Tuesday, September 16, 2014

-25 Pounds Progress Pictures!

So this happened yesterday:

And I was pretty excited.  I am still recovering from the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ankle break.  I'm not allowed to put any weight on my left leg.  

Therefore, I usually skip exercise.  I say "usually" because there have been a couple of times that I tried to do some upper body stuff, but I didn't enjoy it at all.  I prefer being able to use my entire body when I exercise.  

Anyway, my pants have been feeling loose lately, so I went ahead and weighed in and YAY another goal reached.  I'm excited about it.  This means that all I have to do now is repeat the process of losing 25 pounds three times, then keep it all off forever (the hardest part).

I can do this.  

So here are the latest progress pictures:

I honestly just don't see a huge difference between 254 and 240, but oh well.  I know I've lost the weight, and I know my clothes feel loose.  (Also, LOL at my pinky when I take selfies)

I'm not truly following the Slim Fast plan anymore.  It got old.  So now I basically just watch my portions VERY carefully, and replace only one meal a day with a shake or bar.  It's hard to lose weight while immobile, but if I count my calories, it's not impossible.

I hope that all of you are having great days!  xoxo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Losing Weight while Loving my Body

According to mainstream media and pretty much every diet book and website out there, it's impossible to both love your body as it is and still want to lose weight.  It's either one or the other.

Use your body hate to motivate yourself to put down the cake and lose some weight, OR love your body as it is, eat lots of cake, and be okay with being fat forever.

Where is the program that preaches body love and acceptance while still promoting healthy habits that will help one reach their ideal weight (assuming they aren't already there)?

I'm sure it's out there, but for now, I'm going to try to do it myself.

Because despite how fat I got over the last couple of years, I look at the pictures taken of me on the day of my college graduation (my highest weight) and see a beautiful woman with a beautiful body worth respecting.

And yet, I knew that I was not healthy at that size.  How did I know that?  Because I gained the weight with a lot of secret binge-eating.  I mean, a LOT of secret binge eating.  Like, trips to the grocery store that no one knew about, for just a box of cakes and a bag of chips (and a 2 liter of Diet Coke to wash it down with), then taking the empty things to the garbage dumpster before Stacey got home.  I did this, sometimes three times a week.  For months.

I knew that once the binges stopped and I started to eat healthier (in both quality and quantity), my body would shrink.

Honestly, I also prefer the way my body feels and looks when it's a size 14 or 16 instead of 20 or 22.

However, I think that I've always thought that "body acceptance" had to mean that I was 100% happy with the way my body looks and feels, and that I don't want it to change at all ever.  I mean, acceptance means that you totally accept things as they are and don't want to change, right?  Right?

So, despite how much I wanted to accept my fat body, I kept on being unhappy with it instead, because I want to change it.

But I've realized recently that there is a third option:  Accepting and loving my body as it is, at every stage during my weight loss and after.  I can accept my body right now. 

I actually believe that loving my body as it is now will help me to lose weight.  Accepting and loving my body will motivate me to treat it with love and respect.

I really believe now that self love and self acceptance are not only helpful, but KEY to weight loss success.

They were definitely missing ingredients for me in every single weight loss attempt I've done so far.  Sure, I've lost weight, but I've never kept it off.  This time, I am going to do both, because for the first time in my life, I love my body.  I accept my body for what it is, for how it looks, and for its current limitations.  

I accept it and I love it.  And I am determined to treat it well, which I think will be easier to do with self-love in the mix.

Because of my current physical limitations (I am unable to walk for at least another month), I am still trying to stick to a meal replacement plan for now.  But I'm gentle with myself, and if my appetite is saying "Nope, not today.  Today I need to eat three meals, no shakes or bars" I will respect my body enough to fill it with healthy foods.  And if my mind says, "Nope, I want pizza and chips" I will respect my mind enough to eat a serving of pizza and a small bowl of chips.

And in a month, when I can (hopefully) begin to walk a bit, I will be changing my meal plan entirely again.  And that's okay.

It's all okay, because I am comfortable in my own skin.  Even though I want to be smaller, I'm happy with my body.  And I don't consider those ideas to be antitheses to each other anymore.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Broken Leg Adventures...

