Updates and progress

I know I have been out of pocket for some time here, and I truly, truly apologize! I hope I still have some readers out there to notice my return!

The past several months have been…hectic. That really doesn’t begin to describe it, but it’s the quickest, easiest word to express how busy I have been, how little free time I have had, and to sum up the reason for my prolonged absence.

Between family visiting Georgia, weddings, work, holidays, work, pet illnesses, work, and a slew of necessary home improvements relative to pet illnesses, I quite literally feel as if I have not breathed in about 2 months. As is the story of my life, the things I love the most are typically the first things deemed un-essential during these times of extended business, and sadly blogging fell into that list. Regardless of when I publish a blog, I typically sit down to write them in the evening before bed, and lately bedtime has either come much later than I would like due to the aforementioned business, or much earlier than I would like due to crashing after a long, tiring, stressful several days.

Either scenario just didn’t leave me my blog time.

As things calm down, and I start living a relatively normal life again, I tried to make getting back on here a priority.

As this blog at the end of the day is all about the journey, I want you all to know that I have continued to be relatively successful in all of my goals here.

I have maintained my weightloss and even added a couple more pounds to it, I’m now on the south side of 30 pounds lost, having lost a total of 32lbs.

Although the time constraints have all but eliminated my workout time most days, I have managed to keep as active as possible, and at the very least control my caloric intake well enough to maintain and not gain.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try to catch up on any of the specific events or recipes that I haven’t been sharing, but I warn you- creativity in the kitchen was another hobby put slightly on the backburner over the last couple of months- in other words- you haven’t missed much!

Thanks again for the continued love and support, it was each of you in the back of my minds that kept me focused while I was away!

Cheers!

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Melting away excuses

I talked a while back about getting into a good groove with exercising, starting with walking. Alex and I started doing a 1 mile walk around the neighborhood everyday, and when the oppressive Georgia summers (you know, the one that started in March this year…) kicked into high gear, I transitioned to walking/jogging a mile indoors on the treadmill. Life started back up again, and it was getting harder and harder to make the time in the evenings to do the walking, and I really did not want to let that get in my way again.

The one single thing that has held me back time and time again as I have tried diet after diet, each one as unsuccessful as its’ predecessor, is simple: making excuses. Of course the excuses themselves are as many varied and different as the days are long, but the constant has always been excuses. That is what I was trying to avoid here. 

So I guaged my days, really looked at where my time was spent, where my time was wasted, and what exactly I could do to make sure that I didn’t let excuses get in the way again, not this time. Not when I’m making lifelong changes, not when I’m making progress, not when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (albeit a very long, tumultuous tunnel, the light is there nonetheless.)

Last week I started walking on my lunch break. I always bring my lunch to work with me anyway, and between preparing it, and eating it, I usually have between 30-40 minutes leftover to do whatever I’d like. I typically use this time to play read articles and do some networking on LinkedIn, and I’ll occassionally use it to catch up on my Words with Friends turns that I neglect each night. Why couldn’t I use this time to walk?

And so I did.

At first I just walked, I had no idea how far I was going, how fast I was going, I figured something was better than nothing, and I kind of discounted it anyway because it was typically only a 20 minute endeavour. How many calories can one really burn in 20 minutes?

But then last Friday, I stepped on the scale. And in 1 week, I had lost another 4lbs. Just walking 20 minutes a day.

I know that this is not enough, and to get all the way to my goal weight (still another 100+lbs to go) I need to do more. But this works for me right now, and it’s still something. It’s still moving. Until I am back in a situation where time is a bit more normal and less luxury, I am moving.

Today I crept perilously close to more excuses. It’s a dreary, rainy day here in Georgia. Just before my lunch, there was a lull in the rain. I told my co-worker that I was worried about walking because I didn’t want to get caught in a downpour 1/2 a mile out and have to walk back in it, not to mention spend the remainder of the afternoon soaking wet. And then I stopped myself. Mid-sentence I told him, “Nevermind! I’m walking!”

