Friday, April 26, 2013

The Ugly Truth About Weight Loss

Yesterday, I had an especially difficult day eating only 1800 calories and it prompted me to write this post. I remember being super overweight and seeing "Before" and "After" photos of people and just thinking it looked so glamorous. Weight loss seemed fun and exciting and freeing and I am not saying that all those things aren't true. But the truth is, if you want to get from this
To this

It is very, very hard.

I was discussing with my friend yesterday how sick I am of everyone telling me how difficult marriage is (because I am a little frustrated that I am not meeting the right guy at the moment and apparently people's advice is "but marriage is hard.") I love what my friend said yesterday when she acknowledged understanding why I wanted this because she said "Yes, Marriage is hard, but it's the 'worth it' kind of hard."

This is the same thing I would say about weight loss. It's very hard, but it's definitely the 'worth it' kind of hard. Nevertheless it is very hard. If you decide to embark on this journey, I just think you should know some of the realistic things involved.

1. Some days all you want is a king-sized candy bar, there is not emotion attached to it, your sugar cravings are just out of control. When you say no to yourself on this candy bar, you will be moody and frustrated and have trouble being rational. This was me yesterday.

2. Your body might betray you. You might have the perfect week where you worked out every day and eat clean and have good calories and you might gain 2 lbs with no explanation for it. This is frustrating and will make you want to quit. To keep going after a week like this takes an act of God.

3. Real, lasting weight loss takes time. I am two years in and I have still not hit my goal weight. I still look at my legs and think they look like "fat girl" legs.

4. Cheat days happen, but it is actually like taking 50 steps back on your journey. Depending on how wacked out your body is by your previous dieting attempts, your body will gain weight on the cheat days. My body reacts VIOLENTLY to cheat days. The last cheat day I had put 8lbs on me overnight. Most people say "that's just water weight." My body acts like its real weight and it takes a good week or two to get my body back where it was.

5. Weight training is hard, but necessary. I find weight training to be the hardest because I don't actually see any results right away. But from what I understand, weight training during weight loss will get your body right where you want it once you hit your goal weight.

6. People do treat you differently. You would think this would be a good thing. But there is some resentment towards the way people treated you when you were super overweight that you don't see until people treat you differently.

7. You become a different person. This is also a good thing. But I would have never told you 100lbs ago that I wasn't happy or I wasn't fulfilling my dreams because I thought I was. But you definitely see a change in how you think and live after weight loss. This can be hard to wrap your head around.

8. It never ends. I like that I won't be losing weight forever. But I do know that I have to be vigilant about how I eat forever. That's the nature of having an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food. You won't be able to be permanently successful at weight loss unless you are able to wrap your head around this concept.

9. You will experience emotions you haven't experienced for a long time. This is likely because you have been masking those emotions with food. I have dealt with depression, sadness, emotional outbursts, anger, etc. since I started this journey.

10. Finding what works for you is a process. I just had to completely give up dairy products because I knew it was hindering my fitness. I have been bouncing between walking and running because I haven't figured out which I (and my body) like better. I still haven't found a weight training routine I am in love with. I still don't like salad but know I need to get some more greens in my diet.

That completes some of the down and dirty truths about weight loss. If you read my "100lbs of changes" post then you know that these 10 items are a small price to pay for what you get in the end. Nevertheless, it is important to know what you are in for.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fear Sucks...We Should Form A Union Against Fear

The past couple of days I have made decisions solely based on fear. Thankfully, they were reversible decisions. But I find that when things are not going my way, I tend to act out by being fearful and not trusting God, not trusting the decisions I have made, not trusting that my hard work will add up to something, etc.

This quote I heard on a television show has always stuck with me.

 "When you make decisions based on fear, you wind up right back where you started."

I firmly believe that this quote is true in life. Making life changes in exercising, in food, in relationships, in work is all scary and fearful because you don't know what is on the other end of it. You think to yourself "What if I fail, what if all of my hard works means nothing in the end?" But here's the question that fear tries to keep you from asking.

What if it's good? What if it DOES work? What if it's more amazing than anything you could have asked for or imagined?

Nothing amazing or good or life-changing is ever easy and sometimes things that matter seemingly take forever (weight loss has taken me almost two years and it's not done yet.) Sometimes we want to cut corners because we think it will get us there faster. But it's never worth it. Great things happen when you take the right small steps every single day. Eventually those steps add up to something. But no one ever tells you that each day you take those steps, fear is trying to push you down the stairs. I say let's finally take a stand against fear in our own lives.

