Hungry in the Morning

I have never been a big breakfast eater or really feel motivated to eat in the morning.  I usually never felt hungry and would feel full and heavy when I ate in the morning.  I didn’t know this was abnormal.


A month into my gym membership the owner, Frankie Cole, sat down with me to talk nutrition.  He knew my fitness and health goals and wanted to give any advice about my eating habits.  I had recorded what I ate for two weeks and then we looked at it together.  One of his first questions was: Are you hungry when you wake up in the morning? I said, “No.  Who is?” without missing a beat.  He apparently is hungry every morning the minute he wakes up. Here’s how he explained it:

Any calories you eat at the end of the day when you are done with your usual activity (may it be daily work or a late night work out) you are not going to burn many calories.  You do not burn calories while you sleep. Therefore, if you eat a huge meal at the end of the day and dessert, you’re body doesn’t burn those calories and they just sit there.  Through the night, your body then considers them ‘left over’ calories and stores them.  If you eat a light meal for dinner and cut off your eating at a certain time, you’ll wake up hungry the next day.


This took me a long time to figure out and agree with.  I decided to cut my eating off at 8:30 since I’m usually in bed at 10:00 or so.  After a few days, I would wake up hungry in the morning.  My morning meal then helped to fuel me for the morning instead of making me feel heavy.  Turns out Frankie was right.  I now wake up hungry or get hungry within the first 30 minutes of waking up.  It helps me get started and on track for the day.  Some mornings I’ve even planned what I’m going to eat that day before my feet hit the floor.  It gets me focused on my choices right away.

Are you waking up hungry? Are you wanting to eat breakfast? If not, then look at how you are eating at night.  This will definitely help with weight loss!

New Fitness Goals

When I set out on my weight loss journey, I had three fitness goals in mind.  All three seems pretty reasonable when I set them:

1.  Fit into normal sized clothes all the time.

2.  Be able to come up and down the stairs in my apartment without having to catch my breath.

3.  Run the one mile loop in the park across the street.

Within my first year, I was able to meet all three goals.  But, just because I’m in maintenance phase now doesn’t mean I don’t need goals.  Now there are so many things I can do, I get annoyed by things I can’t do.  So here’s the new list for the next year:

1.  Be able to do 5 pull ups unassisted, (I’m currently still using 50 pounds of assistance at the gym)

2.  Run a half marathon (WHAT?!? I get nervous even typing it!  I just finished my first 5k)

3.  Hike a fourteener (that’s a mountain with an elevation of 14,000 feet for the flat landers, I’m currently up to hiking about 4 hours)

I’m most nervous about training for a half marathon.  I think this will be the hardest for me to meet, but that’s the point.  These are just goals and I have a whole year to meet them.  What happens if I don’t? Nothing!

Make sure you set goals for yourself along your journey.  It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and a way to measure how far I’ve come.  When picking your goals I would recommend that you pick three different levels.  Something that seems pretty attainable, something that seems reasonable but hard and something that seems nearly impossible.



My First 5K

I have never been much of a runner.  I find it boring and hard work on my body.  Even in high school I never really enjoyed running but was fit enough to do it.  This past year, I’ve wanted to become a runner and today I feel like I finally did.

Now I’m not only an athlete but a runner. That brings me great joy.

This morning I ran my first 5K.  I do not run normally other than in my classes at the gym.  I knew I could run a mile without stopping but I never even tried running 3.2 miles before today.  I signed up for the Fit for Fire run in Washington Park. I know it seems crazy to sign up for a 5k without training but I wanted to use it as ‘baseline data’ for how fast I could run/walk a 5k. I choose this one because I attended as a bystander last year.  My friend Kelley had invited me last year to hangout in the DJ van with her while all the hot firemen ran by.  But this year, I ran with all those hot firemen.

I did not train to run but I thought I could do about half of it running and half walking.  Before the race I had a lot of anxiety.  There were a few things that I wanted to accomplish:

1.  Finish in under 45 minutes

2.  Not be the first person to walk

3. Run 50% of the distance

4.  Feel like I’d done my very best at the end

What if everyone could run the whole thing like it was nothing and I was huffing and puffing the whole way? Oh well, let’s find out.

10629840_10102134237288469_3212099536836940939_nMile 1

As the race was starting, I was really nervous but I knew that I could at least get through this first mile.  My hubby had made me the perfect playlist to inspire me through me run.  I quickly found an anonymous buddy that had the same pace as me.  I put my head down, stared at her shoes and just kept running.  The first mile was done before I knew it.  As I was passing the first mile marker, I texted Dan that I had finished mile 1 and was still running.  I couldn’t believe I had made it so far already.  My breathing was good and my body felt great.  He texted back that he was waiting at the mile 2 marker.

