My Body’s Holy

It’s no secret that I have been having a rough couple months in terms of staying on track with healthy living. This past week was no different — a celebratory last week of school free for all: catered lunch from the PTO, a breakfast extravaganza with my homeroom kids, and another catered lunch on the last day of school … and that’s just to name a few.

The average person might just exercise moderation and portion control, but for some reason, I just can’t get a grasp on that.

As of late, I’m generally a daily weigher (I’ve found that it’s the best way to keep me accountable), but I’ve avoided the scale for about a week or so, because I know that I won’t like what I see … or at least I think so.

Although I sometimes often feel out of control with my eating, I have kept up with regular work outs 5-6 days per week. I have to admit that returning to teaching Jazzercise almost a year ago was one of the best decisions ever. I truly love Jazzercise and want to do it almost everyday, so I never have to force myself to workout. (I could definitely add some variety to my workouts and should start training for my fall half-marathon one of these days, but that’s a subject for another post.)

Today, I was learning some new routines for my class. One of them is choreographed to a song called “Break the Chain,” the anthem for the One Billion Rising Campaign aimed at ending violence against women and girls. When I first danced to the song a few weeks ago in another instructor’s class, some of the lyrics really resonated with me:

This is my body. My body’s holy. No more excuses. No more abuses. We are mothers. We are teachers. We are beautiful, beautiful creatures.

Although the context for me is different than originally intended in the song, it gives me goosebumps. I need to stop making excuses for bingeing and over-eating and start to give my body the respect it deserves. It’s about more than being skinny or even having a flat stomach; it’s about self-respect and health. I am a beautiful creature, not a human garbage can.

Typing it is one thing; believing it is another. I’m working on it.

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Control

Today, after teaching two kick ass Jazzercise classes, I found a dent in the back of my car. My brand new 2013 SUV. It’s less than 6 months old. Someone hit my car, and didn’t have the decency to let me know. I’m not sure when it happened or how long it has been there, but this morning was the first I noticed.

Tonight, my future mother-in-law informed me that while she and future father-in-law were checking out the dent, they noticed that my car had been keyed on the passenger side. It’s bad. And again, I don’t know when it happened or how long it’s been there, but I’ve never thought to inspect my car for key marks.

Life is not fair. I know that I shouldn’t be so worked up about a material possession, but I work very hard to pay for that car. It is the first major purchase that I have ever made, and I proud of it and emotionally invested in it.

As I sit, in tears, thinking about it, I have come to a realization. Most things in life are out of my control. I can’t control how other people treat my car. I can’t control the behaviors of my irrational colleagues who make my job unenjoyable to me. I can’t control when my amazing boyfriend will finally take a leap of faith and propose to me. I can’t control the ridiculous cost of the flight to fly across the country to one of my best friend’s weddings this summer.

But one thing that I can control? How I treat my body and myself.

The past month has been filled with a lot of unhealthy binging, and sometimes my eating habits feel so out of control. But I know that I can be in control. I just need the right tools and resources and some self-discipline, accountability, and support.

Yesterday, I attended a Weight Watchers Live Active event to represent Jazzercise. While I was there, I decided to re-join. WW helped me to lose the weight the first time around, and it truly is a program that can work for me in the long-term. For me, weight loss isn’t the hard part. When I set my mind to it, I can lose, lose, lose. My problem is establishing healthy habits that are easy to maintain in the long run. I know that when I do reach my goal weight (I’m not even sure what that is at this point), I need the support and accountability that WW provides to maintain this weight for years to come.

My goal is be a lifetime member by the end of summer. I AM IN CONTROL.

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Regressing

Long post, no pictures. Sorry. 😦

I am afraid that I am regressing. Ok, I think it’s safe to say that I am not afraid. I am regressing. This weekend, in desserts alone, I had:

A DQ chocolate-dipped waffle cone with vanilla ice cream
A slice of cheesecake
A slice of poundcake
A slice of cake
TWO slices of chocolate cream pie

This, my friends, is not a typo. And I paying for it. Probably on the scale, although I haven’t hopped on in a couple of days. But my stomach is aching. Quite literally.

