The Struggle is Real

So, no recipes, no organization tips in this post.  Today, I am feeling thoughtful, so thought I would share some of what has been going through this head of mine since I committed to this weight loss journey on October 12th.

Let me recap a little, for those of you who don’t know me personally or know my struggles with weight over the past 20 or more years. I used to be skinny, I mean really skinny. I was 5’8″ and 118 pounds when I graduated high school way back when in 1989. When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, I gained 50 pounds, most of which I never lost. In 1995, when I became pregnant with my youngest daughter, I gained even more weight.

For years, my weight was around 160, not too bad for my height, but then I slowly put on more and more weight until in January 2014, I was at my highest weight of 218 pounds – a full 100 pounds in 25 years…not good. My blood pressure was so high my doctor put me on medication, my blood sugar was in pre-diabetic range and something had to change. This body, these health problems, they were not me, and were not who I wanted to be. I was still somewhat active – 2 Komen 60 day walks, a few half marathons and 5Ks here and there – but nothing consistent at all. I had been on a up and down roller coaster with weight, sometimes getting as low as 180, then going right back up. Something had to give!

In August of 2014, I bought a GroupOn for a boot camp, hoping that maybe it would be something I could stick with, even if just for a month. Well, the boot camp changed my life. One of the instructors, Kari, was amazing. The other ones not so much, but Kari was great!

I was running a half marathon that month, and who was up on a bridge shouting encouragement to me but Kari. She was there to cheer on another friend, but saw me and cheered me on too. At the end of that month, I was disappointed to learn that the boot camp I was going to was moving back to outdoor only, not my cup of tea, but Kari told me to be patient as she was opening her own studio.

Kari opened Sweatmood in late September 2014 and I was right there ready to sign up. Since then I have been working out consistently 3-4 days a week, and feeling good! In August 2015, I ran the same half marathon and took 21 minutes off my time – with no running training, just working out at Sweatmood.

 

I started seeing immediate changes in my health after I began working out consistently. By January of 2015, I was completely off my blood pressure medication, and my weight was down to 204, progress was being made! My clothes size had changed, I actually wore a bathing suit for the first time in God knows how long in May. But by October of 2015, my weight had not changed enough to make any kind of difference.

I knew it was time to make some big, scary, changes.  My first thought was that I must have a thyroid problem or something, so I went in to my doctors office for blood work, just to check. When I told Kari this, she made me an offer – if my blood work came back normal, would I try her weight loss plan for 2 weeks and see if it made a difference. I had nothing to lose, so I said yes.

You guessed it, my blood work all came back normal. And a deal is a deal, so we picked the date of Monday, October 12th for me to start my two weeks. Ugh, I was not sure how I was going to do this! Logging everything I ate, no wine with dinner, sticking to her prescribed calorie count – I was truly afraid I was going to be miserable. Eating the same thing for breakfast everyday? Making lunches to bring with to work instead of going out with my coworkers, this was going to truly suck! But I was committed to changing myself, so with a starting weight of 202.4 on October 12th, I jumped in head first.

However, my results were immediate! I lost 5 pounds the first week! Not normal, but after the initial shock wore off, I began to lose at a healthy rate of 2-3 pounds a week, and by December 21, I was down to 177.6 – close enough to call it 25 pounds and be happy.

Well then Christmas happened – wine, mimosas, cheeses, rich foods, not watching my calories as closely as I should, and sure enough, I gained a pound when I stepped on the scale this morning, 178.6. I had worked out 4 times last week, and really thought I was doing pretty well – I mean think about all the fudge and cookies and cake I didn’t eat!! But it had caught up with me, and while 1 pound is only a minor set back, it is still frustrating.

That being said, I am still committed, I still have my goal weight set at 150, and I am still determined to get there. This whole weight loss journey is a struggle. And a huge commitment, mostly of time, but mental as well. I have discovered some keys that I think will benefit anyone who is trying to lose weight:

  • Find a workout program you like. It sounds simple enough, but it’s really not. For me Sweatmood has made all of the difference – the trainers, the other members, the music, the workout style – all suit me, and my style. All of the trainers are great, the other members are supportive, all fitness levels can walk in and everyone will work with you. Personally, this was important, I never felt like a fat ass who couldn’t keep up, because even when I couldn’t (and sometimes still can’t) I am surrounded by people telling me I can do it. And I always surprise myself and can. For someone else, you may find that individual workout suits you better, where you are left alone to do your own thing, or maybe it’s in the pool, or at a Zumba class, or even one on one with a personal trainer.  Maybe for you it’s a workout video in the privacy of your own home. It’s different for everyone, but once you find it, you know it. And once it becomes a habit, it’s awesome! Now, if I don’t work out for a couple of days, I feel it not only physically but mentally.
  • Schedule your workouts. Sounds simple enough, but think of the other things you schedule – work meetings, doctors appointments, sports and play dates for your kids – treat your workouts the same way. I schedule my workouts at the beginning of the month, looking at what other meetings and social events I have, and never ever ever schedule less than 3 workouts a week. I used to feel bad telling someone I couldn’t do something because I was working out, but don’t anymore. All of us spend so much time doing for others, we are entitled to a few hours a week for ourselves.
  • Tracking calories is key! It can be tedious, but watching what you put into your body and seeing how your body reacts is so helpful to know what will be successful for you. Talk to a weight loss specialist, or your doctor, discuss what your personal caloric intake should be, it’s different for everyone.
  • Meal Prep is not just a trend on Pinterest, it is a valuable tool for weight loss. Yes, it takes a few hours out of my Sundays, but it is so much easier just to grab breakfast, lunch and snacks on my way out the door. I have also saved a ton of money by not eating out for lunch! Meal Prep can be as involved or as simple as you like, for me, I get bored eating the same thing everyday, so mine tends to be a little more involved, but if eating the same thing for lunch everyday wouldn’t bore me, I could be done in an hour. Yesterday I think I spent 3 hours but in that time I made 3 lunches, prepped 3 days worth of snacks (gotta love a short work week) and made 9 dinners – 3 for the week and 6 in the freezer. So really, not a bad investment of time when you think about it.
  • Know that you are going to mess up from time to time. We are only human after all, and that party or chance meeting with friends is going to happen, and you are going to slip up. Instead of getting down or yourself, learn from it and move forward – it happened, you can’t change it, you can either dwell on it or learn from it.
  • Working on your weight loss and health does not mean you can’t have a life! It took about a month of being super strict, but I am now at a point where I can go out with friends and have a glass of wine, I can go out to dinner with my husband and not freak out. Just be smart about it – don’t order the garlic fries or mozzarella sticks, skip the fried calamari – make smart choices and keep things in moderation. And after my weigh in this morning, I would say don’t do all of those things 3 days in a row or it will backfire ;)

So there are my thoughts this morning, and what I have learned so far in this journey, just had to get it off my chest today.

Today is just another step on this journey, 1 pound is frustrating, but not irreversible damage. Time to keep moving forward!

XOXO for now!

 

Let’s Talk Meal Prep

Meal Prep – it sounds daunting, and like it would take up way too much time, but with a little organization and planning, it can go very smoothly!

First step – decide what you are going to make! I actually start an email to myself, with ideas for what I want to make, divided into lunches and dinners, it’s pretty simple:

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Links to recipes I have saved on Pinterest, or the names of recipes I have at home, any side dishes I need to make like brown rice or mason jar side salads – it’s all in one place now, which helps with making a shopping list as well as cooking on Sunday. Personally, as I am watching my calorie intake, I also put each recipe into the recipe feature on My Fitness Pal to see what the calorie content is, some recipes I keep, some I don’t bother after seeing the calories per serving.

I do try to make my list organized, for instance, if I am going to go make one salmon dish for lunches, I am going to make 2 – as I cut the prepackaged filets in half, AND I can cook two lunches together.

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Another thing I try to do, as I am only cooking for two, is to pick recipes that will make two meals, and put one in the freezer.

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Second step – make your grocery list. My husband I use a great app called Wunderlist– it’s shareable lists! We have a grocery store, Costco, Target & Trader Joe’s list and we can both add items to any of the lists. It makes life so easy, if he is going to Costco, he can grab what I need, and if I am going to Trader Joe’s I can get what he needs. I look at each recipe, check my pantry, freezer and fridge to see

Step 3 – go shopping. I usually go after my Saturday morning Sweatmood Boot Camp and Fitnessworkout – workout and go straight to the store. I am not hungry, it’s usually around 10:30 am, so the store isn’t too crowded, and I get in and out. Key to grocery shopping – STICK TO YOUR LIST! Don’t let yourself be distracted by sales and displays, it will not only save you money, but will also help insure that you don’t come home with those chips and cookies that you know you really don’t need.

The last step, cook! As my husband and I usually try to keep Sunday’s free for doing things around the house, like laundry, cleaning and all that other fun stuff, I set aside Sunday afternoons for cooking. I go in my kitchen, crank up some music, and just do it! It usually doesn’t take more than a couple of hours from start to finish, and I have 5 lunches, 5 or more dinners and have no guilt about spending the rest of the weekend in my recliner clearing off the DVR.