And hey, if all else fails. Drink coffee (That's my answer for everything:)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nebraska's Drunk Weather

I told someone this morning that if I had known I would need to train for the marathon (or half marathon now)  primarily inside on a treadmill, I probably would have gone screaming in the other direction. This morning I woke up to buckets and buckets of rain pouring down outside my house. Not to mention thunder and lighting. My dog was traumatized that I made him go outside. That being said, I went to the gym and ran 4 miles on the treadmill. I didn't enjoy it except for the fact that Carol Burnett was on the Rachael Ray show and she is just funny.

At least it was nice out on Saturday. I got to head out for a 5 mile run.

I am so ready for the day when I don't have to wear a hat or jacket to go for a run outside. But by that time the marathon will be over.

Summer is so exciting. The Farmer's Market, sunny weather, barbecues..I can't wait! But at the same time I am trying not to miss out on the present because I am so excited about the future.

Sorry, this post is all over the place. But if there is one thought I would like to leave you with, it's that I want sunny weather:)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 5- What what?

Today is day 5 of my "100 days of 1800". I know I said I would try to blog about this process every day but then crazy happened in my own personal life, not to mention in the world. That being said. Today is day 5 of my 1800 calories. Considering how many things happened in the prior 4 days that may have caused me to emotionally eat in the past, I am actually quit thankful that I made this commitment. I also think it is by the grace of God that I didn't break this commitment.

In the past I would have been like "my car broke down, screw it I am going to binge." Or I would be like "I am so upset about the world events that I am just going to eat."

I think what this process has taught me so far is that I really do have to learn to go to other things besides food when I am emotional. I need to journal or pray or talk to friends or all of the above. It's been quit the enlightening process.

All that to say, after 100 days I know it will be worth it because I'll be able to fit into these
Hello, small pair of jeans! Hopefully we will be friends soon:)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Lesson in Thankfulness

Today, I had a bit of an adventure. My original day was scheduled as such: morning small run, plans with a friend, a couple of counseling clients.

This is what my day turned out to be. My car breaking down, having to be towed, deciding to walk home from my mechanic (it was 7.43 miles), getting a call from my mechanic that the car is dead in the water, then playing softball tonight.

During my walk home from the mechanic, I found the first three miles exciting... going through busy streets...seeing Omaha from a whole different perspective, but then the next three miles I started to get irritated. I didn't know how far it was to my house from the mechanic and it was frustrating that I was in a situation where I needed to walk home.

Then all of a sudden it hit me, what 144 people from the Boston Marathon yesterday wouldn't give to switch places with me right now.

Some people lost their limbs, some people lost their lives, and I'm whining because I have to walk home from the mechanic, because my car is dead?

And then I began to realize how we take for granted the simplest things. Today, I took for granted the fact that I have two working legs that could get me from A to B. Some people don't have that anymore.

I began to thank God for all the things in my life during the rest of the walk home. I was thankful for my legs and for a body that is fit and healthy enough to walk through the city. I was thankful for warm weather and no snow to have to walk in.

I was thankful that I wasn't stuck in rural Iowa (where I see a lot of counseling clients) when my car broke down, I'm thankful that AAA exists (they are my bestie), I'm thankful that when I felt like a total failure at life today, I have a mother who told me I was believing lies about myself and that the truth is that I have been working very hard at my goals.

There are so many other things on the list as well, and when I thought about all the things in my life that I truly had to be thankful for in this moment, I realized that the car situation is a minor problem that will eventually be handled and God knows what he is doing after all.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Eliminating My Cheat Days- 100 days of 1800

I pretty much had the week from hell last week. Between getting absolutely no sleep for three days and my hormones going wacky, I felt like I was eating EVERYTHING. A lot of people have asked me how I am doing this weight loss journey. I would definitely say it is more emotional than anything. But functionally, this is what it looks like.

Monday: 1600-1800 calories
Tuesday: 1600-1800 calories
Wednesday: 1600-1800 calories
Thursday: 1600-1800 calories
Friday: 1600-1800 calories until I have wine that night, then add another 250 calories, then because I had wine I might stop and get french fries (if I can find gluten free ones), then I might eat chocolate, after it is all said and done it usually is about 2600 calories. "No problem" I tell myself, "I am running long tomorrow."
Saturday: The plan is 2000 calories, then I run long, then I eat chocolate..and maybe a gluten free burger if I can find it..before I know it, I have eating 3500 calories. "No problem" I tell myself, "I ran 11 miles today."
Sunday: Around lunchtime, I start eating and don't feel like I stop all day. If I add up my calories at the end of the day it is usually a pretty massive amount.