I am not going to write a long, drawn-out post about how I lack self-control, because well, didn’t I just write one of those? But the fact of the matter is that, somewhere along the line, I lost my motivation – the drive that led me to drop 35 pounds in less than three months.

I know this story all too well. Three years ago, when I lost over 65 pounds, my motivation seemed to disappear when I was about 10 pounds from my (then) goal-weight. Now, here I am, 15 pounds from the tentative goal weight that I have set for myself, motivation waining. And I don’t want history to repeat itself.

I am just frustrated, because I want to badly to be the epitome of healthiness. I know that I feel and look better when I make healthy choices. And I want to set a positive example for others who are looking to make healthy changes. In fact, I haven’t shared this before, but my ultimate career goal (someday) is to work with overweight kids or adults and help them to get healthy. But I can’t do this until I learn to battle my own demons.

Two long-term goals that I have in regards to this are to:
1. Learn how to say no to unhealthy foods at parties, in the staff lounge at work, at family members’ homes, etc. It is one thing to have the occasional treat, but I absolutely don’t know how to exhibit moderation.
2. Learn how to stop eating when I am reasonably full. I need to determine how to honor to my body’s satiety signals, rather than my emotional eating habits.

However, in order to eventually reach these long-term goals, I must set some short-term ones. And stick to them. While I don’t want to overwhelm myself by setting an extreme amount of goals, I also know that I need structure and lots of it to stay motivated. I am sort of an all-or-nothing type of gal, which has it’s benefits and drawbacks. My goals this week include:

1. Drinking tons and tons of water. Not only will this help me to stay hydrated, but it can also when I am tempted to snack unnecessarily.
2. Sticking to the foods that I’ve planned for the day. This means NO extra indulgences. One indulgence often leads to many more, and this week, I need to focus on getting back on track.
3. Limited dairy, gluten, and processed foods. I have been having serious stomaches lately, and I truly don’t know if this has to do with overall “crappy” eating or sensitivities to certain foods. I’ve never considered food sensitivities before and I don’t think I am ready to completely cut out anything, but I’ve heard that limiting sugar, gluten, and dairy can help with bloating and contribute to feeling healthy.

With that said, I plan to check in more frequently this week … as much as time allows, because blogging helps me to stay accountable, and I need that right now more than ever. Well, my tummy is not happy and another episode of House Hunters (I’m addicted!) is calling my name.

How do you keep yourself motivated to life a healthy lifestyle? I would love to hear your tips! Let’s support one another. 🙂

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#takecontrol

Lately, it feels as though my life is spiraling out of control. I feel like I should be so happy, because I have so many great things going for me, including …

1. I have a wonderful support system, including my boyfriends, friends, family, etc.
2. I am finishing up my first year at a full-time job in the field that I went to school for.
3. I am maintaining a 35-pound weight loss and am at the lowest weight that I can remember since … middle school?
4. I live a good life, and there are so many people with struggles so much worse than my own.

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Still, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the negative sometimes. Especially lately. There are lots of things going on, that, combined, have really left me in a bad place right now. As a result of this stress, I am exhausted constantly. It’s really starting to take a toll. I haven’t had the energy to workout everyday, and I am finding myself reverting to some not-so-healthy eating habits. Luckily, I haven’t really gained any weight, but I also haven’t lost in several weeks now. And I really want to finish the job, before I become complacent and settle into maintenance mode.

Plus, I don’t want maintenance mode to include binging on sweets and Doritos when I am having a bad day week month. Even when I am done losing weight, I want my life to revolve around healthy habits, because I have found that I feel so much better when I am properly fueled and regularly moving my body.

What is all boils down to is self-control. I am truly lacking in that department. When there are bagels in the lounge at work, I can’t stay away. And most of the time, I can’t even stop at one. When there are chips in my pantry, I eat them. And never just one serving. When there is frozen yogurt on the way home, I stop to get some. And my cup runneth over. You get the idea.

