Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Key Tips and Tricks...

My previous post discussed a few of my favorite tips and tricks I've learned so far on this fit journey....
And I've got a few more right here. If you're interested... read on!

We left off with me sharing about my favorite snacks.
This right here is my current obsessive snack... the snack that I currently love and crave.... the snack I need all my will power to curb myself from snarfing the whole entire bag...


A photo posted by Amy Wagner (@amyrwags) on



Until December, I wasn't a lover of caramel popcorn. I mean, if it was there- sitting out for all to nibble on, I'd eat it but I never ever craved it. This stuff right here... Oh, I crave it. It's from Aldi and I have an open bag and a back up bag on hand pretty much at all times. Sigh. Good news is-- compared to what I use to snack on this is better (130 calories for .8 cup serving). The problem is stopping at just one serving. I've taken to measuring out a single serving into a pretty bowl and just taking my time enjoying it. What can I say? I'm a visual person and the pretty bowl just helps.

Fit Recipes-- I'm going to say this right now- I'm scared of fit recipes. Yep. I'm frightened of putting time and effort and extra money into making something that tastes like paste or has the texture of cardboard. Fit and healthy recipes....these are muddy waters. So I dip in here lightly and check ingredients and prices and such. So far we have about four really great "keeper" recipes. My favorite sources at this point- Dashing Dish and Chocolate Covered Katie. Katie's cookie dough dip was my very first try and I was so excited that it was a hit. We love it! And Dashing Dish's Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust.... oh my word is this over-the-top, amazingly delicious. We made it for my birthday cake. It is heavenly and only 185 calories a slice. Oh yes!
There have also been some duds. The skinny coffee creamers- blech. The smoothie that was suppose to taste like a shamrock shake... not even close. Verdict? I'll keep trying recipes that look appealing and don't require three or more different types of flour. There always has to be a level of experimentation I think. It keeps things interesting.

I've introduced a few new fish recipes into our menu plan and have tried substituting ground turkey for hamburger... my people can tell, y'all. They know the difference. And they don't like it. So I've taken to either going halfsies between the two or only using the turkey in meals that have lots of extra flavor and spices. We've cut down on how much salt and butter we use and our new favorite side dish is steamed broccoli drizzled with fractionated coconut oil and topped with a couple pinches of pink sea salt. 
We love our carbs here at the farm so my go-to is taking a smaller portion of the carb and a double portion of the veggies. And I give myself permission every so often to make my own little healthy meal separate from what everyone else is eating if I really need it.

Water-- We all know the key to good health is lots and lots and lots of water. And sometimes it's hard or sometimes it just gets plain boring to keep drinking water and water and water and more water. First thing I did- buy myself new water bottles. Not just one bottle. Get at least three. For when you set them down and don't remember where, leave one in the car or worse at a friend's house. Get yourself a pretty one, a fun one, a glass one. Glass water bottles are my fave because my next trick for drinking more water is this-- put fruit in it. I love frozen strawberries, oranges and peaches in my water. Flavor it up! Or I use essential oils (lemon, grapefruit, lime- any citrus is my fave)- one to two drops per 20 oz of water is all you need. You must use glass water bottles (my favorite is pictured above) when adding fruit or essential oils to your water because otherwise the acids will eat away at a plastic water bottle.
Back in September a friend gifted me with a six pack of flavored water- zero calorie, black cherry flavored... extremely delicious. This was the first time I'd ever had flavored bottled water. This stuff is GOOD! And when I found that my favoritest grocery store ever- Aldi, carried their own brand of flavored water, I was all about that stuff.
By the way- peach is my favoritest favorite of all. And ZERO calories people.
Now, it's not exactly frugal (ahem) but if it gets me drinking more water, I'm doing it.

