I’ve never been a huge New Year’s Resolution person – probably because my resolution was always to lose weight and I could never focus enough to make that happen.
In 2011, I had planned to make some resolutions, but as I entered the year with my back injury I decided to just focus on that and let the year progress as it did.
Wow! Things happened in 2011 that I never thought possible: my wife & I got to go on our honeymoon to Hawaii and I wore a bathing suit in public without feeling like a whale on the beach; I was picked as a “Success Story” by Weight Watchers not once, but on three separate occasions; I entered the year in the 180s and left in the 150s; I’ve cut four minutes off my 5k time and got it down to 25:34 (my PR); and finally, I was chosen as one of 7 people featured in a TimeOut Chicago issue about weight loss. (Thought I still haven’t seen the article in print)
So what could I possibly want in 2012? Let’s see what we can come up with:
1.) Thanks to my pal Mel, this one is easy: “makin’ 2012 my Weight Watchers bitch” Oh yes indeed Mel, I am right there with you.
I hit my first WW weight goal (164) in 2011 then decided to lower my goal weight to my doctor’s recommneded # (155). I am just 4.2 lbs from that goal so my goal for 2012 is to become Lifetime! (That means hit my goal weight and hold it for six consecutive weeks)
2.) Depending on work scheduling, I would love to become a Weight Watchers receptionist and then a Weight Watchers Leader. Many people have told me I should become a leader and after much consideration I agree with them. I would love to share my journey with more people and help them with their own weight loss journeys. Weight Watchers has done so much for me and I would like to pay it forward.
3.) Run. Just run.
But also continue to improve my running. I would love to cut even more time off my 5k PR. Hey! Anything is better than where you started, right?
4.) Weight Train. I am a cardio machine, but am always hesitant to venture on to the weights floor because I think people will judge my upper body strength, or lack of it. I will push out of my comfort zone and work out for me.
5.) Not only finish, but dominate the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Full Marathon. I finished my one and only marathon in about 5:59 so I would love to finish this one in less than 5 hours, but either way I will not finish third to last like in 2006.
6.) Blog. I would love to continue to improve my blog and share my story with others. I cannot believe how far the blog has come in just seven months so I can only imagine what will happen after a full year.
7.) Push myself farther in my Twitter challenges. #7daychip, #back2basics, #30for60, #FT100, #100ozchallenge, #plankaday, and another others I may come across.
8.) Work on my self image. It is a progress, but I need to keep working on ending my self-deprecating comments.
9.) Stay positive. No matter what is thrown at me. I need to keep thinking about the positive things in my life. I always need to remember how far I have come.
10.) Explore. Flourish. Cherish. Share. Live.
I don’t really consider 2011 starting until the end of May. Why you ask? Well, two big changes happened in my life at the end of May:
1) I started this wonderful little slice of the Internet I like to call, Weight Off My Shoulders.
2) I was finally cleared by my doctor to resume all activity. Resume activity from what? Well that lovely back injury – herniated disc – that led to a microdiscectomy on January 28, 2011.
2011 started out at a low point for me. The back injury I suffered really sent me into a little depression. I was cruising along activity wise and weight loss wise during the 2010 (okay not as much weight loss wise, but definitely workout wise) and being forced to stop it all blindsided me. I have realized over time that I neeeed those endorphins. They really do help stabilize my mood, help me react to situations in a more positive way and really overall just keep me levelheaded. Not to mention, the gym/heading out for a run is the only alone time I get at the gym … and we all need some me time.
Thankfully I have a very understanding wife who put up with me during that whole period … even when I didn’t want to deal with myself. You never realize how important your back is until it is taken away from you. You drop a sock? Nope, can’t bend over. You want to roll over in bed? Nope, not unless you want to take the extra 15 minutes it takes to slowly, but surely inch your way over. (My wife finally did get me one of those grabby things that helped me pick up everything I dropped )
My doctor finally laid down and the law and I went under the knife on January 28. I cannot put into words how much better I felt when I woke up in the recovery room. Tingling down my leg? GONE! Ability to point my toe and not have it get stuck on the sheet due to lack of strength in it? BACK!
Oh glory glory day!
