What a Difference a Year Makes

Wow. To say “blink and you’ll miss it” is an understatement.

It’s been a bit over a year, and to say my life has changed would be an understatement – and all for the better! My last year in bullets:

  • My divorce was finally finalized after nearly 2 years of back and forth with the X
  • Got down to my lowest weight ever…within 1 pound of having 100 pounds lost!
  • Met an amazing man, fell in love, got engaged…I’m getting married this month!
  • Put on about 20 pounds of “happy weight”…which I’m finally starting to see come back down
  • Changed my daughter’s day care, went through lots of up and downs with her (more on that later)
  • X got married to the chick he left me for. Which is fine, we are at a good place now and strive to put our daughter first
  • After our wedding (and honeymoon vacation – squee!!) we’ll start saving to buy a house together next year.

I mean, wow. This blog was created to be a daily log for me…of course I think the pressure of having a daily log just turned me off. Well, that plus like a month after I started it, my now ex-husband kinda walked out on me and my kid…and so any time I came back, for a long time after that, it was kind of painful. This blog has seen tiny snippets of pain, hope, more pain…long silences…and now, infinite joy! I really do want to work on filling in those gaps.

And the #1 reason it was created, of course, was to record the success of my losing weight! Somehow through this crazy storm, I DID manage to do that. And I want to keep it going…

Do I really think I have the time/dedication/passion to start this blog back up again? I don’t know. My next post might be another year from now…but let’s see what happens. 🙂

Today, life is good.

Meal Planning

Well it’s been less than a month since my last post, so that’s an improvement, right? 😉

I was reading a post by one of my favorite bloggers earlier last week, and it gave me the meal planning bug. A little back story is that the previous week I saw an all-time low on the scale, then decided to go in to an insane eating fit over that weekend. Nothing stress-triggered, just hanging out with friends and going out to eat, etc.

Needless to say the scale sucker-punched me as a result. I know better than to do such silly things, but right now my battle is extremely mental and food related. I don’t seem to have issues with working – sometimes twice a day.

I mean, who WOULDN'T want to hang out with this lovely man each night?

I mean, who WOULDN’T want to hang out with this lovely man each night?

 

But I guess my brain right now is going “hey, I’ve lost 80 pounds! I should be able to eat more now!”

No Brain…not yet!

So when I read Katie’s post the other day (if you have never read Katie’s blog, you NEED to. She is a constant source of inspiration, and is MUCH better at posting than me, lol!), it really gave me that push I needed to start concentrating on food. I had a bunch of fruit and vegetables at the house that really needed to be cooked up, so I found some good recipes and went on a bit of a cooking spree. I was concentrating on meals that I could save and take to work for breakfast and lunch as well.

On Tuesday night, I made these two recipes:

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

These are “Renee’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bars” and I totally just copied Katie’s idea on that one. The other was a repeat of a recipe I had made the previous weekend:

Seriously, it tastes 10x better than it looks!

Seriously, it tastes 10x better than it looks!

This is a Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole, and it is SO good! It has about a cup of greek yogurt in there as a binder, and I’m guessing that’s what burned on the sides of the dish. I was lazy and just mixed my recipe in the casserole dish, rather than in a mixing bowl and transferring. Looks like I’ll definitely be paying for that when it comes time to wash dishes…

Both of these have been great so far, I’ve just cut them up and have been taking portions for breakfast and lunch.

I also made of of my favorite dishes last Wednesday:

Love these, an entire meal in it's own little container. :)

Love these, an entire meal in it’s own little container. 🙂

These are supposed to be Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash, but not having any quinoa on hand, I opted for couscous. I hope that with any of these recipes you’ll head over to the actual posts they come from…please don’t let my horrible food photo taking abilities deter you. There is a reason I’m not a food blog! Cooking all these meals while chasing a 2 year old leads to lots of short cuts and sloppy looking food…but I promise it tastes wonderful! 🙂

Smoothie's were not neglected, and still made there way in to several days!