Like most everything in my life, exactly what I was worried about happening did. The second I stepped out from under the stoop over our office door (like a perfectly timed percussion entrance, really) the rain started. Not hard, but constant. It rained the entire 20 minute mile, did not stop or slow one time. But you know what? It was exhilerating. I felt energized with each chilly prick of a rain drop. I was excited.

Today I walked in the rain. And, despite popular belief that I am, in fact, the wicked witch, I didn’t melt away. As I pumped my arms in harmony with the stride of my legs, breathing deeply first in, then out, as I walked the 20 minute mile through my office park I not only didn’t melt, but I felt accomplished and whole for the first time in a long time. While there is still work to be done, still a long way to go, I didn’t make excuses today. And as I walked around in the rain, a little part of my cheered victoriously as I watched another excuse melt away around me.

The 40’s

The 40’s don’t typically stick out as a remembered decade for me. I mean, I know some major stuff happened in the 40’s, don’t get me wrong. WW2 spanned half the decade, and we saw the advent of some pretty amazing things like the slinky, velcro, and yes, folks, even microwaves. But it’s no iconic roaring 20’s, no sock-hop and grease-laden 50’s, and certainly no totally awesome 80’s.

I certainly don’t mean to negate the contributions and tribulations of an entire decade, and I’m certain the there are plenty of people out there who do have significant connections to this particular portion of history. For me, though, the thought of that series of numbers, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49 has never drawn any particular emotions for me. That all changed on Friday.

Friday morning, buck naked, after my first bathroom visit of the day (which is apparently the best time and state at which to weight) that series of numbers elicited one of the most emotional responses to any experience thus far on my journey to a healthier me. For the first time in my entire overweight life, I got to actually see my weight on the scale include some of those numbers. I’m sure they’ve been there before, but only during the initial upward climb. Before now I’ve never stuck with my plan long enough to see those numbers on the way back down. I’ve dabbled in the 260’s, even reached the 250’s several times, but never, ever have I gotten so far as the 240’s.

247.6 lbs.

To date on this journey I have lost 27.4 lbs. The single highest amount of weight that I have ever lost.

Seeing that number on the scale was like a reawakening inside of me. It reminded me what I am doing, and why I am doing it. It reminded me what this blog is all about, and why it is called “First Day of the Rest of Days.” Not because it’s catchy, or easy to remember, or clever and cute. It’s because every single day when I wake up, I have another change. A new opportunity to continue on this path. A chance to start over. A chance to learn from mistakes and keep moving in the right direction.

When I looked down and saw that number…it reminded me to keep working, keep moving, keep trying because every day is a new day, and another step closer to the day not only when I step on the scale and see the end number, but the day that I am proud of my achievements, the day that I can comfortably and happily do the things that I love, enjoy the people I love, and put the negative elements of my past behind me knowing I am strong and capable of really enjoying my future. I’m sure that sentence if one of the most horrible run-ons in the history of the English language, but I’m hoping in light of the circumstances you’ll all forgive me!

Not just a weight loss blog

I know that most of my posts are focused on the weight loss aspect of this journey, but that’s not what the entire transformation is about. This is about repairing the damages in my life, regardless of whether or not they have a real affect on my declining waistline or not. A lot of things that I have been working on lately are directly relative to these other non-weight loss goals. The crafting, the cleaning, the organizing.

Now, I can add “the mending” to that list.

Yesterday I met with a friend that I have not seen or spoken to in almost 2 years. We parted ways when she broke up with a mutual friend, but it wasn’t because I chose sides. I’m not even sure what happened. She gave me space to be there and comfort my friend, and we never really closed the gap back up.

She’s reached out to me a couple of times throughout this hiatus, and I’ve always brushed it off, “too busy” to even go out for a simple dinner.

