Wordless Wednesday – the Suit

Because I felt ballsy this morning…

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Thanks for reading!

March 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, wordless wednesday. 1 comment.

MB Challenge: Week Four Results and Week Five Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. We are now at the halfway point of the contest- are you where you hoped to be? If so, keep it up. If not, well I guess it’s time to step it up 🙂

Were you able to keep up with this week’s first food related challenge? Did you notice any changes in how you felt? Did it seem to help you? I hope so. For me, eliminating sugar was really helpful. I saw my weight dip into the 160’s for the first time. However, once I my TOM started I really struggled with the no sugar thing and succumbed to temptation a handful of times. Going forward I do think I will try to pay more attention and check for sugar on ingredient lists trying to limit it wherever I can.

Well, the results are in and our current leader is Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 5.62% so far. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing!

Another loss this week has helped to keep Alexis in the number one spot for the second week in a row. Are you ready to try to steal the lead from Alexis this week?

Congrats and good job to and to everyone who reported in this week. You may have done better, worse or as expected but by being accountable to yourself and the scale you acknowledge that this is a journey and that along it you will encounter all sorts of bumps in the road. Just keep at, be honest with yourself, and hold your head up high. You should be proud of where you are and how far you’ve come.

Are you ready for week 5 and the new challenge?

Or should I say challenges….

Yes, this week I am throwing down two challenges; one food related and one fitness related to help us all really push ourselves this week.

Food Challenge

Don’t eat when you are not hungry. Sounds easy enough, right?

This means no mindless snacking in front of the TV, no stress eating (turning to food for comfort), and it also means stop eating once you are full. These are all difficult habits to break. This week (it’s only seven days- I know we all can do this) only eat when we are truly hungry and stop eating once we are full.

Fitness Challenge

Do something that scares you. This could be a fitness class, DVD, using a new machine, trying out weights. It could even be putting on a bathing suit and swimming. Whatever. This is up to you. Only you know what you have let fear prevent you from doing. Right now I am at the place in my journey when I am starting to overcome the fears that have prevented me from trying new things and it has been so liberating. But I also don’t overlook the fact that when I was 266 pounds I started boxing (which was scary as hell) and at 260 pounds I started yoga, pilates, Nia and all other sorts of classes. So my point is you can try something new, step out of your comfort zone, at any weight and be successful.

So what scares you? What is something you have wanted to try but didn’t think you were strong enough/fit enough/ready to try? This week- just do it!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

March 25, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 3 comments.

Some Extra Motivation

I have received so much positive feedback from yesterday’s post about triathlon training and for that I am beyond grateful.

This morning I received a message from Meredith C. (@meredithclark) who is one of Monica’s Losers in the Birthday Challenge and a phenomenal and inspirational woman. She shared this story with me and it brought me to tears. I had to share it with you. Meredith is a very special person and I hope you take a few minutes to read this article.

I hope it will inspire you to promote health and wellness and become a positive role model for others the way Meredith has. I know it inspired me to follow in her footsteps.

Check it out: Meredith’s Triathlon

Thanks for reading!

March 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Triathlon. Leave a comment.

Wordless Wednesday: St. Patrick’s Day

Freetail Brewing Company

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Blue Star Brewing Company

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The Friendly Spot

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Thanks for reading!

March 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . San Antonio, wordless wednesday. 1 comment.

And So It Begins

I have started to realize more and more lately that I greatly underestimate my capabilities; especially when it comes to running and the Couch to 5K program. Each Saturday starts a new week of the program for me and each Saturday I get scared wondering if I will be able to survive it.

Why? Why am I getting scared? I am still early on in the program and the most amount of running I am doing is five minutes at a time. In January I ran a mile, without stopping, in ~11 minutes so why the heck do I freak out about 5 minutes???

It’s because in my head I am still 286 pounds and completely incapable of doing such things.

It still hasn’t sunk in that I have spent the past 13 months exercising, building up strength, setting goals and accomplishing them.