The biggest thing I learned during the whole ordeal: NEVER take moving/exercising/living for granted. For that whole time, I was stuck in the house or allowed to hit the gym – to walk. Just walk.
Since being okayed to return back to work, I haven’t allowed myself to accept any excuse not to work out – unless I had to work for 16 hours and the gym was closed before or after, etc.
But enough of the unhappy time of the year, let’s focus on June and beyond.
The final six months of the season can be broken into three main categories: 1) running, 2) weight loss and 3) social media.
“Running Changes Everything!”
Since the beginning of June, I completed 14 road races, which works out to roughly two a month. I managed to knock off about four minutes from my 5k time and completed my first Half Marathon since 2006. Wow! I am extremely proud of myself for what I have accomplished in a short amount of time.
I have a complete recap of my running adventures in 2011 here.
“Weight Watchers makes me believe”
I fell in love with Weight Watchers as soon as I began in November 2009. I lost about 20 lbs in the first two months of joining and things really started changing from there. I started focus my attention more on working out and eating right than going out to bars or restaurants. It seems as if I sacrificed a lot of people when I made the lifestyle change, but I had to do it for me. (To those that have stood by me through the journey, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!)
In 2010, I found it difficult to balance my busiest time at work and WW. I wasn’t able to attend meetings and realized I couldn’t succeed without the accountability of the weekly weigh-ins. I ended up losing about 9 lbs that year. I would lose then gain back, etc. It wasn’t consistent.
But once my injury happened, I knew that without working out – I needed to focus on my eating habits otherwise all my hard work would be out the window. I mean I managed to lose about 10 lbs while being injured – not many people could say that.
I began 2011 at 186.4 and I am ending 2011 at 159.2. That is an impressive 27.2 lbs weight loss this year and a weight I cannot remember being at ever before.
This year … it clicked. I was able to attend meetings almost every week thanks to having Weight Watchers at Work and this dear space of heaven on the internnet kept me accountable – not to mention twitter, facebook and a small group of people I text my weigh-ins to each week.
In addition, I focused on completing all 5 of Weight Watcher’s healthy guidelines every day and let me tell you my body feels the difference.
In 2006, I dealt with, and still deal with, a bad eating disorder. I turned to my wife the other day and said, “How did I go through that time not eating? I mean for months I lived on crackers.” Now, I don’t fear eating as much because I know I am fueling my body for my workouts and runs. Weight Watchers makes sure I am getting all the nutrients and protein I need. That is not to say there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about where I have come from, but I am trying to live in the moment. Think about the now.
Never in a thousand years would I have thought that I would be sitting here after having lost 50 lbs, having hit my first goal weight, having hit the 55 lb loss, to set a new lower weight loss goal. I sit here 58.2 lbs lighter than the 217.4 lb person that walked into that first Weight Watchers meeting. I am just 4.2 lbs from my new weight goal.
Now on the horizon? Thoughts of being a Weight Watchers leader and pass on the knowledge that I have gained, and continue to gain, during this weight loss journey.
I never thought I would be such a social media nerd…
I joined Twitter for work, but it has given me so much more in the few years I have been active on it. Twitter opens the door for new relationships that motivate me, push me and pick me up when I need a friend. (Shoutout to my Weight Watchers, #plankaday, #7daychip/#30daychip, #FFCheer &#FitFluential families)
I have found countless Twitter challenges that have helped push me in my workouts and weight loss journeys. I have been able to inspire others with my words and stories.
Through Facebook, I have found people who are also battling the bulge (giggity). People who are going through exactly what I am. People that can push me, support me and in return I can do the same for them. We don’t even need to be in the same city, state or even country!
The biggest change for me this year was this little space. I need to thank my wife for pushing me to start this blog. This has given me a space to share my successes, my failures, my struggles and my triumphs. So thank you all for allowing me to take up this space on the world wide web.
So I think my top three moments in this year would have to be…
3) Completing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on August 14 less than eight months after having major back surgery.
2) Being chosen by Time Out Chicago to be featured in their recent fitness magazine.
1) Having a wife that stuck by me through the tough times and was there to celebrate the highlights with me … and a couple of cute pups!
So 2011, you started out rough, but ended on a pretty high note … Here’s to hoping 2012 keeps that note going higher and higher!!
