Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Exhausted

Yesterday was the first day I didn't post since I started up my blog again.  There's a very good reason for that.  I started my new job on Monday.  

It's been pretty hectic, but after a few days I'm making some serious headway.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a music teacher.  I'd been laid off for six months working as a paraprofessional and doubting myself every day.  I didn't doubt myself today.

And now I'm exhausted.  It's not the kind of exhausted I felt when I would finish a week at my previous job.  It's not like the exhausted I feel when I haven't slept enough.  This kind of exhausted is the kind of exhausted I feel when I've worked hard at something I love and get a lot of work accomplished.  I used to feel like this a lot in college when I'd leave school at 11:00pm after spending 15 hours at school.  

Unfortunately, I didn't get to exercise today.  Yesterday was another story.  I ran with Liza again.  The weather was gorgeous at 52 degrees when we left (yes, this is Minnesota).  We put another 4.5 miles behind us.  I'm getting faster and need to walk less.  Plus my legs don't feel as much like rubber when I'm recovering over the next day or two.  My running is improving at a rate it hasn't improved since I started and I really think it's helping me achieve some serious calorie burning.

So I'm going to try hard to keep the blog up to date now that I'm working again, but blogging doesn't burn very many calories, so when push comes to shove, I'm going for a run.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weigh-In Results

It's Monday today and a very important one.  It's the first Monday since I got back in the weight-loss game.  I wanted to weigh myself every single day but I only had one unofficial weigh-in once in the middle of the week.

I started my new job today and it was awesome (although it made for a very long day compared to last week's routine of sleeping until whenever I felt like it)!

Let's see how all the running I've done with Liza and Weight Watchers tracking recently has payed off.

Last week I weighed 257.5.  THIS IS PHENOMENAL!!!  I lost 8.6 pounds this week!  I know this rate is not sustainable.  Tyler Weeks just wrote a great entry at 344 Pounds about how you can't lose the same number as your initial loss your first week.  It's going to be a long, hard slog down to a healthy weight. But I'm revitalized and up to the challenge.  I'm down to four pounds above what I weighed before the holidays.  Let's see how quickly I can shed them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tuesdays With Liza

A very good friend of mine and I decided back in November that we would go for a run together.  She works just a few miles from my apartment so she came over and we ran about 2.5ish miles.  Since then, we started making Tuesdays our regular running day.  Of course over the Holidays we got a little off schedule.  But we made some schedule adjustments and on Friday we ran 4.5 miles and have another run scheduled for Today (although my legs are still in agony from the last run)!  

Note: neither Liza nor myself are dinosaurs.

I have learned something very important from this venture.  Get a running buddy.  Someone who you get to catch up with while you're running.  Someone who will make you excited to exercise.  Someone to push you that last mile(s).  I run farther and faster when I'm running with Liza, though the last couple miles, without fail, involve me telling her I hate her and she needs to shut up.

Liza helps me in a big way.  I'm tremendously grateful to her for her motivation, company, and pushing me to run faster and farther than I thought I could go.

Do you have an exercise buddy?  How do they help you?

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Along with a sweet pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajama pants (yes, I am 28 years old), my parents gave me a FitBit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with such a device, let me familiarize you.  It's essentially a souped up pedometer.  It monitors movement and sleep and tells you how many calories you've burned in a day.  Using the website, you can see how active you were and when.  It also has a cool little display on it that tells you how active you were in footsteps, miles, calories burned, floors climbed, and there's even a little flower that grows as you've been more active throughout the day.

I haven't gotten into all the features yet.  I'm still logging my intake on Weight Watchers because fruits and veggies are free and points are easier to manage than calories.  The sleep analysis is something I'd also be interested in looking into a little more too.  You can earn badges for achievements too.  They have badges for steps taken in increments of 5000 for instance.

The real benefit of the FitBit is having something with me at all times that reminds me of my goal.  When I check my scores, I know that I have a lot of weight to lose.  I'm less likely to overeat and more likely to try to beat my previous records for steps taken, etc.  I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day when I noticed I had hit 8000 steps.  Normally, I would have gone home at that point, but I wanted to hit that magic 10,000 steps number so I would get the next badge.  Silly?  Maybe, but it kept me on the treadmill for an extra 20 minutes.