Well, that might have been true until Sunday came and I put my body to a test. I surpassed my expectations which ended up completely changing my state of mind. But before I get to the test let me first tell you how it all started.

You remember how Paul decided recently that he wanted to start training for a triathlon? Then he went out and bought a new road bike? I was super excited for him. I thought triathlon training and cycling would be a great hobby for him and I was ready to take my spot on the sidelines cheering him on.

We started doing some research trying to figure out which tri he was going to do first. I started learning more about triathlons and the different levels (not sure that is the right word) you can choose to do. You probably know of the most famous triathlon- the Iron Man which is pretty freaking hardcore with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. That’s just nuts.

But did you know that they aren’t all that far? One of the ones Paul was looking into had three levels; super sprint, sprint, and Olympic. The super sprint (the shortest distance) is 200m swim, 10 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Hmmmm….that seems pretty reasonable for a beginner.

That seems pretty reasonable for eve a beginner like me.

I mean why shouldn’t I try to do a triathlon? I am already training to run a 5K (which is 1.1 miles longer than the 2 mile run in the super sprint), I ride the stationary bike all the time and most days I ride farther than 10 miles, and I’ve started to incorporate swimming into my workout routine 2-3 days a week so doesn’t it seem logical that I could quite possibly do a super sprint after a few months of training? I kind of started to think that it was.

Before I committing myself to this challenge and a new more demanding workout schedule I thought maybe I should do my own version of a super sprint tri at the gym (with the events done in reverse order for ease) to see if I had the strength and stamina to endure doing these three activities back to back. Heck, I don’t think there could have been a better time to push the envelope a little.

So Sunday I headed out to the gym on post for my own version of a super sprint triathlon.

First up was the 2 mile run. This portion made me nervous since I knew I could do the distances on the bike and in the swim but I had never ran for more than one mile so running two was going to be a challenge. It was also a challenge because I wanted to go all out but knew I had to conserve some energy in order to do the other two events.

I ended up finishing the two mile run in 23 minutes flat. I ran the first mile in 11 minutes but ended up walking a portion of mile two so that one took me a minute longer at 12 minutes. I was still thrilled beyond belief. I was pushing to try and complete it in 24 minutes (as a stretch goal) so to finish in 23 was a huge victory for me.

Then I hit the bike and man my legs were super loose and I was able to blow through those ten miles in 27:49, which is the fastest I have ever ridden 10 miles in. Yes! Another huge accomplishment for me and I was feeling fantastic.

Then I had to make a mad dash for the locker room, quick change into my swim suit and into the pool. 200m is only 4 laps at the pool I use and I thought I would just push, push, push my way through them the best I could. I’m not a great swimmer, my technique is shit, but damn I am buoyant and that certainly helps.

I did not have any gas left in my metaphoric tank or the looseness in my legs anymore and those four laps were BRUTAL. It took me 6:50 minutes to finish. Even though that is probably slow by most people’s standards it was better than I expected. Doing the swim portion last I was hoping to stay at/below a 2 minute lap and I finished at a 1:42 lap time. I was thrilled. Exhausted but thrilled.

So there I was, chillin in the pool, with a million thoughts running through my head. Last year at this triathlon I was looking into the person who came in first in my age group did it in one hour and seven minutes. That of course includes the transition times (swim to bike and bike to run) without the transitions her time was one hour and five minutes. Of course it is a lot more difficult to run and bike outdoors and swimming in a pool filled with racers is probably similar to swimming against a current so I am not thinking my 57 minutes and 39 seconds would be anywhere close to what it would be come race day (I am thinking outdoors this would have taken me at least 50% longer) but damn if it’s not a good starting point, right?

This made me very excited. I saw competing in a triathlon as a growing reality and started to view myself as an athlete in training instead of the 286 pound couch potato I once was. I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone I knew that I was going to start training for a triathlon but then I stopped myself and said that I really needed to discuss this with Paul first (who was out on a 40 mile bike ride) and so I waited.