Grace days not cheat days-- One final thing about food. We all know the phrase- "moderation is key". I agree- it's very true. But if you find that just one bite or half your normal portion isn't enough and you're going for more... than that's a food you need to stay away from for awhile until you learn to control your impulses. There's another two word phrase kicked around in fitness circles- cheat meals or cheat days. I don't agree. Calling it a cheat meal or a cheat day has negative implications. Like you can't "win" without cheating. I decided right away that there weren't going to be cheat meals or cheat days. And I decided I wasn't going to deny myself for days on end to "store up" calories so that I could binge/cheat for one whole day. In my opinion, that really does a number on your fit journey and it's really one temporary satisfaction.
So what do I believe?
I believe in Grace Meals and Grace Days. I believe in daily striving to eat healthy, balanced meals and every so often giving yourself a bit of grace to eat something you crave that isn't quite so healthy. Just as I believed in walking in order to run, I believe in allowing myself to eat foods I enjoy, with grace and dignity. No hiding behind the fridge door to wolf down a piece of pie when no one's looking. Nope. If I want that piece of pie, I put it on a pretty plate and sit down and eat it. The key is to limit your amount of grace days/grace meals. You don't get a grace meal every day. And maybe you don't get a grace day every week. If my fit journey hinges on one meal or one day of clean eating.... I'm not doing it right and I'd question my motives. This journey is about learning to deny myself, yes.... but not martyr myself. There's a slight difference between the two. You martyr yourself too often and you'll give up, because it's just too hard. You give yourself grace and enjoy that slice of pie or that burger and fries and you smile as you really truly savor every bite. It's okay. 
I can't stress enough how key the concept of grace days has been to my fit journey. Giving myself permission to rest and not exercise, giving myself permission to eat a food I love or a meal I crave... makes it, in my mind, a bit easier to face that tough workout the next day... and own it!

Running Shoes-- Reader, if you're going to run, you can't run in your every day errand running shoes. Believe me, your feet, your knees, your back will thank you when you take the time and spend the money to get professionally fitted for some kickin' new sneaks. And be prepared friend, they'll cost you. $$$ But the cost will be soooooo worth it. My running shoes are the most expensive pair of shoes I own. And I love them. They made quite the difference in how I run and how I feel after a run. I care for them like a baseball player takes care of his glove. I spent my first two months running using my every day shoes that I'd had for almost two years. And I got shin splints and my hip hurt and my knee hurt....
I went and got professionally fitted for my new kicks and I haven't had a shin splint or lower back pain since. Sold.
[Note: replace your running shoes when you've put 300-500 miles on them.]

Workout Clothes-- I'm a girl. I like pretty things. Ergo when I decided that this working out/running thing was really real, I gave myself permission to get some cute gear that fit. I started out with stuff from Meijer and Walmart and I still have some of it. Moisture-wicking, dry feel fabric is glorious. Seriously. Get you some! Dry-wicking over cotton every day!
And when it comes to training/running in colder temps.... I'm an Under Armour Cold Gear Girl. Oh yes. I love this stuff. I also use it for my base layer for going out in the winter- be it snowshoeing or sledding. UA Cold gear is cozy dreamy.
And do I need to mention the necessity of a good sports bra? Yes, it is straight up, completely necessary. Get two. Or four if you find the cute ones. And again- go for the dry-wicking material.

Whew! That's a lot of info to be sharing! Thanks for sticking it out.... And I'm not quite done. Sorry. I want to mention one more thing that's been key for me.... 

Getting rid of my clothes as they've gotten too big for me. As in pack them up and take them to Goodwill. Pronto. If you think you need to keep them, you're already doing some harm to your fit journey by creating for yourself a back door/back up plan (In my opinion). 
I don't want to wear ill-fitting clothes. That's what got me started on this journey to begin with! If you're afraid to part with something because of cost- check into consignment sales. There's tons of little upscale resale boutiques out there and some pay cash money up front for your gently used clothes (which you can then use to purchase some new-to-you duds that fit great).
Personally, having to purchase an entire new wardrobe has been intimidating, fun and rewarding... and a bit expensive. Especially for a mama that hasn't really been spending the clothing budget on herself these last several years.... ahem. The expense part of the equation helps me to really be mindful of what I'm buying and has shown me that I can put myself together with a few key, well made pieces. Another bonus- more room in the family closet as my clothes take up half the room they once did.
There is always a blessing!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Key Tips & Tricks I've learned on this Fit Journey

In my last couple of posts I've shared a couple of key ways I've been able to keep myself motivated (an accountability buddy and rewards). Today I want to cover a few other key elements to this journey.

After crafting this post, I realized it was extremely long... seriously. Too long. So I'm breaking it up into two [kinda still long] posts so as not to bore you completely and all at once. 
You're welcome.



