Surprise Yourself

Today I accomplished my last fitness goal that I set 14 months ago at the beginning of my journey to heath. I ran a mile around City Park without stopping! (thanks to the support of my friend Nikki Sandschaper!) My body probably could have done the work several months ago but I had a huge mental block about being able to check it off my list.

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Being able to surprise yourself or meet a goal that you set is so rewarding.  Set small goals that you know you can do as well as big goals for the long time future.  Success at small things leads to success at the big things.

This morning I surprised myself yet again on how strong I am and what I can do.  So my challenge to you is: Do something today you didn’t know you could do. Surprise yourself in some way today to inspire healthier choices in the future.  Maybe it’s a fitness goal.  Maybe it’s go to your favorite restaurant but skip the appetizer. Do something today you didn’t know you could do! Show yourself how strong you can be!

Exercise Anxiety

Fitness can be a great source of anxiety for some and definitely happened to me at the beginning of my journey.  I didn’t even know what my body could do with all those extra pounds packed on.  Would people laugh when they saw me trying to run? Would everyone look at me funny like “She’s too fat to exercise?” When I look back at it now it seems silly but felt very real at the beginning.

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Set Goals! 

When you begin working out, even just walking, make sure you set goals for what you would like to be able to do.  They can be as simple as walking to get the mail everyday to start.  I set a goal for myself at the very beginning to be able to run a mile without stopping.  I have painful memories from my school days of running a mile and being one of the last ones to finish everytime.  Every adult should be able to run a mile right? Well tomorrow is the day!  My loving friend who has been on her own journey to health adopted running right away.  She promised to run with me and not allow me to stop.  I feel like I still can’t do it on my own, but I think it’s fine to rely on others.  She’s confident that I can do it.

Anxiety……..

I consider myself and anxious person and I often think I’m much more naturally anxious than most people.  I thought that when I would run in the neighborhood, people were probably watching.  I felt anxiety when I joined the gym that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone else and they would wonder what the heck I was doing there.  I still get anxious some days before class because I’m just not sure I can do it.  BUT what I’ve proven to myself over and over is that I can at least try.

 

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No One Cares!

What I quickly discovered is that no one cares! When I see overweight people exercising now, I want to shout words of encouragement to them.  I want them to keep going and know that they can do it too!  When I started at the gym, no one judged me (at least on the outside).  They were very welcoming and encouraging as I got stronger. I couldn’t do what they could do but that only makes sense.  I’m a NEW member for  a reason.  Truth is, everyone has things they are working on and most people are too busy doing their thing to notice you.  You won’t be able to do what you did in high school.  You won’t be able to do everything you wanted to do.  BUT THAT’S OK.  After dedicated work, you will be able to do those things again.  I discovered that there was an athlete inside.  That athlete can’t get enough and can do amazing things that I never knew I could do.  Now, when I look for workouts online, I think I could do that with some practice instead of just laughing and searching for memes.

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So tomorrow I will run a mile.  What if I fail? What if I can’t do it? What if I die? Well, not matter what at least I can say  I tried.  If I don’t make it, I will try again, and I probably won’t die.  Maybe I’ll make it and it will be the best feeling ever.  That to me is worth the risk.

 

Meal Plans

One of the most popular questions I get is, “What do you eat?” I know people are always expecting me to say low carb, vegetarian or some other fad diet plan.  When I set out to lose the weight, I wanted to do it in the real world eating real food and not sticking to some plan with rules I couldn’t follow.

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I do eat both low calorie and low sugar.  I did this on purpose at first to flush my system of high calorie crap and endless sugary drinks and sweets.  After the first month or so, this is just what I was more naturally drawn to.  I’m sure that some of those fad diets work for some people but they did not work for me.  I needed to learn to eat pizza without eating 6 slices because I wanted to be able to eat pizza.  I didn’t want to lose the weight and then risk putting it back on when I ‘transitioned’ back to normal food.  So I figured out how to eat the foods I love, sometimes with substitutions, without overeating. Below is the schedule I try to stick to and then an example of what I would regularly eat in a day.

Routine

Your body will learn to get hungry at the right times if you are eating the right amounts at the right times.  Sounds hard, but it’s pretty easy.  Don’t eat again until you’re hungry.  You should be feeling hungry every 3 hours or so.  If you go 6 hours without being hungry, you ate too much at the last meal.

7:30 Breakfast (try to have high protein here if working out)

10:00 Snack (again, high protein if working out will help sore muscles)

12:30 Lunch

3:00 Snack

7:00 Dinner (low carb if possible)

8:30 Snack

*Tips* 1. Taper off carbs throughout the day.  You will burn off a bagel in the morning but a bagel for dinner means those calories aren’t going to get burned while you sleep.