All that to say. I am currently doing "operation eliminate the cheat day." While I was losing the first 100lbs, I found that having a cheat weekend as long as I was good all week, worked ok for me. Now as I am getting smaller and smaller, I am finding this doesn't quite work as well. So I made a decision that I was going to hold myself to 1800 calories for 100 days. Today is day 2. I made it through my major cheat day (Sunday) without eating more than 1800 calories. It took a TON of preparation starting with this delicious lunch.
This is my favorite healthy lunch. It is chicken stir fry with potatoes, onions, green and yellow peppers, and mushrooms with a side of strawberries with 45 calories of sugar on the strawberries. Between all the chopping and cooking, this took me an hour and a half on a Sunday. But now that the chopping and cooking (I cook the chicken ahead of time for the week). This should only take about 30 minutes through the rest of the week. So yesterday, I was able to eat 1800 calories. Today will be no different. 1800 calories is a great number for me because it's below what I am supposed to be eating (2190) so it creates a deficit. But it also isn't so low that I feel deprived. I can fit in a 200-300 calorie snack into that calorie range.

A cheat day can make you feel like crap and pretty much make you feel insane (like you are trying to lose the same weight over and over again.) So operation eliminate cheat day is in full force. I'll try to blog about each day to let you know how it goes..and if anyone wants to join me..I'd love to have you on board:)

Monday, April 8, 2013

A 100lbs of differences

I just hit my 100 pound weight loss mark which is something I feel like I have been working towards forever.

The first picture is me around my heaviest weight. The second picture I took yesterday after losing 100 lbs. Yay! I decided I was going to compile a list of "100 things that have changed since I lost 100lbs" but that seemed super daunting. So I made a list of all the things I could think of. Here's 67 things that have changed since I have lost 100lbs.