Mile 2

Knowing that he was waiting got me through the second mile.  I didn’t want to let him see me walking.  Also, my breathing was still in control and I wasn’t getting the burning in my throat that I was expecting.  I was feeling pretty good.  Seeing my hubby waiting at mile 2 was awesome!  I couldn’t believe I had made it so far and was feeling so good.  I had NEVER run this far in my whole life, I’m pretty sure.

Mile 3 to finish

I struggled with the last mile.  At around 2.5 miles I got a pain in my side and my backside was starting to burn pretty bad.  I chose to walk for a while and give my body a short rest.  Considering I had already made it 2/3 of the way without walking, I thought this was ok.  Looking back, I probably could have just kept running.  I had never run this course before and had no idea where the turn to the finish was.  I could see the finish but not how to get there.  I stared at more shoes.  I thought about all the things I’d learned in the last year.  The next thing I knew there was a firefighter waiting in his gear to high five me around the corner to the finish.  I saw that finish line and never looked back.

10599262_10102134813493749_6244484605330807385_nI can’t even describe the feeling of crossing that finish line.  I had so much FUN proving to myself and my body that I’m an athlete now.  The first thing I did was hug my hubby and might have even shed a tear.  Running 90% of a 5k is just another thing on a long list of things I can do now that I never thought I could or would do. How did I do on my goals?
1.  I finished in 36:22 (Goal was 45)

2.  I was definitely not the first person to walk

3.  I ran 90% of the distance (Goal was 50%)

4.  I feel like I couldn’t have done any better!

This just goes to show I still don’t know what I’m capable of and I still think I’m weaker than I am.  Although I suppose that’s better than being over confident or cocky,  I’m still shocked at what I can do.  I know I work out a lot and I consistently push myself and my body at the gym.  However, a 5k seems so much more measurable.  How many times have I passed or seen a 5k race and thought it was something I could never do. Last year I was a spectator and this year a finisher.

10672294_10102134818114489_2187900149532405884_nI even got to run for an awesome cause: Denver Fire Fighters!

Holy Hiking!

On September 1st, Dan and I decided that we were going to go hiking.  We have done quite a few short hikes and I was ready to pick a bigger one.  One of my new fitness goals is to hike what’s called a 14er.  There are several mountains in the Rockies with elevations of 14,000 feet, hence a 14er.  Some are easier than others and I just want to experience one to see what it’s like.  Also, you’re not a true Coloradoan until you’ve taken a selfie at 14,000 feet.

So to get to a 14er, we had to up our hiking.  So I chose Herman Gulch off a list of ‘quickie mountain hikes’.  Here’s a comparison of what hike we would usually do and then Herman Gulch.

Typical Weekend Hike: Trading Post Trail, Red Rocks

Distance: 1.4 mile loop      Difficulty: Medium   Elevation Gain: 500 ft.

This Weekend Hike: Herman Gulch

Distance: 7 miles        Difficulty: Moderate      Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft.

On paper, it didn’t seem to bad!

10366326_10102109505231709_8244578394637308070_nIt seems more than reasonable! I could run a mile and had yet to die while training at the gym.  I kept thinking of my trainer’s voice saying, “Yeah but did it kill you?”  During the first mile, it was pretty easy.  Then I realized we were ONLY a mile in.  We were starting at around 10,000 feet above sea level and found it wasn’t too hard to breathe since we are used to 5,280 feet.  However, we were quickly getting tired.

During the second mile I realized we weren’t even close.  My knees started to ache and my butt muscles were burning! However, my legs are really strong and there was never an option of turning back. We were going to do this, even if it killed us!  Half way through you come to a beautiful meadow to keep you going! 10610823_10102109502187809_4349683958100838536_nNear the end of reaching the lake (which to midwesterners is more like a big pond) we were stopping A LOT.  The people on their way back down could see the desperation on our faces.  They’d say, “You’re almost there! It’s just another like….30 minutes!” This is not encouraging!  Don’t tell me I STILL have 30 minutes! Just tell me I’m not going to die before I get there.  When we arrived at the lake, we were treated with a snowball fight. in the mountains. on September 1! 10250228_10102109504283609_5341379065446189803_nAfter a snowball fight, water and a granola bar, we headed back down.  I can say that they trip down is a TON easier than up!  However, it does hurt your knees to be pounding at that angle for about an hour.