2.  I try not to eat after 8:30 pm if possible on my regular schedule.  Again, you’re body won’t burn those calories.

3.  Wake up hungry!  If you aren’t hungry within the first hour of waking, you’re eating too much before bed.

4. WATER!  I’ve read lots of studies on this.  Turns out they say it does aid in weight loss for flushing out the body.  My favorite trainer on TV, Chris Powell, recommends half of your body weight in ounces everyday. (Example: If you weigh 200 pounds, 100 oz. or water per day.) Water can be hard if you are not a natural water drinker.  I wasn’t at first but I am now.  If you take medication, try to down a whole glass with your meds.  It will make it easier to get to your daily goal.  I do this and then don’t have to force myself to drink tons during the day unless I want to.

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Actual Meal Plan

Here’s an example of what I might actually eat in a day. My target calories are between 1600 and 1700 for a day.  I do not eat my exercise calories back yet because I’m still trying to lose those last 5 pounds. Please note: I’m not endorsed by any of these products.  I just think they are super yummy!

7:30  Breakfast – half a bagel with cream cheese – 250 calories (Shout out to Moe’s Bagels here in Denver who give out day old bagels for free after noon everyday! Best bagels ever!) Other examples: greek yogurt and fruit

10:00 Snack – Protein Shake – 150 calories – I like Complete Nutrition shakes.  They aren’t horribly expensive and I like the way they taste.  Go to a bunch of different places and ask for samples if you are looking for one.  There are several brands so try a bunch before buying a huge canister of something gross. Also, high protein is necessary for those working out.  If you are in a walking stage of fitness, you don’t need to worry too much about protein yet.  Other examples: banana, string cheese, granola bar

12:30 Lunch – Leftovers, salad – 400 calories – I usually eat whatever is in the fridge or I can take in my lunch.  My favorite places to eat out for lunch are Subway and Modmarket.  You almost can’t go wrong here if you pay attention. My Subway order is Italian BMT on wheat.  You can count on Subway being pretty healthy and fresh.

3:00  Snack – Bar – 150 calories – I like bars here because they are quick and easy.  There are lots of good bars out there packed with protein and vitamins.  Some of my favorites are Luna and That’s it but there are tons out there in every grocery store.  You can usually buy them in singles for about a dollar so go crazy! Buy a bunch and decide what you like.  They vary in consistency and flavor. Other examples: veggies and hummus, string cheese

7:00  Dinner – 450 calories – Grilled Pork and Corn – My hubby loves to use our grill so I can usually pass the cooking off to him for dinner.  Pork is low in fat and cheap!  Simple thin pork chops with some seasoning and corn on the cob is one of my favorite meals these days.  You can even have butter with your corn and stay under 500 calories! 4 oz. of pork chops is only 250 calories.  You get A LOT of food for very little consequences.

8:30  Snack – 100 calories – Sugar free popsicle or fudgsicle. These are delicious and very calorie conscious.  It makes you feel like your cheating when you’re not!

If you went back and added this up it’s 1400 calories.  That leaves space for coffee and any extra nibbles I may want during the day.  I carry food with me everywhere and stash it in the car.  If you’re out running errands and your only option for a quick snack is McDonalds, it’s going to be hard to wait.  If you store quick snacks with you, you’ll be less tempted by unhealthy options.

Check back tomorrow for a Chicken Tacos recipe and some low calorie Pig Out options!

Know Yourself

When starting any kind of diet or life change don’t forget to consider the emotional side of change as well as the physical.  Today’s topic is about knowing yourself and triggers that may lead you to success or disaster along your journey.

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When I asked a friend who has been losing weight with me what her number one piece of advice would be for people starting a journey.  She without hesitation said, “You have to know Yourself.” At first I thought this was a strange response, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  At my core I am a very controlling person.  Sometimes I feel like a puppet-master guiding all of the pieces in my life to where I think they belong. I am also very impatient with myself and hold myself to very strict set of expectations.  So how did this transfer to my weight loss?

Every morning I am excited to get on the scale.  I reflect on the good choices I’d made the day before or maybe ponder some poor choices I’d made.  Before I get on the scale, there’s a number I’m hoping to see.  Usually I don’t see it but sometimes I do.  However, I have to pep talk myself that whatever I see is fine.  Half a pound gained is not a failure.  30 pounds gained would be a failure. All through my weight loss I had to adjust my expectation of success and failure.  Would success be 3 pounds a day? NO! Is failure anytime the scale goes up? NO! I had to learn that I could mostly control the number I saw but I had to let go when I didn’t see what I was expecting.  I had to learn forgiveness!

