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.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Woman that I am Meant to be... (plus I GRADUATED!!!)

There are so many ways that I see myself.  In my mind, I am someone amazing, who has really awesome habits and who takes great care of herself and enjoys life.

I just realized recently that I am not actually many of the things that I'd like to be.  Whenever I think about the big "who am I" questions, I picture someone that I want to be, not who I currently am.

Here is the woman that I believe I am meant to be:

I read a lot of books, while drinking tea and listening to good music.

I go for walks, or jogs, or hikes, every day, or most days.

I eat when hungry, and really enjoy my food.  Then I stop eating when I'm no longer hungry.

I have a great job, one that fulfills me, and pays well enough so that I can live in a nice home, buy lots of books, and keep my dogs healthy and happy.  

I travel a lot.  I visit my brother in New York, and I also go to Europe, and Africa, and Australia whenever I can.

I live in a liberal, hippie, important city.

I am artistic;  Whenever I can, I write, play my bassoon, paint, sing, and collage.  

I am fashionable, but not to a crazy degree;  I wear comfortable but beautiful clothes.

I love to learn;  I visit museums, read nonfiction, attend lectures, and have a college education, possibly a law degree or a PhD, but at least a bachelor's degree.

I am healthy;  My body feels great and my mind is at ease.

I love myself, my appearance, and my life.

These are all wonderful things to be, but I'm not there yet for most of them.  Some may seem silly, and others may seem pretty unattainable, but they are all how I see myself being.  (I have highlighted the ones that I already am.)

Now it's time to turn the rest into goals, and to work towards them.

Goals are fluid, and change often.  It's important to keep an open mind when reaching for your goals.  Some of these things have been goals for years;  others are fairly new.

I graduated from college with a BA in political science on Saturday.  It was a goal that I had for myself for a decade, and now it's done.  Now it's time to focus on other goals, and to celebrate the victory of achieving this one.

Mom would be so super duper proud of me.

Here are pictures of my brother Joel and my boyfriend Stacey being super duper proud of me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

100 Pounds for 100 Books

I have decided to start a weight loss and reading challenge!  I am planning to lose 100 pounds and to read 100 books.

Okay, so I need something to help motivate me to make healthy decisions, besides the health benefits.  I don't want to be the person who only gets healthy after her doctor tells her she has a disease.  I'd like to prevent disease.  One way to help do that (so I've read) is to engage in healthy behaviors like eating more whole foods, eating less junk, and exercising more.

I'm not naturally a 250 pound woman.  When I'm healthy and happy, I weigh a lot less.  So though this is a weight loss challenge, it is not just for the sake of losing weight.

It is 75% health (type II diabetes and heart problems run in my family, and I have fibromyalgia, which has very painful symptoms that get better when I weigh less), 20% cost benefits (nothing fits me, and everything that's fashionable that does fit me costs a fortune), and 5% pure vanity (I just don't like the way that I look at this size.  Period.).

I'm not going to say that I will actually lose 100 pounds.  I am actually pretty happy and healthy at 165, which is "only" 85 pounds lighter than 250.  So it's possible that this will be the "85 Pounds for 85 Books" Challenge.  And I'm totally okay with that. I just want to call it 100, okay?  Plus 150 is a perfectly acceptable weight for me.

I am also going to mainly care about my progress pictures and tape measurements, not my weight.  I plan to weight, measure, and take pictures monthly.  At that point, I will know how many books I have to add to my "to read" pile.

I am not usually okay with weight loss rewards for myself.  So instead of looking at the books as rewards, I will look at them as a second (albeit much more fun) challenge.

I am not going to officially begin this challenge until I get settled in a new home in about 5 weeks.  At that point, I will take "official" starting measurements, including weight, tape measurements, and a brand new "before" picture.

Until then, I will be working on making healthier decisions, and hoping to not gain any more weight (and of course I would be fine losing some).

And I will put together a loose program for myself to follow for the first month of "100 Pounds for 100 Books".  It will change every month, living and learning and applying what was learned, and will be a sustainable thing (junk food and rest days still encouraged, just not worshiped).

