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On Weight Gain and Being OK With It

7 Feb

Hello!

There is something I want to say, and although I rarely blog, this is a topic I would like to blog about. But first, let me rewind.

bigger

I’ve been a lot of sizes over the past 8 years or so. The photo above is probably not me at my heaviest, but it’s close. Here are some at my smallest, and there are more because  I can look back and go “Damn, girl”:

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

So all in all, after weighing over 200 lbs in 2007 (ish), I’ve lost and kept off about 50-60 lbs. That number has gone as high as 70 total pounds lost, but has settled on about 50 at this point in time. Although it’s been almost 7 years since I began my weight loss journey, I still worry about getting back up there, and when I recently gained 20 lbs after my wedding, I got a little freaked out. You’ve heard the statistics that so many people gain back the weight they have lost. It’s sort of similar to being in remission from a life-threatening illness, the longer you go without gaining back the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off, but it’s always a struggle. I hate to compare my weight loss to a life-threatening illness — being overweight, despite the horror stories, isn’t a death sentence. Everybody has a different body type — I just knew I had let my body type get a little to heavy when I decided to lose the weight.

So, here I am 7 years later. So much has changed. I went to graduate school, and got a job that has nothing to do with what I went to graduate school for. I met the love of my life, and a bunch of really great long-lasting friends. I got engaged, married, bought a house and adopted a dog. Life was good, so we went out for wings, and beers. We stayed at home and got pizza. Then I stepped on the scale and noticed that I had re-gained 20 (ish) pounds.   My immediate reaction was to freak out, and express my discomfort with my husband, who of course said I looked great but he supported whatever I wanted to do.

So, I started working out again and trying to eat right. I’ve been doing that for about 2 months now and I’ve lost about….6 ounces. That is not a joke, I literally have lost 6 ounces in two months. But, then something amazing happened. I looked in the mirror and decided I liked what I saw. I can’t squeeze into my size 6’s, and my size 8’s look a little silly on me. But I decided that I didn’t care.

I’m still working out (although not nearly at the intensity I once did — I now consider going for a long walk a workout, and the old me would have, well, not), and I’m tracking my food through My Fitness Pal, but I don’t stress if I go over my calorie count. I can’t say I would be comfortable gaining any more weight, but I can say I don’t really care if I lose anymore. It’s all about comfort, and I feel like I’ve gotten there.

 

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What to do When Your Pants Won’t Fasten

2 Jan

Wear a dress and tights. Done and done.

….just kidding. Honestly though, it’s the first (ok, second, but yesterday doesn’t count, right?) day of the year, and it’s time to be brutally honest with myself: My pants don’t fit anymore. The ironic part of this is that when I got out of the shower this morning, I thought I looked pretty good, but as soon as I pulled on the Gap khakis (size 8) that I purchased just a few months ago, my self esteem took a nose dive. Not only did they not fasten, but I could barely pull them past my hips.

I've fully embraced the "leggings as pants" trend anyway

I’ve fully embraced the “leggings as pants” trend anyway

I’ve said this on some social media site recently, so forgive me for repeating myself, but the Newlywed 15 is more nefarious than the Freshman 15 because I have less free-time than I did in college and I don’t have 24 hour access to a fitness facility. I’m afraid to step on the scale, because I think the Newlywed 15 is more like the Newlywed 20 and if you’re anything like me, seeing those numbers is a recipe for feeling terrible about myself.

I’d like to make a disclaimer here about weight loss. It’s a tricky subject, isn’t it? On one hand, we all want see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain size, but on the other hand, we all want to enjoy life and not have to worry about cutting portions or watching what we eat. It’s important to keep that balance. I firmly believe that it’s important to not obsess about weight — it never leads to a good outlook on life. However, it’s also important to not let your weight get out of control, because health.

The good news is that it’s January, and that means that everyone is trying to get healthy. New apps are emerging, my beloved Weight Watchers just introduced a fun new plan, and there will be a lot of people to share with me a commitment to getting healthy. So, without further ado:

Six Ways to Fit in My Pants Again

  1. Limit alcohol — Things have gotten a little boozy in the Browning household, and that’s got to stop. Not only for my waistline, but for my health. Last night, I couldn’t sleep , so I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, which is an excellent book. If you have trouble sleeping, losing weight, have a low sex drive, are losing more hair than you think you should — pretty much anything — you should probably pick up this book. Hormone imbalance is more of a problem for women than men and Dr. Gottfried’s holistic and medical approach to balancing your hormones is pretty fascinating. Anywho, what this has to do with limiting alcohol is that I took some of the quizzes in the book and the hormone imbalances that I seem to fit into (high cortisol, low progesterone, high estrogen) all recommend severely limiting alcohol. Good for my health, good for my waist.
  2. Keep a Food Journal — Ugh, this. This is where I’m going to struggle. Listen, I kept a strict food journal for years people, so every time I think I should start again I get this little voice in my head that says, “NO! NO! Please don’t maaaaaake me!” — but here’s the thing: The years that I kept the journal? I lost 70 lbs and kept it off. So guess what? It works. Suck it up, Browning! (aww, isn’t that cute — it’s the first time I’ve derogatorily called myself by my new last name)
  3. Learn to sleep again — Good health and weight loss isn’t JUST about food and exercise. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past, and up until recently, I thought I had it licked — but about one to two nights a week, I’m laying in bed wide awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. The specific way I’m going to handle this is no more phone in bed. I’m the worst about staring at my phone while I’m laying in bed, and although usually I can fall asleep despite that, I know it’s not good for my sleep patterns. So, from now on the phone isn’t going to even be by my bed — I’m going to plug it in across the room. However, I’m allowing myself the Kindle in bed. I need to read in bed.
  4. Drink more water — I used to be very good at this too, but I’ve noticed that while I still drink water while I’m at work all day, I don’t drink nearly as much at home.
  5. Move more — I haven’t put any exercise related steps in here, because I’m pretty happy with my current exercise level – I’m working out 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I don’t want to push it more than that because I want to be able to run without injury. I do need to incorporate more yoga and strength training, but that will come in time (especially since I don’t want to run on non-training days). By move more, I mean taking Frank for more walks, getting out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off for some light calisthenics or stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and making sure to get out of my desk chair every 30 minutes.
  6. Keep myself accountable — I need to keep blogging. I need to keep blogging. If you read this (maybe nobody does) and you notice me slacking off, ask me about it. Liz, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I started back up again 😉 Even if nobody reads my blog, it works to keep my honest about my healthy efforts.

I’ve already started some changes that I’d like to tell you about:

training journal

 

Sorry for the dark iPhone photo, but I purchased the Runner’s World Training Journal. I’ve found digital mile tracking (with apps like Nike+, a Garmin watch and/or just keeping track of my treadmill miles on my phone) to be incredibly convenient, but with so many different methods of tracking, it’s hard to see the big picture of my training. So I’ve decided to try to keep track of all of my miles in this book for 2014. I’ll do a full review of this training log once I’ve used it a  bit more.

green smoothie

Green smoothies! These are all the rage, aren’t they? (P.S. I maintain that you can be successful in weight loss and still eat bagels, thank you very much #notafraidofcarbs) My bestest friend Allison was generous enough to give me a Ninja blender for a wedding gift and man, I love that baby. The above green smoothie had banana, apple, cucumber and collard greens if you can believe it. Plus half a squeezed lemon and some water to thin it out. It was delicious (and nutritious). I’d really like to start incorporating more of these into my diet.

run with Frank

Outdoor running! Yesterday, the weather was amazing — 50 degrees and sunny — the perfect outdoor running weather, so I took Frank out for my training run and then we walked to the dog park and home. We both got a good amount of exercise in and we felt great afterwards. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse here in the next couple of days, but I’d really like to take advantage of these good weather days when they come around.

So, that’s that. My pants don’t fit — but I have a plan. To be honest, I don’t really care about looking “hot” or getting a “beach body” — my priorities have changed. I figure if I can keep myself feeling comfortable in the clothes I have, then I won’t have to worry about my weight spiraling out of control.

Question of the Day:
How do you know when you’ve gained a few pounds? 

 

I’m Running a Trail Race…In Two Days!!

23 May

Well, good afternoon! How is your day going? Despite some work stress, mine is going pretty well.

Last night, I went out to dinner with some girlfriends for a friend’s birthday. Let’s just say I indulged in a few beers! I knew my Diet Bet was ending today, but I threw caution to the wind — I’ve been so good — and just went for it. When I woke up this morning (with quite the headache), I got a message that it was time for the final weigh in. Uh oh!

But, I did it!

image (1)

 

I wish I had taken the pictures from the same perspective, but it was early. Anyway, I lost a total of 6.8 lbs, and it feels great to have won! I don’t know if you can really tell that I lost weight, but I can tell. 5-7 lbs is the perfect amount of loss to really note a difference in how your clothes fit. I’m not sure how much I won yet, but I know I’ll get my $35 back at least, and that’s all that I was shooting for.  A side note — do you like my tank top? Old Navy active wear strikes again!

