Weight Loss: A Marathon, NOT a Sprint

October 2011 to April 2012

For almost eight months now, I’ve been working on losing weight. In October of last year, I weighed 293 pounds, a record high for me. Seeing that number on the scale was heartbreaking, and admitting that it was accurate was even more difficult.

But I persevered. I joined Weight Watchers and picked up running. I changed my diet and stopped making excuses. I went out for runs when I would have rather sat on the couch. I ate carrots when I really wanted chocolate. I drank water when I wanted wine. I ran a 5k race without stopping. I sacrificed. I pushed. And I lost 63 pounds in seven months. I am halfway to my goal.

That brings me to today, and I am struggling. I’m not afraid to say it- I’m tired. After watching every bite, logging every single mile, and staying focused every day of the week, I am tired. Here’s the deal, friends: it’s fun to eat what I want. It’s way more fun to sit and watch TV than it is to go out for a run. I’m one of those girls who can sit down on the couch and eat an entire jar of Nutella without stopping. I’m the girl who can put away a family sized bag of potato chips after eating dinner, then chase it with a sleeve of Oreos, and here’s the real kicker: I enjoy every second of it. My stomach doesn’t hurt, I don’t feel sick. On the contrary; that feeling of fullness feels GOOD. I’ve discussed this with my much thinner sisters, and both have said they dislike (even hate) that super-full feeling. But I don’t. I LIKE IT. I find myself craving that feeling- even chasing it. Uncomfortable as it is to admit, I’m relatively confident I’m addicted to that feeling.

Here I am, deservedly facing a weigh-in tomorrow morning that I know won’t be pretty, struggling. I’ve been here before. I’ve lost weight, then slacked, and watched the scale creep back up and then past my previous weight. I don’t want to do that again. The prospect of it is nothing less than terrifying.

So what’s next?

Here’s my little personal pep-talk for this coming week (and maybe it’ll help you, too):

  1. Losing weight, any amount, is hard. Losing 5 lbs is hard. Losing 120 lbs is hard. Wherever I am on the journey, it’s hard, and it’s okay to admit it.
  2. It’s okay to tell myself how awesome I am for every pound I lose. I deserve my post-weigh-in dance of victory.
  3. It is NOT okay to give up. It would be a shame to undo all of this hard work, wouldn’t it? I mean, can you think of anything more disappointing than to have amazed oneself for 6 long months, only to undo it all in a matter of weeks? I can’t. It would be like an artist destroying a piece of work. This 60-pounds-lighter body is a piece of work, my friends, and it’s NOT okay to give up on it just because I got tired.
  4. There’s a reason I’m chasing that super full feeling, and it’s not pretty. For me, eating lots of food does two things for me: satisfies my need to reward myself, and satisfies my need to punish myself. You see, I’m an emotional eater. If I’m happy, I want to eat. If I’m stressed, I want to eat. If I’m nervous, embarrassed, or feeling guilty – oh mercy, get out of the way unless you want to lose a digit. Knowing this about myself is actually a good thing. It’s high time I find another way to reward myself. (Ideas welcome!) It’s also high time I stop feeling the need to punish myself. (Prayers welcome!)
  5. A majority of the success we experience, in any area of our lives, is the culmination of many tiny, consecutive, good decisions. Losing weight doesn’t have to be the big dramatic thing I make it out to be: remembering that my craving for Nutella tonight is just a teeny weeny moment in the grand timeline of my life helps me keep the decision to abstain in perspective. I can skip the Nutella right now – and right now, that’s all that matters.
  6. I am awesome- a fact that doesn’t change even when I have a bad week. (I’m allowed to be a little prideful in my own pep-talks.)
  7. This journey is a marathon. No one has ever lost 120 lbs in a month. This kind of thing takes determination and self control more than anything. Just keep going. Stop thinking it’s impossible. Start believing #6.

Sigh. I feel much better about the coming week, don’t you? This is doable!

Do you give yourself pep-talks? I want to hear them- I NEED to hear them! Share them in the comments.




Project 365: 42

Every once in a while, you KNOW my food-blogger side comes out, and I just have to post a photo of something I made/ate/loved. This is all three- Leftover Revamp: Fried Rice.

Want the recipe? Check out my food blog, The Frugal Flambe.

Sidenote: Fashion

I know a girl who hates everything in her closet. She wakes up dreading the ritual of getting dressed. And don’t even get me started on how much she hates getting ready for a special event. It always ends in tears and chocolate. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. She buys cheap stuff.
  2. She buys without a plan or goal in mind.
  3. She thinks she can only afford ugly stuff.
  4. She’s been overweight for years, and, although she hates to admit it, doesn’t really think she deserves nice stuff.
  5. She’s on a budget, so she can’t buy all the stuff she really wants.
  6. She’s a stay at home mom, and to her, somehow her daily schedule of laundry, dishes and getting puked on doesn’t quite warrant a sexy pair of jeans.
  7. Here comes the big one: Even if she thought her day DID warrant a sexy pair of jeans, she questions if she could possibly look sexy in them. 
  8. She’s lost 37 pounds in the last four months, has another 90 to go until her goal is met, and doesn’t feel like buying tons of stuff before then.

I. Am. That. Girl.

Low self-esteem? Check. Low budget? Check. Closet full of clearance rack business attire from my working days and maternity t-shirts from the more recent days? Check. Plus sized jeans that I took in myself because I lost almost 40 pounds and am too cheap to go buy a pair that actually fits? Check. Zero jewelry? Check.