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Some people have told me I have amazing will power through this process.  However, I’m not sure that’s true. I hold myself to high expectations in all areas of my life.  I push myself and consider it failure if I’m not the best. When I decided what I wanted to do with my health, that was the end of the discussion.  If I decided no chips for a month, I ate no chips for a month.  If I decided that a certain food was awesome, I’d eat it all the time.  It’s not just discipline, it’s who I really am to the core. While this might sound like a blessing, it created problems as well.  Sometimes I would hold myself too accountable and would then get depressed for a whole day if I didn’t see the results I wanted.  I still have to remind myself, it’s a process.

So as you are on your own journey, you will discover things about your self.  Maybe you get really close to a goal and then pig out for three days and sabotage yourself. Do you do this in other areas of your life? Maybe you struggle with a meal plan because it feels like too many rules.  Do you struggle with rules in general? If you know yourself well, you can tailor your eating habits to what your pit falls may be.  If you know for sure that you need ‘rewards’ in your diet, schedule them.  If you need one meal a week to eat whatever you want, factor that in.  Knowing who you really are and your natural habits will help you be successful in losing weight.

My Murtaugh List

Today’s subject needs a little explanation.  One of my favorite shows (which is now off the air……..still heartbroken) is How I Met Your Mother.

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One of the best episodes is The Murtaugh List in which the main character Ted challenges the infamous Barney to complete all of the items on his personal Murtaugh List.  The Murtaugh List originates from the Leathal Weapon movies where Danny Glover’s character, Roger Murtaugh, consistently says “I’m too old for this s*$#” throughout the movies.

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Ted creates his own Murtaugh List of things he believes he is too old for.  Ted’s list consists of items like: helping a friend move in exchange for pizza, sleeping on a futon, getting his ear pierced, going to a rave and putting off going to the doctor.  I’ll leave the end of the episode for your viewing pleasure!

Through my journey, I have created my own Healthy Murtaugh List. As I flushed my body of a lot of bad habits I found it didn’t crave the same things.  Some of the foods I avoided in the beginning simply for their calorie consequences, I found I don’t even want to eat anymore, or they put my body through so much torture that it isn’t even worth it anymore.  Here are some items from my  Murtaugh List:

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Pop: My hubby insists that I still have to say pop even though now we live in a ‘soda’ region.  I avoided pop like the plague at the beginning of my diet.  I knew it was empty calories and I was really trying to cut out as much sugar as possible. After about 6 months soda free, I found I didn’t even like it anymore.  I will occasionally enjoy a diet soda when we eat out but find myself uninterested in finishing it about half way through.  My hubby will still get a soda every once in a while.  When I steal a sip it doesn’t even taste right!  It tastes like pure syrup!  When you’re body ‘recalibrates’ without things like soda, you’ll find your tastes changing and drawing you to more healthier options naturally.

Doughnuts: Again, once my body flushed out most of the poor choices I’d been making, doughnuts had to join the list after an ‘incident’.   About 3 months in, I hadn’t had a doughnut in a long time.  My hubby was running to the gas station one morning and we were out of our usual breakfast food.  I had been doing really well and had already met my weekly weight goal so I asked him to pick me up a doughnut. I ate ONE regular glazed doughnut and (TMI WARNING) quickly threw the whole thing up within minutes.  My body was saying “What is this crap that you’re giving me? Rejected!” I have had one half of a doughnut since then when the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts opened near my house. After the ‘incident’ I don’t even want to eat a doughnut anymore but leave it on the list in case I have a momentary lapse in judgement.

Fried Foods: To be clear, I still eat fried foods but it’s place on the list represents portion control.  My body would much rather have a whole sandwich and 10 fries than half a sandwich and all my fries.  How do I know? It tells me loud and clear.  Too much fried foods have me running to the bathroom before we pay the bill.

Moral of the Murtaugh List:

I want to give my body what it needs not what my head wants at that moment.  None of the experiences I’ve had having these things in my diet have made it worth it to keep them.  When I ate them all the time, I was obese.  If I have a tiny portion now and then, it’s not so bad.  If I gorge on them, I’ll pay for it.  When you’re body has more healthier needs it will punish you for bad choices which makes it a lot easier to make good choices.

In the beginning cravings are normal and expected.  I promise, as you continue you’re body won’t ask for those things anymore.  Cravings will change just as your body does.  I still get cravings but for more healthy things now.

