Journey to a Healthier Me

Living life and getting healthy one step at a time.

Keep the Awesome Rolling August 17, 2010

Hey People!

It’s  been a productive day. I woke up with the husband this morning and set out to accomplish as much as I possibly could.

I realized while I was drinking my morning coffee that today was my last real day off. Every day after this is going to be filled with school, my internship, work, or all three. I’m a little bummed. I feel like this Summer has flown by.

In the spirit of getting things done I ate a hearty breakfast to fuel me for my 8-mile run. I decided to try something a little different this time around, and instead of eating toast and peanut butter I had rye toast and a hard-boiled egg.

It worked pretty well.I left later than I usually do for my long runs and because of that the heat was pretty brutal. I took walk breaks when I needed them.

I took my Gu Energy Shot at the 4 mile mark, and I think it helped.

(source)


I definitely felt like the last half of my run went by easily. The flavor was a little weird though. It didn’t taste like a blackberry at all. But I look forward to trying out the other flavors. The gel didn’t sit heavy in my stomach like the protein bars did, which is a definite plus.

I also stopped to stretch at the 5 mile mark. I have to say it really made my legs feel better. I didn’t realize how stiff they were getting. Do you ever stop to stretch during your runs?

I finished my run in 1:48:46 with a 12:58 pace. That’s a little slower than I would like, but it’s still decent time.

Speaking of running, I have officially registered for the ING Hartford Half-Marathon.

(source)

I’ve put money on this puppy now, there’s no turning back. Although I was able to get the student price, so I saved a little bit. I made the age cut-off for the student price by one week. Good thing I wasn’t born early.

The mailman brought me a present today:

My diploma!

It’s only fitting that this would come on my last day off before school starts. It all seems so final now. I’m a graduate student. Scary.

After the husband and I stared at our diplomas for a few minutes we headed out to run errands. We stopped by the library so I could drop off my overdue books and fork over my fine money. I owed them $1.20, but I figure that’s what keeps the library so nice.

Do you use your public library?

I also picked up a book that I’ve been dying to read.

(source)

I’ve seen reviews of it everywhere, but I couldn’t justify spending 25 bucks to get it since it’s a new release. I’ll let you know how I like it. Have you read it, did you like it?

As you know, today is Tuesday and that means I had my Weight Watchers meeting tonight. I’m happy to report that I lost weight this week. This tells me that I’m moving in a positive direction. I definitely noticed that I felt better physically this week just by adding in more fruits and veggies and steering clear of junk. Why does junk food have to taste so delicious?

The meeting topic tonight actually focused on eating filling foods. The idea is that if you fuel yourself with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you’ll consume fewer calories but still be satisfied.

It’s funny because that’s how I felt this week. It’s like Weight Watchers is inside my brain! I know that I stay fuller longer if I’m eating those healthy staples, but it never hurts to be reminded of it. Have you noticed a difference in how you feel if you eat more fruits and vegetables?

Oh and one more super awesome thing:

My blog is now listed on the Healthy Living Blogs website. I really like this website because it’s a source for tons of healthy blogs. Check it out!

It’s come to my attention that this blog post is turning into a novel, so I’ll leave you here.

I’ll see you tomorrow with a post about some of my favorite blogs to read.

Thanks for reading people! It’s greatly appreciated.

Question for you:

What’s your favorite blog to read? It doesn’t have to healthy living, it can be any topic. I’m always looking for new stuff to read.

 

Cool as a Cucumber August 5, 2010

Filed under: Food and Emotion,Inuitive Eating,My Story — Cyndi @ 11:11 pm
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Sorry this post is going up so late. It’s been one hectic day.

Today I want to touch on what to do at parties. Now I don’t mean etiquette wise, I mean food choice wise.

I tend to get pretty flustered in social situations. I’m never sure what kind of food is going to be available. And on top of that if people around me are eating I feel like I need to join in.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t really a problem I’ve conquered yet. But I do have a couple of strategies that I try to use when I am at a party/gathering.

