The journey begins

Hello, and welcome!  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog.  Though this weight loss journey may be mine, I could not do it without the support of so many caring and wonderful people.  This blog will serve as a chronicle of my successes and struggles, as well as a way for me to share my progress with everyone.  I invite you all to join me on this great adventure!

So how am I going to do it?

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Hitting a snag

Hello friends!

Sorry for the long delay between posts! Things have been super crazy between preparing for a work conference in Boston and a lot of life happening. Unfortunately, all of that stress was getting to me, and I was really struggling to keep it together. 

Something had to give, and I chose to temporarily put my diet on hold.  I decided this for a number of reasons, the biggest being that my willpower was crumbling due to lack of sleep, and I was starting to feel extreme guilt for eating off-program.  I knew that that negativity wasn’t something I needed to deal with, and since that was something I actually had control over I made the decision to be gentle with myself. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ve gone crazy eating all of the things. I’m still making healthier decisions (baked rather than fried, veggies before eating the rest of the meal, cooking more at home, watching portion sizes, etc). Binge eating has always been one of my biggest struggles. The first year that I started my antidepressant, I gained 60 pounds from stress eating Domino’s stuffed cheesy bread, among other things. One of my reasons for doing this diet program was to break, or at least diminish, my emotional connection with food.

I’m extraordinarily happy to report that in the month that I have been off-program, I have gained exactly ZERO pounds!!  Honestly, this makes me as happy as when I was losing weight.  The fact that I was able to moderate my food intake and exercise in a period of high stress, when I otherwise would have gained at least 5-10 pounds, is a huge accomplishment!! I won’t always be on this diet program, but I will have periods of high stress in my life. And I most definitely have learned fantastic life skills from this program!

The last thing I wanted to mention was that I got to see a visual representation of my efforts once again – it never gets old!! I took this picture on the airplane on the way to Boston (with lots of commentary from Amy). The last time I flew – the month before I started this program – I was millimeters away from needing a seat belt extension.

I’m still 60 pounds down, and looking to lose around 100 more. This is definitely a crazy journey, friends! Thanks for sticking with me!

My “first” 5k adventure

As many of you might have seen, I recently ran a 5k!! This was a huge deal for me, because I haven’t run any further than a mile since 2008, the one and only year I did my high school cross country team. Also, this was my first ever legit road race.

I find this quite ironic, actually, because I hate running. I’m really more of a biker, but one day in July I woke up and was like, I’m going to run the Melon Festival 5k in 6 weeks! So I convinced my friend and coworker Amy to run with me and signed up 🙂

I’ve been working with my personal trainer, Chad, since November of 2015. I figured, how hard could it be to run 3.1 miles? I’ve essentially been doing extended conditioning by being overweight and doing all sorts of lifts and cardio, now being more than 50 pounds down it shouldn’t be that bad.  I did one training run beforehand, of 3.1 miles, because I wanted to see what kind of pace to expect. That one I finished in 52 minutes.

So the day of the race it’s dreary and windy and I’m seriously regretting my decision to sign up. My parents came into town for the festival and I knew they would be at the finish line waiting, so I lined up with Amy and her niece Paige and eventually we were off. 

Now, I’ve driven in Howell before and it’s very flat. But for some reason when you’re running everything suddenly becomes WAY more hilly than you remember. And the evening was suddenly a lot hotter. And my muscles were nowhere near prepared for the starting pace I chose (whoops!). By the time I made it to the first mile, I was kind of into a groove though! People had their boats on Thompson Lake and were playing music watching the race, which was really cool! 

I was able to keep my groove until I hit the water station. It’s really hard to jog and drink water at the same time (I was wondering how that worked, still haven’t figured it out yet), so I slowed down to and walk. I still ended up with about half of it on me but it felt suuuuuper nice!

Around the 2 mile mark, I was really bored (why I hate running), so I decided to text my dad a #selfie because I’m a #millenial. The water on my shirt is from failed water stops #1 and #2.


Finally, after all my hard work and effort, I made it to the finish line (which is on an uphill slope, because reasons). In true Chartiers Valley Cross Country fashion, I gave it every little ounce of energy I had left and “sprinted” into the finish line!

My goal time for the race was under 50 minutes, and boy was I disappointed when I saw the time on that clock! On the fly, I made a new goal for myself to finish in under 51 minutes (which according to the clock I didn’t make). This being my first legit race, it didn’t even occur to me at the time that since I was in the middle of the pack to start my actual time was less than that shown on the clock. In actuality, I made it within my original goal of 50 minutes – by one second!! AND I didn’t come in last (which I was pretty much expecting because that’s basically my sports career in a nutshell) 🙂

The race was definitely harder than I was expecting, but now I dislike running slightly less than before. And I’ve had a few more “flashes of inspiration” and signed up for another 5k in October, a 10k in November, and then I will be participating in the Pittsburgh half marathon (13.1 miles!!!) in May!

Thanks for reading this long post everyone! I’m excited to improve in future races!