Very thoughtful present from my wife … almost as good as the food scale and travel food scale.
I cannot wait to put this race bib holder next to my race medal hanger…
Today marked my 11-month anniversary from major back surgery and I celebrated with a 50 min date with Ms. Stairmaster
Can you tell we have puppies? Nose marks anyone?
Since my office is closed this week, there was no at work meeting so it was time to check out what will be my regular meeting once the at work program ends in three weeks. I will be switching from an 11am weigh-in to an 8 am weigh-in. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I knew I had done my best this week (especially since the wife and I had a low key weekend). So I stepped on the scale and … I lost 2.2 lbs! Woo!
You know what this really means? I AM IN THE 150s!!! Okay, it is 159.2, but it is a 1 followed by a 5! I am beyond psyched – especially since I started 2011 in the 180s (186.4)! Woo!
Today: Lost 2.2
Starting Weight: 217.4
Today’s Weight: 159.2
Total Lost: 58.2
Pounds From New Goal: 4.2
I am on Cloud 9 today! If you asked me in 2009 if I thought it was possible for me to lose almost 60 pounds and be in the 150s in a little over two years, I would’ve called you CRAY CRAY!
I texted my normal crew about my loss and I was so happy to get the following text from my dad “and lost it in a healthy way.” Exactly dad! I didn’t go the route I went before – not eating is not the answer – instead I put the time in. I have made me, my health, my life … a priority. Believe me, there is never and will never be a day when I don’t think about my battle with eating disorders, but now I know I am stronger than that. I can eat and lose weight.
I have never felt healthier and stronger than I do now. I am so thankful for Weight Watchers Healthy Guidelines. I have really made an effort to fill those every day and my body appreciates that.
I want to thank each of you again for taking the time to read this little piece of the Internet I call home. The support, accountability and motivation you all give me cannot be measured. The high fives, bravos and congratulations as well make me smile. I had tweeted earlier that I hoped to bottle up all the love today to keep around when I am feeling blue and one lovey Dacia sent me this (I promptly started tearing up from the love):
“@IrishEyes1982 for you: one coupon good for warm, fuzzy, happy, supportive, loving words to be redeemed at any time. *never expires”
The online community (Twitter, Facebook & blogging) I have become a part of has picked me up and kept me going on this journey more times than I can count. I wish I could meet each and every one of you and give you a big hug!
The wife bought me a new blender today since the one we have is old and difficult to use. This new one is lighter and transportable, which is huge. I will need to stay in a hotel for five days in January and then I will be in AZ for work for six weeks in February/March and now I can make my WW protein smoothies while out of the house. Yay!
So I have three more at work meetings – January 3, 10, 17 – before I permanently move to the 8:30am meeting on Tuesdays. Here is my game plan since I don’t want to switch back to weighing-in at 11am: I will head to WW at Wilson Yard to weigh-in at 8am, but then attend my regular work meeting. I will at least give it a whirl on January 3 and see how it goes.
How did Truth Tuesday treat everyone else?
No better way to celebrate Christmas than by looking back at the amazing year I ended up having in 2011 … in terms of running! The whole “2011 wrap up” will be for another post. This one is based solely on running … and how it has changed everything!
Above symbolize the 16 road races I ended up completing in 2011 – 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, 10-milers and even a Half Marathon. How about we go through the runs as a “Best Race…” theme. We all in? Let’s do it.
(Note: I injured my back December 10, 2010 and was diagnosed with a herniated disc. I was not allowed to do any activity except walking for quite a few months to kick off 2011!)
New Year’s Day 5k – January 1 – 48:37 (15:41 min/mile)
I signed up for this race prior to the injury. I thought what better way to avoid going “too big” on NYE than by signing up for a 5k at 11am on New Year’s Day, right? Now I wasn’t allowed to run it for obvious reasons, but I had already paid the money for registration so the wife and I went anyway. It ended up being a pretty chilly morning, but we walked the whole 5k. I think in about 45 minutes. Not bad for a person that could barely move due to back pain.
So the New Year’s Day 5k is the Best Hangover Prevention Race! The course was near Lake Michigan and just a great surrounding to take in. Not to mention, I felt great doing something active to kick off the New Year.
