Sunday, August 10, 2014


When I was interviewing for jobs last year, when asked what my biggest weakness is I told them it was stubbornness.  I say how I am stubborn to a fault, but that it's also an asset because it means when I put my mind to something, I figure it out.  It also means that I fight for what my students need and don't give up.

And this is true, in the work setting.

But, I think my biggest weakness is that I refuse to forgive myself.  I have been reading teaching blogs all week and combing pinterest (professional development hours anyone?) and finding all sorts of things that I would love to do in my classroom.  I'm thinking of ways to incorporate new practices into my room and how to modify activities to meet my students - how to jazz up a 1st grade lesson for 5th graders, or modify a 5th grade lesson for my kiddos who only read independently on a 1st grade level.  And I had this moment where I was thinking about my classroom and what I want to accomplish this year (really working on good language arts centers and effective social skills instruction) and what I want to save for next year (organizing binders of curriculum that is effective for different skills and making sense of the vast amounts of resources in my room) where I realized, I will never be happy with what I get accomplished in the classroom.  There will always be something I think I should have done differently.  A way I could have reached a student better or communicated with another teacher better.  I could have taken better data or been more engaged in a lesson I wasn't feeling that day.  I will never be happy with what I have accomplished.

But here's the thing - this attitude isn't just reserved for teaching.  I am struggling to find it in myself to forgive myself for what I have done in the past.  I sit and think about what I could have done differently the last few years of my life so that I wouldn't be here, 100+ pounds overweight and out of shape with horrible eating habits.

I have started reading and following Chris Powell's carb cycling plan - it's what he uses with his clients during his Extreme Makeover transformations and the things he writes about really impacted me.  I have always respected how he approaches clients on his show and his books are no different.  One of the things he talks a lot about is transformation and not weight loss.  And I've seen multiple people who he has worked with say that the weight loss was the least significant part of their entire year.  That transforming their life was more important.  The relationships they gained and the experiences they had were more important.

So I am trying to let go and move forward.  I am trying to forgive myself for what happened in the past.  I was doing the best I could with what I had.  While reflecting on the lifestyle choices that got me to where I am, I became angry at myself for the habits I developed of getting something quick and easy for dinner Friday nights after work (ordering pizza, picking up take out, etc.).  I'd also always get something easy unhealthy to make on the weekends for breakfast.  But I didn't develop this habit out of laziness or the desire to put crap into my body and gain weight.  No.  I developed this habit because by the time I got done with surviving my week on Friday, it was all I could do to drive home.  There were times before being teamed up with Owen, where I would get home Friday and stay on the couch all weekend, not leaving my apartment again until Monday morning.  It wasn't because I was deliberately trying to ruin my life, it was because it was all I could do to survive the week with a disability before crashing on the weekends.  And I have to forgive myself for that.  I was able to survive and grow into the person I am today.  A person who advocates for herself and gets put on the appropriate medications (hello prescription NSAIDs everyday and anti-depressants, life is gooooood).  A person who works out at the gym 3 times a week, not to lose weight, but instead to build strength and muscle mass (which of course will help me lose weight).  A person who is trying to eat the right things in the right amounts at the right times, and does not feel guilty about having a reward on the weekends (chocolate cupcake!).

Once I realized this, that I was hating myself for something that was out of my control, I have been able to move on.  When I slip up, I just shake it off and move forward.  I'm not going to bash myself any longer for things that happened years ago that I can't do anything about now.

I am transforming my mind so that my body will follow.

Monday, March 17, 2014

21 day challenge!

I could start this post by explaining my multiple-month-hiatus.  I could tell you about the various ways I have tried to stay healthy while working.  I could tell you about the siren call of Tex-Mex and queso.  I could tell you how I started working out at Koko Fit Club about 6 weeks ago (badly injured myself, quit working out, and then started again).  But instead, I will simply tell you this.

Today, I had my consult at My Fit Foods (not sponsoring this post or endeavor by the way - unfortunately...) about starting their 21 day challenge.

For 21 days (starting Wednesday), I will eat only their prepared meals which my nutritionist has chosen for me.  I will give up alcohol (gasp!) and coffee (GASP!!).  Alcohol because it's empty calories (and with my mug glass-of-wine-a-day after school habit I've noticed my weight creeping up), and coffee because...  well, because they told me to.

And they told me if I follow their plan I can lose 15 pounds in 21 days.  Seems like a fair trade... for now.

(They actually have an explanation about coffee because caffeine increases cortisol which, when combined with high blood sugar - which we know I have a problem with - causes your body to slow it's metabolism and store fat instead of burn calories.)

They promised I could add coffee back in at the end of this challenge.  In the meantime, I can have green tea, as much as I like.  I've already prepped my coffee tea mug tomorrow morning with two green tea bags, I'll need as much punch as I can get in the morning.