Overall: I didn’t die.  There were times when I thought I would!  There were thoughts that I had to push to the side of “You can’t do this” or “This is TOO hard for you!” But the truth was, it wasn’t! I was absolutely exhausted afterwards.  Moral of the lesson: If I knew how hard it was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have done it.  Since I didn’t know what I was getting myself in for, I was able to side step that fear and prove that I could.  For those wondering, 1,600 ft elevation gain is equal to over 100 flights of stairs.  Just saying!


Trip totals:
Calories burned: 1,800      Calories consumed in desperation: 250    Water consumed: 40 – 50 oz    Trip Up: 2.5 hours    Trip Down: 1 hour  Feeling of making it: Indescribable          Seeing this in person: Priceless

1415038P.S. I swear these are all the same hike even though I’m in three different outfits! It’s hard to pack for 45 degrees when it’s 90 outside your bedroom window!


It wasn’t worth dying for.

I have posted a lot of different reasons for changing the way I eat, exercise and basically saved my life. So here’s a list all in one convenient place. I encourage everyone to make their own lists and write it out with a writing instrument that makes you feel like a kid. Just because it will make you smile! Trust me on that.

article-2286426-185DF8B6000005DC-468_634x31710. Seats – I was embarrassed when I couldn’t fit in seats. Now, I would say that I did fit in the average seat 80% of the time. Movie seats, most restaurant seats, and chairs found in the average home were fine. However I could  not fit in roller coasters, barely air plane seats, bus seats were uncomfortable, and booths were usually awkward. It was embarrassing to ask my husband to pull the table toward him. I was sick of it. It made me feel huge to not fit where I was supposed to fit. Was I really that big? Uh…….yes apparently. Duh.


images-19. Food – When living in such an incredible place like Denver (whoop!!) you get exposed to a whole new palate of food compared to living in the Midwest. I kept finding that I was unsure or didn’t like most of the awesome ‘local trends’ because my palate was akin to grease, ranch dressing, and milk shakes. (In case you haven’t noticed I will be observing the Oxford comma in this post. Why did it have to die? Back to the point.) So basically I was missing out on entire pages of menus and new fad restaurants because they didn’t serve food like you’d find in the MW. And how do the states rank on the Healthiest in the US scale? Colorado is 8th healthiest. Illinois is 30th. So yeah. Again I have to go with Duh.

img_29908. Run – I live in a big(ger) city now and in this big(ger) city weird people are everywhere and weird stuff happens.  Dan and I got into an altercation one night when a guy was trying to get into our building.  I had been going to the gym for some time and I was able to defend myself easily.  Before I don’t think I could have done anything.  So I wanted to be able to run if anything ever happened that was seriously bad.  You just never know.  Paranoid? Probably but Denver has some seriously weird people. It’s the best place ever!






774781552e1b05ee18ddf2741d51636d7. Clothes – When you are plus sized, you can only shop at so many stores.  All of these stores seem to carry the exact same items, in the same fabrics, and often times even in the same colors. I wanted to wear things I saw other girls wearing.  I couldn’t even find boots that would fit my midwestern-corn-fed-morbidly-obese-calves.  Regular was too small and extended calf was too big.  I wanted to wear things I saw on pinterest and even make my own clothes because I’m a super huge dork. Do you have any idea how much money you save when buying fabric for a body that’s 45% smaller? You guessed it, 45%. Ha!






6. I didn’t care – The longhere-s-a-little-hint-i-don-t-career I’m an adult the longer I realize that high school never ends.  And in this said high school that we are all calling life, I decided I was done caring what people thought.  I know this sounds backwards.  Why would I lose weight if I stopped caring? Well, I was mostly terrified about losing weight because I knew my skin was already screwed.  I gained my weight in batches that hung in weird places on my body.  As I lost the weight, I knew those places would deflate and hang.  More on how I feel about my skin another day…..back to the point. I decided I didn’t care how I looked when I lost weight. When you feel like you can accept what you’re going to look like after you lose the weight and you don’t look like a Victoria Secret model, it makes it easier. This is something you have to learn to do several times throughout your journey.




Health Promotion5. Health – I know what you’re thinking. 5???? Number 5 is health???? Shouldn’t it be higher or maybe even number 1? The fact is that I am fortunate enough to have so many other things in my life that are worth more than my own health.  My number one goal was always to get healthy, not nesccessarily skinny. There are lists and lists of diseases and health risks associated with obesity.  You can see them HERE if you are unaware, but in this day and age I don’t know a single overweight person that doesn’t know MORE about being heathy than a skinny person. I knew the risks and decided they weren’t worth it.  I had been fairly lucky so far and I didn’t want to Press My Luck! (No whammies, No whammies!)