Following the New Year’s Day 5k, I wasn’t cleared to get back to running until June so between January and June I did a lot of walking, ellipticalling and biking.
Run For The Zoo 5k - June 5 – 29:20 (9:28 min/mile)
As the recap goes this was my first 5k back from back surgery. It felt GREAT to get back on the course. For this run, you actually got to run through the Lincoln Park Zoo. Camels, monkeys, lions, etc on either side of you. It was also my friend Ellie’s first official 5k run … and she was hooked after that.
The organizers not only gave out bagels, bananas and water after the run, but also popsicles! Genius!!
So the Run For The Zoo 5k wins for Best Original Course Entertainment! Who can beat live animal, I mean really?
Rock ‘n’ Roll Tune-Up 5k - June 19 – 33:17 (10:44 min/mile)
For this run, the wife and I ran together the whole time for one of the only times in our running careers. I was being supportive and running with her then she shot ahead of me at the finish line. I didn’t take that well.
This was the first of many 5ks happening up at Montrose Harbor. I am still amazed that so many runs take place up there, yet all have different courses. There are just that many different paths up there … which is great for us runners.
I LOVED that the 5k gave out a medal – most don’t. I was also pumped because they were giving out a free pair of flip flops to every runner, BUT by the time we finished the line was winding around the post-race area. They only had 2 lines. I had to get to work so we said forget it and I didn’t get my free flip flops. Can you tell I am still bitter about that one.
Anyway, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Tune-Up 5k was the Best Race To Get Pumped For A Half Marathon! Well, it was the tune-up for the Half Marathon I ended up doing in August. Aaannnd since I did the 5k and the Half in Chicago I got another medal. *Swoon*
Proud To Run 5k – June 25 – 28:15 (9:06 min/mile)
So this was my first 5k after getting my iPhone and thus realizing my love of the Runkeeper app. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It is a great motivator and the GPS is spot on!
The Proud To Run 5k kicked off Chicago’s Pride Weekend and it lived up to the hype. Gays and rainbows galore. It was a great atmosphere and a perfect day to run! It was my second race at Montrose Harbor and yet another course.
Since I had a friend visiting, we scooted right after the race and didn’t stick around to check out any of the post-run festivities.
But, the Proud To Run 5k wins for Best Rainbow Inspired Race! It was a cause I could really get after and I was happy my wife was there to run as well.
Work was wicked busy during July and I was trying to train for the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in August that I wasn’t able to fit in a single road race the whole month…
Terrapin 5k – August 4 – 27:10 (8:46 min/mile)
A nice August run in Chicago. Heat is to be expected – on this day it was 82 at race time. Oh fun! On those days I never try to expect a PR, but I always hope. This was the first time I clocked a pace under 9 minutes. Crazy for someone who finished at 38:21 in their first 5k back in 2005.
This was a great run. It was in a new location – down near Soldier Field - and didn’t disappoint. The post-race festivities were the best by far. There was a huge grassy area set up for families/friends to hang out and listen to the music. We found ample space to set up post-race. Even better, we collected our free slice of pizza and one beer in what seemed like record time for a post-race get together. It was extremely organized and everyone was easy going and relaxed. Maybe they took the peace, love and happiness vibe to heart.
So this is a no-brainer, the Terrapin 5k wins for Best Post-Race Organization! I would happily do this run again…
Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – August 14 – 2:12.15 (10:06 min/mile)
So the wife signed up for the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon while I was still recovering from my back surgery, but the competitive person that I am … I had to sign up too! I mean I couldn’t let her run it by herself. I even signed up before technically getting approval from my doctor … but I knew he would be on board. The race was just under eight months after surgery. I would be fiiiine.
Deciding to sign up for the half might have been one of the best decisions I ever made. It pushed me to new heights.
(Note: In Feb 2006, I ran my first Half Marathon on the Cape and in September 2006 I ran my one and only marathon. Besides those two, I hadn’t run a race longer than a 10k)
Training not only pushed me, but reconnected me with my love of running.
The Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon had one amazing atmosphere. Even though the weather didn’t fully cooperate, the amazing cheerleaders, cheerers, musical acts and volunteers along the course made up for it. At no point, did I feel like stopping because the energy kept me going. Not to mention, my dad was out there and I actually saw him at each marker he told me he was at!
