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!

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Shrimp, spinach, and Soba noodles with garlic and white wine

One of the items in my first ever #Foodiepenpals box was Soba noodles from Lauren at Lauren Living Locally. Since I didn’t have Kale or Walnuts on hand to try the recipe she gave me, I decided to pair some great ingredients that I did have on hand. The result was Soba noodles with shrimp and spinach, and a garlic and white wine sauce. This recipe was for 1 person, so you would just need to multiply all ingredient amounts by the amount of people you want to serve. Both mom and brother sampled the recipe, and believe me- you’ll want to serve this one. It is ridiculously quick, simple, and one of the most incredible meals I have ever cooked solo at home!

Soba noodles with Shrimp, Spinach, and Garlic and White Wine Sauce

Ingredients

7-10 medium shrimp (I used frozen)

2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed (adjust depending on your tastes)

1 bundle Planet Organic Soba noodles

2 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup white wine

2 tbsp Grape Seed or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/8 cup butter or margarine (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and had no issues)

Preparation

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat with the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Once the oil is heated, add the shrimp and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until each side turns pink and becomes opaque.

In a sauce pan heat water to boiling, and add Soba noodles once boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer for 4-6 minutes until tender.

While noodles are cooking, remove shrimp from skillet and add butter and white wine to the same pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until mixture begins to thicken, and then cover with a lid and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Add the shrimp back to the sauce pan and let sit in the sauce for 1-2 minutes while you drain the noodles.You can add the spinach to the shrimp mixture to wilt slightly if you prefer, but I like mine with a bit of crunch, so I simply put it in the serving dish, mixed it with the still-hot Soba noodles, and let the spinach only wilt slightly.

I mixed the sauce with the noodles and tossed lightly with tongs. After adding a shake of some grated Parmesan, I dug right in to this exquisite dish!

Calories according to the MFP Recipe Tool: 476 calories, 62g of carbs, 10g of fat, 33g of protein, and 4g of fiber!

The strange things that change

Completely changing the way you do pretty much everything does not come without its challenges. I have had to understand how my body works, change things that have been lifelong habits, and work hard to maintain those changes. Sometime along the way my body started changing, and suddenly some of those challenges have shifted, some disappeared altogether. Some new challenges have come up that are altogether unexpected.

One of the biggest surprises and subsequent challenges from the beginning my journey was the amount of calories I drank every day. Sodas, tea, hundreds of calories at a time, and on top of that more sugars and sodium than I care to think about now. I didn’t even consider diet sodas as an option- I have developed ridiculous dependence on them before, and I know they are just not at all good for you. Water was a struggle, even with Crystal Light (pretty much the only way I can drink water…) I was not at all consistent.

Even though it was difficult, I pushed through. I got a water bottle large enough to make it easy to get in my daily allotment without losing count or stressing out about getting the right amount. I stayed diligent, only ordering water anytime we go out to eat, starting my day with a glass, ending my day with a glass, pushing through even when it is difficult. Over the last four months, my body’s aversion to water has changed. What used to be a struggle, is not something I rely on. When I’m thirsty, I crave water. I know when I haven’t had enough.

Another thing that has changed significantly is my food cravings. Sweets and chocolate were never something I liked. I have never disliked them, but I would opt for a savory snack over pretty much any sweet selections. Sodium is one of the things that I monitor pretty closely, and overtime those tastes have completely changed. Rather than unhealthy snacks like Cheez-Its or Chex Mix, or even healthier options like carrots or celery I cannot make it through the day without a taste of something sweet. This week my reward when I have the extra calories to spare has been a couple Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Nuggets with Almonds. They are just sweet enough, have a little crunch, and a half serving (2 pieces) is only about 90 calories. It’s just enough to satisfy the craving, and not so much that I go over all of my limits for the day.

Where I used to love indulging in a big, juicy steak, my body screams for vegetables, salmon, chicken. Chips and dip are carrots and hummus. These things aren’t hard anymore. They are what my body wants. These changes are the real NSVs, the little victories that reaffirm that this is a lifestyle change, a new way of eating, living, being that makes me feel good emotionally, and physically.

These are strange changes; things I hoped for, but never quite expected. These are the things that make me smile at the end of another day where I made healthier decisions, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.

NSV…FTW!

For those of you who do not speak in internet acronym, today’s post will share a couple of NSVs (non-scale victories) that I have had this week (for the win!)

First, I want to mention my scale. I have not lost it forever, I have not thrown it out the window, and the number is not going back up in the wrong direction. That being said, you won’t see any scale posts here for a couple more weeks. When I started losing more and more noticeable amounts of weight, I fell into the trap I always do: slave to the scale. I refuse, absolutely REFUSE, to let that happen to me on this journey. This is about so much more than the number on the scale, that I know when I start hopping on it every single day, sometimes more than once…it’s time to lock it up for a few weeks.

So this week, I celebrate some NSVs!

1. Towels. I have pretty much used nothing but beach towels since high school, because it was the only kind big enough to wrap completely around me without paying $20-30 for a big fancy department store “bath sheet.” 1st of all, let me say: no towel should cost that much. I am not paying that amount of money to dry my butt off, unless it’s going to do all of the work for me. And 2nd, I refuse to use a towel referred to as a “sheet.” Doesn’t really help the fat complex.

