June 2016 archive

5 Ways to Maintain Weight Loss During Stressful Times

Well, today marks one year since we lost 500 pounds (180 for me and 320 for Cliff) according to My Fitness Pal…who will no longer allow me to export my weight loss data without paying them money, so you’ll just have to take my word for it).

GOODBYE

Does it count as maintenance even if you haven’t met your goal weight?

Meh, I’m going to go with yes because it just feels much better to say “We’ve lost (and kept off) 500 pounds” rather than “We still have about 100 pounds before we hit our goal.”

Silver lining and all that.  😉

We’ve certainly gained and lost over the past year, but to realize that we’ve kept off 500 pounds for an ENTIRE YEAR was pretty terrific.

And this wasn’t just any year…

This was a TERRIBLE year.  Just awful.  Really.

  • Our fertility specialist put me on thyroid medication (only because my levels were too high for IVF, not high in general).
  • On vacation (last August) I got sun poisoning which resulted in TWO rounds of steroids.
  • I completed two rounds of physical therapy and several scans on my leg (which turned out NOT to be a torn meniscus as initially thought) that showed a plethora of other pulls and strains and just a touch of bursitis in my hip.
  • <insert other random anxiety inducing life events here>

All of these…let’s call them “life lessons”…caused almost constant urges to binge.  Upset about bad news?  Let’s eat!  Happy about good news?  Let’s eat!

The medication certainly didn’t help things.

There were weeks where I just watched the scale creep up and up and it seemed like there was nothing I could do about it.

I would love to tell you that I stayed strong 100% of the time.

That I didn’t have a single large fudge-filled Snickers and Oreo Blizzard…or 4.

That I kept my diet full of healthy food and did upper body work while my legs healed.

But that would make me a liar.  Well, mostly a liar.

At least it seems as if I managed to make more good decisions than bad ones on some level.  I wasn’t able to keep off 190 pounds, but I’ll take 180 any day of the week.

So, here’s the $64,000 question.

HOW did I keep off the weight through it all?

1.  Trust the system.  It’s working.  Even when it seems like it isn’t.

There will always be weeks where you work the hardest you’ve ever worked, then step on the scale fully expecting to have lost 23 pounds (at least!) only to see you gained 2.

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After you’ve smashed the scale to bits with whatever hard, inanimate object you can find, take a deep breath and accept that you did all the right things. There are many more changes happening in a healthy body than just the number on a scale or inches on a tape measure.

Plus, your weight fluctuates more than the stock market.

2.  Take time for yourself. Single. Day.

Even if it’s just 10 minutes to breathe and reflect.  Do it.  It helps.  Over the course of the past year I’ve learned much more about breathing and meditation than I ever thought possible.

Two words.

Square breathing.  (thanks Erin!)

3.  Stay out of restaurants as much as possible.

Most of you are familiar with our many, many restaurant challenges . One thing they have taught me (other than people spend WAY too much money in restaurants) is that they’re a huge binge trigger as well as the start down a slippery slope of bad eating and no exercise.

Not to mention the ridiculous amount of sodium in each meal.   Talk about weight fluctuations!  (See #1)

Even though it seems like a time saver, it really isn’t when you’re trying to get (or stay) healthy.   Take a “healthy” piece of pizza for example:

2F5DCFD200000578-3359403-image-m-45_1450104237003Try to ignore how much longer it takes women to burn it off than men.  I know it’s hard.

Instead of adding that extra 71 minutes into your workout routine in hopes of burning it all off – try skipping the pizza and putting an hour into meal prep.  You’re going to be spending the time either way right?  May as well front load the convenience and let your future-self (and tummy) thank you for it.

In that same 71 minutes you could:

  • Prep a ton of fruit and veggies for the week
  • Make a one pot meal (this Cajun Chicken Pasta is amazing!) and split it up for lunch each day
  • Make smoothie bags
  • Freeze waffles (from box mix! The trick is to toast them rather than use oil/butter for maximum crispiness)

4.  Build a support network by reaching out to others (both virtually and in daily interactions). 

A friend recently taught me a very valuable lesson.