We finally talked about everything via phone, Facebook, and text messages over the last few weeks, and it culminated in a scrumptuous Mexican meal last night at a mall that sits half way between both of our homes. We’ve missed some milestones along the way (she’s married, has a new daughter…I’ve moved into my first house, started a new career) but last night, none of it mattered. It was all about looking forward to the future, each of us with the other back in her life as a support, as a friend.

I can’t explain the lightness in my heart today. It felt so good to get back onto good terms with this old friend, and after a few initial catch-up subjects, it was as if no time had passed at all.

While I’m not about to go crusading around the country to rekindle all of the friendships that have come and go over the course of my 26+ years, but I have an overwhelming sense of calm relief to be back on good, current terms with this particular friend. I think that reprioritizing some aspects of my life, and making room for more people that will perpetuate and support the positive changes I am making can only be a good thing.

How about you? Do you have an old friend you don’t talk to anymore? Can you even remember why? I couldn’t, and I felt so silly about it when I realized! Here’s to new (old) friendships, and continuing to work toward positive change!

Cheers!

A surprisingly good workout!

So since I am scared and frightened and refuse to return to Jillian just yet, Alex and I have started walking. The route we take around the neighborhood is just over a mile (right around 1.2) and we do it in about 20-30 minutes, depending on several factors. We take a fairly brisk pace which, coupled with the unseasonably HOT Georgia weather, has left me feeling pretty well exercised after a relatively short and easy work out. The temperature climbed even higher today, and hit the high 80s today.

That being said, I knew the importance of continuing the momentum that we got with our walks last week (we took the weekend off) but I could not fathom the thought of walking in that direct heat and sunlight. Since my parents have a relatively unused treadmill, I decided to give it a go. Let me say, this was my first time on a treadmill since my freshman year of college, and WOW- what a surprisingly good workout. Walking on the treadmill eliminated the slowing of pace that naturally happens walking around the neighborhood. When we walk outside, we have to slow in places with no sidewalk and areas where the side of the road slopes dangerously into a ditch, and there are two areas where we have to wait for traffic lights to cross a fairly busy street, which definitely gives time for rest.

When I got on the treadmill I was able to adjust my incline to make it a bit more challenging, and maintained a steady 3.2-3.5 mph throughout the walk. I immediately felt that I was actually working my body, and even pumped the speed up to 4 for a jog during my last 1/4 mile. I still only did 1 mile, but I did it in under 20 minutes, and felt my body working throughout the entire workout. Afterward I walked slowly and cooled down for another 10 minutes. I felt so good afterwards, I think the treadmill is exactly what I need right now. I still plan on returning to my own personal Hell the 30 Day Shred soon, but for now I want to work myself up to more miles, and more jogging.

I can’t explain how good I am feeling since I have been working out! I knew how important it was from the beginning, but I am glad that I made the decision to just work my way up slowly rather than continuing to jump in too deep and end up scared and sedentary for several weeks.

Baby steps

So after my miserable 2nd attempt at Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, I have been timid about exercise. Hesitant to jump back into it and risk the third failure. But at the same time, I hate the stagnation- I know I’m not going to keep moving in the right direction if I don’t get my body moving. It’s time to stop being lazy, and start getting active.

This weekend, rather than committing to exercise, I committed to yard work. It got me up, outside, and doing work. And boy, did we work. 7 straight hours on Saturday, and at least 2-3 more on Sunday. We moved, raked, pruned, clipped, and pulled weeds. When all was said and done, we had a 10 foot long pile parallel to the road (we get free pickup inside the city limits) that was at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep. It was huge.

Let me tell you- Jillian Michaels has nothing on my yard. 5 days later, I am still feeling the burn. But for once, I avoided the excuses and committed to working through the pain, in a safe and proactive way. After work Monday, Alex and I began our first of many daily walks. From our house once around the block is just a little over a mile. Everyday so far this week we’ve walked it once, and our goal is to move up to twice tomorrow. We’re moving at a fairly brisk pace, but nothing too strenuous. The days have been warm with a forgiving breeze, and we definitely feel the “workout” when we get done, without me feeling incapacitated for days on end. It may not yield the huge results that 30 day shred ultimately will, but every single day since Sunday I have seen the scale drop 1 entire pound.