 

The Thyroid Saga

Long one today…….

I have gotten a lot of questions lately about the thyroid and my personal experience with a thyroidectomy. Here’s my full saga of having thyroid trouble and eventually surgery. Please Note: Once again, I am not a doctor and this post reflects my own medical history only. Ask your doctor for the best course of treatment.

 

2006 – During a routine physical my junior year of college, my general doctor found what felt like a lump on my thyroid. I knew my mother had a history of hyperthyroidism but had no idea what that meant. She recommended I get and ultrasound asap. While waiting for my ultrasound appointment, of course I googled what it could be. Lumps (cysts, nodules or goiters they are sometimes called) on your thyroid can be cancerous but most likely are not. They can make it hard to swallow, cause you to lose your voice or effect your blood work to show hypo or hyperthyroidism. My blood work came back norma,l but I was still fearing cancer as I was young and never had a serious medical issue before.

I had the ultrasound done and they found several small cysts as well as my thyroid was larger than it should be. They recommended a thyroid scan. This is done at the hospital and you take one of those dye pills so they could see what lights up. Again, it was a painless procedure, which also came back abnormal. By this time, being a natural worrywart, I had convinced myself I had cancer. They say thyroid cancer is ‘the best kind to get’; whatever that means. They recommended I get a biopsy to test for cancer.

I remember my sister taking me to my first biopsy. My mother, who is a full time nurse, told me the procedure would be no big deal and not very painful. SHE LIED but I’m so thankful she did. If you are reading this in concern about a friend or family member, I encourage you to lie as well! The procedure is quiet painful, expensive and overall sucks. The biopsies came back benign. The doctor said they would monitor the progress and see what happened.

Weight: My weight at this stage was just above healthy. A little chunky but not obese.

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The next two years I went through the same tests (minus the scan) every six months. Blood, ultrasound, poke. Blood, ultrasound, poke. I also started seeing and endocrinologist to look deeper into my blood levels and make sure my thyroid problems weren’t effecting me in other ways.

Weight: I had gained between 30-50 pounds at this stage. I tried dieting with very little results.

 2008- 2010

Again……same tests. Every biopsy cost me $1000 on my crappy teacher’s insurance. The costs were racking up faster than I could pay them off. During these three years, I had test after test to ‘monitor’ what was going on. I continually asked about surgery. As a music and choir teacher, I was sincerely worried about losing my voice. I could not wait for my voice to be affected because that would be too late. I used my voice as my money maker 24/7! What if I woke up one day and couldn’t teach?

I also stopped getting my period. For three years I probably had less than five periods. I simply wasn’t ovulating. My general doc thought that they were not connected. The thyroid disease was separate and not related to me not getting my period so I was put on Metformin. Metformin is supposed to offset the complications of Poly Cystic Ovary Disease, which my doc diagnosed me with, based on my weight and the fact that I wasn’t getting my period. The meds made me get my period, once.

I met with a surgeon once in 2009. He explained what a thyroidectomy was and possible complications. A possible complication can be losing your voice for good. It’s rare but possible that your vocal nerves can be severed during surgery. I decided not to have the surgery until my docs said I had to.

Weight: During the end of these years, my weight peaked at my highest weight of 290 and stayed there. Again I had tried to diet but had very little results and would put the weight back on faster than I lost it.

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2011-2012

I had now been dealing with all the tests and costs for 6 years and I was sick of it. I felt like no one knew or realized how hard it was to wait for test results and pay for said tests to often. The costs just kept adding up.

I started getting my period again after my general doc kept upping the dose on my Metformin. I would have a period every 2 months, sometimes. I now had 10+ cysts on my thyroid that were ‘not effecting it’s function’ and it was overgrown on my right side.

After my most recent biopsy, I was SICK of it. My husband sat with me through the procedure for the first time. He could not believe I had done it so many times after seeing what it was like. The procedure would give me nightmares the night before I had become so fearful of it. I was a 27 year old and did not want to keep dealing with this the rest of my life. The time had come that the risks of surgery outweighed everything else. I went to see a surgeon on my own account without a doctor’s referral. (allowed on my crappy insurance) He couldn’t believe what I had been through and for so long. I remember him saying “Of course no one would recommend surgery because that means you aren’t going to be their patient anymore and they want to make as much money as possible off you!” The surgeon made me feel super safe and was open and honest about his stats as far as thyroidectomies went. He had cut the vocal nerve of one patient and it was repairable. I decided to go for it and the surgery was scheduled for three weeks later.