I will also be drinking a detox of unsweetened cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and liquid B-12 (more energy!) every morning to help detox my liver, help with hydration, and help burn fat.  We'll see how it tastes, but if it burns fat, I'm all in!

The MFF meals are really quite good.  They're fresh, meaning I'll be picking up my food at their store twice a week because they use no preservatives (which is good, because I think I'm allergic to common preservatives used).  They use the glycemic index to plan meals, and stress the importance of multiple small meals throughout the day, instead of fewer but larger meals.

What impressed me the most though, was the store's willingness to work with my meager budget to do this.  Instead of purchasing 3 meals plus 2 snacks from the store for each day, I will be purchasing 3 meals from them.  I will be getting the small meal sizes (with 3 oz of protein) because they are the cheapest.  I am going to be supplementing their meals with 2-3 snacks a day; chobani greek yogurt, trail mix (that I made and measured out; 2oz of a almond, cashew, and dried cranberry mix), and apples with peanut butter.  I actually got both peanut and honey-almond butter (Justin's) at the store today and tried both with my granny smith apples.  It wasn't the dessert I was used to, but I think the sweet treat at the end of the day with the healthy fats will help me feel like it's actually a treat.  I'm going to save trail mix for the morning when I'm teaching (it will be quick and easy to eat on the go) and then I'm freezing chobani so that it thaws by the end of the day when I can eat another snack.

I'm very optimistic about this endeavor; I plan to follow their plan exactly, and I am trusting in my nutritionist (who will be calling me and checking in) to help me out.

Even though I'm eating the MFF meals now (I bought some this weekend instead of grocery shopping), I will be officially starting the 21 day challenge on Wednesday (though I will be following all the guidelines/meals tomorrow as well).  I'll post Wednesday with an official start weight, and keep everybody updated on how I'm doing!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August news

Okay, business first.

August measurements (I did not take measurements in July, so these numbers are two months lost instead of the typical one).

Bust: 43.5" (0)
Chest: 37" (0)
Waist: 38" (-2.5)
Hip: 48" (-2.5)
Thigh: 26" (-3)
Calve: 20" (-1.25)
Upper Arm: 15" (-1)
Forearm: 11" (-1)
Neck: 15" (-1)

Total inches lost in two months: 12.25"
Total inches lost: 19.75"

My weight has plateaued in the high 240s - it varies between 247 and 249 and hasn't shown any signs of dropping.  I know why though; I've become very lazy with portion control.  I'm going to be stepping up my game in the next few weeks before school starts.  I've also been lazy with working out; again, going to step up that game before school starts.

Onto the fun.

My friend was here visiting last weekend and we went back-to-school shopping for clothes that (1) fit and (2) are professional enough to teach in.

Here's a little peak at what we found.

5 pairs of pants (including one pair of size 16 capris - they *almost* fit perfectly); 6 tops and one pair of really cute sandals (I can wear nice sandals to school in the fall).

Here's a pic of the size 18 jeans on - jeans that actually fit! :D

And then to top off the weekend, I found a size 16 little black dress that looks quite good (if I do say so myself).  I am going to a fundraiser this weekend and will be wearing it - I'll be sure to get a picture to show everybody!

Even though my weight is being stubborn, I am noticing how clothes fit differently (and that clothes that fit actually look and feel better) and being able to fit into sizes that are in the teens instead of twenties is a really good feeling.

When I started trying to lose weight I was wearing size 22 jeans from Old Navy's plus size department.  They had stretchy material in the stomach area and were the furthest thing from flattering imaginable.  And they were dangerously close to not fitting; realizing that the next step was buying size 24 jeans was a big catalyst to get my butt in shape.  Don't worry though; I've kept one pair of these jeans so that I can put them on and laugh at how far I've come; I'm planning an after picture in the jeans once I get to my goal weight - think I'll be able to fit both legs in one pants leg? :)

Perhaps even crazier, is the fact that I'm looking forward to going shopping again to find another pair of jeans and maybe some more tops before school starts.  Being able to fit into the things I want to try on in the fitting room is a crazy experience.

I'm not the weight I thought I would be before school started; but that's okay.  I'm going to challenge myself to see how healthy I can get in the next three weeks; I am planning to pretend like I am having to get to school by 7:15 in the morning (even if I don't actually have to) so that I get into the habit of waking up early, working out, getting ready and eating breakfast (and taking care of Owen!). 

And maybe I'll find some more cute clothes by the time school starts!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June - measurements and goals

June measurements:

Bust: 43.5" (-1.0)
Chest: 37" (-2.0)
Waist: 40.5" (-3.75)
Hip: 50.5" (+0.5)
Thigh: 29" (+0.5)
Calve: 21.25" (-0.75)
Upper Arm: 16" (-0.5)
Forearm: 12" (-0.5)
Neck: 16" (0)

Total lost: 7.5"

My goals for this month,

Get my bloodwork done; I was supposed to do it about a month ago, but I didn't because I knew it wouldn't be good.  Now that I've lost some weight and am eating healthy, I need to get it done and evaluate where my blood sugar is.