On July 13 around 7:30pm, I twisted my ankle while stepping off of a curb onto some uneven pavement.  I twisted it so hard that it broke my leg and ankle in several places and needed surgery in order to correct the breaks and relocate the ankle.

the after surgery x-ray
It is such a bad break that even though the surgery technically fixed the broken bones, I am not allowed to put any weight on it for at least another 6 to 8 weeks.  After that it will be on to physical therapy and slowly adding weight, until one day I walk like a normal person again.

So as you may imagine, my life has become pretty mundane.  I mostly just lie around with my leg propped up (it is still ridiculously swollen, weeks after surgery) with my chihuahuas nearby.  I read, watch TV, and sleep a lot.

I didn't want to gain any weight while being immobile.  In fact, I want to continue to lose weight.  So, to compensate for my immobility, I am sticking to a semi-strict way of eating for this time.

And it's working.  I've lost 7 pounds in the last 3 and a half weeks.

I had to figure out a way to eat that would keep me at a pretty low calorie count and to make it so that no one had to cook me three meals a day.  (I can't put ANY weight on it, so I have been staying out of the kitchen so far.  That may change soon!)

I decided that the easiest way to accomplish these goals was to do a meal replacement plan like Slim Fast.  Special K makes delicious meal replacement protein bars, and Slim Fast makes delicious meal replacement shakes, so for two meals a day I eat or drink one of those instead of a real meal.  My one meal a day always consists of lots of vegetables, lean protein such as chicken, Boca burger, or beans, healthy oil, and fruit for desert.  I also am regularly tracking on My Fitness Pal and allowing myself a junk food snack or two each day, depending on how many calories are remaining.

I never thought that I would do a meal replacement diet.  But it makes the most sense for my current situation.  Losing weight while being immobile seemed impossible, but with this plan, it's not.  It's actually pretty easy.

My appetite has decreased, probably due to lack of moving around, which makes this not feel like deprivation at all.

Anyway, so that's where I'm at.  It sucks.  I hate that I'm here.  But some day it will be in the past, and I'll be able to exercise and eat more normally again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

10 pound progress picture, and some athletic goals...

Here's a fun progress picture of me!  I started at 265 pounds, and got down to 253.8 a few days ago, and took this picture yesterday.  I didn't take an official "before" picture, but I do plan to take all progress pictures in this swimsuit (which is way too small right now, but really shows my shape, which is great for progress pictures).

I wrote a list of goal weights, and I plan to post a new picture whenever I reach one of these milestones.
-10 pounds (255): 7/10/2014
-25 pounds (240)
-30 pounds (235)
-40 pounds (225)
-50 pounds (215)
-60 pounds (205)
-75 pounds (190)
-80 pounds (185)
-90 pounds (175)
-100 pounds (165)

Sometimes I get sad that I'm not naturally thin, or at least naturally inclined to make  healthy choices.  Unfortunately what comes naturally to me  right now is to eat crappy food when not even hungry and to sit around a lot.
But I'm not giving up on my quest to be healthy, just because it doesn't currently come natural to me.  It may take a long time to develop a healthy relationship with food, and it may take a long time to become truly naturally inclined towards healthy habits. 
For now, I need some structure.  One thing that has always helped me become healthier is training for a race.  I can't afford a gym membership currently, so it will be tough for the first month or so until I get a paycheck (new job starts on Tuesday!).
But for now, my apartment has a small gym and a pool, and I have a bike.
So... I'm going to be keeping this event in mind:

That's right: the Music City Triathlon!!!  Not this year's, because that's in one week.  But apparently this is an annual event, so I have an entire year to get in shape and train for next summer's race.
For now, I'm just going to swim, bike, and run regularly.  I will be training for the Sprint Triathlon, which is a race of 400m swimming, 22k biking, and 5k running.  If I rock it, maybe I'll try the Intermediate Triathlon in 2016!  ;-)
Here's this week's exercise schedule:
Sunday- bike
Monday- cross train: elliptical
Tuesday- rest
Wednesday- swim
Thursday- walk/run intervals
Friday- bike
Saturday- rest 

I'm thinking about the triathlon, I'm going to train for the same half marathon that I did last year, maybe even going for the full 26.2 next year.  I've been told that training for a triathlon will help my running alot.
Have you ever trained for a big race like a 
marathon or triathlon?  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leah's Bride Boot Camp!!! (just kidding... sort of)

So Stacey and I have set our wedding date.

December 4, 2015.

That's right folks, I'm getting married in less than a year and a half!!!  Awesome.

