New Video Update: RETURN OF THE VLOG!

*Knock-knock*

Is anyone here?

*crickets*

Hello, friends! I’m… back? I dunno, but I recorded a little thing for your viewing pleasure. From the thumbnail, you can likely tell the big reveal. I’ve gained a lot of weight. All the weight. And then some. I’ve got a lot to say about it in future posts.

I’m not defeated by the weight gain, but my focus, after many many many months of thinking about it (reading, research, therapy, trial-and-error), has shifted from the desire for pure weight-loss to a more holistic approach to wellness. Weight loss will hopefully be a nice side-effect, but I’m embracing the experience of being ME instead of waiting to reduce my body’s relative mass to the Earth’s gravitational pull. 🙂

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New Vlog and Weight Loss Update: 90 LBS DOWN!

Two weeks ago: 182.8
Today’s Weigh-in: 182.0 lbs
Change: -0.8 lbs
Total Loss: 90 lbs!

This has been a banner week, folks! Lots of stress in my life, but I continue to experience breakthroughs in my fitness. First things first: I’m down 90 lbs total since my highest recorded weight – huzzah! I might be struggling with feeling like I haven’t been “giving it my all”, but I have to take this opportunity to celebrate this milestone. **Cue party whistle**

The week before last I got pretty excited because I ran a full mile on the treadmill without stopping. I’m proud to report that I’ve shattered that best-distance and last week I ran a full 5k on the treadmill without stopping. That’s 3.1 miles!

I definitely know what they mean by a “runner’s high” now. For me it happens about 20 minutes in. The first 5 to 8 minutes everything’s okay, then around the 10-minute mark my legs start to harsh my good vibes. It’s a huge struggle until around the 20-minute mark, then I get into a “zone” and my calves don’t hurt as much and I feel like I can just keep going.

The other thing that I love about running is that it really is a singular activity. At this point I still can’t focus on anything else EXCEPT the act of running while I’m doing it. I had some family drama pop up and while I tried to think about it while jogging on the treadmill, my mind wouldn’t let me. As if the activity itself required so much concentration the whole world outside of that alone washed away. All I’m thinking on that treadmill is, “How is my breathing?” and “Ow my calves hurt now” and “Just keep moving forward” and “Wow this lap is taking forever”. No “I wonder what I should eat for dinner” or “How do I deal with such and such problem”. I get anxiety from time to time and this seems like a fantastic mechanism to break the anxious thoughts when they creep up on me.

I feel so strong about the running that I’ve signed up for my first 5K… AS A RUNNER! I walked a 5k back in March, but now I’ve gone and registered for the Biggest Loser Run/Walk Seattle on October 12th, so there’s a real commitment made to the idea of running. My hope is to be able to jog the whole thing without stopping.

I’ll leave you with my latest video diary recorded just a little while ago – enjoy!

New Vlog and Weigh-In Update: AM I A RUNNER NOW?!?

Hello friends! First off I have to thank everyone who came forward to support me through my rough patch last week. If there’s one thing I know for sure about weight loss it’s that these bad weeks happen. The goal in managing them is having them only be weeks, and not letting them turn into bad months, bad years, or a bad life.

I’m happy to share that I got back on the proverbial horse and since the end of last week my food choices have been solid, I’v felt more in control, and I’ve gotten back into the swing of things with my activity. I’m still not rockin’ the cardio as much as maybe I should, but I’m putting in my best efforts, and that’s all I can really ask of myself!

In fact, last night I broke another personal record: I RAN A WHOLE MILE WITHOUT STOPPING!!! That’s a first, folks! I’m definitely feeling like running isn’t something I can say I “can’t do” any longer. I can run for over ten minutes at a time, and that’s amazing to me! Next goal is to run a 5k. I GOT THIS!

Next up, the weigh-in. I was very curious, this week, to see how my body dealt with my binge episodes and my return to activity. I like how my body approached it 🙂 Last week I weighed in at 186.0 lbs. This morning I weighed in at 182.8 lbs. That’s 3.2 lbs lost this week! Woot! That makes my total just a hair shy of a total of 90 lbs lost.

I’ll leave you with this video update. I talk a little more in it about my recovery from last week. And it’s a much more upbeat video than the last one, lol!

Weigh-In Update + Vlog #44: Going Back To Work!

Hi folks! It’s about that time for another weigh-in report. Last week I weighed in at 187.6 lbs, and this morning the scale read 186.0 lbs, so I’m down 1.6 lbs this week, for a total weight loss of 86 lbs since starting last summer. Go, me!

