Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2014

Second post of the night. Hey, have to get blogging in before the year ends, right? ;-)

Anyway, 2013 was, for the most part, a good year. Here's what happened (in no particular order):

1) I ran my comeback 5K in May and another in June. I didn't PR in either of
    them, but just having the guts to run again less than a year after a nasty
    knee injury was amazing enough. 

2) I became an aunt in May to an adorable baby boy! He's now seven and a
    half months old, and getting cuter by the day!

3) I got two promotions at work in the span of a month and a half. I started       2013 as a trainer, ended it as a Zone Leader. No intentions to become a
    manager anytime soon, but we'll see what happens.

4) My mom got diagnosed with an autoimmune platelet disorder in May, and
    suffered a stroke as a result. Yes, it sucked, but our family is closer than

5) I met my Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis on General Hospital) in November. She's
    been one of my favs since I started watching the show in 2009! So happy
    I finally got to meet her! 

6) I got out of the "overweight" category in July for the first time in about 20
    years, which led to...

7) Hitting goal and becoming an "After" in September. I'm actually still one 
    pound below my original goal, and have stayed there since. I truly believe
    I can maintain this for life.

So, yeah, that was 2013 in a nutshell. The good outweighed the bad for sure. I'm kind of sad that this year is going, but ready to see what 2014 brings!

Speaking of which, I have only two things that I want to focus on in the new year:

1) Maintain my 101 pound weight loss. The first year is always the hardest, 
    and I want to keep doing what I'm doing and stay an "After."

2) Stop comparing myself to others! This is something I have struggled with
    forever, and just want to be the best ME I can be! I realized that no two 
    stories are exactly alike, and why should I strive to be a second-rate
    version of someone else when I can be a totally kick-ass, one and only
    version of me, right? Enough said.

I seriously can't thank you guys enough for all of your love and support this year! You all rock! I love you all!

Peace, love, and happiness to you all in the new year!

December Goal Recap

This is the first of two posts tonight. I'm having such a thrilling New Year's Eve, can't you tell? ;-)

For those who see my Instagram posts in some capacity (either on Instagram itself or on Facebook and/or Twitter), you may remember me posting this in the beginning of the month:

So, how did I do in December? Well, here it goes...

1) 31 for 31 on the gallon of water drinking! It was tougher some days more
    than others, but I did it! I felt so much better too! Proof that you don't           really need all that sugar crap in your system. Plain water will do you fine.

2) Still tracking! Made it 121 straight days today! This has become a habit           now! I know I'm three months into maintenance, but I still like to see what     I've done. Plus, having friends on MyFitnessPal helps for accountability. ;-)

3) I didn't blog on December 1, but I have every week since. So I'll call this a

4) I rocked this month! I did gain two pounds after a one pound loss, but I
    wound up breaking even. Huge victory for sure!

5) FAIL! I'm in the middle of a move, and haven't had time or energy to put         into soup making. Maybe in February, after we're all settled in the new           house?

Overall, I feel GREAT about everything I did in December! I wasn't perfect, but then again, nobody said I had to be. I know I accomplished more than I did if I DIDN'T set goals at all. Hey, it's all about progress, right?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Three Months After Goal: Yes, It's Still Amazing

Happy Holidays, friends! Hope you all enjoyed the season and that reality hasn't slapped you too hard in the face yet.

Speaking of the holidays, it tends to be carb overload. All sorts of sweets, potatoes and bread at every meal, and if you're like my family, bagels for Christmas breakfast. Yes, I had my share of everything, but for the most part, stayed in control throughout the festivities (minus two brownies on Wednesday).

Sure enough, it all paid off. On Saturday (my three month goal-versary), I weighed in, and I was still sitting at 145. Three months after hitting goal, and I was still there. Pretty awesome, huh?