swirling-clock4. Time  – The older I get, coming up to the big 3-0 this year, the faster time seems to go.  Months fly by like I remember weeks or days going as a child.  Holidays are less exciting but, being a teacher, I still live for summer breaks. Each day I get to spend about 2 hours with my husband before the bed calls our name. When I look at my life, I just want more time.  I could no longer live with the fact that I would most likely die early for such a dumb reason as obesity.  By controlling my obesity, I am able to get more time on this Earth to spend with those that I love.






cute-baby-face-girl-hd-wallpaper23. Baby Maybe – The hubby and I are hoping to have children soon.  We have always planned on having children in our lives.  When I got diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome my dream of having children was all but out the window.  One of the most successful cures of PCOS is to lose weight.  If I couldn’t give my child a healthy environment for the first 9 months, what could I hope to give them after that? I want my child to crave healthy foods and not ask for a Happy Meal for dinner each night.  In order to do that, I had to make sure I was showing them the model of a healthy lifestyle.



10534415_10204460633666460_3391433917550686121_n2. Dan – Of course Dan ranks high on the list.  As I said above, I want as much time with Dan as I can get.  He is my best friend and my absolute partner in life.  How could I continue to make these choices when they would inevitably cost me my life with him.  I wanted him to have a wife he was proud to carry on his arm.  I 100% know that Dan loved me at every weight.  He always wanted me to be healthier for myself but never pushed me to lose the weight.  I gave him a list of things I needed him to do for our marriage.  He accomplished everything on that list to ensure our future family together.  In turn I promised I would get healthy.  It took me a few years but I kept true on my promise. I’m now proud to be his wife and feel like we are a much more equal partnership.




159734-350x232-Writing-on-a-headstone1. It wasn’t worth dying for – In the end, this is my number one reason.  Eating Big Macs and brownies is NOT WORTH IT. In the moment of consuming a Big Mac, it seems like not such a big deal.  And of course, one high fat and sodium meal once in a while is fine.  However, I was consuming meals like this on a consistent basis.  In the end, 10 minutes of pleasure for that meal is not worth dying for.  NONE of the reasons on this list were worth dying for.  When I die, I want my headstone to say something like the picture above, not “She really loved french fries.” Really take a look at yourself and how you are treating the only body that you will ever get. Most people don’t consider that their diet could kill them.  In this day and age we blame cigarettes, drugs, cancer and heart disease.  However, being a healthy weight eliminates or drastically decreases your chances of TONS of different diseases.  IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

It’s the Small Things

When I started my weight loss journey, I never intended to lose 125 pounds.  I knew I was over a 100 pounds over weight according to the BMI chart.  I NEVER considered that getting to healthy weight was an option for me.  I could only focus on 10 to 20 pounds at a time otherwise the mountain seemed insurmountable.  Each time I got to my next goal, I just wanted to keep going.

In the beginning, small choices are definitely the way to go.  Small choices each day add up to a lot.  Here’s some changes that I considered ‘easy’ because of my natural eating habits.  Some of these might seem impossible for you.  If so, switch it for something that DOES seem possible.  Below are some cuts I made that I would have naturally eaten otherwise.  See how it adds up:

Monday: Skip bread on sandwich at lunch (save 150 calories), baked chips for regular (save 100 calories), fruit instead of cookies (save 200 calories), sugar free popsicle instead of ice cream after dinner (save 200 calories)

Tuesday: veggies and hummus instead of chips (save 150 calories), flatbread homemade pizza for takeout (save 400 calories), espresso and half and half instead of a latte (save 150 calories)

Wednesday: half a bagel instead of full (save 200 calories), salad for lunch instead of a sandwich and sides (save 300 calories), Skinny Cow candy instead of a candy bar (save 150 calories)

Thursday: Diet pop instead of regular (save 300 calories), single cheeseburger instead of a Big Mac (save 500 calories), applesauce for dessert instead of cookies (save 150 calories)

Friday: A wrap instead of deli sandwich (save 250 calories) ground turkey tacos instead of beef (save 250 calories), banana and peanut butter instead of dessert after dinner (save 200 calories)

Week’s Total: Saved 3650 CALORIES! WHAT?

For those of you wondering, there are 3500 calories in a pound.  So with simple switches like those above, I was able to drop at least a pound a week in the first phase of my weight loss.  My body was so full of sugar, grease and gunk that I instantly had more energy and would get hungry before the next meal.  These were all things I COULD do so I wouldn’t focus on the things that I thought I couldn’t. For those also wondering, here’s what a pound of butter looks like:

ButterThink about what it feels like to look at that picture above and realize that’s what you LOST this week by making simple changes.  Now imagine 5 or 10 or 20 of those.  Crazy Right?