Fives, fives and more fives

So as you can probably tell by the title, I have lots of fives in my life right now. Obviously, there’s five days my the average work week. There are five instruments in my brass quintet. We have five trumpets in the house, etc.  The most important fives in my life though are none of those.

First, I have officially lost 55 pounds!!! The change is pretty apparent I think:

Me and Chelsea (plus sideways Kyle) on November 5, 2016 at my sister’s wedding

Me in a new outfit I love about two weeks ago

Second, I can’t even believe how big of a change that 55 pounds has made!! I was able to go into a store (Maurices, thanks Julie for the recommendation in 2010!) and with no trouble was able to find a pair of shorts and a shirt that fit. In fact, everything I tried on fit. I almost cried from excitement, instead of the usual frustration and anger at myself. Still mad at stores for making it impossible for plus size women to have a pleasant shopping trip, but that’s another story.

Third, I am 5 pounds away from being 100 pounds away from my goal. This is HUGE for me, since I have never in my life lost weight. That puts me currently at 34.375% of the way to my goal =D

Fourth and finally, to celebrate all of my progress, I decided to sign up for my first 5k (3.2 miles) since I ran cross country in high school!!! My good friend Amy is running it with me, so yay I have company!! The 5k is the kickoff to the annual Melon Festival in Howell, which is a celebration of the Howell cantaloupe strain. I did a trial run today, and aside from a handful of 20 step breaks I was able to run the whole time! 

That’s between a 15 minute mile and 16 minute mile pace, which is about what it was in high school. Since I’m about 100 pounds heavier now, I can’t even imagine how strong my legs will be when I’m down to my goal weight!!!

The race is August 17th, so I’ll definitely update you all when it’s over!!! Thanks for reading!! 

Transitions

It’s official!! I am down enough weight to begin the transition phase out of the full optifast.

This, my friends, is me standing on the scale with the first number reading a 2. A 2!!!!!! With me on the scale! I am now officially 46 pounds down, which is ~13.33333% of my initial starting weight and 27.87% of the way to my goal weight =D

Because of how well I am doing (6 pounds away from the 12 week goal at the end of 8 weeks), the dietician agreed that I could begin the transition phase!! There were three options for me to choose from: a full transition (6 weeks to completely real food), a partial transition (staying in the first phase of the full transition), and a continuation of my current routine with 2 or 3 days adding a meal as a practice transition. After discussing the pros and cons of each option, I decided to go with the partial transition.

The partial consists of 3 shakes per day, and one meal of ~400 calories, about half of which should come from the protein source, a quarter from starches, and the remaining quarter from vegetables (although vegetables should take up half of the plate). Additionally, I am now allowed to swap out one shake for a Greek yogurt if I so choose. I didn’t used to like Greek yogurt due to the texture, but I’m willing to give it a shot. The dietician told me the partial is best for those who have a history of issues with binge eating, since it allows you to try out different foods while still having most of the boundaries of the full Optifast diet. She said I can stay on this part as long as I want; for now, that is at least until my next appointment which is late August. I still have restrictions on oils and fats, but otherwise it’s pretty much everything goes!

Since my appointment was in the morning and I have been craving chicken (and eggs) like nobody’s business, I decided to celebrate with my first real non-soley-vegetable food for lunch! My good friend Mike and I went to Subway, and I was able to order an actual sandwich!! I got the oven roasted chicken on 9 grain wheat (since my starches need to be whole grain) with a bunch of veggies on top and a vinegar drizzle to finish it off! Not gonna lie, it was awesome to have different textures and consistencies in the same bite!! Shameless food picture below!

I can’t wait to experiment with some of the healthy recipes I’ve found online!!!

Thanks for reading!

Six weeks down!

I can’t believe it’s already been SIX WEEKS!!! Time is flying by, which is good because I am so ready to eat real food again!!

As of this morning I have officially lost 35 POUNDS!!!!! I’m already seeing a difference in how my shirts are fitting, and I’m almost ready to go down a pant size =D

This week will be my first big challenge, since I am going to my favorite place on earth, Mt. Irenaeus. The friars were super understanding when I told them I would be bringing most of my own food, so now it’s on me! I haven’t cheated yet, and I don’t plan on starting now! Being so close to the transition period into Phase 2 (~15 pounds away) I do NOT want to mess this up!!!

Thanks for reading, and for being part of my spectacular support system!!!

I’m really bad at making lists

memorial day

First, since this post is about the Memorial Day weekend, I want to take a moment to thank and remember all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the line of duty, and those who came home and have since passed on.  We have many family members who have served or are serving in the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army, and I am so proud of them and humbled by their service.

For the Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I went to Pittsburgh to spend some time with my family and to visit with friends.  I knew going into it that this would be my first real test of how I handled a number of food stresses being thrown at me in a short amount of time.  We had a 5 hour drive each way, I would be going to my first restaurant while on Optifast, and there would be tons of food at the annual picnic.

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