Smoothie’s were not neglected, and still made there way in to several days!

So, meal planning? Yeah, it definitely paid off. Despite the fact that I got sick last Friday (yay for things my daughter brings home from day care…), and not being able to work out for the last 4 days, I saw an all-time low on the scale this morning. I am SO PUMPED!

So yeah, I’d say that this week is off to an awesome start!

How about you? What’s been your key to getting yourself back on track?

Keeping it Real, Yo

I keep fancying myself a blogger. I have so many things that I do, so many great new experiences along this weight loss journey that I want to feel that bloggy connection with my fellow loser-bloggers. But it seems that when someone works, is a single parent, and spends 95% of the non-working, non-parenting time working out…where is this time to blog? Seriously!

Life is going on – my battle with the scale is still tangible and daily. I have had two injuries now, one on my right Achilles tendon during a race, and just this week, I injured my left calf while doing jumping jacks with a Jillian Michaels DVD. So, I’ve been trying to just focus on upper body. People keep saying I LOOK like I’ve lost weight, so I can only hope that I’m toning and gaining muscle…but not seeing the numbers change is driving me slightly mad.

The Big D (and I don’t mean Dallas) process is moving forward, though slower than I prefer. Mr. X doesn’t seem to understand why I don’t want the town bicycle that he left me and my daughter for around the kiddo. So he has now gotten a lawyer…yay! I am so ready for this chapter of my life to be over so I can just move on and focus on what is important.

What suddenly prompted me to turn on the blog-machine and post today in the first place? That would be this article from Runner’s World by Lauren Fleshmen, a post about Keeping it Real when it comes to our bodies. Not only does it talk about unrealistic expectations placed on women by television and magazine editing techniques, but it speaks about self-acceptance, and realistic notions of what our bodies are and have the potential to be.

This hits home for me in two ways. First, one of the reasons I started working on losing weight in the first place was that I was never in any photos. I was so petrified of seeing myself on camera that I always was the one holding the camera. I can probably count on two hands the number of photos I have of myself from my 20’s. In 2011, my nephew passed away from cancer. He was married in to the family, so I only knew him for about 3 years, but he was only 5 when he passed. At that time I started gathering photos so that I could create a video for the family. Since his family was large (since he married in to our family, he had his father’s side on top of everyone on our side), I wanted to make sure and include a photo of him with every member of the family. It wasn’t until I started this search that I realized that there was not ONE photo of me and him. Not one. I had actually had a family photo shoot in my backyard with him a year or so before his diagnosis, and had beautiful photos of him, his parents, grandparents, Mr X…but not me.

It was then that I realized that I had let my own self-perception of how awful I look actually become a reality. My body was a wreck, I didn’t WANT to see it photographed, but I also didn’t want to live my life behind a camera and missing out on life. I lost 60 pounds that year, got preggo, gained 60 pounds, and now have lost a total of 80. Suffice it to say, my body has been through the ringer. And that’s how the article today hit home in a second way. I’ve lost 80 pounds, I’m in the best shape of my life, but there is definitely a trail of disaster left behind in the wake of losing so much after decades of being obese. I don’t need to spell it out, I’m sure, but things are definitely not looking so hot when the clothes come off, lol! I’ve already been researching lower body lifts, lift options for the girls (das boobs), and trying to hang that goal out as a carrot to keep myself moving with forward momentum. Will I ever be able to go through with it? Will I be able to afford it? I don’t know…but it is no lie or secret that losing the weight is only the very first step with these types of journeys…there’s a whole lot of layers of mental and flappy-skin baggage that has to be sorted, folded, and put away as well.