Key For Me:

Good music-- When I first started running, I used one of the Worship stations we created on Pandora. And I was constantly skipping slow songs trying to keep my rhythm up. And then I remembered I have music with my Amazon Prime and started going through picking songs I like and looking for faster tempos.... I quickly realized that Lecrae is my absolute favorite for running. That man keeps the beat pumping and I use his tune Go Hard for a power song when I'm lagging in my run. Works every time.
Download some music and make yourself a pumpin' playlist.
I've created two running playlists- one for a 3 mile/5k run and one that runs 75 minutes for when I need a longer run. I make it my goal to keep running as long as my playlist is playing. I had a noticeable increase in speed after creating these playlists. Plus I enjoy the music so much it helps push me to keep going and enjoy myself.
Make sure your last two songs are power songs that just get you giddy, make you want to pick up your pace and your legs pumping. Because I'm old school.... I made Eye of the Tiger my last song on both lists.
And yes, as a matter of fact, it does make me run faster! lol

Rewards-- 5 lb, 10 lb, certain spots on journey (160, 159, 150, 149). I talk about all that in this post right here.

My Apps-- I have tried a few different fitness apps and I may try some more but these are the ones I keep going back to...
Runtastic- I'm a paid member and use RuntasticPro. I LOVE it. It counts my calorie burn, my miles and maps my runs. It shows me the run time for each of my miles for every session and will even chime in with mile markers/calorie burn/pace during a run if you want. Runtastic isn't just for tracking runs-- I use it for all my training, even snowshoeing! The app has quite the list of "exercises" and has also helped me track my weight loss and chart my progress. I especially enjoy when it sends me little emails letting me know I've achieved a new personal record. Those are awesome encouragements to me!
My Fitness Pal- syncs with Runtastic and keeps me on track with counting my calories, as well as my water intake and lets me add notes to my days. Plus at the end of each day when you complete your entry, it lets you know an estimate of how much you'd weigh in five weeks if you eat/train like that every day. Currently, I use the free version and don't have any plans to upgrade as it works just fine as it is for me. I want to add that I also enjoy the daily nutrient breakdown as I like to keep track of how much protein and how many carbs I'm eating.


Heart Rate Monitor-- For awhile there I got to wondering if my Runtastic calorie burn was on point or running a bit high and I wanted to monitor my heart rate during workouts because I often feel like I'm gargling my heart and was concerned I was pushing too hard. I use the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor (oh yes, I researched it), it's a chest belt and watch set. After reading quite a bit more on target heart rates and using my monitor, I've learned a bit more about when I can/should push my body and when I should ease it up. I'm either one or the other-- I either push myself way to hard or I'm a slacker so this is quite helpful. My monitor also tells me my calorie burn and often runs the same as or a wee bit lower than Runtastic so it was a confirmation that Runtastic is the training app for me.


This ice bag knee wrap right here is the bomb. It give me heart eyes. I couldn't have kept running without this baby. I love it. It's got these great little blue beads in it that can be frozen or heated up and a nice long velcro strap to adjust it to your knee or your shin (remember the shin splints?!). It's way big enough to cover my whole knee and the beads allow for contouring it just so as to ice the sides of my knee as well. Talk about wonderful relief! I have also used it on my shoulder and a friend used it on her ankle sprain. (Although Therapearl also makes wraps for shoulders and ankles- we use what we have on hand. It works.)

Green Tea, Kefir and Kombucha-- Alright. I just lost some of you right there with the last two words... because if you've heard anything about these two fermented drinks you're thinking "Ew." Which I did as well, until I tried them. So allow me to spout this old adage- Don't knock it until you've tried it. My accountabili-buddy turned me on to green tea and I try to drink 3 to 5 cups of it a day. I prefer peach green tea. Yum. I completely agree with the notion that green tea is an appetite suppressant. I use whole milk kefir in my breakfast smoothies. I can't stand the taste straight. I favor a 10 day kombucha and I almost always add pure cherry juice to it for a little added flavor. I received my both my kefir and kombucha starters from friends but you can purchase starters just about anywhere now if you don't know anyone with a starter to share. Both are good for digestion and good gut health.
Of note: you can buy kefir drinks just about anywhere- in many different flavors. If you think you want to try it out that way- go ahead! Personally, I don't use the store bought kefir drinks for a few reasons- I don't care for their taste, they have too much added sugar, and making my own kefir is not only cheaper but healthier for me. 


Breakfast Smoothies-- I've read quite a bit about the health benefits and metabolism boost of eating at least 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast. I basically worked for three weeks to tweak my smoothie recipe to the point where it tastes seriously amazing and I can get around 36 grams of protein and 459 calories in a 20-24 oz smoothie. I'm thinking I'll share my smoothie recipe at some point. It's my hands down favorite healthy breakfast.