Write my thesis (not health related, but it has to be done this month).

Get my weight under 245 pounds - this goal is a little lofty, but if I lose an average of 2 pounds a week, I can do it.

What are your goals this month?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May measurements

Normally, the goal would be to do this on the first Sunday of the month, but I just found the tape measure recently (as in this weekend when I was cleaning up the apartment - future me, it's in the drawer in the bathroom) as I consistently lose them and I'm pretty sure I'll find at least 3 when I start packing to move.  But, I digress.  I recently found the tape measure and I got my measurements done today.  In the future I will do this all together on the first Sunday of the month.

At the start of the month, I weighed 258.6 (this week, 257.0).

In case anybody has forgotten, here is my May pictures (I solemnly swear to do these every month - btw, I'm watching the Harry Potter marathon, are you?).

May 2013
And here are my measurements for the month.

Bust: 44.5"
Chest: 39"
Waist: 44.25"
Hip: 50"
Thigh: 28.5"
Calve: 22"
Upper Arm: 16.5"
Forearm: 12.5"
Neck: 16"

(and yes, somehow those seem worse to do now than writing my weight... can't wait to see those numbers go down too!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 2 observations

So, I have been living my new life for about two weeks now, and I have been noticing and learning new things along the way.

First - and maybe most important - is that I don't have any guilt about eating anymore.  Before, even when I did have something that was healthy, I felt guilty every time I ate.  I was overeating and then feeling stuffed and guilty when I finally finished.  Because I felt so guilty, I would starve myself between meals, waiting to eat until I was so hungry I didn't care what I ate or how much I ate.  Because I was so hungry, I would overeat, and the cycle would start again.

Now, I plan out all my meals in the morning and I know the snacks I plan to eat throughout the day.  Honestly, most days - I plan too many snacks, but I'd rather have too many options than not enough.  I'm starting my day with breakfast, everyday.  Depending on when I have breakfast, I'll have a small snack before lunch and then another snack before dinner.  And then, I even have room in my calories to have a small "dessert" (fruit).  Because I know what I'm going to eat when I start my day, I don't feel any guilt about sticking to my plan and eating throughout the day.

I didn't even feel guilty when I went out for Cinco de Mayo with my friend last night; I had way too much sodium for breakfast and lunch, but compensated by drinking lots of water.  I drank a lot of water with dinner and then another 500ml when I got home before bed.  Of course, my weight was elevated this morning, but instead of letting it derail me, I planned a super low sodium day with plenty of water and fruit and a long walk.  And I feel great about my food choices for the day (and I'm looking forward to getting my berries and whip cream for dessert).

I'm learning about appropriate portion sizes (like, did you know that an appropriate portion of lean protein is only 3 ounces?  I got 6 appropriately sized portions of chicken out of two chicken breasts that I bought this weekend).  I'm still eating boil-in-a-bag brown rice, but I'm measuring it out and only eating one portion and saving the rest for later.  Fruit and veggies though, I pretty much let myself eat however much I want.

I realized just how much fat I was eating; even in the form of seemingly healthy fats (like olive oil).  I made a fantastic salad dressing today out of honey, dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar - absolutely no oil required!  And I saved half to marinate my asparagus for dinner, which was fantastic, by the way.  This is what I like about tracking everything I plan to eat in sparkpeople before I start my day (I update if I change anything throughout the day, but it gives me a starting point).  That way, I can see right away if I'm going to go over my daily allowances of any macro nutrients, and make changes accordingly.  And tracking in the morning as I eat breakfast is way easier than tracking throughout the day as I eat.

I feel so much better.  I'm sleeping awesome at night and I've had very little acid reflux (it was so bad a year ago, that combined with stress I was throwing up 4 or more times a week).  I'm looking forward to getting rid of acid reflux once and for all, without medications.  Because I'm eating more often, and fueling my body with healthy things, I don't get hunger headaches anymore and my brain seems to be functioning a little better (more clear headed).  I took my blood pressure last night and it was [almost] normal for the first time in a long time.  I'm looking forward to lowering my blood sugar and hearing a doctor say (hopefully sooner rather than later) that I don't have insulin resistance anymore.

