Tag Archives: weight loss

Losing It

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Okay, okay, I’m not talking about the big “IT.”  I’m talking about losing some poundage!  If you’re a longtime follower of my blog, I’m sure you remember me mentioning multiple times over the last few years wanting to lose a few pounds.  I know I was far from alone in wanting this in the months leading up to my wedding.  I totally believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and I don’t agree with the immense amount of pressure put on brides to be a stick figure.  But on the other hand, I had been just a little over my ideal weight for years and I figured the wedding was the best excuse I would ever have to drop it!

So in January (along with millions of other New Years Resolution-makers) I commenced my very own Operation Flab to Fab!  The happy news I can now report is that I have lost 24 pounds!!!!!!

After a rainy hike almost a year ago…carrying a little extra weight!
On a recent hiking trip…trimmed it up a bit!

I don’t think the difference is too obvious in photos but people have been noticing in real life, which is nice!  Now you may be waiting with bated breath to hear my big, miraculous, easy weight loss secret…

Welp, I’m sorry to disappoint but I made this happen with the two classics: DIET and EXERCISE.  Since January, I’ve been using www.myfitnesspal.com to count calories.  This method works well for me because I can really eat anything I want, I just have to budget for it!  I also experimented with counting calories by the week, instead of by the day, so that I could have some extra treats (or beers) on certain days of the week.

Fitness wise, I’ve been pretty active!  On June 2 I will be running my first half marathon and training for that has definitely kept me moving.  I’ve also been going to yoga class once a week, biking, and hiking on days off.  I’m all for putting the effort into exercise in order to earn those extra calories!

I don’t want to make it sound easy, because it definitely hasn’t been.  I LOVE cooking, baking, eating out, going out to bars, and pretty much every other unhealthy hobby out there.  Thinking of the wedding, support from Zach, mental toughness, and encouragement from a couple other dieting friends has helped me get this far.  The thing is, I’m not done yet!  I have a mere two and a half months until my wedding and three weeks until my final dress fitting and I still would like to lose six more pounds.  Despite my success so far, I feel like I’ve hit a wall.  I’ve been making too many excuses and cheating on my eating far too much!  Getting close is not enough; I want to meet my final goal!  (Which is still in the middle of my healthy BMI range, FYI.)

So I guess part of my reason for writing this is to ask for some support and accountability!  The clock is ticking and I really need to recommit in order to get my body to truly FAB status by wedding time!

Does anyone have any tips for getting through the last few pounds?  Any other encouraging pre-wedding weight loss stories out there?

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Ugly Duckling Syndrome

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Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be.

There’s nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look.

Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I won’t seem like a traditionally-styled bride no matter what, not that I want to.  But I still feel tons of pressure to look my best!  This pressure is mostly self-inflicted, and lately I’m just feeling like an ugly duckling!

Pardon the bitchfest for a moment, but my two main complaints are my weight and my skin.  In a way, the weight is the easy one.  Too many desserts and cervezas have taken their toll on my midsection, but if I really commit to healthier choices I know I can shed a few pounds by June.  I don’t want to be unrealistic and go on a torturous diet, just lose the beer belly and get more fit!  I know if I can pull it off I’ll feel much more confident on my wedding day!

My skin has always confused me.  First of all, my skin tone is very uneven, freckly, and red.  I blame the Irish in me.  I’ve tried several different makeup regimens over the years but I always end up looking shiny by the end of the day.  With an outdoor summer wedding, I’m really worried about looking like a sweaty beast in all the pictures!  Secondly, I have really dark under-eye circles.  No matter how much sleep I get or how little caffeine/alcohol I drink, they remain.  I’ve even tried this:

The concealers I’ve tried never really hide my circles as much as I’d like, and they too end up melting down my face after several hours.  I’m really worried about how I’m going to DIY my wedding makeup when I’m not even satisfied with my day-to-day look!  I’m terrified I won’t feel confident and I won’t like how I look in the photos.  I know these concerns are totally stupid and conceited, but I can’t help feeling stressed about the beauty aspects of the big day!

Has anyone else been infected with Ugly Duckling Syndrome while planning “the most important day of your life”?  Anyone have advice on longer-lasting makeup brands?