My weigh in this morning was actually quite dramatic. I stepped on the scale, noticed I had won and was so excited!! I immediately weighed in on Diet Bet and got my secret word to take my final weigh in pictures. Then, I moved my scale to the kitchen for the photos and stepped on — somehow I had gained half a pound, putting me over my final weigh in. WHAT!? So, I decided to go for a run before I took my photos, but even after sweating through 3.1 miles, it was still showing that number when I stepped on. Finally, I moved the scale back to the bathroom and I was back to the original weight. I quickly snapped my photo before I gained other pound, haha. I think I might need a new scale!

Now, to the title of this post. I was browsing Facebook on my phone this morning when I ran across this:

trail race

 

…which immediately sparked my interest! A moonlight trail run? On the night of a full moon!? Sign. Me. Up.

full moon

I immediately shared the event, and my friend Sarah mentioned that she was running the 3.5 mile and asked if I wanted to tag along. Yes, yes, I do! I’m super pumped about this and hopefully I’ll do ok despite the fact that I haven’t ever run trails really. Haha, I’ll just take it easy 🙂

I’m debating joining another Diet Bet to keep my momentum going. I’ll let you know what I decide!

Question of the Day:
What motivates you to stick to your healthy lifestyle? 

Speed

24 Apr

This post isn’t about drugs.

Good news! I’m getting faster! I really thought my pace was done forever after my injury in the half marathon in November, but my goal of reaching 600 miles in the year of 2013 has done great things for my performance. I’ve noticed that my ‘comfortable’ pace is well under 10 minutes/mile and when I push it, I can hold an 8 – 8:30 pace for a while.

I pushed my pace on yesterday’s run, and good thing I did, because when I was done, I got this little gem:

2013-04-24 13.24.25

…and then Shalane Flanagan congratulated me. No big deal. Of course I played her congratulations message about 10 times in a row.

I’m really enjoying outdoor running — the weather has been perfect. However, we’re having a chilly, breezy and rainy day today and surprisingly I’m a little excited at the prospect of getting back on the treadmill this evening. I spent the first three months of the year cursing the damn treadmill, so I was pretty surprised to be looking forward to it. I think I’ll do some inclines tonight — that’s something I’ve shied away from in the past, but I really need to start doing more hill work. It will definitely benefit me in the long run. If you want to become a stronger and faster runner, you’ve got to head for the hills.

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In other news, I completed my first week of Weight Watchers!

weight

 

I didn’t really lose 4.6 pounds. When I signed up for Weight Watchers, I was laying in bed and I estimated my starting weight, so I was about a pound and a half off, but 3 pounds is great, and to be honest I don’t think I was as careful with tracking as I should have been. Please ignore the fact that I only have 3 points left for the day. I still have a workout to go, and my boss took me out to lunch today.

I also submitted my weigh in for Sarah’s Diet Bet. I can’t believe the pot of money up for grabs is over $13,000! This is probably the largest Diet Bet I’ve seen. You still have time to jump in if you’re interested. $35 to buy into the game, and if you lose 4% of your body weight, you’ll definitely get that back!

So everything is going well! I’m glad to be participating in Weight Watchers and the Diet Bet, because when workouts don’t happen, I don’t feel as bad when my eating is under control.

Question of the Day:
What are you doing to keep your health in check this Spring? 

Let’s Talk Food

18 Apr

I have a confession — I have not been eating well at all. Dinners out galore (not good for my waistline OR my wallet), lots of beer and cocktails, and out of control snacking has made my weight go up a bit lately. Usually I just don’t worry about the scale at all — I focus on how my clothes fit, but those are also a bit tight so the time has come to do something about it.

blog

 

The problem is motivation. While my motivation to work out hasn’t waned (much), my motivation to eat the right way has been nil. The warmer weather brings lots of hang outs with friends, which usually include alcoholic beverages and food.

However, one definite good thing is that I am devouring produce like crazy lately.

sandwich

 

Especially tomatoes and avocados. I’ve really missed them over the winter! If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy an egg sandwich, mashing an avocado on one half and slicing a tomato on the other half is perfection, I tell ya.

But here’s the thing: I need more help than just adding healthy things back into my diet. I need to cut back on the fatty foods, and my portion sizes. I’m about to make another confession and I hope you don’t judge me. Last night, when I got home from work (late), Zach wasn’t home. Since I didn’t have anyone to cook a healthy meal for, I decided to make myself some macaroni and cheese.

Bad idea.

I really like macaroni and cheese. I can’t control myself around it. I made it and thought, “I can have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!” — there weren’t any leftovers.