Healthy Snacks always on hand-- Since we're talking food, I must admit part of my weight gain problem comes from the simple yet complicated fact that I'm a snacker. I love to sit down with a good book and a good snack. Part of this journey has been me disciplining my snack habits. I don't believe in going cold turkey and so in the beginning I limited the portions of my favorite snacks and tried to incorporate more fruit. I started buying flavored Greek yogurts to help curb my sweet tooth. I subbed in Aldi's Fit n' Active 100 Calorie Snack Packs (chocolate wafers and chocolate chip wafers being my faves) for Oreos and cookies/brownies. Aldi's healthier trail mixes, trail bars and protein bars.... I've always got at least one of those in my purse, my bible study tote bag and in the snack drawer of my desk. As time has passed, my taste buds have changed and the sweet treats of my glory days don't have the same pull on me. I've been able to let go of the flavored yogurts for the most part as well. At this point in the journey- we keep two to three varieties of fresh fruit on hand, trail mix (with lots of nuts and dried fruit), plain Greek yogurt, granola and a few of those Fit n 'Active snack packs for when my sweet tooth gets a craving.
A few of my current favorite snacks- apple slices with peanut butter, hard boiled eggs and slices of honey ham, granola on yogurt (often adding fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey too!). 

Next post- more tips and tricks.... where I talk more about food, the snack I crave and my new found love of workout gear.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Creating Rewards for My Fit Journey

I want to share some of the good stuff... the bits and tidbits that help me stay motivated and on target.... Little things I've learned on this fit journey.
I'll warn you... I believe I've crossed the line in this My Fit Journey series to the point of oversharing.
If you love a good "over share", then grab your coffee and enjoy!
[Need a quick catch up? Click for all the Fit Journey Posts.]

To start with- I'm a goal oriented person. I love crossing things of my To Do List. I also love getting gifts. I quickly found one of the greatest motivators for me was Rewards.
Oh yes, you heard me.
Rewarding myself.
Not with food.
Never with food.
Okay... not never. But make it a seriously rare occasion.... there was that one time Sam and I went biking and stopped for ice cream and I basically used up every calorie I burned off with a chocolate chip cookie dough waffle cone.
I'll say this- it was worth it. *wink*


After those first fourteen weeks of this journey-- when I felt I was going nowhere fast.... I created a reward system for myself for every five pounds lost and for certain milestones.
Five pound rewards being smaller than milestone ones but very effective in keeping me keepin' on. In the beginning it was all about the milestones... we had to get this party started after all.
Example: 
First 10# loss: a beautiful dress I'd found from Lands End (one size smaller than I was currently wearing)
15# lost: amazing black shoes to go with that dress
Hitting 159# (a weight I hadn't seen since a few months after having The Boy): another beautiful dress from Land's End
My 159# dress
>>> Side Note: I'd like to mention that I ordered these two dresses when I got serious about this journey back in May. They were on sale and I splurged. I hung them in my closet and would look at them often and tell myself- "that's my 10# dress, that's my 159# dress. I will wear it this summer!" For some women it's a bathing suit they want to fit into, for me it was a dress. Due to my ahem... gut.... I've avoided wearing dresses, especially form fitting dresses for years. YEARS.
(And these dresses had pockets! Oh for the love!!!)

One of my 5# goals: new workout clothes
Another 5#: set of 8 pound weights
Another 5#: awesome hair cut
When I hit 149# it was a custom Farmgirl Paints leather cuff. That cuff sat on my dresser, wrapped all pretty, for about 4 weeks before I was able to make that goal and wear it.
I was tough on myself, I would wait until I'd spent three days at that certain goal before I'd believe it was really real and then I'd enjoy my reward.
I had a friend say to me: Honey just put on the cuff and wear it. And I smiled and told her I just couldn't do it until I hit that goal. I was focused!

Now you may have noticed- my rewards are totally me-focused and mostly about clothing.... which at the time was quite comical to me because when it comes to clothes and such necessities for myself- I've always put myself on the back burner. Last one to get new shoes or winter boots etc. (In fact, up until one of my 5# rewards, I hadn't had real winter boots in about eight years! Somebody else is always in need of boots around here and, ahem, I wasn't going outside to do much in the winter.) I will tell you this- in the last ten + years, in more ways than just my weight, I've been pretty awful about self-care. Now don't get me wrong- I've always enjoyed looking good and dressing nice, but honestly, it had become quite the mental struggle for me. I found clothes shopping for myself to be a real trial and in no way enjoyable.
So- these goals were not just about "rewards" and tangible gifts to myself but also about telling myself I matter. This was a weird concept for me in some ways... 