Physical Challenge Life List

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As our time here is winding down, I’m overwhelmed with mixed emotions.  Partly happiness about going home to friends, family, grocery stores and farmers markets, microbrews, and a kitchen!  But a big part of me is very very sad to be saying goodbye (for now) to all the adventures, the constantly-changing scenery, the daily challenges of travel, the cheap street food, and the gorgeous hiking.

Feeling victorious after climbing the highest peak in El Salvador!

I do feel like I’ve matured a lot on this journey, and one of the ways I’ve matured is in regards to my outlook on health.  I used to say that I wanted to die before I get old.  I don’t want that anymore, but I do want to be a super healthy, on-the-go old person.  I think it makes sense to say that accomplishing that goal depends a lot on the investments I make towards it now.  I’ve preached about the organic, vegetarian diet on here before, so I don’t need to go into that again.  And yes, I will always have a sweet tooth and a baking addiction, but moderation is the key.

I’ve kind of gotten over drinking on this trip.  I think an occasional, special-occasion, in-moderation drinker is what I would like to be.  I’m just getting too old for the college-type shenanigans!  The less I drink, the healthier, happier, and more alert I feel.  I’m sure this is a normal transition that most people go through, otherwise there would be a lot more 40-year-old running around doing kegstands.  But still I read what I’ve written and think, “Oh my gosh I’m becoming a lame old lady!”  C’est la vie.

Also, all the hiking, pack-carrying, and occasional surfing we’ve done here has gotten me into better shape than I’ve ever been in.  I’ve still got a spare tire but I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life.  And it feels great!  What sucks is that with our return to Ohio looming, I’m already missing all the awesome hikes, mountains, beaches, and activities available here.  I really want to maintain, and hopefully improve, my fitness level once we get home.  It’s going to be hard in Ohio, because I’m not a big fan of running, and gym workouts are just so boring compared to mountain climbing!  Our time in Ohio will be brief, however, and I’m committed to finding ways to stay moving somehow.  Once we head west again, fitness can become a lot more fun.

Because I love lists so much, I came up with a new goal list of all the “physical challenge”-type activities I would like to accomplish in my life.  This will probably get added to a lot as I think of new things.  Not all of them are super-physical, some are just outdoorsy activities.  Hopefully I can check one or two within a year of getting home.  These are the things that get me excited and motivate me to work out hard (well, other than wearing a wedding dress next summer)!

Physical Challenge Life List
1. Master surfing

2. Master rock-climbing

3. Master snow-boarding

4. Climb Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

5. Climb Mt. Whitney (California)

6. Climb Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

7. Hike the Grand Canyon, to the river and back

8. Bungee jump at Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia)

9. Ride in a hot air balloon

10. Really give yoga a try

11. Learn to swing dance

What do you think of my list?  Way too ambitious or do-able?  Has anyone else ever made a list like this?

Urban Rebounding

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You know who I hate?  People who DON’T SWEAT.  I CANNOT understand those magical girls I see at the gym who run treadmill marathons or do hardcore kickboxing and BARELY GLISTEN.  How do they do that??????

Me, I’m a sweater.  It’s disgusting.  I can’t even believe I’m writing about it on the Internet.  But the fact is, I sweat A LOT when I work out, and my face gets really red.  It’s not like, an unhealthy/I’m-gonna-die level of sweating, but it’s a lot more than these magical sweat-free women.  And I HATE people seeing me sweat like that.  This is why, all through college and beyond, I have always preferred to work out by myself.  Running buddies are not for me because God forbid I make one of my friends witness my sweaty, nasty, red-faced glory.  I also have always avoided any type of workout classes (aerobics, yoga, etc.) because I just don’t like feeling like people are watching me sweat!

But, yesterday I FINALLY overcame my self-consciousness and WENT TO A CLASS!  There was finally one offering at my gym that just sounded too FUN to pass up, despite my sweat-a-phobia.  What was it, you ask?

