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!

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Video Update: My First 5K!!! And, a Career Epiphany?

In this installment I gush about my first 5K fun run experience, and delve rather deeply into some career-trajectory thoughts. Have I found my calling?

For those who don’t want to watch right now, but are curious none the less, you’ll find my written comments below.

 

A lot of exciting things have been happening lately, and I highlight a few of them in the video above. These include MY VERY FIRST 5K FUN RUN! This is a big deal for me. A few weeks ago my trainer mentioned the possibility of the two of us participating in the event (the 3rd annual Kirkland Shamrock Run) together, but she had to work and wasn’t going to be able to make it. I wasn’t in the mood to let that stop me, so I gently persuaded my boyfriend to register with me instead.

My plan was to walk most of it, but to jog whenever I could. A few weekends ago I took a 3.2-mile walk which included brief bursts of speed, and my mile-time was approximately 17min:45sec, so I set a conservative goal of getting below 18:00 for this. The route is known to be hilly for the majority of the way (though fortunately it was all at the beginning, giving some reprieve towards the end), so I didn’t want to push my goal into impossible territory.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

The weather was PERFECT for my first event. It was a bit chilly, and it started to lightly drizzle for a few moments, but I’m very happy I didn’t pick a hot summer day to try jogging on the asphalt for five kilometers! I have, like, zero articles of running-appropriate clothing, and sported a fleece-lined jacket at the beginning of the race. When I finally heated up, my awesome boyfriend was willing to hold it for me until we neared the finish.

finish_line_pics

I found the above two photos of me finishing online amongst thousands of others!

Not only was the boyfriend a helpful valet for my things, but he was the official pace-keeper, and he kept me aware of how my mile-time was averaging. I think the worst part of the whole thing was I started to feel pain in my right hip area that prevented me from running as long as I wanted to. For the rest of the day it was sore, but today it’s much better. 

I finished in time to blow my goal time outta the water, at an official pace of 17:07, and a finish time of 53:04. 9th in my age bracket, lol!

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn't tested it prior.

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn’t tested it prior.

Afterwards, we stumbled into the nearby neighborhood Irish pub for post-race festivities (including a performance by the Eastside Firefights Pipes and Drums band), where the boyfriend enjoyed a Guinness and I recorded an Instagram video of the band. As you can see from the selfie above, I was very, very happy. I wasn’t prepared for the fun to end, in fact. I wanted to walk/run some more! When’s the next 5K?!? My boyfriend joked that there was a 4-mile run the following day, and I half considered it!

The other thing I find myself excited about has to do with some career thoughts I’ve been having. I left my position as a Project Manager for a medical training company almost a year ago to work on my issues with depression, anxiety, and (later, once I was feeling better) to kickstart my weight loss/lifestyle change. I don’t intend to be living this life of leisure forever, however, so I’ve been starting to put some thought into what it is I wanna DO with my life. I wasn’t happy in my last position, and frankly I haven’t truly enjoyed what I do for a living in a long, long time. And this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect and ponder and put energy into pursuing a new path.

It’s been difficult. I have interests and proficiencies, but it hasn’t necessarily felt like I wanted to turn those into a career. I love web stuff, and graphic design, but the idea of doing it for a living seems like it wouldn’t be so fun (plus I don’t think I have the artistic chops to pursue it). I am attracted to audio and production- I even went to school back in the mid-90’s and finished a certificate program in audio engineering to work in post production for television and film, but my career never progressed past the stage of assistant, and I ended up being pushed into administrative roles. I excelled in them, and that’s how I worked up to project management, but it wasn’t what I ever dreamed of doing.

I’ve thought about medical imaging, psychology, audio production and editing, UI/UX, psychology, writing, psychology… wait. Are you seeing a trend? For many many years, the thought of becoming a counselor, or involved in the field of psychology has been of interest. Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany when I was contemplating potential careers. What am I currently MOST passionate about? The lifestyle changes I’m working on to lose weight and learn to live a happy, healthy life. And I feel drawn to talk about my experiences here on this blog, with other weight loss bloggers, and really, to anyone who will listen. I love hearing people’s stories, and I try to absorb as much information on the topic of weight-related health, fitness, and behavioral research.

And of course I’ve had experience with counseling (on the receiving side) since I was a kid. Experiences both good and bad, to be frank, but I find it oddly compelling as a career choice. So I just started thinking that: how awesome would it be to turn this passion for helping myself into a career in helping others work through their own unique issues by providing support and behavioral/emotional resources!?! I start with what I’m closest to, and that’s the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and the counselor I’m working with there. I would love to provide the service she’s providing to me. And a casual web search illuminated other avenues for trained professionals to provide similar support, and I just got really, really energized.

I believe so strongly, with every fiber of my being, that successful, permanent weight management is not possible through diet and exercise alone: one needs to have the behaviors and mental tools to override our human instinct to eat fatty, junky foods and be comfortable (as in, not feeling the temporary pain of exercise). So many of us DON’T have these tools, and I want very much to be a provider in that way.