So yeah, there you go. I had intended this post to just be a simple photo-update of what all has happened in the last month, but it kind of morphed in to a heavier topic. But one that is usually glossed over I think while the weight loss is happening. Anyone who has had to deal with self-esteem and body issues for years and years and years needs to be prepared to address not only the physical, but mental reason as to what got us all here in the first place. I named my blog Running aWeigh because it was meant to address all of the physical AND mental weight that was weighing me down. Ironically my husband left me a few days later…sometimes we find we were being held back in the places we thought were the safest. I hated every minute of last summer (save a few where my daughter reminded me what I was going on for), but I would not change it. I am so much better…lighter…for it.

Ok, enough with the heavy, let’s end on at least one of my intended photos to lighten the mood!

Life is beautiful!

Life is beautiful!

Noodles

This week has been a bit crazy, as I’ve felt like I’ve been hungrier than usual! It’s been kind of confusing and annoying…and the scale has been stagnant.

I kind of expected it would…I had a good loss a couple of weeks ago, and my body seems to lose on a 2 week cycle of lose, maintain, lose, maintain…so I’m trying to not focus on the numbers too much. I have started a habit of having a serving of this delicious sinful delight nearly every night…so I’m wondering if I need to cut that out a bit…but it’s so good!

But otherwise, this week has been a bit about noodles! First I had an avocado I needed to eat up, and after looking at a bajillion recipes on pinterest, I found one that I wanted to try. It called for spiral noodles…and I would have made it with zucchini noodles, but I didn’t have any zucchini in the house…but I had some egg noodles, so that’s what I ended up using. It was really tasty, and I ended up eating the leftovers for lunch today.

Avocado and Egg Noodles

Avocado and Egg Noodles

Avocado creamy goodness

Avocado creamy goodness

And then following the noodle theme, last night I made a recipe called Pumpkin Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles. I had been looking forward to this one, and I wasn’t dissapointed! The hardest part was figuring out how to cook the sweet potato noodles (the recipe calls for all raw and cold, and I’m not that far in to any kind of “raw” journey yet, lol!). I finally found a website that tells you to steam them, so if you try the recipe and don’t want raw crunchy noodles, just put the noodles over boiling water in one of those steamer thingies for about 10 minutes and they’ll be soft and tasty!

Disclaimer: 2 Sweet Potatoes makes a TON of noodles.

Disclaimer: 2 Sweet Potatoes makes a TON of noodles.

I was a little hesitant if this would be good or not...but it was SO tasty!

I was a little hesitant if this would be good or not…but it was SO tasty!

Finished product! It looks a little less "noodly" after the sweet potato cooks, but to me the texture change was worth it!

Finished product! It looks a little less “noodly” after the sweet potato cooks, but to me the texture change was worth it!

Like I mentioned in the photo, there were a TON of noodles created with this, and with the leftover sauce, I think I’ll be able to eat on this 2 more times at least. I only steamed noodles to eat last night, and I stored the rest in their raw state, that way they don’t get all mushy and weird.

I made it to the gym twice this week, and did a Zumba DVD on Tuesday evening, so I made my 3x during the week goal. My daughter is going to her dad’s apartment (for the first time overnight…I am nervous and conflicted and confused, but that’s another post!) this weekend, so I know I’ll get workouts in on both days. I feel like I’m doing pretty well this week!

Workouts are still with a goal of a lower HR, so elliptical again...this is as interesting a photo of workout results as I could think of, lol!

Workouts are still with a goal of a lower HR, so elliptical again…this is as interesting a photo of workout results as I could think of, lol!

So that is my weekly roundup! Anyone with toddlers…do you have any good meal suggestions for keeping their food as healthy as possible? My dear darling one turned her nose up at both of my noodle creations this week…so I did end up with frozen french fries and chicken nuggets as a meal for her a few times this week. I don’t mind it every once and awhile…but I need more ideas!

She doesn't look picky at all, right!? :)

She doesn’t look picky at all, right!? 🙂

So tomorrow starts the weekend…and dropping my darling off with the estranged husband thing…wish me luck!

Seventy

If you turn the way-back machine to 2011, I lost 60 pounds.