Watch my full video update with exciting news below!

I guess the title spoils the big surprise this week, but I’m stoked to announce that after spending a little over a month interviewing for a position, last week I was offered the job and I start TOMORROW! Squee! Going back to work is both totally exciting and totally scary at the same time. Excited because this is the place I’ve wanted to work at since moving up to Seattle, so obviously that’s worthy of excitement. Scary because I haven’t worked in over a year, and there’s a small part of me that thinks maybe I can’t hack living this new healthy lifestyle while working full time.

But that’s a very teeny, tiny part of me now! I’m confident that with the proper attention, I can continue my path of healthy eating and pushing myself in my exercise activities. So wish me luck!

Second thing corresponds to the above-mentioned exercise activities. A while back, I tried running a little bit during my training sessions on the 20/20 Lifestyles program. My body didn’t like it: shin splints and hip pain plagued me whenever I tried to switch up my walking cadence to a jog, so my trainer and I concluded that maybe I should wait until I dropped a bit more weight before my body could really handle the mechanics of running.

Well, this weekend on a stroll around the block I got the urge to run a bit, and managed to run a whole 0.8 kilometers WITHOUT STOPPING. My previous record for running was maybe two minutes at a time, tops – and this length blew that time outta the park! I was so excited I went out again the next day to see if I could break the kilometer barrier – AND I DID! So, so exciting. The first few moments while I’m running (okay, jogging), it feels really hard. But at some point it feels like things get better. I focus on my breathing: deep breath in, fast breath out; deep breath in, exhale again… and then I’m around the block.

While I’m still huffing and puffing and sweating like crazy after a mere kilometer, it still feels SO MUCH BETTER than it used to. I’ve decided I’d like to train to run longer distances (I’ve even added a “Running” category here on the blog – GAME IS ON!), and my next goal is to go a mile without stopping. And after that I’d love to run a 5k. If I can run a 5k by the end of the year (or ever, for that matter), I will be SO INSANELY PROUD of myself I just don’t know what I’ll do.

The final exciting thing this week (as if I needed any more) is that I’ve had my first fitness-related article published! Readers may remember that I bought a bike earlier this year and took a private course at the Cascade Bicycle Club to help me get back on the horse, so-to-speak. About a month back, someone from the club contacted me asking if I would be willing to translate my blog post about it into an article for their monthly periodical. And it just went live this past week! Head on over here to read the article!

Hope all you lovelies are having a great week yourselves. Thanks for reading!

Weigh-In Update + Vlog #42: Weight Gain and the Importance of Water!

So, I’m 39 years old now. Happy birthday to me! It feels a bit like I should feel embarrassed about saying my age, but I’m totally not. I’m actually pretty proud, and I feel like a “young” 39. Maybe it’s all the videogames and lack of general responsibility. That plays some part, but this newer healthier lifestyle certainly has a part to play!

To celebrate my birthday, my boyfriend and I ventured up to Victoria British Columbia for a 4-day tourist trip, and we had SO MUCH FUN. We walked, and walked, and walked some more. One day I even hit the 25,000-step mark on my Fitbit! My relatively fit boyfriend was the one having to sit down and rest, while I was the one with the better stamina this time around. Pretty dramatic difference from our old normal, I tell ya!

I had decided in advance that I wasn’t going to track my food on the trip, and that I was going to allow myself to eat whatever looked good to me. Sure, I would try to maintain some balance, and make sure I never got to the point where I was feeling ravenous – and I brought some turkey jerky snacks and whatnot – but still, I kinda ate whatever I wanted without much regard to what it was going to do to my waistline.

The morning we embarked on our trip, I weighed in to get a baseline measurement for the “damage”, at 191.0 lbs. Of course I was hopeful that with all the walking I could come out even, but I knew it was likely for me to put on a little weight. The morning after we got back home, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I stepped back on the scale. It read “196.4 lbs”.

Lolololololol!

Watch the video below for a recap!

I was surprised to see I had gained 5.4 lbs, but not aghast or anything like that. And I wasn’t terribly bothered. I just knew I would eventually work it back off. Little did I realize how easy it would be.

The plan for when I returned was to just start eating the way I had before the trip. That meant bulk cooking chicken and ensuring I had food on hand to make good decisions. The other thing I decided to do was to inundate my system with water. See, while in Victoria I didn’t drink enough water. I felt super bloated and dehydrated, so water was my #1 priority.