This is huge after 5 weeks of steadily losing no more than 1lb in a week!

I am officially down 17.2lbs, weighing in today at 257.8lbs.

These numbers are not huge, but they are going in the right direction. I’m feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. I finally feel like I am back on track, and ready to speed things up. Thank you all for continuing to support me, follow my progress, and share in my experience. Thanks for sticking around, baby step after baby step.

Getting back to the roots (and I don’t mean vegetables…)

I have been struggling lately.

There, I feel better already.

You can almost bet if I have an absence from the airwaves, outside of being crazy busy, I’m most likely struggling. And no matter how gung ho I appear about sharing this journey and making my struggles public both so I have an accurate catalog of my journey, and to garner support, advice, and positive thoughts…part of me is still that timid girl who keeps to herself. That nervous first-time writer in her first creative class who nearly breaks down at the thought of having her writing read.

No matter how much talk I talk, it is always harder for me to walk my walk. But today I read one of Mark’s posts over at A Fat Man’s Journey, and I was just so inspired. I’ve been following Mark since I began my journey, and have always found him to have some pretty profound things to say, and I’ve always related with both his struggles and his triumphs, but today just really shook me awake.

Today he talks about the guilt he felt taking a day off from working out, and the panic he feels if he forgets to log something. These are the exact same feelings that I struggle with. But when I start to struggle, I get scared. When I get scared, I hide. I hide from my support network, I hide from my blog, I hide from My Fitness Pal. I run, and I hide, but at the end of the day, I can’t hide from myself.

Some of my last posts on here talk about starting the 30 day shred. Well, I started! And, once again, I made it through two days. TWO DAYS. And not because I couldn’t do it! Because once I stopped and felt guilty, I fell into my same holding pattern of excuse after excuse. “I’ll start back on Sunday, so that I have a full week…” then Sunday comes and goes. Rinse and repeat. Or, “I’ll start walking instead since the weather is so beautiful! Then I’ll work back into the shred…” Then I sit on my ass and watch tv all night.

If I miss logging my food once, I freak out about missing it and stop logging altogether. Excuses, for me, are like Lay’s. You can’t have just one. Before you know it, you hear yourself oink, look down, and the whole bag of chips is gone.

I guess that’s part of what’s bringing me back here today. My bag of chips (excuses) is empty. I physically can’t make anymore. The weather is divine. The basement is clean and has plenty of indoor workout room. Our internet connection works. I’m not sick anymore. I even have a new 7:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m schedule at work. NO EXCUSES.

So, I’m back on the air, and I’m looking for you. I’m looking for every single one of you. The occassional readers, the loyal favorites, the strangers, family, and friends alike. I’m asking you to be on high alert. I’m at the tipping point. I’m at the tip of my mountain where I usually fall back down the other side. I can’t start back at square one. Despite the excuses and the clumsy lack of moderation I’ve had over the last few weeks, I have managed to maintain and continue losing in very small amounts.

I started my journey at 275 lbs, a number that I have never shared with anyone, but one that you all deserve to know (I’m asking you to hold me accountable, afterall…) Today, I weigh 258.6 lbs, a total loss of 16.4 lbs. Today I shake it off. I shake off the excuses, the struggle, and I get back to basics. I stop the snacking, and start the movement again.

All I want from you is a little extra encouragement. Throw a like on my post. Leave me some kind words. And for goodness’ sake: if I don’t let you know how I’m doing, give me a shout! Yell at me! Jump up and down and wave your hands in front of my face! Give me a cyber-slap of reality. And remind me that I CAN do it, and that the only thing standing in the way of my success is my own fear of success.

Later I will catch you up on some of the things I have accomplished, including a few new recipes, but for now…it’s time to get to work!

Cheers!

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