I'd be lying if I said these last three months were easy. It has been anything but. After a few weeks, I found out that the lowest number I hit (142, three pounds lighter than I am now and four pounds below my original goal) would not be the one my body would want to maintain. I was upset with this, but relized that my body is happy where it is, plus I still look and feel great. I also have spent a good chunk of time figuring out what I needed to do to maintain instead of lose.

I also admit that there are moments where I'm still in a "I really did this?!" frame of mind. People have told me that I will have those moments for some time. It did take me four years (plus some time) to make this happen, and that something this big that took that long will have those kind of moments. I think that I will still be amazed for a long time because the process itself was amazing. I found strength that I didn't know I had, plus made so many awesome friends along this journey.

At the same time, I'm sure that I'll continue to experience hard moments throughout my maintenance journey. The losing part wasn't easy, so the maintenance won't  either. Personally, I think that this process is hard so that anyone who goes through it not only becomes stronger as a result, but is more thankful for what comes out of it. I know I am in more ways than one. I became stronger (both mentally and physically) and so happy with myself for the first time in a long time!

No matter what, I'll always be glad I went through this as well as how I did it. I went slow, but as you can tell, the weight is staying off, and I am confident that it will for a long time.

I'm still going strong after three months and life feels pretty amazing! Best. Feeling. Ever.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life is All About Balance

One of the many things that I have struggled with since I hit goal was learning that I can enjoy treats and move on.

I think this week I finally took steps in the right direction.

Wednesday night was the holiday party for work. We went to an arcade and ate pizza. I capped my serving at two slices and felt satisfied with that.

Oh, and guess what went in next to the arcade about a month ago? Carlo's Bake Shop! For those of you who have never heard of Carlo's, just watch Cake Boss. You'll see the amazement. Anyway, I was DYING to go to a Carlo's, so I went in on Wednesday night. Oddly, the only pastries that struck my fancy were the cookies. I wasn't in a cupcake mood, and I don't like frosted brownies. I found chocolate chip M&M cookies that were a NORMAL cookie size (not the ginormous ones that most bakeries sell) and got two. I ate one that night and one the next night. Totally worth it. I found that one at a time is plenty. I enjoyed it, didn't want more after that, and moved on.

Saturday was another example of treating and moving on. I wanted an Auntie Anne's almond pretzel. So what did I do? I got ONE. Just one. Enjoyed every bite, tracked it and moved on. Oh, and I didn't get dip with it either. I call that a win.

Today was I think the prime example of this. I have been craving fries forever. I let myself have them at the basketball game I was at. I enjoyed them and after I was finished, that was it. I didn't want more, I didn't feel deprived, and most of all, I didn't feel guilty. I call this the biggest win of the weekend.

I admit that I thought I wouldn't be able to eat my almond pretzels or fries ever again once I hit goal. I was still struggling with an "all or nothing" mindset. Turns out I was being unrealistic. For this whole maintenance thing to be, well, maintainable, I have to let myself enjoy those kinds of foods every once in awhile. Otherwise, I'm setting myself up for major binging on those foods, which led me to being 246 pounds in the first place. That is not the place I want to go back to at all.

I think that with such treat foods is both in portion control and not feeling guilty about it. I was afraid that I would want ALL the almond pretzels and fries in sight. Turns out that one portion of each was exactly what I needed. No regrets with my decision, just satisfaction.

Honestly, this was something that I needed to figure out for months now, and I think I finally did. Will I be perfect with this? No, and I don't expect to be. As long as I keep in control, and let myself enjoy something every so often, I'll be moving in the right direction. As long as I don't let myself let "treats" turn into "the norm," I'll be in balance, and living a healthy and happy life.

In the end, balance is what life is about. That's all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Working Out Without Gadgets: My Polar-less Week

Do any of you remember what it was like to work out without Fitbits, heart rate monitors, Garmins, or for those of you on Weight Watchers, ActiveLinks?

I do. It was awesome. Working out just to get myself moving, and once I started classes at my gym, have fun!

Then I invested in a Polar and it took away from the fun.