Today, for the 1st time since probably 8th grade, I was able to use a regular old towel and with the exception of the very very widest part of my hips, it wrapped all the way around!

2. Sizes. So I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’m almost down 3 full sizes- almost, but not quite there yet. Well, I can officially say: when I started my journey, I was starting to outgrown my 26Ws. You did not read wrong, that was a twenty-six. 2 – 6. I have never felt more horrible about myself than getting to that point. I had previously felt that way before when I realized my already gargantuan-feeling 24Ws were starting to get snug, but that thought of moving into a 28W was something I just couldn’t handle. That was the maximum size at a lot of stores that I shop at! No way was I going to have to purchase the biggest options.

I’ll admit, it was honestly more than just the number on the tag. I am an apple shape (which in case you’re not aware is pretty much the worst thing ever, AND the most difficult thing to shop for, ugh.) So having to buy clothes to fit my lovely “apple” (aka my size 26W+ waist/stomach) they are HUGE on my everywhere else. I’ve never had particularly large hips/thighs, and I have NO ass to speak of. So I pretty much look like I’m wearing a potato sack most of the time in jeans, capris, anything really that is designed to fit a size 26W.

Saturday Alex and I went to Discover Mill’s to check out their Sears outlet and Ross store to see if they had any good deals. I was able to squeeze myself (uncomfortably) into 2 pairs of capris, both size 20W. I almost talked myself out of buying them because they were tighter than I wanted, but since I could button and zip them all the way, and they were just uncomfortable, I still got them since the price was right and I knew they’d fit in a couple of weeks. Imagine my surprise when I threw them on Sunday and realized they fit perfectly. All I can think is that I must have been bloated while we were shopping because not only do both pairs still fit perfectly today, but they’re actually even the slightest bit roomy!

Just a little more hard work and a little more time, and I’ll be out of the 20’s forever! Have you had any NSVs this week? If you haven’t heard this term before, definitely work it into your vocabulary- when I finally stop staring at the scale and take a look at the things going on in my life, I start to see more and more of these little victories. I’m not going to lie- sometimes they feel even better than seeing the numbers on the scale!

Cheers!

I found my measuring tape!

At the beginning of this adventure Alex bought me a cute little pink measuring tape to record my progress along the way. After taking my initial measurements (well, after 1 month of detoxing, but no exercising) on January 31, 2012, my little pink measuring tape was lost.

Today, I went on a hunt for my measuring tape and finally got some updated numbers!

All losses are reflective of my previous measurements on 1/31/2012:

Neck: -1″
Bust: -5″
Arms: Left: 0″/Right: 1″ (fine by me since my right arm was 1.5″ bigger than my left to start with!
Waist: -2″
Hips: -2.4″
Thighs: Left -2″/Right: -1.5″

For a grand total of 14.9″ lost! This is probably more exciting to me than seeing the scale continue dropping! Thanks again, everyone, for sticking with me through this roller coaster!

Cheers!

Hulking out

No, despite what you may think, this is not an inspirational post about how much muscle mass I’ve gained since I started on my journey. Not at all.

Let me start with a story. It always starts innocently enough. Alex and I go to bed together, we may cuddle a little, debrief from our day, watch some tv…whatever mood we’re in that particular evening. We always end with a kiss, and each of us tells the other that we love them. We set the sleep timer on the tv, set the alarm, close our eyes, and drift off to sleep.

Fast forward 6-8 hours.

My breathing is steady, my dreams are sweet, my life is peaceful.

And then, at 5:30 a.m EST, the unholiest of times, it starts. There is no slow, gradual start. One minute I am a Disney princess, deep within the confines of my gentle slumber. The next…

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. HULK SMASH.

It’s like a switch. I can’t control it. The alarm starts its’ morning wail, and I turn into Hulk. With the exception of the green complexion, you really wouldn’t know the difference. Try as I will to be kind, softspoken, and gentle in the morning, it always comes out as grumpy, impatient, and mean. I slam doors and drawers, I yell at everyone from Alex to the cat to the idiot that cuts us off on the way to work.

I’m pretty much like this until at least 9:30-10:00 a.m.

Over the years I have found that while my physical ability to wake up in the morning has improved (my mother had no choice but to be my alarm clock until college…I was trained to fully incorporate ALL alarm sounds into my dream, not just the radio…)my ability to take the morning in stride and enjoy waking up to another beautiful morning has not improved.

It does not seem to matter how much sleep I get, I simply do not react well in the morning. Work, weekend, 3 hours, 10 hours…nothing helps. Especially now that I’m working so hard to lead a healthier lifestyle, eat better, work out, and maintain an overall positive outlook on life, it is particularly troubling to me.

I feel that I’ve tried pretty much everything shy of going to a doctor, and I have to admit- I’d feel pretty silly going to a doctor about this.

So I’m reaching out to you, blogosphere inhabitants. Are you morning people? Do you turn into Hulk when your alarm goes off? What do I do to break this horrible habit, especially when I don’t even know if it is something within my controls?

I absolutely appreciate your inside, advice, and understanding of my killer Hulk smash.

Cheers to Hump day! Another week is almost over!

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.

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