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half/Full Series wins for Best Race Motivation! There is music, medals and so much more. For someone just starting running and wanting to run their first Half or Full Marathon – go find yourself a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. It keeps you going the entire time…
PAWS Chicago 8k – September 25 – 43:43 (8:48 min/mile)
This was my first official 8k (5 mile) road race. It was an amazing run even with the downpour that happened. I felt so strong and rested from the August 14 Half Marathon. It was a great cause – PAWS Chicago. There was actually a doggy costume show so prior to the run there were a ton of dogs all around in costumes (there is a slide show in the original post which is linked above).
This was the first time I had kept a sub-9 min/mile pace during a race longer thna 5k. I could really feel myself getting stronger and faster. I was, and still am, so proud of how I have improved over this year.
Ellie and I did this run again, despite the fact that she was sick all week, and it was great to have a running partner. This was the start of a great running partnership between El and I. (As any regular blog readers can attest to ).
The PAWS Chicago 8k wins for Best Race Costumes … c’mon – no person can honestly beat a bunch of cute pups in adorable costumes. (Even though I really hate when people dress their dogs up. I know I am a hypocrite).
Bucktown 5k – October 2 – 27:19 (8:48 min/mile)
I really like RAM Racing as a race organizer, but I was EXTREMELY dissappointed with how this race was organized. There were WAAAYYY too many people for the course, especially the starting area. I couldn’t even get to a corral to start so I was behind to start with. I spent the entire run using my energy to swerve around people and zig and zag that I didn’t finish as well as I had hoped.
Yes, I love running through neighborhoods so the atmosphere was great. But, the number of people was just too much for the small streets. I was really upset. I wanted to LOVE the race since…
The Bucktown 5k wins for Best Race Schwag! Hands down! RAM Racing hit the mark with the jacket you got for registering. I just wish they had put the same love into the race itself.
I will also say I did love the post-race cookies. I definitely had more than one of those.
Homecoming 5k – October 23 – 25:36 (8:15 min/mile)
I was extremely happy with how I did, but was underwhelmed with the race itself – course was full of potholes and hard to navigate. I understand it was the first year so there would be some kinks to work out. For my full review, you can click on the link above.
But, the Homecoming 5k does win Best Race Idea! I like the concept and the t-shirt a lot. It is new and fresh. I just hope they work out the kinks before next year…
Trick-or-Treat Trot 5k – October 30 - 25:34 (8:14 min/mile)
I give people a ton of credit that can run in costumes. I am not usually one of them, but there are some people that go all in and I love it. It gives me something to focus on during the run when I am not feeling totally at my peak form.
I was not a big fan of the race shirt, but orange is to be expected when the race is based on Halloween.
To date, this is my official PR. You will see why I don’t count the Hot Chocolate 5k time when you get to that post.
The Trick-or-Treat Trot 5k wins for Best Ghoulish Race! Maybe next year I will even dress up…
Hot Chocolate 5k – November 5 - 3.25 mile course in 26:05 so estimated 5k time at 24:52 (8:02 min/mile)
This is the only race in Chicago I had previously run (November 2010). They revamped the entire course from last year to this year and it paid off. They made the course wider, which helps when there are 25,000 people running. They also have corrals that help keep the similar timing groups together. This pays off dividends when there are so many people running.
I do give the race huge props for delaying the race just 15 minutes with the stuck truck. They moved quickly.
I also really liked the jacket they gave this year – perfect for running. I actually see people running in them all the time.
This is by far the easiest race accolade to hand out … the Hot Chocolate 5k wins for Best Race Snacks! I would be lying if I told you I didn’t do this race just for the chocolate fondue at the end. It is worth all the people, all the hassle, all the commotion. It is so yummy.
Chicago’s Perfect 10 10k – November 12 – 54:30 (8:48 min/mile)
This was the first year for the Chicago’s Perfect 10-Miler or 10k. This kicked off at Chicago’s Historical Navy Pier. It was a poorly organized expo and start to the run, but the run itself was great. They also changed the start time and waited too long to let people know.
This was the wife and my one-year wedding anniversary and what a great way to start it off.