At brunch I told him about my results (he knew I was going to do that test at the gym) and that I was really excited about how well I did. He asked me if this is something I wanted to do and I said yes. His response was sheer happiness. He said ‘great, that’s what I was hoping you would say’. He had such an amazing time out on his ride that all he wanted was for me to want to join him- for us to have this hobby and common interest we could do and train for together. That was awesome. I was now even more excited. Then he said ‘well, I guess we need to go bike shopping for you’. And after brunch that is what we did.

I’m going to skip all of the details of bike shopping (including the one about the douche at one of the stores we went to that wasn’t very helpful or the one about the guy at a different store that was super duper amazing and ended up selling me my first road bike) and I’m going to skip to some pictures. Isn’t she beautiful?

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Last night we went and bought my road bike and got it all set up and I bought all the necessities which included a bike rack for our car. Tim, the most amazing salesman and bike fit specialist in the history of cycling (who works at Bike World in Alamo Heights every day except Tuesday and Thursday) spent hours with me on Sunday and again last night getting me all set up on the bike. When he couldn’t get the fit just right he even swapped out the factory seat post for a better one and that made it just right. I could not be happier. Can’t you tell from my facial expression during the bike fitting?

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So here I go. Off to start a new adventure. Am I crazy? Maybe a little but is that necessarily a bad thing? 😉

Thanks for reading!

March 20, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness. 7 comments.

MB Challenge: Week Three Results and Week Four Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. I know this has been an interesting week for me, to say the least. It was filled with trials and triumphs and I feel like I am coming out of it ready for the next leg of my journey.

Were you able to keep up with the challenge of no excuses this week? I hope so. It helped me every time I wanted to go back to bed instead of hitting the gym in the AM.

Well, the results are in and our current leader is Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 4.32% so far. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing!

Are you ready to try to steal the lead from Alexis this week?

Congrats and good job to and to everyone who reported in this week. You may have done better, worse or as expected but by being accountable to yourself and the scale you acknowledge that this is a journey and that along it you will encounter all sorts of bumps in the road. Just keep at, be honest with yourself, and hold your head up high. You should be proud of where you are and how far you’ve come.

Are you ready for week 4 and the new challenge?

We’ve been focusing on fitness these past three weeks so this challenge is going to be all about the other half of the equation- food.

Through a Google search the other day I found this article on LIVESTRONG and it inspired me to turn it into a challenge. The article talks about problems associated with the typical American diet. Basically, in a very quick summary, we eat too much sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, processed/refined foods and not enough fiber. I thought about what this article said and whether or not these statements apply to my diet.

I eat A LOT of fiber. That kind of happens when your diet consists of grains, legumes and plants. So the fiber thing is not too big of a concern for me.

I don’t eat too many processed/refined foods. I try to stick to eating only whole grains and there are relatively few things I buy that are refined/processed I buy.

I don’t ingest much high-fructose corn syrup. I don’t drink soda. I really limit processed foods which helps keep the HFCS at bay.

I do, however, eat sugar. Yes, I do use organic, vegan sugar (trust me, you don’t want to know why regular sugar is not usually vegan approved) and limit the amount of white sugar I use but I still eat sugar nonetheless. Like how once a week I eat a half (or sometimes a whole) cupcake from Green or a chocolate chip cookie from Whole Foods.

Plus this week I baked up two batches of beer cookies which used both white and brown sugar.

Oh, and I use jam on my toast. The jam is made with sugar.

Oh, wait. There is also sugar in my salad dressing.

And added to spaghetti sauce.

Damn that sneaky sugar!

So this week, the challenge is to eliminate (or add, in the case of the fiber) one of these things from your diet. Or if there is something else you wanted to try, like maybe eliminating dairy, then you could do that instead. Don’t make it too easy though. Like eliminating something you seldom eat or something you dislike already. That’s kind of like cheating 😉

This week you can choose to eliminate:

Sugar or High-fructose Corn Syrup

Limit processed/refined Foods

Or increase your intake of fiber

Or add/eliminate something of your own choice

My challenge is going to be to eliminate sugar from my diet. And I am pretty sure it will be a lot harder than I think.