Surgery

I was so scared. I was so worried about my voice that I didn’t even prepare myself for the recovery of surgery. I remember laying on the surgical table and feeling like I was on ER or something. Other than oral surgery this was the first time I was going under the knife. I also remember the anesthesiologist did NOT count backwards.

The pain was not horrible when I woke up. I was unable to talk, swallow or lift my neck very much. They had made a 2-3 incision across my throat to remove my entire thyroid. Throughout the night the pain got worse and worse. Having not had surgery before, I didn’t know how much pain was normal. After crying to my husband at 3 in the morning, I asked for a different pain medicine and was fine afterwards. The next morning my surgeon came to see me. He told me he had inserted a drain under the skin that he’d have to remove before I left that afternoon. He was shocked by the size of my thyroid when he opened me up. The tests always showed it was enlarged but it was huge. The normal thyroid should be around 3-4 inches in length. Mine went from my jaw to collarbone and he was going to save it as an example for his patients.

Recovery felt slow because I’m an impatient person. I had to run a summer camp 3 weeks after surgery which I was able to do. The affects of the anesthesia wore off in a few days and I was just tired most of the time. My voice sounded like I’d smoked 10 packs a day for my whole life. When I came time for summer camp, I could talk normally but not yell or sing. I was terrified that my voice would never come back even though the surgeon assured me there were no complications.

My voice eventually came back as strong as it’s ever been. 28 days after surgery I got my period and have every 28 days like clockwork since. But the doc said they weren’t linked right? WRONG. Now it’s like the surgery never happened. I do have a scar across my throat but after weight loss no one even knows it’s there. The only difference in my day to day life is that I take a tiny purple pill everyday. Your body stores 6 weeks of thyroid enzymes at a time, so if the zombie apocalypse happens, I won’t make it, but I’m ok with that.

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I wouldn’t say that the thyroidectomy made me lose weight. One year after surgery, I was mostly the same weight. However, the surgery did make it easier for me to lose weight when I started trying. Could I have gotten healthy with such an unhealthy thyroid? I guess I’ll never know. Moral of the story: I knew what was going on with me and what I needed more than the docs did. Doctors are often running a business with you as their client. Think about this, my thyroid was 3-4 times larger than it should be and I had 10+ cysts and yet nothing showed in my blood work. According to numbers, it was normal.

I encourage everyone that is starting a weight loss journey to have their thyroid checked thoroughly, especially if thyroid disease runs in your family.

Does Fat and Happy Exist?

photoToday’s post is brought to you by the free wi-fi and air conditioning of a local Starbucks!  It’s hot out there folks; remember to get lots of water to stay hydrated and aid your weight loss!

Today’s topic is one that I’ve been pondering for a while and still haven’t found the answer to.  Comments and thoughts are appreciated.

Does Fat and Happy Exist?

When I was 125 pounds overweight, I thought I knew what happiness was.  I thought my life was fine and I really didn’t notice the inconveniences of being overweight. Even though I wasn’t happy at the base of my life, I thought I was fine with how I looked.  I’ve always been a confident person who experienced lots of love and success. BUT I was fooling myself.  It bothered me that I weighed more than my 6 foot tall husband.  It bothered me to ask if there are any 2x’s in the back.  It bothered me when men would hold doors for other women but not me.

I can say that for me, fat and happy will never exist.  Some people might think this is narcissistic but I don’t think that’s the truth.  The world runs on healthy and beautiful people.  I might not agree with it or support it, but that won’t be changing any time soon.  I believe that being thinner has advanced my career, changed how strangers see me and makes the world generally more accessible to me.  I recently took a flight and didn’t have to worry about the size of the seat.  I’ll be going to an amusement park in a few weeks and will be able to ride any ride I want. When I go to restaurants, I never have to worry about where they might seat us and if I will fit. Why? Because the world is built for the average size person who is healthy and active.  We are not meant to be so overweight. Our bodies don’t want to carry all that around, we just force it to.

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When you’re overweight, life is much different for you.  Some of these habits I hadn’t even noticed until I didn’t have to do them anymore.  I can get in and out of stores so much faster simply by being able to squeeze through small spaces.  Men hold doors for me now (more on that later) and people never look at me weird in health food stores or regular clothing stores.  To the everyday public, I just look like a normal girl.

I am now a firm believer in “You’re outsides match your insides.” I’m still dealing with my feelings and reactions when I see morbidly obese people. (again….more on that later) However, recently my gut reaction is DEATH. I think this is because dying early or developing a serious illness from obesity was a huge fear of mine and my biggest reason for getting healthy. I want them to know the risks and get fired up about it.  NO ONE should have to die early from too many cheeseburgers.  When I see someone that is healthy weight and clearly a runner or active person it leads me to believe the are also mentally healthy.  When I see someone severely overweight, I wonder what else is happening in their life that doesn’t allow them to value themselves.