It was a great day and the course was familiar. I had use this part of the Lakefront Trail, while training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. I was slightly worried when we headed towards the aquarium (small trail), but people figured it out and the group moved through that area with ease. There were also two pretty big (for Chicago) hills on the course and thankfully Spinning had paid off and I was able to push through both of those without big issues.
The Chicago’s Perfect 10 10k may have been unorganized, but it wins for Best Race Medal. I absolutely love it! It features the most iconic part of Navy Pier … the Ferris Wheel.
Honolulu Turkey Trot 10-Miler – November 24 – 1:31.04 (9:06 min/mile)
I was looking for a run to do while on my honeymoon in Hawaii – had I known about the Honolulu Half I would’ve run it, but I didn’t – so I found the Honolulu Turkey Trot online. It was put on by the Honolulu Marathon Clinic that helps people train for the Honolulu Marathon.
The group didn’t allow any iPods, iPhones or GPS devices on the run. So it was really just me, my thoughts and the views. Wow! It was one amazing place to run. I really got to just get out there and enjoy it. Run for the sake of running.
You can read all about how I ran into a friend,cut off seven minutes on my time and what I thought of the course in the recap.
But, this is a really easy decision: the Honolulu Turkey Trot 10-Miler wins for Most Creative Timing system – tongue depressor – and the Best Scenery. I mean those views were magnificent and will never be topped … especially if I keep running in Chicago!
Santa Hustle 5k – December 3 – 26:50 (8:39 min/mile)
I was not a fan of this run … for what I was trying to get out of it, which was a competitive race. This is NOT what this run is designed for. This is designed for you and your family or friends to get out there and dress up like Santa. They gave out m&ms and cookies along the course – not your typical in-race snacks.
Now, had I gone in there with that mind frame and with a group to run with – I would have had the time of my life. But, now I know. I know that if I decide to run this next year, it is just to get out there and get moving.
The Santa Hustle 5k easily wins for Best Family Fun/Don’t Take Yourself Seriously Run!
Jingle Bell 5k – December 17 – 26:05.5 (8:24 min/mile)
And last, but not least, is the Jingle Bell 5k. I was hoping to finish 2011 with a new shiny PR, but I fell 32 seconds short. Which is to be expected with the amount of knee pain I was feeling mixed with the snow on the ground. I am still proud of how far I had come from the beginning of June.
This was a great race. They had a cute little dash with Tommy Hawk from the Blackhawks before the run started. It was out near the Nature Museum so it wasn’t up by Montrose – I enjoyed the change of pace. It was hard to get my footing with the freshly fallen snow, which I think also hurt my knee, but it was a good preview for what may be on the ground when I run the Half Marathon on January 28.
The Jingle Bell 5k is a double winner for Best Pre-Race Location (you could hang out in the museum and check out some exhibits instead of out in the cold) and Best Cause. I found this race through my sorority (AOPi) because the run benefited The Arthritis Foundation, which is our charity as well. So I was happy to raise some funds for such a worthy group.
Also, while I was running, the wife checked out the Farmer’s Market at the Museum and came away with some nice healthy snacks for us…
I am so happy that I reconnected with my inner runner. If you told me in high school that I would be where I am today, I would’ve said you were crazy.
This year has been a whirlwind year starting with major back surgery in January and ending with an IT band injury, but in the middle I improved from a 29:20 5k to a 25:34. Wow! What an improvement – hard work and dedication pay off.
Over this year, I have been lucky enough to find a great running community here in Chicago and I thank each and every one of you for motivating me.
I thank Ellie – my running partner – for getting up at 5:30am once or twice a week to head to the Lakefront Trail with me … even when it was 30 and blistering.
Last, but not least at all, I thank my wife for putting up with my training and signing up/attending races she would rather sleep through.
Here’s to 2012 and what I have on the docket so far:
*New Year’s Day 5k – January 1
*Race to Wrigley 5k – April ??