What will you choose for your challenge?

Good luck and thanks for reading!

March 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 5 comments.

MBC Week 2 Personal Challenge

Do you remember week two of Monica’s Birthday Challenge where I asked everyone to create their own fitness challenge? Initially I had set out to do a rowing challenge as mine but then as the week progressed I decided to do something different.

Something that was mentally challenging and still very physical. Something I hadn’t done in 14 years. Something I was afraid of doing.

Something that Paul had taken me to do when we lived in Washington and I absolutely refused to try as I was completely paralyzed with fear.

Skating.

It had been 14 years since I put on a pair of skates but last week I just felt like I was ready to give it another shot.

You see, back in 1998 I fell while rollerblading and did a number on my back. I broke my pelvic bone. It was awful. That accident not only kept me off any type of skates for almost a decade and a half it also left me with an overwhelming fear of injuring myself again and was how I stopped doing most physical activities.

It was there that my road to obesity all started.

But I don’t want to dwell on that story. That is my past. My future is now completely different because of this new road I decided to travel down.

And this road lead me to roller skating.

It was time to get back on that horse.

I was super excited to be able to push through my fears and get back out there. I asked Paul to record me skating around so I could share it with you and also as a reminder of how far I’ve come. He kindly obliged and took four videos. On the way home I stole his phone so I could check out the videos- I was thrilled to see how they turned out.

The first one- one second.

The second one- two seconds.

The third one- five seconds.

The fourth one- 1 minute and 25 seconds.

Yes! One minute and twenty-five seconds. I was so excited to watch since clearly he had some issues with the first three.

Sadly it was one and a half minutes of him filming the ground. WTF Paul! Really? No video! Blerg!

Well, at least I have this picture.

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We had so much fun that night. It took me some time to move away from the wall and get comfortable enough to skate. I never really got the hang of turning so I kind of skated in a rectangle. Straight line- stop at wall- turn- straight line- stop at wall- turn- you get the idea. I definitely was rusty to say the least but damn did I have fun.

I kept telling Paul that it might not look like it (because of my tense, serious facial expressions) but I was having a really good time. Surprisingly, he did too.

We skated for about an hour and a half and it wasn’t too crowded either which was nice. I felt like a giddy school girl watching Paul skate around during the boy’s only fast skate. Yeah, we were the only adults there not with kids but we didn’t care. It was awesome.

Afterwards we headed to Blue Star for some beers and sweet potato fries- it was the perfect date night.

And since I had so much fun and was super excited to go back again I decided to organize a girl’s night out this upcoming Tuesday. I’m not sure how many people are going to show but I guarantee it will be a blast!

I would love to know what your perfect date night or girl’s night out would be. Have you been roller or ice skating recently?

Also, do you have any fears keeping your from trying something?

Thanks for reading!

March 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Health, Life, Weight Loss. 4 comments.

Bad Habits Come Creeping Back In

It’s been about six weeks since I reached my lowest weight of 173 pounds. That was before I left for vacation. Since then I have bounced between 173.2 all the way up to 178 and it has been nothing short of frustrating.

Yes, I knew that vacation would bring forth a gain- which it did. And that it wouldn’t take long to lose the weight, which it didn’t. But then I got sick. I fell out of routine. And bad habits started creeping back in.

So, I bounced. That weight jumped back and forth and the more that 173 evaded me the harder I found it to make good choices.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I was making good choices. They were just surrounded by bad choices.

Like I would kill it at the gym and then later go crazy with my eating and not track.

Or I would make good food choices but I wasn’t getting in any activity.

So I wasn’t shocked that my weight kept fluctuating.

I was, however, shocked by the habits that started to come back as the frustration increased.