  • Eat before you go. I try to eat something before I even leave the house, because I know if I show up to the party hungry I’m going to make a lot of poor choices because I won’t be thinking clearly about the food in front of me.
  • Don’t engage in conversation where the food is. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I was at a party (tonight actually) where we sat around the kitchen table that was covered in chips, chocolate, and cake.  I’m not really sure how many mindless handfuls of food I grabbed, but I’m sure it was a lot.
  • If you really need to grab something to eat, eat veggies. I could have saved myself a lot of calories tonight by choosing the healthier options.
  • Don’t eat food unless it’s on your plate. By putting food on your plate you are more aware of what you’re eating.
  • Drink seltzer/diet soda/ water instead of sugary drinks. Granted diet soda isn’t really the best option for you, but if you know you’re going to be eating extra calories to begin with, why drink them too?
  • Allow yourself to indulge in the things you really want. Now, this may seem counterproductive, but it really isn’t. I find that if I survey my options before making any decisions and pick out the foods that I rarely get to eat I am less likely to overeat. The trick is to put your portion on your plate and walk away. Don’t linger around the food.

Do you have tricks you use to stop yourself from over-indulging at parties?

I have to admit that sometimes I feel like people are critical of what I am eating, and that usually deters me from eating as much. But it’s silly to let other people make my food choices for me. I am an adult. If I eat too many sugary foods, or have too much junk one week and I gain weight then that’s my responsibility. I need to recognize that my choices are my own, and no one elses. I can only grow as a person if I learn from my own mistakes.

That being said, I failed at using the techniques I wrote above at the party tonight. But that’s okay. I’m not perfect. This is a journey. Being healthy is a journey, just because I stumble does not mean I should give up entirely. It’s nights like tonight where I remind myself of how far I have truly come. The old me would eat anything, and everything, and not even think twice.

Well, this chick is hitting the hay, I have to be up for another 6 am shift tomorrow.

Catch you later, Blogland!

Questions for you:

Do you feel more conscious of your food choices in public? How does this affect what you eat? How do you cope with critical people?

 

The Long Road to Self-Acceptance August 3, 2010

Filed under: My Story — Cyndi @ 3:11 pm
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It’s going to be a 2 post Tuesday today. But that’s just because I have so much that I want to share with you.

It’s Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look Week, in honor of the release of the Operation Beautiful book. Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point has asked for bloggers to write posts about a variety of topics, that range from getting fit, to finding your healthy weight, to accepting yourself.

When I saw that they were asking for guest posts I knew that I wanted to participate, and I knew exactly what I would write about.

As I said in one of my first posts, I’ve been overweight for most of my life. I’ve heard every name in the book, thunder thighs, fat ass, I’ve been called a whale, and I’m sure many other names that I was fortunate enough to not catch people whispering under their breath.

I know the pain of attempting to find clothes in my size that make me feel good about myself, and don’t look like something my grandmother would wear. Because lets face it, when you’re overweight they don’t make “hip” clothes in your size. I didn’t want to wear elastic waste velour pants, with a matching sequins top. I wanted to wear the clothes that kids my age were wearing, but they all seemed to stop well before my size. I cried in my fair share of fitting rooms because I couldn’t wear the same clothes that my slimmer friends were wearing. And it got to the point where I stopped clothes shopping all together. I would just make my clothes last as long as possible.

But you know where I would go after those failed shopping sessions? To the nearest fast food place, or to the fridge. I would attempt to eat away the pain, and it would help for a little while. At least until I realized how much food I ate, and then felt disgusted with my lack of control. It was an ugly, vicious cycle. One I wasn’t sure how to break.

Over the years I just kept getting bigger and bigger, and it only made me more depressed. Then when I met my husband, way back in high school, I realized that I needed to change. He was, and still is, active. He skateboards, he does yard work, and when he isn’t doing those things he’s trying to get me to go on hikes, or bike rides, or take a walk.

When we started dating, I couldn’t keep up. I got winded before we could even get to the end of the road. I would force myself to go on these outings with him, even though I was ashamed that I couldn’t go for a hike and carry on a conversation at the same time.