Obviously, I’ve got a problem. It’s a clothes problem. It’s a mirror problem. It’s an me problem.

But like the majority of problems, thank God, there’s a solution. Or, in this case, many small solutions. Really, what better time to start revamping my closet and finding my style than when I’m 1/3 of the way towards my goal weight? Now is the time for change.

Which is why I couldn’t have been more thrilled when my good friend Jenna wrote a post TO ME about MY wardrobe and how to revamp it. I mean yes, she posted it on her blog and other people will undoubtedly read it and be changed for life, but let’s be honest, it was written to ME. My name is in it and everything.

A few notes about Jenna and I: We met because we both blog about food. She, about Paleo living, and I, about the importance and benefits of cooking for your family at home, formed a coalition of sorts when we blogged together for a time. (and it was a good partnership, wasn’t it Jenna?) Also important to note: Jenna and I could not be more different. She is petite, 5′ 5”, gorgeous, has a boyfriend, dresses impeccably, and has a little bit of a potty mouth when she gets excited. (It’s true.) I am, um, not petite,  5’11”, pretty, have a husband and two kids, I dress like I’m embarrassed of my body, and I use words like “merciful heavens” and “frickin’ frackin'” when I get excited. (It’s true.) Despite our differences, though, we’ve got a mutual respect for one another that is priceless, and she knows I’ll always be an avid reader of The Paleo Project. It’s a great thing we’ve got going.

Which is why I studied the post she wrote in response to my question: “So, I hate my wardrobe. I don’t have the money to revamp the whole thing at once- what are some good tips to boost my style-points without busting the bank?”

Some people would be totally freaked by this question. Some people would skip over it and pretend they never got the email. Some people would give a half-baked answer like “buy a belt” and call it good. Jenna is not “some people”. Nuh uh. Jenna is fearless. Jenna is dedicated. And, you guys, Jenna is brilliant. In a post dedicated to me and my troubles, (I am just so blown away that my name is on her blog!), she spelled out to me exactly what I need to know to slowly transform my closet into something to be proud of.

What I learned from Jenna and discovered in myself along the way:

  1. I need to stop being so hard on myself. I mean really, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. I started running. RUNNING. Yeah, be impressed, because it’s impressive. I’m well on my way to looking like how I feel: healthy, vibrant and alive. I’m pretty much awesome.
  2. Because I’m awesome, I deserve to look awesome. 
  3. I don’t have to spend a million dollars on a wardrobe. I do have to shop with a plan in mind, though. No more going to the store and buying whatever fits off the clearance rack. For example, I need a blazer. So, when the money is there, I’m going to go to the mall, and I’m going to buy a frickin’ frackin’ blazer. I’m not going to buy the first one I find, I’m not going to to buy a t-shirt instead because it’s cheap. I’m going to find a blazer that looks good on me, that makes me feel good, that is of quality craftsmanship and construction so it lasts, and that would make Jenna proud. Why? Because I deserve it, that’s why. And then? Then I’m going to save up for a pair of jeans. And then a pair of boots. It might take me 5 years, but I’m going to be proud of my wardrobe.
  4. I can wear jewelry. Now, you guys, this is a scary thing for me. I feel dumb in jewelry. It makes me feel like I’ve got a sign on me that says, “hey, look at me!” Up until today, the last thing I wanted was for people to look at me. No more of that. Yes, look at me, I’m empowered and beautiful. 
  5. It’s not rocket science. It’s not difficult to build a wardrobe you like. Have a plan. Know the basics. Be creative. Then wake up in the morning excited to wear your clothes because they’re awesome.

Today was an “Aha!” moment for sure- a day of encouragement, enlightenment and excitement.

Today was the day I realized I’m worth the effort. 

Sidenote: Food Journaling

My friend and ever-inspiring blogger girl, Jenna, wrote a post today about food journaling.

Read her post, then read my take:

I food journal, and I truly believe it’s like the best thing ever.

But first let me say this: (and please, still love me after) I have an addiction to food. No, I’m not saying “I’m addicted” in the cute way that food bloggers say it. I really, truly, terrifyingly, am addicted to food. It FEELS good to eat it. It improves my mood. It’s how I handle emotions. Bottom line: my relationship with food is unhealthy.

Now that I’ve got that on the table, I can explain why food journaling helps me. It keeps me from eating so damn much. It’s not about guilt, it’s about honesty. With myself. How many times have I said to myself, “I didn’t eat that many cheetos, I’m still good on calories for the day” without counting or measuring or writing it down, when in reality if I had actually paid attention, I would see that I ate close to three cups of cheetos, and gained a butt-ton of weight in the process. (dramatization, but you get the point).

So for me, journaling keeps me honest. It keeps me aware. It keeps me healthy. But let’s say a healthy person, with healthy eating habits, and a lack of self-lying habits- let’s say they want to know if they should food journal. My answer: whatever is right for you is right for you.

Does it feel good to write it down? Sweet. No? Then don’t.

Project 365: 17

When you’re eating healthy in the winter, eating cold salads and fruit medleys can get kind of… chilly. At least for me, when it’s 9 degrees outside, I want something HOT, but I don’t want to waste a ton of calories. It’s times like these I turn to “zero point soup”- a Weight Watchers delicacy. Take broth (any), veggies (any, except the starchies like corn and peas), and some spices (any), throw it all together in a pot, simmer until veggies are tender, and devour. Warm, diet friendly comfort food even your personal trainer can get behind.

(click to enlarge)