My worst habit by far- eating when I am not hungry.

Perfect example was last Saturday. I woke up, got in a great workout. Had a healthy breakfast and lunch and made great decisions to set me up for a successful evening at a friend’s house where I would be drinking lots of home-brewed beer and eating foods not prepared by me.

To help survive the smorgasbord that would be there I prepared a healthy, nutrient dense wheat berry and chickpea salad. I knew if I could eat this and limit the portions on the other foods I would be ok.

But that’s not what happened. I ate and ate and ate. Even when I was no longer hungry. All because the foods were new and oh so yummy and because I easily revert back to bad habits when alcohol is involved and that is not a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s ok to have a night of fun like that (with slightly less indulgence) as long as the next day I go back to eating like a normal person.

But I don’t. That’s where my struggle lies. Saturday was fun. We had a fabulous time with friends. I didn’t make the best decisions but that’s life. It happens. I move on.

But Sunday found me making the same mistakes- having a big, hearty brunch and then eating samosas just an hour or so later (not even slightly hungry) because they looked yummy and were in front of my face. I regretted eating them not because of the points, which I tracked, but because I felt like I was losing control of my mindful eating practice. I was letting the food control me, not the other way around.

I told Paul about how pissed I was that after a year I am still making bad decisions and he said that I need to look at it differently. I’ve had that habit for a very long time, far longer than a year, so it should come as no surprise when that habit comes through and causes me to make bad decisions.

I guess that’s true.

Although I don’t want it to be. I like to think I’m different now. I like to think those habits are gone.

Maybe we are both right. Maybe that urge will always be there, that temptation from food which leads me to overindulge. But maybe it’s lessened.

Or maybe I just have the tools now to help me make better decisions that allow me to keep that temptation at bay.

Most of the time, at least 😉

Thanks for reading!

March 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 8 comments.

Pool PT

I didn’t even think to show a picture on yesterday’s post of the bathing suit I ended up getting. It’s a Speedo swim dress. I wanted to get a bathing suit that would hold up to frequent pool usage and that was meant to swim/exercise in opposed to beach wear. Although it is a swim dress it is a fitness suit, designed for swimming. It is hella comfortable and I love it.

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*Images from the Speedo website

I also love the fact that the on post gym has an indoor pool that opens at 5a on weekdays. This morning I was at the pool at 5a on the dot, with Paul by my side, for my morning workout.

After I had bought the suit Sunday I went to the pool with Paul so he could show me what the soldiers do during their pool PT sessions. I am not a great swimmer so I wanted to incorporate more exercises into my workout in addition to swimming laps.

This morning I took the exercises Paul taught me and created my own routine.

I thought I would share in case you are looking to add something new to your workouts.

Equipment Needed:

Pool (Aqua Fitness) Dumbbells-2

Buoyancy Belt

Using pool dumbbells do 20 reps each of;

Jumping Jacks- One dumbbell in each hand. Arms stay under water the whole time. Should have resistance on dumbbells in both directions

Push Ups- One dumbbell in each hand, under water. Slightly hunched over. Arms in front of chest with elbows bent. Push the dumbbells out in front and bring back in towards the body. Arms move like they would in a pushup while body remains in the same position.

Dips-One dumbbell in each arm, underwater. Knees slightly bent. Arms at side, hip level, with bent elbows. Push dumbbells down while straightening arms. Pull back to bent position.

One minute of cross-country skiing using dumbbells. Keep dumbbells under water. Move in place like you are cross-country skiing- alternate arm/leg movement back and forth.

One lap each;

Arms only-Take one dumbbell and place it between your legs down towards the knee. Swim one lap using just your arms. If you don’t have dumbbells try crossing your legs at the ankles and swim using your arms only.

Legs only- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim with arms straight out in front, kicking only. If you don’t have dumbbells then just extend your arms in front and kick only.