I am always practical. By the end of August, I was down twenty pounds and it was very apparent that my clothes weren't just not fitting, they were ill-fitting. So I made my weight rewards about updating my closet. Self-care. I'm not good about regular hair cuts. I hate to admit it, but I get a hair cut on average, once a year. Gasp! I know. So a good hair cut went on my list. And I decided to try a new hair cut... something bolder than my norm. I wanted something that fit with the new ways I was feeling about myself.

Let me say this.... there is power in a new hair cut, people. Seriously. That new hair cut felt about as amazing as the five pound goal I'd met that "allowed" me the reward. Ha!

Perhaps we've reached a point where you are wondering just a wee little bit about my grand finale reward. What did I give myself for reaching my thirty-five pound goal?
The truth is I haven't rewarded myself. I've thought of one or two rewards but they just didn't seem "big enough" for such a major milestone for me. 
I'm not rushing it.
I can wait on this one since its extra special.

And the oversharing continues.... 


Monday, January 18, 2016

My Fit Journey #7: Accountibili-Buddy

Here's what I realized- I needed an accountability buddy.
Someone on the same journey as me who's making a go of it and would be willing to nudge me, encourage me and share with me.
I didn't want a lot of pressure- not like a personal trainer wanting me to weigh in every day and share notes on every bite I eat- just someone asking "Hey, did you work out today/this week?" or "Hey Girl- #nevermissamonday" and "So, what are your workout plans for this week?"

Having someone hold me accountable made this seriously real. For reference, I'm a recovering people-pleaser. The possibility of someone being disappointed in me is a big motivator. I'm quirky like that.

Post run laughter and lovin' with my Lu...
My Lucy Girl sometimes goes on a short run with me.
I'm blessed to have a friend that was already a few months into her fit journey and was showing amazing progress. I hemmed and hawed about asking her.... and then I prayed about it. I got really serious in prayer about it and the Lord basically reminded me of my biggest problem/obstacle in life-- Pride. My weight and basically blah health were largely due to my own selfish pride and for this to go anywhere I had to begin the work of letting go of it. Ouch.
I asked my friend to mentor me through this. She graciously agreed. 
Game changer.

My friend has encouraged me and kept me accountable these last several months. She helped me reach my goal and we continue to be accountabili-buddies. She not only understands the seriousness of the physical side of this journey but also, and more importantly, the spiritual side- she has prayed for me and with me. Another positive-- I have been able to encourage and pray for her as she has for me. That's some double blessings right there.
And that has made all the difference.
Like I said--- Game Changer.

On Week 14- With my friend willing to mentor me. I decided to get really real with this fit journey. I made it my goal to lose a pound a week. I bought a digital scale. I started counting calories, seriously. Not guessing- counting. On Week 15- I started running. And you know that story. From Week 15 to Week 43, I lost 33 pounds.

And.... Now what?
Where do I go from here?
How crazy am I gonna get with this?

You know what? I'm not altogether sure I know. And I'm actually okay with that. 
I have goals.
But I also want to be flexible about them instead of rigid. I've learned a thing or two about fluidity these last months. It's got loads of benefits.

This is what I'm looking at-
Yes, a main goal is to maintain my weight loss. To keep consciously eating healthy. Drink lots of water and green tea. Eat high protein breakfasts. Limit sweets.
Keep training three times a week (I've found it to be the most remarkable quiet time with God and a real stress reliever). I've also made it my goal to continue the work I've begun in building physical strength and muscle. 
AND.....
I want to build more spiritual strength and muscle! Whoo hoo!

I want to enjoy more outdoor activities.
With my family.
I want to run 6 full miles.
Maybe 7.
I want to go on a run with my man.
I want to bike more trails.
Snowshoeing.
I want to snowshoe three miles.
Maybe more.

Honestly.... I do have one, really real, big goal and I am going to have to work toward it. If there's one fitness goal I'm really serious about for 2016- it's this one.
You see, as a youth leader I go with my church youth group on a retreat every summer-- and every year there is a climbing wall. And every year I try it. And every year (so far), I don't make it to the top. I make it a little higher each year but, dear reader, the farthest I've gone doesn't even equal half way.
I want to reach the top.
I want to take one of my "impossible to do's" and cross it off as done. I want to take my life verse- Philippians 4:13, and breath it in and exhale it out as I push and pull my body to do more than my mind has told it is possible.
Because I can.

Coming up next: Rewarding yourself for the hard work

You can read about the whole fit journey thus far- just click "My Fit Journey".

Are you on your own fit journey? Do you have an accountabili-buddy? What's one trick you use to encourage yourself?