Of course this will likely involve schooling (I never finished my Bachelor’s, and most positions in the counseling field require at least a Master’s completion), and more critically, the finances and time for schooling, and that’s all really overwhelming to think about. But I’m going to take a careful, measured approach to this, talk to some people I know about the possibilities, and see what makes sense. It’s been so long since I’ve felt like something could be SO RIGHT for me, and I don’t want to chicken out because it feels like it might be too much.

*Whew*, that was a long post! Thanks so much for reading!

 

Weigh-In Update and 20-Week Measurements

Hi y’all! Betcha thought I had forgotten about this blog, as it’s been A WHOLE WEEK since my last update. Too long. Lots has been going on so I’ll get right to it.

This Monday my trainer surprised me with my 20-week measurements. I never know when these assessments are going to happen (to the specific day, that is), so it’s always a sort of happy surprise. It eats into my cardio time, but whatevs.

Initial 5-week 10-week 15-week 20-week Total
Weight 266 lbs 255.2 lbs 237 lbs 227.6 lbs 218.6 lbs -47.4 lbs
Blood Pressure 126/82 114/68 112/64 118/74
Neck 16″ 14.5″ 14.25″ 14″ 14″ -2″
Chest 54.75″ 51.5″ 50″ 48.75″ 47.75″ -7″
Waist 51″ 44.25″ 43″ 41″ 40″ -11″
Hips 57.25″ 54.5″ 52.5″ 51.75″ 50″ -7.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 17″ 16.5″ 16.5″ 15.5″ -3.5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 30″ 29.25″ 29.5″ 29″ -7″

If you add up all the inches lost, it comes to 37.75 inches. That’s over THREE FEET, people! Believe me, I quadruple-checked my math, because I’m crazy-bad at it, but the figure is correct. That’s… well… astounding.  I’m holding my hands three feet apart right now and GEEZ that’s a lot of space.

At some point I’m due to have my official Phase 1 completion assessment which includes a DEXA scan for body fat measurement, some blood work, a few strength and flexibility tests, and an updated progress photo. Not 100% sure when that will be happening, as I’ve been “gifted” 4 additional weeks of Phase 1 by the program management. So it could be soon, or next month sometime. I’m really eager to see how my body fat percentage has decreased. I really hope I’ve preserved (or gained) lean or muscle mass and have mainly lost fat pounds.

In other news, I had another weigh-in on Tuesday, but this one has a bit of a story wrapped around it, so bear with me while I explain. See, the weather on Tuesday was forecast to be beautiful. Here in Seattle the winter months, or really all the seasons except summer, are pretty depressing. Overcast, rainy – it leaves us starved of Vitamin D and kinda moody. This Southern California girl, especially. So when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds it’s always a festive occasion. It had been a few weeks since I’ve been able to get out on my bike, so I decided that Tuesday morning, before my weigh-in appointment, I would take advantage of the dry weather and get some saddle time.

The thing is, usually on my weigh-in days I participate in a bit of “intermittent fasting”. That’s my delicate way of saying I don’t eat or drink anything before my weigh-in. I’m not a proponent of this behavior, but that’s what I did to begin with, and it’s been a difficult mental hurdle to not continue. Eating beforehand would add a few pounds to the scale, and I’ve regretfully been enslaved to the desire to see LOSS at that official weigh-in. But my desire to ride on Tuesday, I’m very relieved to say, overrode that disordered thinking and I knew that if I wanted to ride with any gusto, I was going to need to fuel myself. I ate my eggs and toast and tea, and hydrated plentifully, knowing that I would likely not show a loss from last week, and likely a gain.

Scenes from my Tuesday morning ride

Scenes from my Tuesday morning ride (click image for detail shot)

The ride itself was, while not as great as my first trail ride, still a solid effort. It felt HARDER this time. My legs felt heavier, and I could feel a sense of fatigue much more strongly. I’m guessing I had A LOT of feel-good hormones happening on ride #1 that made things feel better overall. I decided to not push things too far and turned around at about 3.25 miles, giving me a total of 6.7 miles (see my ride report on Strava!). The ground was also still wet from recent rains, and I spent a lot of time peeling earthworm bits from my tires, brakes, and other components once I got home. GROSS! I think the worst part of the ride experience was that I LEFT MY FITBIT ON ITS CHARGER AT HOME!!!?!??  What. A. Tragedy! All those thousands of steps, never counting for anything 😛 All that aside, I’m still eager to ride more, and hope the weather decides to give us some nice days a few times each week.

Now back to my weigh-in. The scale registered at 217, up 0.4 lbs from last week’s weight. Not as bad as I expected, frankly. Before my dietitian had a chance to ask me too many questions (if I happen to have a slow loss week, she has a tendency to gently grill me for possible explanations, which is one of my few pet peeves about the program – but, ultimately, I get it), I proactively told her about my morning activities. It was still a bit of a mind-game for me. Maybe I wasn’t explaining to her, but I was trying to explain to ME. In any case, I congratulated myself on making a decision based in HEALTH vs. in a numerical dependency.