I did it by pretty much being an idiot…stupid restrictive eating and liquid diets and over-exercising. I became totally obsessed. It worked really well at the time…it was a time in my life where I needed something to be obsessed about for a while, and it was the first thing that ever had even “worked” for me.

I lost 60 pounds in 6 months…and promptly became pregnant!

And then I gained back 30 pounds…and then had the most beautiful baby on the planet…but then gained another 30 pounds.

One day reality hit me like a biotch in the face. That was the day I (again) saw a very scary number on the scale.

262.2

That was my starting weight in 2011 when I lost stupid weight. I had gone all the way back. To the 10th of a pound, I had gone back.

Since then, I’ve developed some really awesome habits on this latest weight loss journey. It wasn’t about being fast, it was about making changes that I knew I could live with all my life. I have basically cut out all sweets and sugary drinks, but I still have a soda every once in awhile, because you know what? I don’t want to give them up for all of time. I just have to learn to moderate…that is something I have to live with for all of time.

So, the weight came back off, slowly, but steadily and I wasn’t starving myself and developing obsessive habits this time. It took me a year verses 6 months this time, but I was happy with the progress…not to mention I had some giant personal hurdles that should have sent me back to the loving arms of food in a heartbeat. I persevered. But still, there was that magical number hanging over my head…60.

Now don’t misunderstand, I’ve lost over 60 pounds…I’ve had that beat since October or so. BUT, for some reason, I still wanted, yearned to reach that next decade of weight loss…so that I could…I don’t know…FOR REAL be passed where I had gone in 2011.

This morning, I saw a magical number on the scale…down to the 10th of a pound.

192.2

Today I’ve reached 70 pounds lost…exactly! I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I think I was too busy doing a little happy dance in my bathroom.

2011…bad habits…obsessive behavior…stupid marriage issues…turning to food (or wine) for coping…jeez, ALL of 2013… you all can bite me! I so own you.

This is my mean face...or an attempt at one. Do you feel intimidated yet?

This is my mean face…or an attempt at one. Do you feel intimidated yet?

A Week in the New Year

Well 2013 is over – THANK GOD!

Last year I buried my father when he passed away suddenly, found out my marriage was not strong enough to withstand temptation, and found that I had to start over mentally, financially…everything. But there were some good things.

  • I found out that I am 10 million times stronger than I thought I was
  • I grew stronger in my relationships to my daughter and my family
  • I found a voice of my own
  • I got a tattoo!
  • I lost over 60 pounds
December 2012 vs December 2013

December 2012 vs December 2013

Unfortunately things in marriage-land aren’t going so great. After seeing that as of right now my husband is either unwilling or incapable of wanting to work on our relationship, and that he wanted to continue to blame me for his parts to play in the whole thing, I had to ask him to leave.

To his credit he does claim that he needs to work on himself and such. I am trying to be as non-pessimistic as possible about that. Technically I guess this is a separation, I don’t know what the end-game is, and in this moment, I don’t know what I want it to be anymore.

My job is going in a different direction, and I am being asked to do some different tasks than I previously did on top of my regular duties. I am a bit terrified, but also not NOT excited about it either. Again, we’ll see what happens.

The new year…we’re a little over a week in, and I am cautiously optimistic. I will never again in my life say that things can’t get worse, so I won’t curse my 2014 with such nonsense…but I will say I hope with all my might that they are drastically better this year.

Bring it. But please bring it with happiness and kitties and flowers!

Bring it. But please bring it with happiness and kitties and flowers!

Trying Something New

This weekend went by super-duper fast, and most of the week already too!

Brad had to work on Saturday morning, so I made it up to the YMCA with Rea in tow and hopped on the treadmill after dropping her off in their little day care area. I decided to re-try the workout I did on Friday, with the goal of NO walk breaks!

I won’t say that it felt any easier this time…but it definitely felt like it went by faster! I ended up completing the run with no walk breaks! I did slow my pace down a couple of times (from 5.0 to 4.5), but I ended up running the whole thing!