I have always wanted to be one of those people who is able to stop eating when they are not hungry, and not continue to gorge myself simply because the food is there. But that’s not me. Can I train myself to eat more intuitively? Only time will tell. Right now, inspired by another blogger, I am pledging to try a One Week No Cheat challenge. This means that when I am tempted to stray from my planned healthy eats, I will remind myself that I can be strong and #takecontrol. I am hoping that taking steps to take control of this area of my life will inspire me to continue to make changes to achieve happiness.

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Life is too short.

P.S. In other news, I ran a 5K yesterday in 25:52! I plan to write about it soon when I am in a better place. Thanks for understanding!

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Feeling Yucky

Today, my fellow sixth grade teachers and I took our 140 sixth graders on a field trip to a Milwaukee Brewers game. It was Weather Day for students, so local meteorologists provided some pre-game activities.

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Overall, it was a good time. (Field trips were so exciting as a kid, but BOY are they a lot of work as a teacher.)

Knowing that we would be at Miller Park all day, I brought a lot of snacks with me to avoid relying on unhealthy stadium food. I had a Greek yogurt on the bus for breakfast and some pretzel crisps and an apple for a morning snack.

However, I gave into temptation and ended up eating the following, as well:

  • 2 hot dogs with ketchup and relish (we received coupons for $1 hot dogs!)
  • 3 ounces of cinnamon and sugar roasted almonds (I shared the large 6 oz portion with a fellow teacher)
  • a HUGE cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream (I could have easily been satisfied with 1/3 of the portion)

I really wanted to live in the moment and enjoy myself. And I was truly okay with it at the moment. But by the end of the afternoon, I was feeling overly full and lethargic. It is truly amazing how much food truly fuels our bodies.

The field trip exhausted me, and I’m sure that my food choices didn’t help. I dragged myself to the gym after work, but was barely able to muster up the energy for 20 minutes on the stationary bike and 10 minutes on the elliptical. I was getting a major side ache, in addition to the headache that I had developed on the bus ride home.

Side note: It doesn’t help that I am having a bizarre pain along the outside of my right calf, so I am trying to rest so it heals. Any insights, anyone?

Long story short, the old me never really realized how much the type of food that I chose to eat really affects how my body functions. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have batted an eye about my food choices today. And even when I embarked on my weight loss journey in May 2010, I really had no conception of the difference between spending 100 calories on fresh fruit and veggies versus a 100-calorie pack of something processed. I have learned a lot.

I can’t dwell on days like today. I want to enjoy my life, and they will happen. But I do want to remind myself how UNenjoyable it is to feel the way that I am feeling right now. Cheers to lots of fruits and veggies tomorrow!

Have you ever made note of the way your body feels after having a particularly healthy or unhealthy day?

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Step Away From the Scale

Happy snuggle Sunday!

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I am getting in some snuggles between Jazzercise classes. I am teaching THREE classes today! I always teach back-to-back classes on Sunday mornings – one regular class and one body sculpting, but I also picked up another instructor’s class this afternoon.

I have been wearing my heart rate monitor more regularly lately, and I am impressed by the number of calories that I burn teaching class:

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I do notice a major discrepancy between the number of calories that I burn teaching (~600) vs. taking class (~450). It really energizes me to kick things up a notch as a participant!

I know that I should be refueling with nutritious food to make up for all of those calories, but I’ve found myself digging through some Easter candy today. Oh well! I’m trying to learn not to sweat the small stuff, as long I track everything and am not mindlessly gorging on food all day long. I did make some good choices with a Subway chicken chop salad (love all the veggies in these!) and Chobani yogurt after my morning classes.

Anyways, the real reason for this post was for some scale talk. For the past two years, I have avoided the scale like the plague. I knew that my clothes were getting snug, and I had NO desire to know how much I actually weighed. When I began the most recent portion of my weight loss journey, I vowed to weigh-in once per week to keep track of my progress. After awhile awhile, once per week transitioned to a few times a week. And now, I am weighing myself every morning.