I am not special.

I know, without context, that sounds really bad, but it was truly an eye-opening conversation that I’m sure will help me for the rest of my life.  When I say I am not special, it doesn’t mean that I’m not unique or that I’m not important, it simply means that I am, almost certainly, not the first (or only) person going through hard times.

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving husband who is a constant inspiration to me.  He’s my number one fan and vice versa.  I have also built a solid support base through friends and other bloggers and health nuts I’ve met online.

If you don’t have those kinds of people in your life, find them.

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There are also two women that have, unknowingly, helped to change my life.  Janae at Hungry Runner Girl and Katie with Runs for Cookies.  These ladies never shy away from sharing the hard stuff.  They remind me that we all stumble, we all cry, and we all go through times in our life that are just downright rude.

But, even more importantly, they remind me that I am the only one with the power to decide how my story ends. 

Thank you ladies, from the bottom of my heart.

If you aren’t familiar with their blogs, change that right now.

5.  Try something new…but try to keep it health/fitness focused.

This could be a new recipe, a new workout, a new city.  Anything your heart desires, as long as it centers on something that is good for your health.

  • Pick a new recipe from one of the websites above and make a date night out of it (or have the whole family pitch in).
  • Try out a site like Fitness Blender or Yoga with Adriene
  • Rent bikes in your hometown and pretend like you’re a tourist (or do the same in a city close by)
  • Plan a healthy picnic in a park with lots of trails to explore
  • Try Geocaching!

Do whatever it takes to make the event fun as well as healthy.  Not only is this great for your waistline but it does amazing things for anxiety levels.

Personally, I’m partial to anything involving a bike ride.

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Bonus tip – Give it 5 minutes

The first place I slack when I’m stressed is exercise.  “I don’t have time!”  “I’m exhausted!”  “I’m just too mentally drained!”

While this may all be true, the only way to guarantee that you’ll stay that way is by not even trying to get off your ass.

Promise yourself 5 minutes.  Start working out for just 5 minutes.  If you want to quit at the end of five minutes, fine; however, I have found that just getting started is the hard part.  Staying with it is much easier.

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Let’s Talk Injury

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been dealing with a leg injury for about a year now.  I’ve had scan after scan, two rounds of physical therapy, and months and months of no running at all.  (Pause to stare, angrily, at the mangled muscles that used to be a hip flexor, calf, and hamstring).

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To say my fitness level has suffered would be the understatement of the year.

For months I made excuse after excuse for my weight slowly creeping up when, in reality, I had just wrapped myself up in running so much that I refused to try any other form of exercise.  After all that hard work to lose the weight and to find a physical activity that I actually enjoyed…just for it to be taken away…was a pretty tough blow.

Needless to say, that’s the primary reason for my absence from the blog.  I’m just not a public Debbie Downer.  I just couldn’t bring myself to post because, well…I kind of felt like a failure.  I gained 30 pounds (all in my gut – how does that even happen??) I had no running stats to report, and I just wasn’t thrilled with myself as a whole.  (Don’t get me started on all the hormones from IVF and some other health issues that I won’t discuss here (I’m fine though!).

Rather than concentrate on the fact that I’ve still maintained a loss of 170 pounds, I let myself fall into that pass/fail mentality for a really long time.

Fortunately, I seem to be over feeling sorry for myself and finally decided that it’s not too late to decide how this story ends.

The odds of us losing 500 pounds were so slim once upon a time…but we did it.  The thought of running a mile (let alone FIVE ENTIRE MILES without stopping) was laughable…but we did it.

Right now the thought of ever getting my fitness level back or getting to my goal weight seems impossible, but I know I’m capable of it.

I was finally able to find a new love for exercise when we bought our bikes (more on that to come).  I was dying for that “I am a total bad-ass Super-hero” feeling again, and I found it with cycling.  I also fell in love with yoga (ok, ok – I might have a little crush on Adriene, but come on!  Who doesn’t?)