I've never been a big wedding person.  Sure, I've had the odd fantasy here and there about what my wedding would be like if I had an unlimited budget.  (In case you're curious, it would be at Disney World in Cinderella's castle).  But I never have really gotten into it.

Now it seems is the time to get into it.  I have a few ideas, most of them very "wedding-on-a-budget"-y and feminist.

Anyway, my point for this post is that I don't want to be a "bridezilla" or a "bootcamp bride".  I want to focus on the marriage, not the wedding.

However, I do have a lot of weight to lose, and I will be trying to lose a lot in the next year and a half.

I have no doubt that at some  point in the next year I will start to feel the pressure to look thin on my wedding day.

In fact, I already feel the pressure.  But it's coming from ME, not the wedding industry (well, 75% me, 25% wedding industry.  I mean, do they even make gorgeous wedding dresses that have sleeves?).  I have a strong desire to get back to my pre-grief size before I walk down the aisle.

I have already lost 9 out of the 100 pounds.  I have 91 pounds to lose, and 73 weeks until my wedding.

BUT I should probably get my dress fitted at least a month in advance, so lets say 69 weeks.

So that's me losing an average of 1.5 pounds a week.  Is it impossible?  No.  Is it easy?  No.  Will it be something that I regret doing?  No.

So here I go.  I'm going to try to lose the grief weight before my wedding.

In reasonable ways, like tracking my food on My Fitness Pal regularly, exercising most days, and eating mostly healthy foods (I'm going to just do what feels right, but probably will allow myself a little bit of junk food every day alongside my healthy meals - no 90/10 rule or anything).

Of course, if I find that I can't lose the weight as quickly as I'd like to, I'm not going to give up.  I will let my body do what it's meant to do.  If I weigh 75 pounds less, or 50 pounds less, or 25 pounds less on my wedding day, I will make peace with that.

Because at the end of the day, I'm more excited about the marriage than I am about the wedding.

And don't tell Stacey, but this is totally the dress that I want (click image to visit the Etsy page)!!!

I am going to come up with a fun photo logo for future posts about my "Bride Boot Camp" and I may change the name to something a little more creative.  ;-)

Married peeps: Did you set a weight loss goal for your wedding date?  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Losing 100 Pounds: Why, how, and other ponderings...

When you have a big life goal, it's really easy to think in terms of the big picture and in all-or-nothing thoughts, and to get extremely overwhelmed and to either obsess or give up.

Long road ahead... [source]

I've had many big life goals, none quite so reoccurring as the desire to lose weight.  And unlike many other life goals, losing weight is a goal that doesn't stop once you achieve it.  It's a life long commitment.

There is no true finish line to this, which means that not only is it not a race, it's not a destination either.

There is no timetable either, because like I said, it won't be done once I lose 100 pounds.

So in order for me to lose this weight and keep it off, I need to stop thinking of the weight loss as a timed race to a destination, and to start thinking of it as a life long thing.  

It's also not something that I am obligated to do.  No one is forcing me to lose 100 pounds.

I don't believe that only thin people are healthy, or that only thin people are beautiful.  In fact, I think those are completely false statements which I am in no way going to use to motivate this weight loss.  I believe  in health at every size.

A very important part of setting any goal is to have a good reason that you really believe in.

My biggest motivators are health,  happiness, and the desire to get back to the same size I was when Mom was alive.

Let's break those motivators down and really analyze them.

1) Health.

As I just said, I believe in health at every size.  So I believe that it's  possible to be my current size (5'6'', 250-ish pounds, size 22 jeans) and healthy.  HOWEVER, I did not get this size using healthy habits.  Personally, this is not a healthy size.  I got this big by eating lots of pizza, snack cakes, potato and chips, with no respect to my body's hunger signals.  During most of my weight gain, I still exercised regularly, but not enough to stop the massive weight gain (100 pounds in 2 years, most of it happening in the first year).

I want to be healthy, inside and out.  Healthy habits will lead to weight loss for me.

2) Happiness.

Okay, I call a little bit of bullshit on myself for this one.  Will I be happy because I weigh 100 pounds less than I do now?  Of course not.  Happiness is not found in a number on a scale  or a pants tag.  Happiness is found from within.

However, if I can finally learn to love my body by treating it with respect and total care, and if I can finally rid myself of the emotional eating and the obsessive thoughts, and if I can finally truly recover from EDNOS, then I will be pretty happy with that.