While I know that many people weigh themselves daily, I’m starting to think that this might not be the most ideal situation for me at this time. Weight obviously fluctuates day to day based on lots of factors – water consumption, sodium intake, etc. And it’s a little disappointing when I’ve had what I consider a good day of eats and an intense workout and see something like a one pound gain staring back at me on the scale the next day. Almost always, things balance out within a few days, but it doesn’t change the feeling of despair on the scale that morning.

As expected, I’m finding that the more weight that I lose, the harder weight loss is becoming. However, I am not giving up this time. I will reach my goal weight – whatever that is – in however long it takes.

This week, I’m setting a personal goal of avoiding the scale, no matter how tempting it is to step on each morning. The next time I will weigh-in is next Sunday. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing – eating good food and working out hard –  but I won’t let a number define me.

How often do you weigh yourself? What works best for you?

P.S. I’m celebrating 30 pounds of weight loss today!

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Tuesday Thoughts

I signed up for a half-marathon today! Holy guacamole, I am so excited and terrified at the same time. It is not until the end of September, so I will have the summer to train. 

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In other news, I learned this weekend that I can still be human, even when trying to lose weight. On Saturday night,  I enjoyed a little date night with Brad. We went out to dinner at a local restaurant. It’s not a chain, so I couldn’t hound MyFitnessPal ahead of time and figure out which entree had the least calories. I simply ordered my favorite sandwich and side salad and enjoyed a glass of wine.

Afterwards, we went to the bar where we met over two-and-a-half years ago to celebrate its last night in business. I had a few (too many) drinks and didn’t allow myself to worry about the extra calories. It was a night to celebrate the end of an era, and I didn’t want an obsession with weight loss to ruin my evening.

The next morning when I stepped on the scale for my weekly weigh-in, I was stuck at the same weight as last week. Bummer, because I am SO close hitting 30 pounds lost and entering the next lowest group of 10’s if you know what I mean. However, I was happy to not see a gain.

Well, scratch that feeling when I stepped on the scale the following day and saw an almost 4 pound gain! (I know that daily weigh-ins can cause obsession in some people, but I’ve found that it’s healthy for me right now, because it helps me to stay on track. I only “officially” count my weigh-ins on Sundays, though.) I tried not to freak out, I really did, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed. I knew that I was probably just holding onto a lot of water weight after dehydrating myself from a night of indulging. I vowed not to do anything drastic, but just to make sure to drink lots of water and focus on clean eating for the rest of week. So far, so good.

This time around (as compared to my previous attempts at weight loss), I am working on not only making permanent changes to my eating and exercise habits, but also my mindset. I want the lifestyle that I am adopting to be sustainable in the long run, and I know that it can’t be if I am overly obsessive and don’t allow myself to live in the moment. I won’t lie and say that this is easy for me, because frankly, it’s not. I am an obsessive human being by nature, but I know that it’s not always healthy. I continue to be a work in progress – in both mind and body – and I am need to be okay with that right now.

How do you deal with the mindset part of weight loss/living a healthy lifestyle?

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The Biggest Loser: My Results

Happy Easter everyone! (If you celebrate, that is. If not, happy Sunday!)

Today, the Biggest Loser challenge that I set up with a few of my friends wrapped up. While I will continue my weight loss journey until I am at a place in which I feel happy and healthy, I am excited to take a moment to celebrate my progress.

Over the past 12 weeks, I have lost about 24 inches in my bust, waist, tummy, hips, thighs, and biceps. (I say about because I feel like there is always room for a bit of error in measurement, but regardless, I lost a lot of inches!)

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I have also lost 29 pounds and 15.3 percent of my body weight.