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Fit Journey #6: Goals

December 6, 2015- I reached my goal. Thirty-five pounds lost.
December 10, 2015- I surpassed my goal by a pound.
I cried.

It took two days for me to tell anyone outside my immediate family. Not only was I shocked but I was so scared I would step on the scale the next morning and the number would have bumped up a little and I would no longer be at my goal.

172# on left-- 139# on right. Dropped 2 dress sizes.
Which is silly- because reaching a goal isn't the same as staying at that goal. No one ever said you stay at that goal. You reach a goal, you don't hold it. In fact, you're suppose to set your next goal.
And everyone knows that the new goal is "to maintain".
About which everyone has told me.... it's difficult.
Blech.

So I didn't tell hardly anybody.
Because I didn't want to be wrong. I didn't want to say I lost 35 pounds and a week later have gained one or two of them back.  I stepped on that scale every morning for a week and watched as that extra pound stayed gone.
And still I didn't share my big happy news.
Still I was scared this wasn't really real. I hadn't really done it.
I sometimes have some faulty logic.
Bare with me.

In forty-three weeks.... a week longer than the longest I was ever pregnant, I lost thirty-five pounds. I started this journey in February.... because, I told myself, my pants were too tight and if I had to buy new pants it was gonna be because I needed smaller ones not bigger ones. Vanity, yes. Motivation, yes. But only a wee bit--- I spent the first four months losing a pound or two and gaining it back. Lose it, gain it. Do it again. Blech. 
My rest spot after running. Gives me a beautiful view of the farm.
In May, I weighed 172 pounds. I had only successfully lost 3 pounds in four months. This was not progress. This was when the Lord nudged me to go on that first run.

Hindsight is helpful. Here's what I know:
I believe those first fourteen weeks were about changing my want-tos and adjusting my mindset. Those weeks were about finding and continuing to make the time to workout and train. They were about slowly learning to adjust my diet and about learning portion control. They were truthfully- mostly about the mental side of this journey. How badly did I want to do this? Was I going to be all in or only go halfsies? How dedicated was I planning to be? Would it be worth it? Really?
I am what you could term a "calculated risk taker". I weigh the pros and cons and look really hard at the possibility of failure and just how much failure that might be before attempting things. And the perfectionist in me says- if there is even a bit of a hint that I'll fail- don't do it. And I don't. Well, I didn't. 
But.... then I did. 
I think this was one of the scariest things I've ever attempted. Failure was a real possibility (and still could be). I'm a foodie and I sure wasn't known for any willpower with food. I'm not a quitter (stubborn yes, quitter, no.) and I knew starting this meant no "opting out" when I didn't like it anymore or when it ceased to be motivating or fun or just got too hard. 
After calculating risks and failure options and possible successes for a good week or so (all while the pants situation continued to make itself known), giving myself numerous pep talks and praying, lots of praying, I decided this had to be done. I also decided I wasn't going to put an expiration date on this journey.... none of this 35 pounds in 35 weeks or "I'll give myself a year to drop the weight". It took years to gain it, I needed to be realistic about giving myself the time and gifting myself some grace  to lose it. ---- God made it very clear that I was going to need grace, especially towards myself, as I set off on this journey. (more on that in another post, I think.) And having never done anything like this before-- never tried to lose weight, never tried working out or training, never having run.... I really had no idea how long this was going to take or how hard it would be.
So, how did I come to the conclusion that I needed to drop 35 pounds? Thirty-five put me about in the middle of my healthy BMI for my height and age. A worthy goal. It's also ten pounds more than I weighed when I got married at twenty (21.5 years ago). The realist in me knew I didn't need to weigh 130 lbs anymore and besides, I was going to be exercising regularly for the very first time in my life.... I would actually be building muscle and since muscle weighs more than fat.... a thirty-five pound weight loss seemed exactly appropriate as well as doable.

Back to those first 14 weeks into my journey- I didn't really share much about what I was attempting- just to my immediate family and a couple of close friends. And this was good. No one was pressuring me. I was making small adjustments on my own. I had the space and freedom to work at this at my own pace.
However this was also bad.
Because no one was pressuring me.
Go figure.

Here's what I realized- I needed an accountability buddy... which is my next post.

Thanks for hanging around and reading this. I appreciate it!
You can read about the whole fit journey thus far- just click "My Fit Journey".

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Fit Journey #5: Turning 42

So in the last five posts, I've taken you through nine months of my fit journey.
Need to play catch up? Go here and read about my crazy. It's good stuff.

