Process until smooth (I ended up mashing as my food processor is small and cheap!)  
*You can cut the wontons into circles, I used my pampered chef sandwich press, just didn't press down the sandwich part.  Next time, however, I will leave them in the little squares they came in - square ravioli are fine!

*brush the egg mixture around the edges of the first wonton wrap - place a tablespoon (or so) of filling onto the wrapper then seal the edges together.  Place onto a cookie sheet with cornstarch or flour (I only had flour).
*put about half of the raviolis into the boiling pot of water, and when they float to the top, scoop them out!  Only issue I had here was that the raviolis get sticky as soon as they get put on a plate together - will need to work with that - made it challenging for leftovers (they just got messy - lol).

These were SUPER yummy - I'm excited to try different things now that I know I can make ravioli!

Here are the nutrition facts:
8 Servings

Calories: 286
Fat: 3.9 grams (1.8 Saturated, .6 Poly, 1.0 Mono)
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 433 mg
Potassium: 366 mg
Carbs: 48 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.3 g
Sugars: 1.1 g
Protein: 13.6 g
97% Vitamin A!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another Race, Another Personal Best!

Each race I run has a different story to it, or meaning.  I did run the Tomato Trot once, and never will again.  First of all, the course was very hilly (when the description said mostly flat) and it is during June, the hottest time of year here.  While I love the town of Slocomb, that isn't a race I will likely repeat.

Some other races, however, have found their way into my heart.

Today I did the "Loop the Lake 5k" in DeFuniak Springs, Florida.  The race proceeds benefit the American Heart Association.  I did this race last year, and had put together a team of runners and walkers from Chautauqua Rehab & Nursing Center.  I was blessed to be able to work with these awesome people for 8 months from 2010 - 2011.  I've never so quickly been accepted and loved (and likely never will again).  The employees and residents there are incredibly special to me.  Last years run was tough, because I had not run 3 miles consistently during the heat of the summer.

I was determined to not only run it all the way through but to attempt blow my time out of the water.

What a difference a year makes!  It was also an absolutely beautiful morning - crisp and about 68 degrees.  Last year it was humid and we were sweating before the starting bell.

My time last year was 42:27.

This year I decided I would keep my pace under an 11 minute mile for as long as I could and then slow if needed.  I can easily track my pace with my Garmin Forerunner.  It also tells me where I am and I can calculate how much farther it is to the finish line.

The course was much like I remembered it, albeit cooler and hillier than I remember.  I don't have any hills to train on in my town here so that is always challenging for me.

When I came around the corner and saw the finish line I couldn't believe it said 32 something on the finishing clock.  I busted my tail to cross that finish line before it crossed over 33.  I still don't know my exact time as I forgot to hit the lap button on my Garmin, but I know it was 32 something.


Just about 10 minutes cut off of my time from last year.   AND my fastest 5k time EVER (including in the neighborhood). I am hoping the race results will be posted in a few days so I can put a true number to it.

In the meantime, here is a picture comparison.

It's neat to me to see the difference in one year.  I definitely have a ways to go, but I'm pretty happy with how far I have come.  Yay for progress!

As I passed people today, I was really glad I didn't outpace myself - sometimes people just shoot out of the starting line like bullets, and end up walking alot during the race.  I purposely keep my head down, keep my eye on my pace, and resist the urge to sprint too early.  Instead, I keep it steady, slow when necessary and speed up when I can, saving my last quarters for that last quarter mile and burn it home.

It felt amazing crossing the finish line today.  My goal had been to finish much quicker than last year, but my last 5k in April I did in 35:30 so I really hoped to get under that.  I'm pretty sure I have shaved another 3 minutes off of my 5k time!

My running journey should be encouragement to anyone that you can do more than you think you can, right now.  Find something you really like and DO IT!  There is no big mystery to changing your own blueprint - no secret, pill, or shake - you have to MOVE more than you EAT.  Bottom line.  And eat the right things, of course, to fuel your body to move.  Unfortunately, some people refuse to try different things thinking, "I could never be a runner" or "I don't think I could swim that far" and they short themselves out of potentially surprising themselves.  TRY something.  Anything.  Try several things. Make it fun, challenge yourself, and take time to celebrate your achievements.  Watch yourself outperform your own expectations.  There are few feelings in the world like it.

I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again.  I'm not special, I'm not an overachiever, I didn't get straight As in school, I never ran track in high school (in fact, they used to laugh at me running to 1st base in softball I was so slow!) and I'm not a saint.  I am a normal person just like you, and every day I decide to try to make my health even better.