Shortly after we got married, nearly 5 years after we started dating, I realized that if I wanted our life to be a quality one I needed to make a change. If I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with what I saw I needed to do something. I didn’t want to have to worry about finding clothes that fit me, I wanted to be able to walk into any story and find my size.

The husband swore up and down that I didn’t need to change, that he loved me just the way I was. And I believe he did, and still does, but I wasn’t happy with myself, and I wanted to make sure that our lives together would be as good as we could make them. But I knew that my weight, and overall lack of health, was cutting our years together short.

That’s when I joined Weight Watchers. And little by little I began to shed the extra pounds, and my pants size got smaller. My asthma practically disappeared, and my thyroid condition started to get better. But something even greater than a physical change was taking place.

I was beginning to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with what I saw. I didn’t spend time obsessing about what to wear to camouflage the less-than perfect parts. I accepted the fact that I would never be the size 0 that some of my classmates were. I stopped comparing myself to everyone around me.

I started to run, and run far. I  realized that my body could do things I never thought possible. I learned how to take care of myself so I could keep doing these amazing things.  I stopped caring as much about my weight, and what I looked like.

I went kayaking! Something I never would have done before because I was always so self-conscious about how I would look wearing the life vest and sitting in the tiny boat.

I’m not saying that I don’t have negative thoughts about myself. But now instead of catering to those negative thoughts and heading for the fridge I try to appreciate how far I’ve come. I can go for hikes and carry on a conversation, and I don’t shy away from going out.

After 22 long years, I’m finally beginning to accept who I am, and realize that there is more to me than the way I look. And let me tell you, it feels awesome.

Question for you:

What started you on your journey to getting fit? I guarantee that you are beautiful, and that there is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it. Thanks for reading.

 

Stay the Course July 29, 2010

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you’re having a nice relaxing evening. It’s been so hot here lately that I don’t want to leave the house until the sun goes down. Maybe I could get my store to open at 7 at night instead of 7 in the morning?

Today I want to share a blog post I just read over at Health for the Whole Self. The post is about using intuitive eating, or listening to your body, as a means of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

I love the idea of actually listening to my body about the food it wants, and when it wants to eat.

But I don’t trust myself.

How do I know that my body won’t be asking for cookies and ice cream 24/7? How do I know that my body wants me to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day?

I think that’s part of the challenge of intuitive eating. You need to figure out what “craving” is actually what your body wants and what part of it is emotion.

For me, I’m a huge emotional eater. I came from a family that used food as a means of comfort, celebration, commiseration, and any emotion in between. You had a rough day? Let’s make cookies. You got an “A” on your test? We need cake to celebrate. Junk food was never in short supply when I was growing up.

And I realize that even now I still fall back on using food as a crutch. Otherwise why would I be on a first name basis with the Coldstone clerk? But I’m not ready to leave Weight Watchers and begin intuitive eating. Not yet.

I think of Weight Watchers as my training wheels. I’m learning what foods I need to fuel my body, and what I need to stay healthy. I’m learning moderation, and the Points system is teaching me that I can get, and stay, full on less food than I thought.

So where does this leave me?

I’m going to stay the course, and continue making progress on Weight Watchers. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t incorporate some of the techniques that Christine references in her guest post on Health for the Whole Self. I can start to examine my relationship with food, and why I turn to it in times of stress.

You can expect plenty of other posts on this topic in the future as I continue to look how food and my emotions go hand in hand.

This tired girl is going to hit the hay. Have a good night Blogland.

Question for you:

Are you an emotional eater? How do you cope?

 

Off to the Races! July 27, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,My Story,Running — Cyndi @ 8:02 pm

Hello everyone! I hope your day is treating you well.

Mine has been pretty alright. Even though the husband is in California, I’m keeping busy. (You can read that as lounging around, and spending time doing not much of anything.) As I promised yesterday, today I’m going to write about exercise, and what I do to keep it interesting.

When I started out on this lifestyle change I hated exercise. I used to tell people that the only time that they would see me running is if there were an emergency, and even that was pushing it. But when I started Weight Watchers I realized that if I really wanted to see the number on the scale change I would have to do more than just eat better.