Losing weight won't cure me from my EDNOS, but I think that the lessons that I will  learn along the way could help.

3) Wanting to be the size that I was before Mom died.

I don't know if this is a rational desire, but it's one that is extremely personal to me.  I hate that I look so different than I looked when Mom knew me.  I know that it's impossible to go back in time, but it's not impossible to get back to a more comfortable size, and to possibly feel closer to the person I was back then.

I may end up expanding this list of reasons, but for now I am satisfied with them as good motivators.

Now it's time to tell you how I'm losing the weight.

I'm not going to do anything extreme.  Instead, I'm going to modify my eating in healthy and reasonable ways.

Here are a few things that I'm doing:

1) Cook every day.  I've been using the crock pot to make the meat/bean course, and then I bake or saute some vegetables and cook some rice.  I eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

2) Keep binge foods out of the house 100% of the time, no exceptions.  Binge food list for me: bread, snack cakes, pizza (except home made), chips (except pita chips), candy (except dark chocolates and licorice), and pop tarts.

3) Anything processed, stick to the serving size recommended on the package.  Ex: 1/2 cup of cereal, 1 granola bar, 5 slices of turkey, etc.

4) Weigh in weekly or so.

5) Track food and exercise on MFP at least two days a week, just to make sure that my portions haven't gotten out of control.

6) Exercise every other day (for now.  I let myself get VERY out of shape the last couple of months, so any loftier goal than that is doomed.).

Easier said than done! [source]

I'm not going to say that this is how I'm going to lose 100 pounds.  I'm just saying that this is what I'm doing for now, and it's working and all very reasonable.

I hope that all of my lovely readers and friends are doing well!  Please let me know what you think of my motivations and new guidelines.

P.S. Stacey and I are engaged!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Plan... or not.

Yeah...  So I have gained a shit-ton of weight since losing my mother unexpectedly nearly two years ago (June 18, 2012).

And by a shit-ton, I mean one hundred pounds.

Here's me in mid-May 2012, ten days or so before Mom was hospitalized and subsequently died:

And here is me now:

I have TONS of those "before" pictures, because my boyfriend Stacey and I went on a wonderful vacation right before Mom died.  These are not just pictures of me before I gained 100 pounds.  They are pictures of me when life was good.  When Mom was alive.  I have changed so much since these pictures were taken, from the inside out, out of necessity.  For survival.

I look at them sometimes, and they make me a little sad because I think of them as the last days that I was truly happy with my life.

But, I have been grieving (and EATING) for almost two years now, and I think that I can finally see a light at the end of the cliche metaphorical tunnel.

Because guess what I've realized?  I'm fucking strong.  I'm fucking smart.  I'm fucking incredible.

Here are some things that I've accomplished since Mom died:

1) I trained for and  completed a half marathon.

2) I qualified for, applied for, was chosen for, and completed 
a prestigious internship at the Tennessee Capitol

3) I started a successful social media campaign to bring back the snow globes!!! 
(Please see here for the CNN article and here for the LA Times one and here for the Facebook campaign.  It may seem silly, but this was a huge deal for me!)

4) I went platinum blonde.

5) I graduated from college!  Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Memphis, class of 2014 (and yes, I had my hair put back to its natural dark blonde for the occasion, just in case later in life I decide that platinum blonde was a ridiculous phase).

So yeah...  I am still moving forward with my life.  I'm trying to pick up the pieces and build a new future.  It's completely, 100% different from the future that I thought I would have a couple of years ago.  My goals, my desires, and my priorities have all changed drastically.

Mom was my best friend, such an important part of my daily life, and I miss her every moment.  It still feels weird that I can't just pick up the phone and talk to her about everything that's going on in my life, and get her advice and support.

Everything changes when you lose someone you love with all of your heart.  Everything has to change.

I'm more determined now than ever to have a good life.  I'm going to be successful, happy, and healthy. No one can get in my way but me.  And I'm going to step aside and just let me do my thing.  Because my thing is going to be great.

(This started out as a post to describe how I'm planning to lose the hundred pounds, but it totes went another direction.  So I will share the plan next time, because I kind of love where this entry ended up.  Just know that because of my newly rediscovered self-confidence, I'm going to lose the weight and keep it off, no problem.  Seriously, I got this.)