How fitting this race was to benefit the American Heart Association ~ since I've essentially saved my heart from dying an early death.  Happy Sigh.  It's going to be a great day.


PS - how funny is this?  My race number is my phone extension at work!  LOL!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthdays, Health Scares & Diet Failures

A blog post on Sparkpeople really encouraged me and inspired this post.  You can find it here:  Spark People Awesome Blog.

It was all about milestones, setting dates for yourself and how you can set yourself up for failure pretty easily.  It started with a "how not to do this."  It should resonate with anyone who ever started a diet.

Here's my story.

March 1, 2009, I turned 30 and was SO depressed about it.  I was 285 pounds, hated how I looked and didn't see anything good about turning 30.  A few months later I began easing into a healthier lifestyle - and after having done WW, cabbage soup, you name it, this "easing" worked so much better for me.

I say "easing" because I didn't go all hard core eat-like-I-do-today in August 2009 when I got started.  Because every diet I had started had failed.  Every moment of "I can't have that" made me want to eat 10 of "that."  And I would.

My weight fluctuated alot after high school.  I weighed around 155 at my lowest point in high school (I am 5'6) - I say lowest because I was actually starving myself to lose the weight - some of which came from being depressed from a bad breakup.  I had a great friend (you know who you are) who said I should stop losing weight and they were worried about me.  I found my "happiness" again and began gaining weight again.  I finished high school somewhere in the 170s I think.  A size 11/13.  Not huge, but not skinny by any means.

I moved out of my parents house when I was 19.  I was drinking alot, not getting enough sleep, hardly ever working out and eating like someone who didn't budget well for her first set of bills (literally, I forgot to factor in my car payment).  I ate out all the time, getting into credit card debt too by the way...that's how you make ends meet when you don't make enough money.  Wasn't that american of me?

I then met my husband and he didn't mind me not being skinny which was good.  :)  Then he saw how happy ice cream sundaes made me and he made me one every night - now I am NOT blaming him, but I quickly packed on some weight in the next few months and was in a panic 2 months before the wedding, I was around 200 then.  I joined a fat attack type program at the gym and lost 18 pounds in a month.  I weighed 181 the day I got married - in fact, there was a new panic the week before my wedding as my dress had to be altered more than intended...oops.

I fell off the wagon after the wedding and gained AGAIN.  I was 21 years old and we were newly married - and frankly, I had alot to learn about cooking still.  We ate out, sometimes after something I cooked didn't turn out edible (lol). 

So, I joined WW again!  Because it worked for me!  My routine was that my weigh ins were on Thursdays - so I would go weigh in, then pick up a large pizza and eat half of it that night.  THAT was healthy.  Food rewards were a huge issue for me back then.  I never got below 200 that time.

Then we decided we were ready to have a baby.  This was 2003.  I was blessed to conceive quickly, and my baby girl was born that December.  I was 214 when I went in for my first dr appt.  My doctor made no bones about the fact that she would be fine if I didn't gain ANYTHING while pregnant.  Thanks alot.  And no thanks, I'm eating all the fried chicken sandwiches my body can handle thank you very much.

I gained 51 pounds.  I weighed in at 265 when I went in to deliver.

During the next year, I made it back to around 220 then crept back up to 225.  Being busy, trying to eat better, etc., all "sort of" worked for me.  But I joined WW one more time to see if I could get the weight off.  I remember one WW weigh in where I had weighed 220 for about 8 weeks straight.  The leader exclaimed, "Well, you've got maintenance figured out!"  Yeah, maintaining my heftiness.  Thanks lady.

I joined Curves and went pretty faithfully 3-4 times a week for awhile.

My husband sustained a serious illness in 2005 that affected us hugely.  A month in the hospital, closing his business, etc., all took precedence to us being healthy.  I dropped my Curves membership and slowly packed on more weight.  I also dropped out of WW again, and found myself gaining and gaining...but also dealing with a crazy undiagnosed health issue so that was distracting enough.

Around the same time my husband felt a call to the ministry so we began planning to move for him to go to college.  We moved in May 2007 and that meant more eating out, not having friends in a new place, traveling for work, all the things that put together mean disaster for a healthy lifestyle.  When you don't know what one is, that is.

I finally got a diagnosis in April 2009 of a meningioma brain tumor in my left cavernous sinus, wrapped around my carotid artery.  90% of these tumors are benign, and that's good since we can't biopsy it due to the location.  I have an MRI annually to check the size of the tumor - eventually proton or radiation therapy will be an option if the tumor starts to grow. 