Working out isn't just a high for me, eating healthy is too.  Every time I eat something that I know is good for me, I feel empowered and excited to keep going with eating healthy.  I love getting to go to bed at night and rest my muscles, but I also love waking up still sore from my workout the day before.  Those things combined, make doing the "right" thing everyday inherently reinforcing, so I keep doing it.  I haven't cheat since I made the decision to eat healthy (I don't count my Sunday splurge as a cheat because it was planned and I made relatively healthy choices, all things considered).  I haven't binged and I haven't eaten something I've said I wasn't going to eat.  That's two trips to the grocery store with no bags of potato chips bought (incidentally, I love Trader Joe's because they don't carry the crap I'm addicted to - and yes, it is an addiction).

I've always said I like eating healthy foods - but I'm finding out it's really true.  I love fruits and veggies and I'm excited to keep trying new things and new ways to eat them.  I love my food co-op I tried last weekend, and I signed up for a new round this week - once I've tried a few baskets I'll blog more about them and show you some photos of the produce that I've gotten.

I feel energized to keep going; obviously what I'm doing is working (I lost almost 3 pounds last week), and even though I know this is going to be a long journey, I've broken down what I want into manageable goals.  This feels permanent and sustainable because I'm going about it in a completely healthy way and I'm 100% committed to getting healthy, and I'm excited to keep going and reach my goal weight!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Goal setting

Obviously, goal setting is super important to what I am trying to do.  So I thought I would sit down and explain where I came up with my numbers and also think about [for myself] what my goals along the way are.

My current long-term goal is 155 pounds.  I didn't just pull this number out of thin air; according to a lot of BMI calculators, this would put me right in the "healthy" category as opposed to "overweight." (Some calculators still put 155 at a BMI of 25, overweight).

However, I really do think that once I get down to 155, I'll want to keep going.  Not an unhealthy amount, but it would be nice to be square in a healthy BMI range without having to worry that one day off plan would send me into overweight territory.  I think I want to aim for 135 being my eventual goal weight; but for right now I want to focus on being healthy.  Once I get to 155, I'll reevaluate and see whether I'm happy there, or should keep working on losing weight.

One of my first big goals is obviously getting out of the 200's.  I cannot wait for that day when the scale says 199.  This will also mean that I will be more than half-way done with my weight loss goals.  But, 199 is a long way away (61 pounds as of this morning... well, that doesn't sound too terrible), and I want to celebrate smaller goals on the way down to keep me motivated.

The first short-term goal I have is to lose 25 pounds.  This would put me at 249; closer to 200 than 300 pounds (let me tell you, when I was gaining weight, that realization that I was closer to 300 than 200 was not a happy day).

After that I want to lose 54 pounds; a goal weight of 220.  For some reason I have 220 stuck in my head as a time where I wasn't thoroughly disgusted with my body.  (And 220 is closer to 200 than it is to 250, so that's always a good thing).

My weekly goal is to lose between 1 and 2 pounds.  That may not sound like a lot, but it's a manageable goal that I think I can meet easily each week.  If I lose more than that (and I hope I will once my metabolism gets going), then great!  But as long as the scale is lower (even if it is by just 1 pound), I will be happy.  Also, I know that I have a lot going for me in that I am 22.  I really really hope that once I lose the weight, I don't have to worry about excess skin (but that is not an excuse for staying heavy!).  Being young is a huge help for this, and also losing weight slowly.  People who are a candidate for the surgery lose 50%+ of their body weight, if I weighed 135, I would have lost 50.7%.  Hopefully, by losing weight in a slow, healthy way, I can avoid having to have surgery (because I've seen pictures and heard about it, and it does not sound like something I want to do!).

There are 18 weeks between now and the start of the school year (when I will hopefully have a teaching job).  If I lose an average of 2 pounds a week between now and then, I would weigh 225 pounds.  A huge difference!

There are 35 weeks between now and my 23rd birthday (and the start of the new year); if I kept up with my weight loss, I would weigh 191 pounds on my birthday!  That is exciting and super motivating.

And in one year?  I could be at 157; almost to my goal weight.

Breaking it down slowly like this helps a lot.  It is manageable.  It is possible.  And it will happen.

I think people who say that this isn't about getting thin are lying; of course it is about getting thin.  I am not healthy at the weight I am; when I lose weight my cholesterol and blood pressure will be lower and I will reverse the insulin resistance.  But do I imagine what my new life will be like being thin?  Hell yeah.  I can imagine what it will be like to go shopping and buy clothes in normal stores; I can't wait to buy clothes!  I imagine sitting in the airplane seats not thinking they are too small and not worrying about encroaching on the stranger sitting next to me.  I can imagine what it will be like to be thin; to be a healthy weight and to not worry that my weight will hold me back.  Hell yeah, this is about losing weight and being thin.  But as much as I want to be thin, it's also about not worrying about lifetime of Type 2 diabetes or a lifetime of blood pressure or cholesterol medications.

For me this is about losing the weight, being thin, and being healthy... and doing it all in a healthy way.

Only 12 more pounds to go until I can officially say I am closer to 200 than to 300 pounds.  Let's go!