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But more important than any number of inches or pounds, my body is changing for the better. Here are my results in photos:

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The results might not be as obvious in my clothed pics as they are in the sports bra version, but I am not brave enough to post that online yet. 😉

I just want to wrap up my saying that, while I know my results are, well, pretty amazing (I know, I’m  so modest), this has not been easy. I still struggle with my addiction to food on a daily basis, and I fear that I always will. I have made healthy choices (for the most part), because I am motivated by the results that I have been seeing. However, I hope that this motivation continues throughout the rest of my weight loss journey and into weight maintenance, because I’ve fallen into old habits before.

I say this just because I know how easy it can be to fall into the comparison trap. Seeing someone else’s success can be really inspiring, but it can also be really disheartening if you are struggling in your own journey. I have been in those shoes. But the good news is that you are in control of your own destiny. So when you are ready (because your heart has to be in it), you can commit to a healthy lifestyle, too.

Now, eat that Easter candy in moderation and get some activity in! I’m headed back to work tomorrow. Hesitantly, because Spring Break sure has been amazing. 🙂

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Doin’ It!

First and foremost, how cute is my puppy?

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Reggie and I are seriously enjoying that I am on spring break this week. Yesterday, he got a much needed haircut, and today, we got lots of snuggles in.

Spring break has also meant that I’ve had some time to dedicate to myself this week. The Biggest Loser Challenge that I set up with my friends ends this Sunday. Although I’ve been kicking butt, I really want to go out with a bang. Check out my progress so far:

Week 1   -7.8 lbs   4.11%
Week 2   -2.4 lbs   5.38%
Week 3   -2.8 lbs   6.86%
Week 4   -1.0 lbs   7.38%
Week 5   +0.6 lbs   7.07%
Week 6   -3.4 lbs   8.86%
Week 7   -5.8 lbs   11.92%
Week 8   +1.0 lbs   11.39%
Week 9   -1.0 lbs   11.92%
Week 10 -2.0 lbs   12.97%
Week 11 -2.2 lbs   14.14%
Week 12    
 ?               ?

If you add that up, it comes out to 26.8 pounds lost! At the conclusion of week 11, I was 1.8 pounds from the lowest weight that I remember achieving when I did Weight Watchers in the summer of 2010.

Words can NOT express how proud I am to be (almost) back to where I worked so hard to be almost three years ago. The past few years, there has constantly been an invisible black cloud hanging over me, chastising me for my unhealthy eating choices and lack of regular exercise (at times). I never felt like I could truly be happy, because I was so disappointed in myself – not only because I was unhappy with my appearance, but because I was so upset that I let myself slip after working SO hard.

Well guess what? NO MORE. I do feel like I have been a little more kind to myself this time around. If there are treats at school, and I want a cookie, I’ll have one. When I wanted ice cream and lobster mac and cheese at Disney World, I had some. By letting myself indulge in moderation, I don’t feel like I will want to go crazy when I am ready to enter maintenance mode.

Plus, I have even been cooking a little! If you know me, this is sort of unheard of. While I no longer rely on take out and drive throughs, I do tend to stick with easy meals like sweet potatoes and broccoli (steamed in the microwave) and chicken sausage (also nuked) or salads prepared with lots of fun ingredients. However, with some extra time this spring break, I’ve actually turned on the oven.

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Skinnytaste’s Baked Chicken Parmesan

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Chicken sausage with roasted carrots and baby red potatoes

I also don’t deny my after dinner sweet tooth. Rather, I’ve found some healthier, more filling options.

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Deep chocolate Vitatop with a frozen Chobani Bites cup

Today, I happened to read the post that I wrote recapping 2012 and outlining a few goals that I had for this year. One of my goals was to “finish what I started” and finally reach a healthy weight. Well, I’m happy to report that as of my last weigh-in, I am 7.8 pounds from being at a “healthy weight” for my height according to the BMI index. And I don’t plan on stopping until I get there, or even when I do. While I don’t have a “goal weight,” I have a “goal feeling” and a “goal look.” I just want to be truly happy with the way that I look and feel.