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Now, I’ve made some bold statements in this post that were meant to make you think or even argue with my opinion.  PLEASE DO!  I’m still sorting all of this out and am genuinely curious what everyone thinks!

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REALLY?!? Are those my only options? What about healthy and happy! I’d like to punch whomever made this meme in the face.

Happy Denver Day!

995660_474269999314042_107887170_nToday marks the two year anniversary of my hubby and I arriving in Denver to chase our dreams of a different life.  In the past two years I have gained so much in my life.  I’ve found independence, confidence, my marriage is stronger, my mind is stronger and definitely my body is stronger.

Two years ago we knew it was time to make a change.  We were very unhappy with our life in Illinois where we were living.  I loved my students and coworkers but hated my job.  My hubby was scared of getting fired every single day.  Our marriage was suffering and we rarely went out with friends or family.  The Illinois life style is much different than Colorado.   Walking or getting physical activity is definitely not the norm.  Foods are always fried and ranch dressing is considered a side dish.  Now, I could have changed my life in Illinois.  I’m sure if I looked harder at menus and nutritional facts I could have accomplished the same weight loss.  However, I don’t think I would have DONE it.  We were very stuck in our life there.

I was terrified to move several states away from my family and everything I had known.  We had a small safety net waiting for us in Denver and we just hoped for the best.  It was the best decision we’ve ever made.  We are now happier and stronger than we’ve ever been.

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So why put this on my blog?  I know not everyone can or will just up and move.  However, such a drastic change in my life allowed me to see what else I wasn’t happy with and take control of it.  Is there someone holding you back? Why haven’t you done something about your weight whether it’s 10 pounds or 100 pounds? Is there an area of your life that needs attention that is manifesting itself in your weight? Sometimes I would look at my life and think “What’s the Point?” If I can’t change anything, why change one thing? I discovered it was a change reaction.  When I took control of small areas of my life, it lead to me taking back control of my WHOLE life and extending it for many healthy years on this beautiful planet.  Make a small change today that could change your life!

Restaurant Blues

As I began my diet, one thing I did not want to give up was meals out with friends or the hubby.  I knew this was something I had to figure out and quick.  One of the first things I did was look up what I used to eat and compare it to a healthier option on the menu.  Even if your local eatery doesn’t provide nutritional facts, you can usually find them online or find a close comparison.  Let’s start with a restaurant we all know and love: McDonalds. 1280px-Mcdonalds-90s-logo.svgI know I know I know.  McDonald’s is a soul sucking corporation that blah blah blah.  We all eat there when we have to right? Here’s a comparison on what I used to get to what I get now:

Large Coke, Big Mac, Large Fry        1340 Calories and 53 Grams of Fat

Cheeseburger Kids Meal                     410 Calories and 17 Grams of Fat

While still not nutritious, this was an easy switch.  I still got a burger.  I still got fries, just less.  Oh and they still give you a toy even when you are an adult!

 

Simple Switches

Here are some restaurant rules to ease anxiety when eating out.  I guarantee any restaurant will have healthier choices, you just might not have looked before!

453ae713-fba8-4a68-94e6-a39e65b815061. Dressing on the side – We’ve all heard it!  It works.  You don’t know how much they have put in if you don’t measure it yourself.  Some salads have as much as a quarter cup of dressing on them, which makes them a worse decision thaa a sandwich with fries.  It might feel healthier but is probably higher in calories.  At one of my favorite Denver restaurants, Sam’s No. 3, they have a wedge salad with bacon, blue cheese and AN ONION RING ON TOP!  The first time I got it it was drenched in dressing.  The next time I asked for it on the side and they brought be a CEREAL BOWL of dressing.  Yikes. Still a salad with an onion ring on top? Yes please.

2.  Baked Not Fried – I love me sc7872d_748811296c3e4137bc936e44cb4c5ddeome chicken! However, I try to find a grilled chicken sandwich instead of fried.  This can be especially hard if you are a wings lover.  Most places fry their wings but you will occasionally find them baked if you ask.  Did you know Buffalo Wild Wings boneless wings are 100 calories a pop? Don’t worry. I cried too. Baked chicken is much less in calories and fat than fried.  Also, then you don’t have to feel bad about having cheese on it or other condiments.  If you’re only option is fried, eat half!  My hubby and I order a sandwich split between the two of us at a local bar.  They bring it out in two baskets and we usually end up with extra fries!