*Soldier Field 10-Miler – May 26
*Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – July 22
*Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Full Marathon – November 3
Since I wasn’t able to run this morning I couldn’t do my normal “Half Marathon Training” update post so I had to get creative. I saw a couple other bloggers do a Three Things Thursday so I thought why not…
1) I am excited that in the almost three years we have been together (January 31 is official first date) this will be the first time the wife and I will spend Christmas together. We have zero plans. It will be a day of couch, movies, PJs and puppies. I think the wife is cooking up some homemade pizza – yes we will be figuring out the points for it.
I am happy that we will spend the day together, but I am sad that I won’t be with my family for the second-straight year. Sometimes it is really hard living a thousand miles away from everyone. Thankfully, my parents are coming out to Chicago January 26-29 to see my run the F^3 Events Lake Half Marathon. Yay!
I am an only child so I am used to being with my parents for the holiday. But I will be keeping our Christmas Eve tradition alive. We always ordered Chinese food, drank wine/beer (once I was of legal age of course) and watched my dad’s all-time favorite movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Last year with my back injury I wasn’t able to fly home so it was the first year we had to watch the movie via speakerphone. We will do the same this year … maybe I can teach them to Skype at some point. Yeah, probably not.
2) I have hit the 56lb mark and am extremely over the moon. But, as I took the train to pick up my friend from the hospital after he had surgery, I looked at my reflection in the train window and wondered – “When will my brain stop seeing the old me as my reflection and show the me I see in pics or that my friends see?”
I have been plugging away at this weight loss journey for over two years and have the eating and exercise part down, but still struggle on a daily basis with the mental part. I try to turn the negative thoughts in my head to positive, but so many times I catch my reflection and just see the old 217.4lb version. Not really what I want to see.
Anyone in the same boat? The mental hasn’t fully caught up with the physical yet?
(Note: my mental has greatly improved since I hit my first goal weight)
3) I would like to thank all of you taking the time to read my ramblings. I know there are plenty of blogs out there that are written better, have better advice, have had more success, yet you take the time to stop by my space. I appreciate that so much. You hold me accountable and keep me going… Big hugs to all of you!
I mean these two are just too precious for words so they can easily kick off today’s Wordless Wednesday…
I really owe a big thanks to @tryn2bfit for coming up with the #back2basics challenge for December! (I will be carrying it into January for sure!) Not only am I feeling stronger and more in control, but I am seeing major results on the scale. My home scale was telling me to expect a 1.8 lb loss, but instead I saw … 2.2 lbs gone! Wha wha??
Today: Lost 2.2
Starting Weight: 217.4
Today’s Weight: 161.4
Total Lost: 56.0
Pounds From New Goal: 6.4
Since starting the #back2basics challenge at the beginning of the month, I have lost 6.8 lbs!
I can’t believe I FINALLY hit the 55 lb mark. I originally hit the 50 lb mark waaaay back in July (July 5th to be exact). Wow that is a looong time ago. I can’t believe it has taken me over five months to finally cross the threshold of 55 lost. But, I know – that is life. It also gets a lot harder to drop big numbers the closer you are to your goal weight (and technically I am past my original goal weight).
My new goal is to try and hit 25 lbs lost in 2011. Right now I have dropped 23.8 lbs since my first weigh-in in 2011 (January 4). I would need to lose 1.2 lbs at my weigh-in next week. Since work is closed, I will be going to a center meeting (Dec 27 at 8:30am). This meeting will be 3 hours earlier than my normal meeting so I am not sure if that will affect my #s at all. But, I am just going to keep doing what I am doing and hope to see some good results.
I actually sat down and looked at my WW numbers this weekend:
11/2/09 to 1/5/10 – 22.4 lbs lost
1/5/10 to 1/4/11 – only 9.8 lbs lost
1/4/11 to present – 23.8 lbs lost
Total 56.0 gone!
You can really see that something happened in 2010 that slowed me down. During that time, work was so busy that I rarely got to attend an actual WW meeting. I really think that killed my progress. I was only accountable to myself and we all know how much easier it is to lie to ourselves than the WW scale.
But, I am happy to see that I was able to refocus myself and come back strong this year. Having the meetings at work have done wonders for me – and my coworkers. I was really lucky to have the experience. I only hope that we are able to get 20 people in April so we can restart the at work group after it ends on January 17.
Thankfully my boss is super supportive and is letting me come into work a little late on Tuesdays so I can keep attending meetings (8:30am at Wilson Yard). I need those meetings to continue my success … since we all know this is a lifelong journey!