Suddenly, I was out of excuses.

During the time of my "mystery" illness, I felt tired, had joint pain, muscle spasms, problems sleeping, breathing, nausea, migraines, other crazy headaches and just felt terrible all of the time.  I also had 3 falls in a 6 month period.  Fortunately back then, I bounced.

When I pulled out the tumor symptoms, guess what was left?

Obesity & as a result, obstructive sleep apnea.

From my diagnosis in April 2009 to July 2009 I was restless.  I knew I needed to do something, especially as I knew now that I was not going to die from this tumor and I could live with the symptoms.

More details on the back story here can be found in the February 2010 area of my blog so I won't rewrite it all.  I'll just say my friends Barb and Heather get huge props for helping me move towards a healthier me.

I refused to call it a diet.  Diet = instant failure to me.  I had jumped on and off the wagon so much I wanted to do this without a wagon.  I needed to walk anyway.

So I eased into it at 285 pounds.  Made little changes and tweaks.  I did NOT go back to the "diet that always worked for me."   If it had really worked, WHY was I having to do it again?  Just saying.

Didn't give anything up all the way, food wise.  But my tastes changed quickly too.  I no longer crave french fries at all and can only smell the grease in them.  And I love a good grilled chicken breast with broccoli.  Happiness on a plate.  But that's now.  That took time.

I didn't set my first goal until the first 20 pounds had gone.  Then after 35 pounds I injured my ankle (a week into C25k mind you) and that set my training back 9 weeks (that is when I started blogging, as I was absolutely panicked that I would gain weight back).  But I got back out there.  And readjusted my goal again.

I've run 5, 5k races since June 2010.  In a year, shaved 10 minutes off of my first 5k time. 

I wanted to lose 100 pounds by the end of 2010 but I am not a 2 lbs a week loser - I'm just not.  I set and reset goals constantly.  Pre-pregnancy weight goal (214).  Onederland goal (199).  Just a month or so ago, I decided I wanted to lose 100 pounds by August 31 (2 years and a few days from my actual start date of my "easing").  And I did it.  I also set goals to lose weight during the holidays.  And I did, 2 years in a row.

My plan?  Healthy real food, whole grain (very limited white food), lots of fruits and vegetables, no "fake" food, no processed food, no "diet" food, nothing sugar free, and yes to chocolate chip cookies in serious moderation, dark chocolate every day, and a good mix of fuel for my body overall (protein, carbs, and fat).  

The next 20-30 pounds will be interesting.  I would like to be "done" losing weight and ready to go into maintenance by Jan 1, but I'm not going to turn myself into a miserable, dog-kicking ogre of a person in order to do it. 

A great friend asked me recently, "What will you do when you reach your weight loss goal?"

My answer?  "Get up the next morning and run again."  I'm not ever going to be "finished" with my healthy lifestyle.  I'm in this for the long haul...and that haul is for as long as I'm blessed to wake up another day, breathing and smiling.

Life is waaay to precious and short for me to waste time wishing I could lose weight faster, or be like so and so.

I'm doing this journey on my own, and it won't look like anyone else's journey.  Same could be said for you if you are on a journey of your own.

As you've seen above, I've tried alot of dieting.  It wasn't until I figured out it was a healthy lifestyle that would finally "fix" me....that I was able to really work on fixing my mind, emotions, and that has resulted in fixing my body, as much as I can anyway.  The brain thing is what it is...but I will say, I no longer suffer from headaches, I get *maybe* one migraine a year and I haven't fallen for no reason in awhile.  No muscle spasms, and I just got the go ahead from my doctor to come off of my anti-inflammatory joint medication.  Oh, and I don't have sleep apnea anymore.  And no credit card debt either.  Phew!

On my 32nd birthday, March 1, 2011, I ran 4 miles and felt more alive than I ever have.

The original outlook on my 30s was they are full of possibility.

I will not tell you its the easiest thing I've ever done, but as you can see, I've had my own reasons and things I could use as "excuses."  But now, eating how I do and exercising as much as I like to is pretty easy.  Because it is a habit, and its just how I live my life now. 

Life is what you make it.  Want to make it healthy?  If I can, you can.  All it takes is a little determination and a huge will to live.


PS: Some of my FAVORITE tools to help in the journey: (free!) (my newest addition - not free, but worth every penny!) - I google food stuff alot!  Look up super foods and try to eat lots of them each day!