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We’ve definitely come too far to turn back now.

 

I happened upon my old blog this morning, way back when we started in 2013 and I was using blogger rather than our own site, and I found this quote:

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

True Fact, Carl, True Fact.

The More Things Change…

There has been basically zero change in our life in about four months.

That is not a complaint, mind you, just a gloriously stress-free statement.

While it isn’t great that our weight is among one of those things that hasn’t changed, no change means it hasn’t gone up either.  This July will mark our second full year of maintaining a 500+ pound weight loss!  While, lately, we’ve focused mainly on maintenance, I feel a renewed interest starting to brew in the ole workout part of my brain.

This could have a little bit to do with it:

bikes

Mine’s the blue one and her name is Olivia.

Cliff and I bought bikes about 6 weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier!  It was refreshing to finally find something that I enjoyed as much as running.  We were even brave enough to rent bikes while we were on vacation (recap below) and it was probably my favorite part of the trip.  I can’t wait to visit all our favorite cities on two wheels instead of four.

Now the important stuff.

Oh, West Coast, how my heart longs for you.

Cliff and I, along with my parents, spent seven glorious days in Northern California for vacation this year.  We managed to pack A LOT into those short seven days, so I’ll take a more efficient route to explain…plus, any excuse to use bullet points amiright?

Day 1

  • Landed in San Francisco and picked up our Chrysler 300 for a week…and now I require a sunroof in every car in my future.
  • Stopped at In and Out for lunch (cheeseburgers are ruined for me…for life).
  • Started driving south towards Monterey and picked up the Big Sur Scenic Byway.
  • Saw hundreds of elephant seals!
  • Accidentally discovered that I like iced coffee (thanks Dad!!)
  • Stopped at the most perfect little ocean side motel in Cayucos for the night.
  • Had the best chicken tortilla soup in the world for dinner.

Day1

Day 2

  • Made the track across the state towards Yosemite (so much farmland!)
  • Learned that not all vacation rentals are created equally.  Special shout out to the Comfort Inn in Sonora, CA.
  • Waterfalls, waterfalls, and more waterfalls.
  • Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.
  • Mountains, Moun…do you see a trend?
  • Baby Redwoods and Sequoias.
  • Giant rainstorms over the Valley.
  • Happy Birthday to my Love!

Day2

Day 3

  • Impromptu drive through Northern California and into the Cascades.
  • Mount Shasta is HUGE!
  • Funny rest stop visits.
  • Watching rainstorms on each side of us but barely seeing a drop.
  • The question game (never a dull moment with this bunch)
  • Little mountain towns are the best!
  • Happy Anniversary to my Love! (Yes, we’re those people)

Day3

Days 4 – 8

  • Hello Pacific Ocean!
  • My very first Safeway.
  • I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat instant ramen again.
  • There’s no better way to see a city than on a bike.
  • Sunset over the Sutro Baths? – check
  • Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge? – check
  • Terrified of the hills in Sausalito and resigned to never going back? – check
  • Best hot fudge sundae ever (Ghirardelli)
  • The audio tour at Alcatraz may be my favorite tourist attraction to date.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf is pretty amazing, but also pretty stinky.  Silly seals.
  • Having a gigantic park with a ton of museums inside is the only way to go.
  • Parking in San Francisco is a nightmare – I really missed the Prius.  Do yourself a favor and skip the rental upgrade.
  • Words can’t describe the weather/sunsets/people.
  • Another Botanical garden marked off the list.
  • We walked up the hill to Lombard Street. Seriously.  All the way.  It wasn’t worth it, but it felt damn good to be able to do it.
  • Nigh time strolls through Golden Gate Park are the best way to end a night.
  • Put 30,000 steps on the FitBit for the first time.
  • AirBnB is the best.  Hands down.

Alcatraz Day4 Day5 Day6

Well, that’s enough updates for now.

And, just think…that’s only ONE trip in the past four months.  I would really like to know who passed down their sense of wanderlust so I can send them a bill.

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