At the beginning of November I had lost a total of twenty-nine pounds.
Twenty NINE.
Whoo hoo!
When I decided to do something about my weight I weighed just over 175 pounds. Well, I should say when I finally decided to buy a scale and step on it.... 
That's only a little less than I weighed at nine months pregnant with my boy.... the most I've ever weighed was right around 180 and that was my fourth pregnancy.
One hundred seventy-five on a 5 foot 5 inch frame.
March 2015- I hadn't really lost any weight yet
No, I'm not kidding.
Yes, I hid it well. Clothes can camouflage a lot.
But I knew it was there.... and worse, I knew I wasn't healthy. I felt it.

So November- beginning of the month-- I was within six pounds of my goal and dare I say it.... on fire.
Ha!

I turned 42 on the 3rd and I knew just how I wanted to celebrate-- in fitness style!
We went on a ten mile family bike ride.
Oh yes! What better way to celebrate forty-two and my fit commitment than a fit family field trip! [I should add here that everyone was extremely excited about this bike ride- no one was forced to participate.]
It was a gorgeous fall day and we have a seriously amazing paved hiking and biking trail about thirty minutes from our house that cuts through some of the most beautiful farm land and country side.
I will say this though- ten miles was a bit excessive. Eight would have been a better number. That last mile was a weary one for all of us. And I think we all biked it... standing up. Ouch.

Birthday gifts this year.... new running gear.
I am crazy.
And loving it.

My last day of being 41, I ran my longest run to date- 5.9 miles. I think I would have cried when I saw that number if I hadn't sweat practically every drop of moisture out of my body by the end and didn't have a bit to spare for even happy tears. I did grin though. I whole lotta lot. Big. Big grins. Lots of teeth. 
It was the most unbelievable, exhilarating run of my life. Oh, I still struggle part way between mile two and three but those last three miles were amazing. And that last half mile.... beautiful. I ran until my run playlist played out.... just over. Got to the last song and I made the turn for home. Just like that. An hour and nineteen minutes.
It was also one of the most clear headed run

My Birthday Bike Ride. Me & my Madsy.
I think turning 42 has been one of my most favoritest birthdays yet. I know I sound like a broken record- but I feel the best I've ever felt, most energized, physically fit, emotionally fit,  and spiritually growing EVER... and I'm doing it in my forties!
Who knew?
Well, God did.
This was all His idea really.
Thank you Lord.

As a showing of this gratitude that overwhelms me and a way of making another big statement to myself that this is a new lifestyle and not a fad--- I went for a run on Thanksgiving. I just had to steal away for some focused quiet time with Him--- just my feet thumping the pavement, worship music cranking in my ears and me talking with God. Thanking Him for all He brought my way this year--- The beautiful, good thankfuls, the meh moments, the teaching moments, the hard, difficult, battle-scarred blessings, the weary, bit o'whining thanks, the down deep painful gratefuls and the soft whispering hidden overwhelming ones that grab me and swamp me with His perfect goodness.

Yeah, all that.
He is good.
No matter what.

I am undone in gratitude.
Lord you amaze me... and this year, you amazed me with me.
Untapped potential- untapped strength, endurance, fortitude, courage....
Oh. Wow.
Who would have thought?

Gotta end here... I'm a bit unraveled by Him...



Monday, January 11, 2016

My Fit Journey #4: It just got crazy

If you’re just joining the party, you may want to read here first to get a bit of background on what’s what here. Or not. It’s up to you.
Oh well, just in case…. I’ll recap a bit for you. I’m helpful like that.
Me and my Lulu.
May 20 to June 18.... 10 lb loss (biking and running)
When I left you last time I had been on this fit journey for five months and had lost about eleven pounds. I had started out T-Tapping, took up running or wogging as I like to call it, got a shin splint, took up jump roping, found out that isn’t good with a shin splint, took to biking, then it got blistering hot…. So I bought a workout dvd. Which brings us to here....

What was I thinking?
I’ll tell you this- in some ways exercise brings clarity of thought.
And in other ways- you start thinking cray-cray.
It’s a fine line.

I threw myself into research… i.e. I googled the top ten fitness dvds available.
I’m smart like that.

After reading a bazillion reviews, both negative and positive on the top three dvds, I gulped and purchased Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. The clincher was the price- $9 (the price has since dipped to $6.96- completely doable!). Doable. I was a bit scared because I heard that Jillian can be quite a bully but sucked it up and did the first level. I managed to not only live through it but find it exhilarating and Jillian to be “not as bad as I thought”.