And when I weighed in the next day at 192.2 lbs, I knew my water prioritization was the right thing. Heck, by the following day I was down into the 189’s! So yeah, water weight is a real thing. And walked up to 10 miles a day in Victoria didn’t hurt!

I’m happy to report that this past Tuesday, my official weigh-in was at 188.4 lbs. So it wasn’t a fluke! I’m definitely out of the 190’s now and ready to take on the 170’s. Onward!

20/20 Lifestyles Wrap-Up (with Video)

I made it! I completed the two complete phases of the 20/20 Lifestyles Program, and I’m pretty proud to say that I KICKED. ITS. ASS!!!! Watch the video below for my recap, and/or continue reading further down for the details!

Today was my final program appointment with my physician, Dr. Doyle Perkins – though I will be meeting with him every 10 weeks hereafter to check-in and continue to measure my progress and assess any needs I have as pertains to my weight or fitness. Last week I went through my final round of tests on the program – including having my bloodwork run, strength and flexibility tests, and my DEXA body composition scan.

First up were my program before & after photos:
beforeafter_jun2014
Whoooooaaaaa… look at that side view! We are always are own harshest critics, and I sometimes feel like I’m just as big as ever, but there’s no denying that I’m considerably smaller than I was back in September. I’ve lost a large number of inches around my body – more around than I am tall, in fact. Look, I made a table!

Initial End P1 End P2 Total loss
Neck 16″ 13.75″ 13.25″ -2.75″
Chest 54.75″ 46.5″ 43.75″ -11″
Waist 51″ 39.5″ 36″ -15″
Hips 57.25″ 49″ 46″ -11.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 15″ 14″ -5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 28″ 24″ -12″

If I’ve done the math correctly (chances are that I haven’t), that adds up to 57 inches total! And if you double my arm and thigh values for actuals, it’s like 74 inches. Over six feet of space gone from my body overall. NUTS!

Next up is a table of some of my other metrics:

Initial P1 End P2 End Change
Weight (lbs) 266 210 191 -75 lbs!
Body Fat % 61.3 50.0 43.2 -18.1%
Lean Body Mass (lbs) 103 105 109 +6 lbs!
Cholesterol 185 182 154 -31
Triglycerides 103 77 69 -34
LDL 119 124 100 -19
HDL 45 43 40 -5
Glucose 104 84 82 -22
BP 126/82 114/68 106/66 -20/-16

Everything’s going in the right direction there, except for my HDL (healthy cholesterol), which I need to try to get to 50 according to Dr. Perkins.

My favorite part is the lean muscle mass. According to the DEXA scan, I’ve gained something on the order of 6 lbs of muscle. I don’t have anything to compare this to, but when I started on the program they told me the strength training component of my workouts were designed to prevent me from LOSING muscle mass, which I’m told is common among women losing large amounts of weight. So the fact that I did more than maintain my muscle and that I, in fact, increased my muscle, is something to celebrate. Doc said my fat loss was something like 81 lbs instead of just 75, factoring in my lean gains. And both the assessor and my doctor mused that it was the largest body fat percentage loss/muscle gain they remembered seeing in a female on the program, so I’m pretty proud of that!

The muscle mass increase explains my strength test results. My bicep curl back in September showed me able to curl 35 lbs. Last week, I curled 54 lbs. My flexibility result was perhaps the most of a letdown. My “sit and reach” back in September was 9.6 inches, and last week it was a mere 7.7 inches. The assessor said it wasn’t uncommon, buuuut, I don’t believe her. I haven’t been doing as much stretching as I should in recent months. And MAYBE I was wearing Spanx to my final appointment. That might have had something to do with the negative result 😉 In any case, increased flexibility is always something to shoot for.

So yeah, I’m feeling pretty damned good about my overall program results. What’s more, I feel confident that I will be able to maintain my efforts and keep losing more as time goes on. I recommend the 20/20 Lifestyles program to those with the financial means to do so. It’s not an inexpensive program. And while my insurance covers half of it, it’s still a lot of money out of pocket (or out of our health savings account, which is a nice perk as well). I’ve gone through all sorts of different weight loss programs, but this was really the most comprehensive, and I think that approach is what’s really required for long-term lifestyle change. I feel deeply changed in ways that I never thought possible, and I’m excited about the next stage of my personal journey. Hope you’ll continue to follow along!