URBAN REBOUNDING…otherwise known as Trampoline Class!!!!!!The idea of working out by jumping on a trampoline brought back memories of my favorite part of gymnastics when I was in elementary school…the trampoline!  Seriously, bouncing like Tigger is SO FUN!!!  So despite my apprehensions, I finally tried out the Urban Rebounding class last night.  And it was really fun!!!  It’s basically like aerobics and tae-bo type moves while bouncing on your “rebounder.”  There were only 4 of us plus the instructor, who was super-peppy and fun (despite being one of those crazy non-sweaters) and blasted hip-hop music as we bounced around for half an hour.  The moves weren’t hard but definitely got your heart rate up there.  I certainly felt like I had don’t just as much as I do in 30 minutes on the elliptical, if not more.  My legs really felt it.  It was so nice to have my brain engaged in trying something new for a change rather than just busting out a tedious 30 minutes on a machine.  And yes, I did sweat more than the other girls in the class but they both took breaks and I didn’t which I told myself meant I am still in better shape than them despite my sweaty pits.  Score!  I’m so glad I finally went to a class and took one step toward getting over my silly self-consciousness.  It was so fun that I’ll definitely go back, and I even feel inspired to try more classes.  Maybe Justine will take me with her to hip-hop dancercize when I’m back in Ohio and I can get all sweaty there too while finally learning some rhythm!

Operation Bikini: Update 3

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Remember I said I’d write again after I weighed myself today?  Well, I’m doing it!  Accountability, eh?

I feel great today because not only did I do a great job eating right and exercising through the weekend, but I weighed myself today for the first time in months and it was not as high a number as I expected!  I don’t want to write out the official digits on the Internet, but suffice it to say, I actually lost 4 pounds since the last time I weighed myself despite my sporadic eating ways!

So, instead of the 20-24 pounds I thought I had to lose, I really only have 18!  So this whole shebang could be accomplished in only 9 weeks!!!  9 weeks ain’t so bad!!  Woohoo!!!

I’m feeling happy and in control today!  September 12 is the official goal date.  (A little past bikini season in the US, but not in Colombia!)  I know I can stick to this and get the “freshman 15” off for good!!!

Operation Bikini: Update 2

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Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes, right???

Right????

‘Cause I definitely did.  Gulp.

Despite my best intentions, I have kind of sucked at my eating recently.  Our trip to Mexico, having lots of couchurfers, and actually doing stuff with friends recently has led to me not following my rules and eating/drinking way too much bad stuff recently.

But, I’m back, because I am not a quitter!!!  However, it is time to seriously get my butt in gear.  I’m hoping that the time ticking down to our road-trip departure will serve as good motivation for me.  If I get serious now, I can still lose 14 pounds by the time we leave on August 22 and be almost done by then!!!  My goal is to lose 20-24 pounds total.  So, in drastic measures, I’ve decided to eliminate the flex days.  I knew I would abuse them, and I certainly did.  Achieving this goal is about sacrifice, and I just need to get my mind around that.  Of course if it’s a truly special occasion or something I will still let myself go a day without counting.  But by allowing myself 2 flex days a week I was just waiting for those days and then stuffing my face to the max.  Not good for learning moderation.

So this is it: 1000 calories per day, exercise every day.  I can totally be at my goal weight by the time we get back to Ohio!!!!!

Now let me celebrate some small victories:

-I have been doing consistently pretty well on my exercise.  Climbing, hiking, biking, gymming it up.  I finally bought new running shoes that actually provide support so I’m not hurting my feet anymore.  Now I’ll be able to keep running outside once we’re on our trip and I don’t have gym access.

-Last night I had a couple glasses of wine with girlfriends but kept within my 1000-cal limit!  I just had a light snack instead of a meal when I got home, then went to bed.

-Today I got a 6-mile bike ride and a bunch of crunches/push-ups in all despite the heat and before 11am.  Getting exercise done early is a great way for me to make sure I get it done!

-I baked something that DIDN’T INVOLVE CHOCOLATE!  Shocker, I know.  Tomato Rosemary Scones.  We’ll see what Zach thinks of them.  I am getting better at baking for him but not indulging myself.  Not having chocolate-filled goodies definitely helps though.

-I’m making these Chipotle Squash Fritters for dinner tonight.  I love trying new, inventive recipes; plus this sounds delicious and super-healthy!  I have been doing a good job making dishes that are heavy on the veggies and light on the cheese and dairy lately.

Must make myself update more on this un-fun topic.  I think I have to get back on the scale too.  That’ll happen sometime next week, after I continue my good habits for the rest of this one.  Then I’ll post another update.  I CAN do this.  Positive thinking, yeeehaw!!!