It was great to see how much I was training and felt awesome to see myself hit awesome numbers night in and night out. At the same time, I felt pressure to get to a certain number every time and felt like a failure if I didn't. Yes, I thought 419 calories in a spin class was horrible.

So this week, I decided to throw it back and work out without a Polar.

It came partially out of the thing not working since Sunday. It was also me being tired of feeling pressure to hit a certain number every time. It was that reason that I stopped tracking my Centergy classes. I wanted to focus on how good I felt instead of just a number on a wrist watch.

So, I was Polar-less this whole week. Let me just say it was the best feeling ever! I felt so free and happy in the gym for a change! I was able to focus on how I was feeling during the workouts themselves instead of just a number. I forgot how much of a warrior princess I felt in my Kick class or how strong I felt during the climbs in Ride.

When it comes down to it, isn't just getting up and moving worth a lot more than hitting a certain number every time? This last week made me realize that it is!

My friend Emily posted a question on her Facebook page that asked what our successes were this week. I said mine was working out without the Polar and enjoying it.

This was the response I got from her:

"Good for you, girl! I think that's a great step in making fitness a life-long love and habit. You don't want to feel like you have to hit a certain number each day. JUST LIVE IT

Now that I think about it, that was what I wanted all along. I wanted to just step into the gym or go on a run just to enjoy and live it! When we become to focused on numbers (this goes for just about anything), we tend to lose the real focus of why we're doing what we're doing. As long as we move and enjoy how we're doing it, we're still burning more calories than the people sitting home, eating crap, and watching TV.

In the end, that feeling beats any number on a little wristwatch computer.

I found out that my Polar probably needs a new strap, so I will be without it for at least another week. Honestly, I'm in no rush to get it back. I'm enjoying this whole "Just live it" thing in the gym. When I do start using it again, I'll use it to track, but not make it the focus of the workout. It's nice to know where you are in a workout, but it's also amazing to just live it too.

Do you use any tracking devices during your workout? Do you find it harder to enjoy a workout if you do?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weight Loss and Maintenance: It's NOT a Straight Line

Throughout my four year weight loss journey, and two months into maintenance, I've learned one thing (even if I didn't learn anything else):

This path is not a straight line. In fact, it's anything but that.

Yes, I realize that I am a weight-loss/healthy living blogger who became a success story, but the truth is that there are times when I still don't have everything figured out.

When I was in the "losing" stage, there were times I would plateau, or even gain. Admittedly, I would feel like a failure and like I would never get to goal. Eventually, I would figure things out and get back on a downward track again.

The worst was when I got hurt last summer, gained six pounds in two weeks, and felt beyond miserable. I beat myself up for letting it happen and then realized in a few weeks, I would (slowly) be on the losing track again. Sure enough, I was right. I got back in the gym, eased myself into my normal routine again, and was back on the right track. Okay, maybe it took two months to get back to that pre-injury weight, but I didn't let myself quit!

Maintenance has been kind of the same thing. I've heard that it's harder to maintain than it is to lose. Two months in, and it is so true! I feel like I had a little more frustration in the early stages of maintenance, mostly with trying to find my "footing" as well as what I could realistically maintain.

After nearly a month, and about a three pound gain, I found it. I may have hit a low of 142, but realized that my body did not like that number. It wanted those extra three pounds back. At first, I was frustrated. I busted my ass for an awesome number, and felt like my body was rebelling. I soon found out that it was ME that was rebelling. I realized that my body liked 145, and that going against that was making me miserable.

Long story short, I accepted what my body was telling me, realized that I am still awesome, and that I CAN maintain this for life! I found something that I can work with and what works for me.

In my case, it's continuing to track, limit the sweets and soups, and keep kicking ass at the gym.

I realize that the process of losing and maintaining that loss doesn't get easier with time. If it did, I'm pretty sure just about anyone could do it. What does get easier is keeping a mindset of not giving up and finding what works.

How about you? Has your path been a windy road like mine?