How was your Truth Tuesday?
I am always curious of other people’s gym routines. I stare at other people’s machines while I am at the gym myself. I scrutinize people’s tweets. I scan a ton of people’s blogs. I am intrigued by how different everyone’s gym routines are. Yes, every person is different so this makes sense. But, it is still fascinating how people spend their workout time.
When I first moved to Chicago in 2008 and before I joined WW, I would spend hours at the gym. I was reminded of this last weekend when I was at one of the WW center openings with El.
On a normal day, I would go to the gym for 1.5-2 hours after work … and sometimes even longer. I would get on the elliptical for an hour or so then spend some time on the Stairmaster or the treadmill. I would walk out burning (or so I thought) well over 1,000 calories. (At this time I was trusting what the machines told me I burned – I know better now)
But, when I got home from the gym? I would eat. I would graze. I would drink. I would snack. I would, subconsciously, intake the amount of calories I had just burned. Basically nullifying all the hard work I had just put in.
Well, after searching and studying and seeing what other people do, I realized. I don’t need to spend hours at the gym … unless I want to/have the time to do so .. to succeed and actually lose weight.
As you all know, I have gotten the nutrition/eating/drinking portion of my diet under wraps. Once I started to get a handle on that, I saw the lbs start to come off. Not only that, I feel stronger and fitter (did I make that word up?) than I ever have before…
How long do I spend at the gym now?
I average anywhere from 30 min to 1.5 hours … again depending on how much time I have available.
What have I changed to make it work?
I took a hard look at what I was doing when I was at the gym.
Elliptical? I took my easy 45 minute session and turned it into a power 30 minutes – by setting a goal. I now work to hit at least 1,500 strides per 10 minutes on the Elliptical (Incline 10 – Resistance 6). This came in super handy while I was just coming back from my back surgery. Now, I can go ahead and play around with the Incline/Resistance or increase the strides goal.
Stairmaster? Instead of keeping the level at an even 7 or 8 for 45 minutes to an hour, I now work on intervals. I will go 2-5 minutes at one level, then increase it for the next 2-5 minutes, then increase for next 2-5 minutes, etc. This keeps my body fresh and I feel more of a work out.
Treadmill? A lot of people will either do a walk/run combination. Run for 1 minute – walk for 1 minute – run for 1 minute – walk for 1 minute, etc. You can also do this if you want to run the whole time. You can run for 2 minutes – then Sprint for 1 minute – run for 2 minutes – Sprint for 1 minute, etc. It is all about keeping your body guessing…
In addition, I have thrown in some classes that I would never have done before.
I Spin at least three times a week. I usually go to a Hip Hop class on Sundays. If someone can persuade me, I will also hit up a Zumba class. I have also dabbled in Yoga and Pilates as well – not as much my style, but happy to throw them in to the rotation every once in awhile.
The biggest change?
I now hit the gym in the morning. This has made a huge difference for me. I love to have free reign of the machines since the gym is a lot emptier at 6am. But, I like feeling the burn in the morning because I know it will help me along the day. I like waking my metabolism up so that it works in my favor while I am fueling my body throughout the day.
I know my routine is basically cardio heavy, but that is something I am working on. There needs to be a more balanced approach to my work out so that my body gets the full experience.
In terms of weights, people need to remember to switch up those routines as well. Otherwise your muscles will get used to the same actions and you won’t see results. Good to do arms one day, then legs, back, chest, etc. Spread the love throughout the week.
So what have I really taken away from my workout redo? It doesn’t matter how long you are at the gym – it matters have you spend the time while you are there. Dedicating everything you have to the Stairmaster for 20 minutes is going to pay off a lot more than taking an easy 45 minutes on the Elliptical.
If you are feeling lost in your workouts, ask for help. There are tons of people at your gym, on Twitter or Facebook that would be happy to offer advice.
Just remember, you are only going to get out of your workouts what you put in. Make it count! Push yourself every day! Bump up the resistance in Spin … Push for an extra 300 strides per 10 minutes on the Elliptical … Finally hit 9.0 for a solid minute on the treadmill!
What do you do to get the most out of your trip to the gym?