Yay for a productive day off!  Of course I wish I was working since we desperately need $$, but I’ve used today to bike, bake, blog, (hahaha alliteration!) and now I’ll be studying some Spanish and reading my awesome book about the Colombian drug trade.

Operation Bikini: Update 1

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For the purposes of my weight-loss plan, I decided that the week starts on Monday.  As I wrote, on Monday I went on an 11-mile hike, so that was my first “flex day” for the week, meaning I didn’t count calories.  I enjoyed some pizza and a margarita but didn’t go overboard.  Tuesday I did a great job eating (under 1000 calories), and went mountain biking with Zach.  Unfortunately I tripped on the rutted road and fell off, with the bike pedal hitting me right in the upper arch bone of my foot.  Ouch!  That was swollen and kinda sore until mid-afternoon today.  It kinda led me down a bad road, since instead of going for another bike ride I decided to make Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache (recipe: Ming Makes Cupcakes) for Zach!  I didn’t actually eat a cupcake, but of course I consumed a good amount of the batter, filling, and ganache.  (Baker’s privileges, you know.)  So today became my second “flex day” already.  I did kick myself in the butt and got outside for a 30 minute walk, plus did 50 pushups and 150 crunches for at least a little exercise.    I definitely indulged a little too much today and need to work more on the moderation thing for my flex days next week.  So now I am facing a stretch of at least 4 days eating strictly (1000 calories or less).  It’ll be hard but I can do it!  Writing these posts will definitely help me stay accountable.

The dreaded diet post

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Guys, I hate writing this.  But I feel I must.  Things have come to the point where unless I start making some changes and exercising some accountability I am never going to be happy with my body.  My bad habits and severe lack of self-control have been WINNING (Charlie Sheen, anyone?).  I really really want to turn things around and drop 20 pounds so I can cross #17 (Wear a bikini and look hot) off my Thirty by 30 list.  The thing is, I just SUCK so much at losing weight.  I try really hard for a few weeks, then have one bad day, feel bummed, and continue the badness for a whole week.  Hence the horribly unoriginal and boring blog post about “my new diet plan!”  Honestly though, I’m writing this for the accountability.  I just want to put my goal out there on the internet for all to see AND make myself post updates as my goals are accomplished.  And they will be!!!!!!!  (Woo, positive thinking.)

So here’s the deal.  After my junior year of college I did lose my freshman 15 (I’ve since gained it all back and more) and what worked for me then was calorie counting.  Ugh, I know.  But it’s the simplest and most logical method to me with the least restrictions on WHAT I can actually eat.  So that’s what I’m gonna do.

THE PLAN

1. Count calories and eat 1000 calories or less at least 5 days per week.

2. Exercise every day. (gym, hiking, biking, yoga, something!!!!)

3. 2 days a week can be a little bit more flexible.  If I want to have a treat, some drinks, or go out to eat I can.  This will help me stay sane and have things to look forward to.  BUT these days are also a tool to help myself learn moderation.  Just  because I’m not counting does not mean I can fully unleash the munchie monster.  If I stuff myself silly 2 days a week it will totally undo the benefits of the other 5 low-cal days, so I am going to really concentrate on being REASONABLE!

4. I’m not going to weigh myself obsessively.  I’m going to wait to weigh myself until I notice some changes.  I think this will help me focus on sticking with the plan just to be healthy, not to achieve specific numbers.  (Although theoretically if I do this right those numbers will come!)

5. All bets are off for my birthday week.  My best friend and her hubby will be visiting and there will probably be lots of treats.  But it’s my birthday and I will not care!!!!  But that is the ONLY week I am allowed to go off-plan until I meet my goal.

6. If I get to where I want to be before we move away from Flagstaff, I’m rewarding myself with a brand new outfit from this AWESOME but slightly expensive store in town, The Rainbow’s End.  (I haven’t bought any clothes not from Kohls or the thrift store in years.)

That’s it.  Seriously, I KNOW I can do this because I’ve done it before.  If I can just make myself buckle down it should only take around 3 months to get back to where I want to be.  That means I could get my bikini out by the end of this summer!  I would LOVE that!  I just really need encouragement.  So please, if you read this, send me some happy thoughts AND make sure to ask me how things are going once in awhile.  Hopefully I’ll have some positive changes to report soon!!!  Thanks for bearing with such a superficial post!