 

 

3.  Buns – Eat half.  Bread is not Hamburger Bun smallimportant to me although I know there are bread lovers out there.  I’d rather eat the whole sandwich with half or no bun then eat half with.  This might be hard for some of you.  However, cutting out half of a huge restaurant style bun will save around 200 calories every time.  Again, I’d rather eat other things!

 

 

 

deep-fried-heaven4.  Fried Awesomeness – You will never be able to hide from french fries, onion rings, tater tots and chips forever.  AND they usually come as an automatic side to most dishes.  If you don’t trust yourself not to eat them, ask for a side salad, fruit or veggies.  Most restaurants will do the switch free of charge.  However, like I said you can’t avoid them forever.  It is FINE to have some but the usual portion is more than enough.  Have just a few and then take them off your plate.  Try to see how many you can have left after you feel full.

 

Especially at the beginning of losing weight, these switches will help you drop the pounds faster as well as feel hungry again sooner.  You know the feeling of “Can Someone Please Roll Me Out To My Car?” after endless pasta and breadsticks? You’re not supposed to feel that way after eating a meal!  Once in a blue moon for a special occasion is fine, but Thursday night? Not so much.  Use these tips and stop when you’re full and you’ll feel much better!

At the Start Line

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I think the hardest part about starting a diet is just that, starting.  For me there was no real start date.  I didn’t wake up one morning and decide ‘Today’s the day!”.  I made small changes through time and then realized I was dieting.  I think there are a few questions to answer before and as you begin a diet plan.

1.  Why am I overweight?

2.  What do I want from losing weight?

3.  Why am I doing it now?

For me, I didn’t want to be on a ‘diet’.  I have tried diet plans in the past like Weight Watchers, the Special K plan, and Slim Fast.  None of them worked for me because I felt like they weren’t plans for real life. I needed to learn how to eat in the real world and not be obese.  So I’ve never considered myself on a diet, just making healthier choices with the options that I have. Turns out other people make these choices naturally.  I just didn’t naturally make those choices before now.

My Answers – I’ve supplied my answers to those questions to give you a few things to think about.  Perhaps your answers are not even close to mine but I do think they are all things you need to be aware of and dealing with when starting a diet.

2014 Response:  1.  Why am I overweight? I always knew I was overweight.  I was not in denial about my health.  But I can honestly say I didn’t know it was as bad as it was.  I found a way to convince myself I wasn’t THAT bad.  I could get my mail and walk to have coffee with friends.  That’s good enough right? I finally got to a point where that wasn’t enough for me anymore.  I wanted to be able to do all kinds of things.  So, how had I got here? I think the answer was a combination of a lot of things.  Since I worked a very intensive full time job (teaching K-12 music) I didn’t have the ‘time’ to think and worry about being healthy.  Being healthy and worrying about calories takes a ton of time and energy that I had convinced myself I didn’t really have.  Another reason was I felt I wasn’t taught to care about health. (Sorry Mom!) As a child, I don’t remember being taught what was healthy and how to balance eating with activity.  My adult mind understood what calories were and I was obviously eating more than I was burning.  However, ‘a balanced diet’ was not naturally on my mind.  I think the last reason I was so overweight is because I didn’t care.  I have a husband that loves me at any size so why do I need to be thin? I would bother me if a student made a comment about my weight and I felt uncomfortable in social situations but felt like it was my ‘role’ to be the fat one.  As an adult you start to find your place in everyone’s life and I thought mine was the fat friend.  Would dropping weight change who I was? At the base of it, I was terrified to lose weight.  It seems silly to say that now because being overweight is so much more scary.  But I was SCARED.  I didn’t know if my skin would shrink back.  I knew if I got healthy kids would be much more closer to our future.  I was scared I would change who I was and I loved the person that I had become.  She did a lot of amazing things. (PS…..I was that overweight.  When I look at this picture now, I don’t even know who that is!)

2016 Response: When I read that back, it’s still all true.  And for those that are wondering, my skin didn’t shrink back.  But the overall journey was harder than I imagined but 10X more rewarding than I ever thought it could be.  Now I know though that I’ll always be overweight, in my head. I don’t mean “I’ll always think I’m fat”.  I mean I’ll always know what it was like. I’ll always have issues with food and anxiety over if I’m doing it right.  Once you’ve been in the Fat Girls Club, it’s membership for life.  Other members might not recognize me anymore but I’ll always be thankful for my new health because of where I came from. 