1. I am excited to get my picture taken
2. I am excited to LOOK at the picture after it’s taken
3. I am no longer the biggest person in any given room
4. I feel better all the time
5. I clean now, before, the concept of cleaning seemed really daunting, now I’ll go on three or four hour cleaning binges until everything looks awesome.
6. I actually enjoy shoveling snow
7. On an off exercise day, I still find myself doing something active (going for a walk, playing frisbee golf, etc..just because I want to be moving)
8. I am more talkative and open with people
9. I have learned that food really is my medicine. Now, if I am having trouble breathing, I’ll immediately eat an apple…works better than my inhaler most of the time.
10. I feel pretty now
11. My face has cleared up, I used to have horrible I might get one zit a month for a few days, tops.
12. I sleep better. My sleep still isn’t awesome, but when I was 100lbs heavier, I would take 3 Tylenol PM just to get through the night.
13. I talk to and know some of the trainers at the gym. I used to be scared to talk to the people who worked at the gym because I thought they would be judging me, now I enjoy getting to know them.
14. I haven’t tried to starve myself in two years
15. I feel like I can talk about liking certain foods now, I used to not feel comfortable talking about liking foods because I used to think people would be like “well of course the fatty likes the foods.”
16. If something is in walking distance, I’ll choose to walk there instead of drive. I use to drive everywhere..even something a half mile away.
17. My feet actually get more sore now, because I don’t think twice about going for long walks in heels or dress shoes when I’m out and about and I forget that I’m not wearing proper foot attire. 
18. My casual running pace got faster by three minutes
19. My casual walking pace got faster by two minutes
20. I can run a 10 minute mile pace for at least a half mile.
21. I actually somewhat enjoy running now.
22. For the first time in my WHOLE LIFE, I saw definition in my legs the other day
23. I prefer doing something active outside over watching a movie any day
24. I find myself more attracted to the adventurous active guys over the movie watching, couch potato guys (and I feel like I can keep up with the adventurous guysJ)
25. I can wrap a towel all the way around me now
26. When I sit in most chairs, there is room rather than having to squish and hope I fit
27. I can cross my legs
28. I take better care of myself in general. I rarely leave the house without doing my hair and makeup. I used to go out in sweatshirts, pajama pants and ponytails.
29. I can fit in some normal section clothing (shirts at least, I am still working on the bottom halfJ)
30. I work out at least 5-6 days a week.
31. I used to be able to eat two large bags of candy without blinking an eye. Now, I have a pretty sensitive sweet tooth. The concept of a sonic slush makes me gag.
31. I cook now
32. Sometimes if I am craving something that would just be easier to get at a restaurant (gluten free pizza), I’ll still make it at home just because whole made food makes me feel better.
33. I used to sweat all the time, now I only sweat when I workout
34. I wear a smaller sized jean than I did in high school
35. I used to eat mindlessly all the time, now I am hyper aware how food will make me feel before I make a decision to eat something not so good for me
36. I think 50 of my pounds was from ice cream alone, now I don’t eat ice cream at all anymore.
37. Guys hold doors open for me now
38. I understand that I have a different relationship with food than other people and will probably have to take precautions for the rest of my life to keep this in check.
39. I rarely eat fast food anymore, not only because most of it has gluten, but because I really just don’t feel good after I eat it.
40. I pack a lot of food for my day because I know if I don’t make sure to pack food, I will find myself buying candy or chips from a gas station.
41. I’m not scared of food anymore. I used to think of food as my enemy. Now I feel like I can enjoy it with freedom.
42. I’m thankful to God every day for allowing me to deal with this eating disorder after being in stuck in the cycle for 10+ years.
43. I don’t spend parties or weddings being a wallflower anymore, now I am out there dancing with everyone else.
44. I don’t push change on anyone anymore (or at least I don’t try tooJ) because I am hyper aware that making a huge change in your life has to be 100% your decision in your time, not mine.
45. I don’t put cream in my coffee anymore. I either drink it black or with a little coconut milk.
46. I am less scared to go to new places by myself anymore. I have gone to several new bars to play poker and met some interesting people.
47. I have noticed that I get a lot more done in a day when I do exercise, just because I am more productive with everything else in general after a workout.
48. I can take a bath without the size of my legs stopping the water from going to the other side of the tub
49. I take 100% responsibility for what I eat. Which means, that sometimes when I go to people’s house I have to turn down food because of food allergies (dairy or gluten) or because it’s a binge food for me. I used to worry about offending people when doing this, now I know that if they care about me, they will understand.
50. Someone once told me that you can’t lose weight in your wrist, I beg to differ, because I have moved by bracelet over 4 notches since losing weight.
51. My feet aren’t as wide as they used to be. Shoes that used to be tight, fit perfectly now.
52. I follow a budget every month and have control of my money. When I was 100lbs heavier, I would have so many binges that I couldn’t control my money.
53. I have had to make some difficult decisions regarding changing goals and pulling myself off some leadership teams during this journey. Now I understand that when something is not emotionally healthy for me, I have to make a change and set a boundary.
54. I was waiting in line for lunch at a restaurant last week and started talking to a guy about training for the marathon. We chatted for about 20 minutes before our food came. It used to be that if I tried to talk about working out with anyone, they would look at me like they didn’t quite believe that I worked out.
55. I have actually shared chairs with some of my friends. I used to never be able to share a chair because there was no room.
56. I hug a lot more people now
57. I am ALWAYS cold now (this is actually quite irritating)
58. I understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger now
59. I will notice a day where I haven’t had any fruits and vegetables now just because I will feel so crappy.
60. I am actually considering starting Crossfit this summer, no way would I have thought of doing something like Crossfit even 50lbs ago. I would have been way too intimidated.
61. I have started to set goals and take responsibility for changing other areas of my life now. Somehow losing 100lbs has made me feel like I can do anything I set my mind too.
62. I am more gracious to people who set boundaries in their own lives because I know how many boundaries I have had to set in mine
63. I don’t get as defensive as I used to about things
64. My ideal date used to be a nice restaurant, now it’s a fun adventure spot
65. Dating is way different. I used to try to change my personality for the guy to like me. Now I’m confident to be myself and if the guy doesn’t like me, he’s clearly not the one for me. 
66. If I have a day where I eat too much or binge, I still make myself write down every calorie so that I take accountability for my choices.
67. I actually use the slow cooker that I’ve owned for years.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Understanding and Accepting My Limitations-One of the Hardest Decisions of My Life

Today I made an extremely hard decision for me. Mostly, this is hard because it's always important for me to finish what I start and to hit the goals that I want to hit. But today I decided I am going to run the half-marathon instead of the full marathon. Somehow this gives me a sigh of relief but also makes me have to fight the feeling of being a failure.

During the course of my last 14 weeks of marathon training I have had two-three day bouts of the stomach flu and about a month of difficulty with taking deep breaths before and after runs and before going to sleep at night.

I finally went to the doc and got diagnosed with asthma. It's likely not even exercise induced (I still have to go get some breathing tests done) It's quite possibly full on asthma. The nurse told me that running 26.2 miles is not worth collapsing on the finish line. I didn't really want to listen because I've worked hard on this goal.

My running partner and good friend also got taken out with a bum ankle. Today her physical therapist told her she needed to switch to the half. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders when I really considered this option.

The first mile of every run, I feel like my lungs completely shut down. The inhaler helps but I do find that towards the 12-13 mile mark, it just feels like I'm done..completely out of gas. I've tried to correct this with proper fueling, proper water, anything. It hasn't seemed to work.