So I started trying to figure out what exercise would best fit into my life. Enter my awesome bicycle:

You know, I’ve always wanted a green bicycle. I can remember being so disappointed on Christmas morning when I walked out of my room to find a blue one. But you better believe that as soon as I had the chance to pick out a bike it was going to be green.

For the first month I rode that bike everywhere. It was fun, and it was exercise. And for my efforts I got to watch the number on the scale steadily decrease. But after a while bicycling wasn’t feasible. The New England weather wouldn’t allow it. So I turned to workout DVDs. 30 Day Shred anyone? But I got sick of that pretty fast.

Enter my latest love:

(source)

Running! (I wish I looked that good running.) I started running in January of this year by doing the C25K program. It was slow going at first, and I doubted my ability to do it. But the program was so easy to follow, and before I knew it I had signed up for my first 5k.


I felt amazing! Crossing that finish line was, and still is one of the highlights of my life. After that I started signing up for as many races as I possibly could.

But when I don’t have a race to look forward to I find that my running starts to slow down. To the point where I’m only hitting the pavement once or twice a week. So that leads me to what I’m doing now:

Training for the Hartford Half-Marathon on October 9,2010.

13.1 miles.

Me. The girl who wouldn’t run unless forced to is going to willingly run a half-marathon. This might be the miracle my gym teachers were looking for.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What am I going to do once I finish my half-marathon? And I don’t have an answer to that. Not yet anyway.

One challenge at a time.

Who knows maybe a sprint triathlon is in my future. Anybody have any suggestions for what I should train towards after my half?

Well, I have to go walk the Bear. See you later Blogland.

Cyndi

Question for you:

What exercise to you enjoy? How do you stay motivated?

 

Every Story has a Beginning July 25, 2010

Filed under: My Story,Weight Watchers — Cyndi @ 11:04 pm
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You know, it’s kind of funny. When I wrote my first post for this blog I expected to update it regularly. And yet, here I am, just now getting to my second post. Sometimes life gets away from you, but I’m here now, and I promise to give you tons of excellent updates.

Are we cool now?

Great.

I’m starting this blog about a year into my weight loss journey, but I want to tell you a little about how I got here. Picture that slightly awkward overweight girl from high school. That was me. I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember, and I can recall the first time the doctor used the word obese when he was talking to me, even though my mother had expressly told him not to. What 12 years old girl wants to hear that word? Wasn’t it bad enough that I was a pre-teen on the verge of high school? By the time I got married I was a portly 200 pounds.

Here’s a before picture from the day after my wedding:

When I got my professional wedding pictures back I was shocked. I didn’t realize I looked like that. When I looked in the mirror I saw a chunky girl, but not someone that big.

When I think about it now I realize that this is the point where I started to change. I was always unhappy with the way I looked, but somehow seeing those pictures bothered me.

In August of 2009 I joined Weight Watchers. Now, I realize Weight Watchers isn’t the perfect fit for everyone, but it works for me. But I don’t just attribute my weight loss to being on the program, a large part of it is the fact that I wanted to change. I was sick of hiding from the camera, and buying clothes to hide the way I looked. I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to keep up with my husband, a skateboarder, who seems to constantly be in motion. I wanted to be able to walk my dog and not feel like I needed a nap after.

I wanted to be happy with myself.

I was shocked to step on the scale at my first meeting and see that I weighed 201.8 pounds. How did I get that big? Why didn’t anybody tell me I was that big? I committed myself right then to cutting the junk food out of my life (for the most part) and to start exercising. Until then exercising had always been a chore for me, and in a later post I’ll reveal what I do to keep myself happy while exercising.

To make a long, and somewhat tedious story short, here I am now down 55 pounds, and only 10 pounds away from my goal weight. I’ve had more ups and down than I thought I would, but when I look at my progress I’m thrilled.

Here’s what I look like now:

I have learned so much about myself, my relationship with food, and about fitness over the past year. I look forward to sharing my knowledge, as well as learning what you know, as I keep moving towards being the healthiest person I can be.

Question:

What made you want to get healthier? How long have you been on your journey?