Anyway, thanks for hanging out.  I know that I've been a bad blogger lately.  Life has been busy, and I honestly just haven't felt motivated to write, or to share my life.  But I'm planning to get back to at least semi-regular blogging, so thanks for not giving up on me.  :-)

P.S.  Just as soon as I get a good post-graduation job landed, I am planning to do another book giveaway!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Joy of Eating (also: I'm fat.)

I had a very cool epiphany recently.

Picture found Googling.
Makes me giggle.
A google giggle, if you will.

It started when I suddenly realized that I was almost 100 pounds overweight (by BMI standards).  

100.  Pounds.  Overweight.

That's a lot.  That's definitely fat.  (and if "the F word" offends you, please read no further, because it comes up a lot in this post).

That's like...  not "covering it up with a hoodie" fat.  Not "take a picture at the right angle and I won't look fat in it" fat.  Not "If I lose 20 pounds, I'll be almost not fat" fat.  It's fat fat.

And I say all of the above things not in a negative or self-degrading way.  Not meaning to insult the fat, or to insult myself, but just in a matter-of-fact way.  It's just the truth.  I am fat.

And that's when I realized that I'm not even enjoying eating.  I think that there is a myth out there that to get fat, you must really enjoy food.  If I'm fat, then I must REALLY.  LOVE.  FOOD.

And the truth is that I don't love food.  I don't love eating, and I don't love food.

I don't enjoy anything about it.  I'm not enjoying my eating one iota.

So I'm fat, and I don't even enjoy eating?  That sucks.  What's the benefit of my being fat, if not getting to enjoy all the food?

I can't think of one.  Some people may be more aesthetically pleasing when fat, but I don't think that I'm one of them.  I'm not ugly when fat, but I don't think that I'm my most attractive when fat, either.  

I really do think that beauty comes from within, and that to be truly beautiful, I need to feel my best.  I don't feel my best when I'm fat.  

(Let me take a moment to interrupt myself here to explain to you what I mean when I call myself fat:  Fat probably means different things to different people, and I would never call anyone other than myself fat, because to me it's a personal thing, this fat thing.  I feel that I am "fat" whenever I weigh above about 220 pounds.  I'm "kind of fat" when I am between 185 and 220, "not that fat" when 166-185, "not fat" when 150-165, and "thin" at anything below that.  But that's me.)

Anyway, I'm determined to change my ways.

Not only do I hate that I am fat and don't even enjoy eating, I think that the idea that to be fat is to enjoy eating is completely false.

I believe that the opposite is probably true.

I highly suspect that if I were to truly enjoy eating, I would not be fat anymore.

I'm ready to get the joy back.  I am always looking for ways to enjoy life more, so it's strange that I haven't thought about enjoying eating until now.  It seems like a simple solution to my ED issues, too.

Simple, but not easy.

So I am going to find the joy in my food.

I need to figure out what foods I truly enjoy eating, and in what setting I truly enjoy eating them.  I need to figure out what part of eating I enjoy, and what parts of food in general I can begin to enjoy.

What parts of food and eating do I already find joy in?  I'm sure there are some....

I enjoy grocery shopping.  I enjoy cooking.  I enjoy eating pop tarts in the car on the way to school in the morning.  I enjoy eating popcorn while watching movies.  I find joy in these things.

I find joy in eating with Stacey at the table, or at a restaurant.  I find joy in washing and chopping vegetables.  

Do I actually find joy in my trigger foods (food that I'm likely to binge on)?  NO.

I find comfort in them, but not joy.  Those two don't go hand in  hand for me.

I'm going to focus on truly enjoying myself whenever I shop for, prepare, and eat food.  Eating isn't a reward or a punishment; nor is it just fuel.  It's something that all of us have to do to survive, and it's something that maps out most days (breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, etc.).  It's something to be cherished (not everyone has easy access to food), and something to savor.  

It's something that I have taken for granted, hated, been addicted to, and have tried to manipulate for my entire adult life.  

I have never truly enjoyed eating.  And that's about to change.

And even if my enjoying eating does not result in weight loss, at least I'll be enjoying eating and fat.       And that's way better than not enjoying eating and fat (IMHO).