So is it worth it?  Maybe.  How does it stack up against other body and activity monitors?  I have no idea.  Will it continue to work? I don't know.  Is it working now?  Yes!   Do you have any experience with an activity monitor?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blog of Note

I used to post a blog-of-the-week.  When my posts started dwindling I stopped reading other blogs and couldn't really discover a blog-of-the-week every single week.

There is a lot of good stuff out there and I would like to send some link love off into the internets, so I'm bringing back the blog-of -the-week as blogs of note.

The blog I'd like to introduce you to today is really great especially for recipes.  I first discovered Kristin's site when a friend posted a link to her spanakopita turkey burgers.  I made them and they were AMAZING!  She even included a tzatziki sauce from scratch recipe.

Overall, the meal was really filling and very reasonable calorie-wise.  Now, not every recipe on her site is super-healthy, but there are a lot of really great recipes that are.  Right now she has a recipe for a green monster spinach smoothie that I'm going to need to try as soon as I'm done writing this.

So visit Iowa Girl Eats.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You Can't Change The Past

When I started my weight loss journey, I was mad at myself for getting so big.  How could I let that happen? I've been overweight since about the second grade, but when I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds and didn't fit in the booth at a restaurant anymore, I was upset.  I was embarrassed.  I was straight out mad. 

I know exactly how it happened.  I eat when I'm happy and I eat when I'm sad.  I eat when I'm stressed and I eat to celebrate.  I eat when I'm tired and I eat when I'm socializing.  I eat all the time.  I never had good exercise routines.  I didn't get enough sleep.  I didn't understand what foods were good for me and what foods weren't.  Frankly, I only ate food that gave me the most pleasure.

More recently, I've gained back almost 20 pounds from my lowest weight.  Some of the clothes I bought then are getting a little snug.  Am I mad? 

I would have been a month ago.  I was mad a month ago.  I took a break (and gained 12 pounds) but I can see a little more clearly because of it.  I'm not mad anymore. 

I think the key to getting to my weight-loss goal is going to be acknowledging my failures and learning from them.  I could make excuses like I wasn't really happy at my last job or I was too busy to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat right, but in the end I know I'm the only person to blame.  So I'm not going to let it get under my skin.

I can't move forward unless I forgive myself.   Sometimes we don't meet our goals.  Sometimes we backtrack.  If we harbor resentment toward ourselves for our failures, we'll forget about our goals.  If you're holding on to feelings of self-resentment, you'll probably be more likely to eat emotionally.

I can't change the past and neither can you.  I gained 12 pounds in two months and that's okay.  It is within my power to change my trajectory and I'm going to do it.

If you gained a little holiday weight, don't stress about it, change it.  Work hard in 2012 so when the holidays roll around again, you'll have the tools you need to make it through without a gain (or at least a little extra room to let your belt out).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Reindeer Run

I finally ran my first 5k!  It was probably my biggest fitness victory during my hiatus.  I was lucky enough to share the experience with my incredible wife, Claire.

Every year the Marines sponsor a 5k run in Minneapolis to benefit Toys For Tots.  It's a great organization that gives Christmas presents to low-income families.  I had just finished the Couch to 5k program for the first time though I've started 3 or 4 times now.  Some of my co-workers decided to run the race and Claire and I joined them.  We trotted through the race and finished.  I don't recall the time, but we finished.  There were tons of people there.

Some of the costumes were really impressive.  We saw the star of Bethlehem, lots of reindeer, some Santas, and even a few Christmas trees.  It was a ton of fun!

We emerged weary but victorious.

As a reward, we both bought new running shoes.  Claire found a pair that she loves in the first place we looked.  My shoe shopping adventure is a whole other story.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Resolutions

It's a new year and the gym is going to be very full for a while.  Those of us who have been at this trying to get healthy thing for a while recognize January as the month our local fitness centers are overrun with people who have resolved to exercise more or lose weight or get ripped in the new year.

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions. I think the new year is kind of an arbitrary date to decide to change your life.  Maybe there's something to it.  Seeing all the numbers turn over might be a psychological blank slate.  On top of it, I'm so full of Christmas cheer (cookies, eggnog, mashed potatoes, etc.) that I'm really ready for a change.