Then, on Monday I saw the doctor to ask about my back pain. He told me that running might not be the best right now…because not only is it possible that it’s slowing down my weight loss, but that it might just be too hard on my body until I lose more weight. I felt a bit derailed, because I have particular goals I want to hit, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I kind of brushed him off, because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy, and hey, I’ve already lost a ton of weight doing it MY way.

And then, the next day, I saw this article on Facebook. It explained some of the reasons why running may not help you lose weight as quickly as the same amount of effort with different exercises can. It was like someone was trying to tell me something here. A Facebook weight loss support group that I’m in was talking about the article, and through talking with another woman on there, I began to consider trying some different approaches to exercising for a while, just to shock my body.

Although, I DID have a reason to do a happy dance that same day, because, this:

Yes, that's a ONE there!

Yes, that’s a ONE there!

Yes, by the skin of my teeth I reached ONEderland! It was really exciting to see, and with it I one the first Jillian Michael Dietbet (which is why there’s a card with a random word on it, lol!). Of course I had to drink a ton of water and eat really lightly the day before to get there, but it was so nice to see. My weight has been fluctuating a lot from day to day though, like today, it’s back up to 201.8.

Yet another reason that I wanted to put a kick-starter back in to my weight loss. It seems that over the last 3 months, I’ve been struggling to lose this latest 10 pounds. I mean, I have been getting stronger and healthier in the gym, but come on, I still have about 50 pounds to go here!

So, after doing some reading and looking around, I’ve decided to change things up a bit. Instead of focusing my gym time on just running, I’m going to mix up some HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) with free weight exercises.

I’m more than a little bit intimidated by the free weight portion of this. I am comfortable on machines…my gym even has a separate little room for the machine circuit, where I don’t have to feel stupid about what I’m doing…the machines lay it all out there for you. But when you have a bench and a rack of weights…and not a few meathead boys grunting all around you, it’s slightly more intimidating. I promise that I would not have step foot in that area 60 pounds ago.

Yesterday was my first day, and so I found this program for beginner level HIIT training (the link is to my pin on pinterest, I figured that might be helpful if you want to pin it yourself). Week 1-2 consists of 15 seconds of hard running, followed by 60 seconds of walking or slow jogging. It wasn’t too hard, until the last few intervals, and watching the clock to change speeds made the 14 minutes fly by! I actually really enjoyed the change up of method there, since my runs lately seemed SO boring. I set the 15 second fast intervals to a speed of 6.0 on the treadmill (10 minute mile pace), and the 60 second slow intervals to a 4.5 jogging speed. I was really surprised at how easy I was able to do these. In fact, I think next time I’ll do 6.5 and 4.5, since the fast intervals are only 15 seconds.

Next came the awkward part, I found this beginner level free weights program, and decided to give it a try (it’s all free by the way, the image there makes it look like you have to sign up to use it). Yesterday’s program (week 1, day 1), consisted of work on the chest and triceps, and believe me I am FEELING it today. It didn’t take me too long to do the workouts, the one that I was mostly confused on was one where I had to move a bench between two of the machines and figure out how to place everything…but each exercise has a video that shows you what to do. At first I felt silly having to stop and look at my phone to see what to do – but then I saw a couple of guys looking at their phones too…and even if they weren’t looking at instructions, I told myself that they were, haha!

All in all, I was really happy with the change up. It took just as much time to do the HIIT and the 6 strength training moves as running for 45 minutes, plus I know I felt like I was sweating even MORE with these exercises. So, we’ll see. The strength training program calls for 4 days a week in the gym (at least in phase one), so I will be going in just as much as I try to now. But I think I also want to keep a “long run” day of at least 3 miles once a week. I’m not sure if I’ll still hit my 33:xx 5k by 33 (only 23 days until my birthday!), but I might just lose 10 pounds in 1 month vs 3 months, and to me that’s worth it! 🙂

Well this turned in to a rambling post…but I was making up for 5 days or so! 😉