2017 Response: Well, that person below seems even more far away now.  I feel less and less connected to her at all.  In some ways I think that’s awesome.  My life barely resembles hers.  Most people are shocked to find out where I’ve come from.  BUT, in other ways I think that’s sad.  I don’t ever want to forget where I’ve come from.  My skin continues to heal and look better but hasn’t changed much in the last year.  I’ve continued to drop body fat in exchange for muscle, my weight mostly maintains on the scale.  I worry less about ‘doing it right’.  I pretty much know when I’m making good choices and conscious bad choices.  As I rebalance my workouts, I rebalance my diet. 

0112014 Response: 2.  What do I want from losing weight? I wanted to look NORMAL.  I constantly felt judged being in stores where I couldn’t fit the merchandise.  I was tired to my hubby pulling the table towards him when we sat in booths.  I was tired of crossing my fingers for a 2X shirt when they would always be mediums or larges. I wanted strangers to look at me and think looked totally normal.  When I started I didn’t set out to lose this much weight.  I set three attainable goals in the first month.  I thought when I got to my goals that would be “good enough’. 1.  Walk the stairs in my building without having to catch my breath, 2.  Fit into normal non-plus size clothes, 3. Run the mile loop across the street.  I wanted to reach those three goals regardless of what number was on the scale.  I knew that would allow me to do other things that I wanted to do like 5k walks, hiking with friends and never having to worry about friends inviting me to events that I couldn’t physically do. 

2016 Response:  Now that all the weight is gone and then some, I realize how small and big those goals were.  They were literally life changing and life saving.  I saved my own life in the last 3 years.  I’ve now fallen in love with health and fitness so much that I consider a career change and I’m training for an amateur competition.  Those goals seem like such a small rung on the ladder that I’ve climbed.  But at the same time, crossing each one of those goals, felt just as good.  I’ll never forget running my first mile.   I’ll never forget trying on my first non-plus size pants.  It felt the same as crossing the finish line of my first half marathon.  It felt like winning my first real sparring match.  It’s all about perspective and where you go. 

2017 Response: This year I actually went through the process of gaining weight and it was glorious. 🙂  When I was fighting at 132 pounds, I was having to do every possible thing to keep my body at that weight.  It was not healthy and I quickly went back up to 140 pounds.  Now I fluctuate between 140-145.  I’m still just in love with health and fitness, if not more and I AM changing my career and life to incorporate fitness.  I had a lot of successes this last year too: I competed in the Golden Gloves State Boxing Tournament and lost.  I’ll never forget those 10 minutes.  I completed hundreds of miles in every type of weather.  I’ll never forget being called a peer by a fitness trainer I admire.  I’ll never forget learning to climb my first rope or getting my internship position.  It felt just as awesome as completing the Funky Monkey 2.0 in my 2nd Tough Mudder or running into Folsom Field on Memorial Day during the BB10K.  So many amazing memories and opportunities that I’ve experienced because of the health.

2014 Response: 3.  Why am I doing it now? I knew I was at a turning point in my life.  My hubby and I had recently moved to Colorado and were discussing the future.  I wanted to have a baby and when I was pregnant, I wanted people to know I was pregnant.  I had always feared that when I was heavy and pregnant, no one would even know.  It was time.  I was running out of my ‘young years’ and needed to make a change before I started the next step of my life.  If I couldn’t give my child a healthy environment for the first 9 months before they are even born, how am I going to give them the skills to be a healthy person? It was time to grow up and make adult decisions for my future.  I love my husband more than I can explain.  We are partners in everything and are a strong team.  I began thinking, “is carrying this extra weight worth it?”  I knew that being overweight caused all sorts of health problems that I was lucky to not be experiencing yet.  But what about the future? Would being so overweight rob me of years with my husband in the future? 5 years? 10? 15? I couldn’t be so selfish to overeat and not make healthy choices at the cost of a future with the man I love.

2016 Response: And I could not be more happy that I did.  In the last three years since I’ve started this journey I’ve been given so much and I’ve been able to give so much.  I’ve met people I would have never known.  I’ve done things I never thought possible.  I SAVED MY LIFE. And it just gets better.  Do it.  Do it now.  The 2012 me wouldn’t believe the 2014 me.  The 2014 me wouldn’t believe the 2016 me.  What will the 2018 me be like? I can’t wait to find out. 

2017 Response: Here’s 2017 me checking in.  In the last year I’ve been changing so much.  I’ve made a lot of great changes and hard changes. I’ve met new friends and let old ones go.  I feel like this will be a transition year for me and  I’m still just as eager to know what the 2018 me will be like.  Maybe she will be a mom 😉