A few more wins from Tuesday and yesterday: after my weigh-in I had lunch, which was the 20/20 Chicken Vegetable Pizza from the Pro Sports Club bistro. Usually I eat the entire thing for a total of 490 calories, but I was pretty satisfied after half so I asked for a box and kept the remainder for my afternoon snack. Then I treated myself to an hour-long massage, which was even better because I had a gift certificate for it, so it was  FREE! I love massages. For years I denied myself the luxury because I was worried about exposing my body to someone, but I’m over it now. Wednesday it was again gorgeous outside, and I smiled all the way to my gym appointment, played some basketball with my trainer, and tried to figure out what I would do with the rest of my day. NO WAY was I going to spend it all indoors.

Juanita Beach Park from a stroll in 2010.

Juanita Beach Park from a stroll in 2010.

I settled on taking the dog for a walk at the recently-renovated Juanita Beach Park at the north-east end of Lake Washington. It’s a gorgeous little waterfront park with paved walkways and a wraparound wooden pier that lets you lap onto the lake over and over and over. I got up over 13k steps. Wanted to get to 20k, but by the time I made five revolutions or so both the pup and I had had enough and waddled our way back to the car.

It was a great couple of days, and I’m keeping my head and mood up as much as I can. Things are going great on this path to health and wellness and I’m really proud of myself. I even signed up for my first 5K run/walk this weekend: the Kirkland Shamrock Run. The plan is to mainly walk, but jog or run when I feel I can. My goal is to get an 18-minute mile. Nothing extravagant but still challenging for me. I’ll make sure to do a complete write-up once I’ve completed it.

Weigh-In Update and Journey Into Jogging

I’ve a small loss to update you with here. Tuesday was my first day back to the 20/20 Lifestyles program after a brief medical hold (which had me skip two weeks of weigh-ins), and their scale showed me at 216.6, or a 0.6 lbs loss from last week’s home scale weigh-in. I’ll take it!

I’ve been feeling really good since last Friday’s bike ride. I was a little sore on Saturday, but by Sunday I was raring to go again and got myself out of the house for a 3-mile walk IN THE RAIN down in Redmond near Marymoor Park (view each leg here and here). It. Was. Awesome! It was only a little drizzly when I left the house, but driving over the rain turned heavier and more steady, but I wasn’t about to let my parade get… rained on?

Anyways, I had plotted a course before leaving that would take me to the 3-mile mark, round trip. I didn’t expect to make it all the way down in the rain, but the rain wasn’t really that bad. Sure, I got soaked, but I wasn’t too cold at the time – my jacket did an admirable job of keeping the wetness off my body. Listening to music definitely helped me keep up my energy. I picked a song (a particular fave of mine right now), and kept it on repeat the ENTIRE TIME. I think that means I’m a crazy person, but I’m okay with that. For those interested, it was “Paris is Burning” by Ladyhawke (embed below, at 2:26 is my FAVORITE PART – synth solo, so 80’s!).

Because the trail was pretty quiet and shielded from the public, I decided to push myself and try to increase my pace with some light jogging at intervals. I got to the point where every time the chorus came on I would trot into a jog for as long as it lasted. I would really love to be able to run at length, but I know now how big a challenge that’s going to be. I’m up for it, though!

Yesterday was my first day back with my trainer, and she put me on my favorite machine ever. Oh wait, scratch that, it’s maybe my second least favorite – the dreadmill. She started me off at an evil 3mph pace and an incline of 10. After a few minutes my heart rate still wasn’t in great territory, so she pumped me up to an incline of 15. It helped a little, but after a few minutes my HR was barely pushing into the 130’s. I decided to try some jogging, and started lowering the incline to 10. She asked if the 15 was too much for me, and I said, “No, but check THIS out”, and then I raised the speed to 4mph. I wanted to do 30 seconds at this speed. And it definitely worked at getting my heart rate up. Into the 160’s lickity-split!

After the 30 seconds was over I took a couple minutes to recover, then went at it again, increasing my pace to 4.5mph. I ended up doing a handful of these intervals, and by the end of my 35-minute workout I ran at 5mph for two minutes straight. That’s a personal record for me!!! At the lower speeds it felt like I was plodding along, holding myself back, and putting too much pressure on my lower legs. 5mph felt considerably better, with more of an even stride. I’m hooked! I’ll continue to push these times and see if I can’t get that to five minutes within the next few weeks. Or even a mile in one go!

During my workout my trainer brought up a local 5k that’s coming up next weekend, and asked if I’d like to participate in it with her – that we could walk, set a pace, and then jog for whenever I felt like I could. This got me super-excited. This would be my first 5k! This morning I received an email from her that she’d got the date wrong in her head and it turned out that she wouldn’t be able to make it after all. Now I’m bummed. Thinking about doing it by myself all the same. Or maybe I could convince my boyfriend to do it with me. Hmmmm.