So what the hell, why not go for it?

So here are my New Year's resolutions:
1.  Get My Eating Under Control.  I'm going to attack this one on several fronts.  I'm going to reduce my overall caloric intake while increasing my consumption of fruits and vegetables.  There are a number of veggies especially that I really don't really care for.  2012 will be the year I make my taste buds like them.  I'm also going to try to stay away from stress eating by reducing the overall level of stress in my life.

2.  Make Exercise a Priority.  It's too easy to push exercise off another day or decide you're too busy.  This year I'm going to make sure I get out and exercise on a regular basis.  I'm going to register for more 5k races and hopefully even run longer races as the year progresses.  A good friend of mine has recently become my running buddy.  She is faster than me so I'm always being pushed.  Though by the end of most runs I'm usually sending some choice words in her direction.

3.  Get Enough Sleep.  I've never been good at this one.  I need to make a point of getting 8 hours of shut-eye a night.  When I don't sleep I try to eat to stay awake.  I also idly munch when I shouldn't be.  When I'm tired, my priorities change in general, usually away from fitness.

4.  Finish What I Started.  This one I'll accomplish by doing everything else on my list.  I have a new job, a new year, and a new lease on life.  I have a chance now to form great habits this year and really push myself to be healthier and happier.  As long as I can keep this blog, and myself, running in 2012, I'll reach my goal of 196 pounds in 2012!

Resolutions, be they for the new year or just in general, will only happen if you make them happen.  The way to accomplish that is by having a plan in place.  Then you need a way to keep yourself accountable.  For me, that's this blog.  For you it might be a Weight-Watchers meeting or working out with a friend, or maybe you even want to start your own blog.

What all of these resolutions come down to is respecting myself enough to make choices that are better for me in the long-run.  What are your New-Year's resolutions?  How are you going to accomplish them?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weigh-In Results

Okay, It's been a while since I weighed myself and I'm a little nervous.  Part of me is terrified, but I know that no matter how high the number on the scale is, I will not be discouraged.  I took a break from being good to my body.  I ate a lot of food and ate emotionally.  I didn't exercise as much as I should have.  I'm ready to pay the price for that.

Last time I weighed myself I weighed 245.5 pounds.  That was November 2nd and I was not happy with the number.  Let's see how I did this time.

I was expecting worse.  I gained a total of 12 pounds over the course of two months.  I could feel it creeping up on me and it made me feel terrible.  I have not, however, undone my all the work I put into my journey.

Those 12 pounds are accumulated stress and laziness that I am going to remove from my body in short order.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm Back

Happy New Year everyone!

I know it's been a long time since I went on hiatus.  A lot has happened in that time.  Some of it good, some of it bad.  I've done a lot of stress eating, but I also ran my first 5k.  I got a new pair of shoes that made my feet fall asleep.  I considered going on a juice fast but decided against it (at least for now).  I started running one night a week with a good friend of mine.

Most importantly, I got a new job!!!  I start on the 9th of January and I'm super-excited.  I'm going to be a 3rd-8th grade band teacher!  I'm not sure what the job will look like yet but I'm excited to get the ball rolling.

This is a huge boost to my self-esteem.  I took such a big hit when my position was cut and I had no choice but to keep working for the people that laid me off but for lower pay and a job I really didn't want to do.  On top of the financial burden placed upon me, I had to deal with the thought that I wasn't good enough to get hired anywhere as a music educator.  I had to pick up more work in private lessons so I wasn't home most nights.  That's part of why I stopped blogging.  I think things will really turn around now.

The month of December was ridiculously busy.  I'm hoping January will be a little more laid back.  I want to get back to cooking healthier foods instead of eating out as much. I went to the gym for the first time in a few weeks a couple days ago.  It felt amazing.  It was so nice to get moving again.  I need to make exercise a regular part of my day.

I'm back.  Hopefully, I had enough time off to recharge my batteries and really want this.  I'm not going to kick myself for any weight I gained.  What's past is past.  I'm ready to work now.  Two years ago I dedicated myself to losing 100 pounds.  It's time to finish what I started.