Bicycle- Take one dumbbell in each hand and hold them underwater by your side. Bend forward and move your legs in circles to simulate riding a bicycle. If you don’t bend forward then you will end up staying in place.

Freestyle with dumbbells- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim freestyle. This is a difficult exercise because of the added resistance of the dumbbell moving through and out of the water. You will feel the burn 🙂

Running- strap on the buoyancy belt and run (make sure to use your arms, too) one lap

Repeat both the exercise and laps

Once I completed two rounds of exercises and laps I swam regular laps (alternating breast stroke and freestyle) for ten minutes.

It was a great workout. I was in the pool for 45 minutes and it felt great. I have decided to make it a very regular part of my routine. So I am going to make that routine above my Wednesday and Friday workout and then on Sunday I will hit the pool again but probably just for lap swim.

Do you workout in the pool? Do you have any fun exercises or routines you would like to share?

Thanks for reading!

March 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Swimming. 1 comment.

Bathing Suits! Blerg!

If you were/are like me (morbidly obese) then you recognize the countless benefits from losing weight; better health, decreased stress on your joints, less limitations (i.e. weight restrictions), and overall wellbeing to name a few.

However, there are also downsides and one in particular has started to take its toll on me. My body. More specifically, all this weird hanging skin and my shriveling boobs. It’s kind of gross.

I knew that it was very likely that I could lose a substantial amount of weight only to be faced with a grotesque body. For months and months I was still plump in my belly and breasts and as they shrunk they still looked relatively normal. Recently, however, I can see more clearly the loose skin hanging around my stomach. When I lean forward or put my bra on I see how my breasts resemble raisins. It’s hard not to let this discourage me. Don’t even get me started on my thighs and upper arms. Ugh!

Even with my physical appearance unpleasantly changing I still feel fabulous and know I am making the best decision by losing weight. I have no regrets. This was/is the right thing for me to do; the lifestyle I should have chosen long ago. Feeling good and knowing I am working to get to a healthy place diminishes the feelings of disgust/shame with the physical body changes….most days.

Most days I don’t feel gross, fat, or disgusting. Most days I am happy and feel confident. Most days, however, I don’t go bathing suit shopping like I did this past weekend.

Sunday I spent a few hours trying on all different types of bathing suits and those same hours were spent feeling like crap about how I looked.

The weird thing is, when I was 286 pounds I didn’t feel like I was that fat. I knew I was big but I never felt grossly obese. I just felt like a normal heavy person. Now, now that I am 110+ lighter I feel like I am still really overweight. Don’t get me wrong, I am still overweight. I only recently moved from obese to overweight, but it’s like the more I lose the more self-conscious of my (naked) appearance I get and the fatter I feel.

So when I have to go and shove my odd-shaped body into tight-ass spandex and lycra swimsuits that reveal my back fat rolls, force my boobs to pop out of the sides, and do nothing to hide my giant belly well then that is when I have a break-down.

In a dressing room.

Feeling ugly.

Hating how I look.

It was awesome.

But I finally found a suit (at store# 4) that I liked and felt comfortable wearing, even if it doesn’t do a great job at hiding my belly, which made me happy.

Because I was buying a bathing suit so I could exercise in the pool. I wanted to be able to swim laps and take water aerobics classes. Because even when I feel shitty about how I look I still need to continue making good choices.

Choices that will help me get to a healthy weight.

Baggy skin and all.

I may never look like a model or have tight smooth skin but that’s not what my journey is about. Some days it’s going to be harder for me to recognize that. To see my progress, my improved health and physical stamina, through those layers of fat and skin. But I do know those days are getting fewer and farther apart. Self-love and acceptance are so much more than loving how I look on the outside. I can still love me and have days where I don’t love how I look and I accept these feelings to be normal.

I just focus on what I do love about myself.

I just focus on the next healthy choice I am going to make to improve my life.

I just focus on the love and kindness I am surrounded by.

And then I jump into the pool 🙂

Thanks for reading!

March 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Shopping. 10 comments.

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