For me, this whole weight loss journey has been about understanding my limitations and being ok with them. I think I am finally learning the difference of when I need to push my body a little more because I'm emotionally limiting myself and on the flip side, learning how to slow down when my body is saying "no more."

So on May 5, I will be running 13.1 miles and try to PR rather than running 26.2 miles and just trying to finish. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It all started with a Cadbury Egg

I think the biggest thing about starting this blog is that I want people to understand that to lose weight or get control of your eating, you don't have to perfect. You just have to constantly be moving forward. I wanted to share about my experience yesterday because it is the ultimate example of how I haven't "beat" this problem, I just react to it differently now.

For three days I have been wanting a Cadbury Egg, after some lengthy google searches, I finally was satisfied with the fact that Cadbury Eggs do not contain gluten, thus will not destroy me. Ever since I found this out, I could not stop thinking about it.

A Cadbury Egg was on my mind all day long: while I was running, while I was doing Kettlebell training, while I was working...I mean all day long.

I finally decided to give in and buy one yesterday. After all, I feel like this journey is about balance and so I don't really deny myself sweets.

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. There is a difference between balance and binge foods.

A Cadbury Egg is a binge food for me.

A binge food is something that opens the floodgates and makes it very difficult to stop eating.

You see, I bought a Cadbury Egg, then I bought a reeces egg, and then "just because it was on sale," I bought jolly rancher jelly beans (btw, I have a jelly bean problem).

I ended up eating all of these things and half the bag of jolly rancher jelly beans before I got to my first client. Then I couldn't stop thinking about the half bag of jelly beans in my car.

I had a realization yesterday that I can't believe I haven't had before. There are foods that make me binge, and I need to understand that by eating these foods I am making it harder on myself.

I made a list of all the foods that I don't really have control over. There were about 10 items on the list. Some items on this list were : all candy, cereal, chips, pepperoni, ice cream, etc.

Making this list was actually quite freeing. All of a sudden I understood that if I choose to eat these foods, I am choosing to make my life harder that day.

You see, people always say it is harder to have an eating problem than a drug or alcohol problem because you can't ever get "sober" from food.

But this is what I learned yesterday. Only some foods cause that problem for me. I mean, I don't find myself with an uncontrollable urge to stop eating chicken breasts or spinach or bananas. It's usually sugar based foods.

So in reality, you can technically get "sober" from your binge problem and still enjoy the foods you love. For instance, I realized that chocolate chips lead me to a binge, but mini chocolate chips don't. It doesn't make sense but it's the reality.

Having this list means I have a choice to not make my life harder, to not put myself in a position where all I'm thinking about was food. And even though yesterday I ended up eating about 2000 calories more than I wanted to, and had to do a night incline walk on the treadmill to burn it off, I learned a valuable lesson yesterday that was necessary for me to learn as I embark on this journey for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pic-How far I've come

Hi everyone,

Just for kicks, I decided to try on the bridesmaid dress that I wore the weekend I started this whole journey about 20 months ago or so.
To be honest, I'm quite amazed that I had enough to just hold that up on it's own. I know I didn't use anything else. It's a cute dress though, maybe if I ever have to wear a silver bridesmaid dress for a wedding again, I'll buy the same one in a much smaller size.

It's incredible what 20 months can accomplish:)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Back to running-the Rabid Goose

Today was my first day back to running...yay! After a week of dealing with the stomach flu and getting diagnosed (sort of) with asthma, I was so ready to get back out there. Unfortunately, it snowed yesterday so the outdoors looked like this
And it was about 29 degrees. Needless to say, it was only a three mile run so I knew I could bundle up and make it happen. I immediately learned one of my most important lessons about running: rest is imperative. After a week of rest, I got out there and ran the fastest outdoor mile I have ever run. I initially was running at a pace of 10:50, which is an incredible pace for me since I normally run about 14 minute miles. My body was simply ready to go. I finished around 13 minutes which is the fastest outdoor mile I have ever run. Shortly after finishing the first mile, I ran into a couple of geese (goose's?). The goose started hissing at me like it was going to attack me. I didn't even know geese could hiss. I considered taking a picture of it with my phone but was worried my phone would get mistaken for a magical goose taser and then it would really attack. Needless to say, I didn't think my client's would buy "Can't see you today because I got attacked by a giant goose," so I decided to slow down and walk passed the creepy rabid goose and hope it didn't go crazy. Thankfully, I managed to make it passed the goose without being bitten and turned into a goose (or is that vampires?). After the situation with the goose, I was happy to finish the run in one piece and go home to my coffee.

Happy Monday!