Now, I feel I should mention- I didn’t follow any Jillian Michaels meal plan (or any other fitness guru meal plan or fit eating cookbook) and I didn’t do the program for 30 straight days, as in 30 day In A ROW. Um, no. Just no. I’m not that far over on the cray-cray scale. I know my body needs periods of rest. I'm old and I just started the first ever fitness journey of my life. I completely accept and embrace rest days. They are beautiful. I keep my workouts to 4 or 5 days a week max. The frugal side of me liked this plan as well-- it meant a dvd that would take a month to complete could now be stretched to last two months.
Beginning of July- starting the Shred. Down 11 lbs so far.
I spent the month of July with 30 Day Shred as my only workout, four to five days a week. I lost five pounds and quite a few inches (one whole dress size!). At this point, I had lost a grand total of 16 pounds. The clincher was that I could see a difference in my appearance, in how loose my clothes felt and it was so motivating!


In August, I decided to try running again. I floored myself by going for a two mile run (still a bit of a wog) my first time out. I wogged for 30 minutes. Unbelievable! Up until that time, I had never thought that was possible for me. This fit journey continually amazes me as I find out my body can do so much more than I had ever thought. And that right there has led to so many spiritual applications for me. Someone once said that the mind can be the weakest or strongest part of the body. I get that.
So August was a split between doing The Shred and running (when it wasn't blistering hot). By the end of August I ran 3.1 miles. I ran it in 43:29 minutes but the point is I ran the equivalent of a 5k. I was ecstatic (still am). Seriously- here's some perspective-- my first timed run was just under a mile (0.91) and it took me just under 18 minutes to do it. I was now running three times that!

That first three mile run taught me so much:
1. My body can do this
2. I liked doing it
3. Mile 1.2 to Mile 1.8 was the hardest part--  thee hard-EST
4. It emptied my mind and quieted me to a very focused point
5. The worship I had with Jesus was FANTASTIC
6. Did I mention I liked doing it?

I- the girl who hated running.... had voluntarily and victoriously ran 3.1 miles. 
Whoa.
Mind blown.

By the end of August I had lost just over 20 pounds. I had surpassed the half way point to my main goal (losing 35 pounds). I was finally at a point where all this hard work and effort was becoming noticeable. A friend told me the following concerning weight loss, “You’ll notice a difference after you drop ten pounds but it takes a twenty pound loss before others will notice.” I have found this to be very true. And very motivating. The more differences I saw in me, the more I was able to push myself to keep going. This fit journey thing was really truly working! I now was at a weight I hadn't seen in ten years and more than that- I had energy, strength and stamina I can't ever remember feeling before!
By mid-September I had finished 30 Day Shred and continued to steadily run a bit over 3 miles (adding a little bit more with each run). I found I really enjoyed the strength training the workout dvd gave me and still didn't mind Jillian all that much.
So, after a bit more research to make sure I was still right, I plunked down another $9 and bought Ripped in 30 (now $7.99).


Once again, I must interject that I didn't do this workout series in 30 consecutive days. I stuck to mostly 3-4 days a week, two or three times on weeks where I ran more. And I should add- when I got to week 4 of the workout- after doing it for the first time.... I took two back-to-back days off from working out. I went for a walk- but man, I stayed away from anything that required arm muscles. Whew-wee that week 4 kicked my butt!

Let me also add this.... 30 Day Shred was a very, very good start to working out (and to Jillian) for me. If I had started with Ripped, I think I would have quit! But because I'd built up some strength and knowledge of workout moves (remember- total newbie here, to me burpees were what you call little burps. ahem. And what newbie would know what a crow push-up or.... eek.... a chaturanga push-up is and not want to cry after trying them?) I stuck with it. Over all, having done both- I prefer Ripped. There's more variety to the moves (I learned I'm not a fan of traditional jumping jacks), better warm ups and cool downs and the pace just seems faster. Plus I like moving to the next level in 7 days rather than 10. But I'm glad I started with Shred, got to know Jillian's style and worked my way up gradually to the Ripped dvd.
July 25 to Sept 20. Eleven pounds difference in these photos.
And the beard grew!
Basically, I stuck with Ripped and running all through September and October. Averaging 5 training days a week between the two.
By the end of October, I'd lost a total of thirty pounds and this girl was on fire.
And then came November.... and I turned 42.

Still interesting? One can hope.... here's the next post in this series.
Stay with me, folks.
I appreciate it.

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