(I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that deep down inside, my goal for the end of the Biggest Loser is to lose 30 pounds, which would also mean seeing a second-digit in my weight that I can’t remember ever seeing on the scale. But that would mean a 3.2 lb weight loss this week. I have been busting my a** at the gym in sort of a Biggest Loser fashion this week, so we’ll see what happens. But no matter what happens, I will be proud.)

Speaking of proud, I also checked out my “Motivation” page today, and well … let’s just say I’m doin’ it!

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Check.

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I’m seeing muscles, people. And it’s amazing.

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Fact.

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I’m motivating my friends, too! (And they motivate me in return.) We have a group on Facebook where we share tips and inspiration. Today, I mentioned some hesitance about “winning” the challenge. (My weight loss percentage is significantly higher than anyone else’s.) I felt bad earning the money in the pot when I set up the challenge, but they all unanimously agreed that I deserve it … and that’s how I know they are true friends.

I’ll be back (hopefully on Sunday) with the final results (and by final, I mean for now). Until then, here is a preview of the before and after:

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🙂

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What I Ate … Saturday

If you hang around the blogosphere, you’ve probably heard of What I Ate Wednesday where bloggers photograph their eats for a day to post on Wednesday. Well, first of all, I’m not good at remembering to take pics of things all day long which is why I will probably never make it big in the blogging world. And secondly, it’s not Wednesday.

Still, I thought I would share what my food intake looks like on a normal day. Disclaimer: It is, by NO means, perfect, as you will see. However, it’s real. I have been tracking my intake for the past 3 months, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I could lose (or will be able to maintain) weight without doing so.

One of the things that urks me the most is when people say that they “just can’t lose weight.” Almost anyone (I understand that their are medical exceptions) can lose weight, but it doesn’t just happen. You have to keep track of what goes in your mouth, get active, and put in the work. You can’t – for lack of a better word – half-ass it. If I can do it, you can do it! But it certainly is not easy, and you have to be in the right mindset to do it.

So if you are struggling and think that you are doing “all the right things,” make sure you are tracking your food. It can be very eye opening!

Without further ado …

Breakfast – 7:30am (before teaching a Jazzercise class):
Flat Out Fold-It Flatbread (90 cals)
Laughing Cow Strawberries and Cream Spread (45 cals)
Half of a banana (50 cals)
(Made into a sandwich and pressed in the hot sandwich maker)

Snack – 10:00am:
The other half of the banana (50 cals)

Snack – 11:45am:
Naked Juice Berry Blast (250 cals)
Half of a Luna S’Mores Bar (90 cals)
(I was out running errands around lunch time and was STARVING, so I ran into Pick ‘n Save for this snack.)

“Lunch” – 1:00pm:
The rest of the deli turkey in a bag (50 cals?)
Too many About 1.5 servings of Doritos straight out of the bag (210 cals?)
(Proof of the danger of waiting too long to eat lunch, not planning a solid lunch, and eating out of containers instead of portioning things out)

Snack – 3:30pm:
The other half of the Luna S’mores Bar (90 cals)

Dinner – 6:45pm:
Potbelly’s Skinny Roast Beef Sandwich on Multigrain Bread (350 cals)
Subway Light Mayo Packet (I hoard these in my fridge :)) (25 cals)
Potbelly’s Black Bean and Roasted Tomato Soup (120 cals)

Total Calories: 1,410
Calories Burned at Jazzercise: 411 (according to MyFitnessPal … I really need to start remembering to wear my heart rate monitor)

Personally, I aim for 1,200-1,500 calories per day right now depending on how intense my workout was. This is just what works for me. I am definitely not a doctor or healthy living professional.

I will probably spend 100 more calories tonight on a sweet treat or a snack. Tomorrow is my weekly weigh-in. I’ll be back with an update, since I haven’t updated recently.

Next week is the final weigh-in of our Biggest Loser Challenge, so I will report not only my weight loss, but also inches lost. Have a great week! I’m on spring break, so I know I will!

What is your favorite healthy meal? Or you go-to snack?

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