Yep, I ate 990 delicious calories of macaroni and cheese. Now, I’m not beating myself up over it — today is a new day — but I did feel awful the rest of the night because I was way too full. No lean protein, no veggies. Just enriched white macaroni covered in salty cheese. Yuck! I think it was the push I needed — I decided to start Weight Watchers, again. But this time I’m doing it right! I actually signed up online and paid the $60 for 3 months. I know I’ll stick with it if my money is on the line.

more blog photos

So, I started tracking today. I’m feeling better already! Plus, I probably will love it when I fit into my wedding dress in 5 months 🙂

Question of the Day:
Have you ever eaten an entire box of macaroni and cheese? Please tell me I’m not alone. 

 

I’m an #Elf4Health

28 Nov

Boy, am I loving the #Elf4Health challenge! It has really pushed me to get back on track with my health and fitness.

Yesterday was hard, you guys. As I have mentioned a few times here, I have put on a few pounds since August. Ok, let’s be honest: I’ve gained approximately 7 pounds since August. A little more than 2 lbs a month. Things that I know I can do to combat the weight gain: Track my calories, increase my weight training and decrease my cardio (i.e., running). I know that last one sounds counterintuitive, but when I’m running a lot, I get hungry, and when I’m hungry, I eat. I will not starve myself!

Anywho, yesterday I woke up at 3:00 AM feeling just….terrible about myself. Negative thoughts were racing through my head and I just felt bad about myself. I have no idea why my negative thoughts choose to manifest themselves at 3:00 AM, but it’s quite annoying. I decided that it was time to use the skills that I already have to get rid of the extra weight. Luckily, the #Elf4Health Challenge is in full swing!

 

It’s nice to have people cheering you on, so I’m grateful for this challenge right now. We’ve had a couple of challenges so far:

  • Go Meatless! — I shared my favorite meatless recipe with my (vegan) partner (Mama Pea’s Roasted Chickpea Tacos — yum!), and I made myself a new veggie burger recipe. I used to make myself veggie burgers all the time — homemade are so much better than the frozen store-bought ones — but I’ve fallen out of the habit. Zach and I have burger night at least once a week, and I’ve been lazy and just eating his beef burgers, which I know isn’t good for me. The veggie burgers are so much healthier. So I made a batch of these mushroom veggie burgers and boy, am I glad I did. I can’t wait to have another for lunch! In fact, it has inspired me to do a post on a veggie burger recipe round-up tomorrow.
  • Send a hand-written note — I used the opportunity of yesterday’s challenge to get a jump start on my Christmas cards! Thanks #Elf4Health, I’ve been meaning to get that done 😉
  • Try a new workout — This is today’s challenge. I woke up this morning and I did a 10 minute warm up on the elliptical and today’s LiveFit Trainer workout (legs — and in week three, it’s getting tougher! My legs have been jelly ever since!), so that doesn’t count. Since I work at the library, I think I’ll head downstairs to the fitness DVD section later and see if I can’t find something different to try 🙂

So, to say that this challenge has benefited me would be absolutely correct. I’m “meeting” new people (and finding new blogs to read — my favorite!) and trying new things, and most importantly, getting things done!

Another thing I’ve been inspired to do is to start logging my meals again on My Fitness Pal:

Just a sample of yesterday’s food log.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with keeping  a food log, so here is my pro/con list:

  • Pros
  •  Logging keeps you accountable for what you eat and it makes you conscious of your food choices.
  • It’s easy to do, especially with the internet and smart phones, but even if you prefer writing everything down, it’s easy enough to keep a notebook on you all the time.
  • It works if you are trying to lose weight — it is the #1 thing you should do if you want to lose weight. It has been proven that if the only thing you do is start writing down everything you eat, you will lose weight.
  • It’s easy to keep track of all your macros (protein, fat, carbs, etc) to see what you’re getting too much of or not enough of.

…and

  • Cons
  • It makes me feel tied down.

Yep, that’s the only con I have, but it’s a big one because it provides this huge mental block for me. I feel tied down to this app, like I can’t just do what I want. I get kind of down on myself, like, “I should be able to eat sensibly without this ball and chain!” I don’t have a fear of commitment until it comes to my diet, it turns out.

Well, yes, I can eat sensibly without it. I did it for over a year. But sometimes you need to re-set. Sometimes you need to be strict with yourself to re-learn lost lessons, and that’s what I’m doing by logging again. I make a lot of promises on this blog — sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don’t, but today I’m pledging to stick with logging my meals for one month — taking a break for my birthday/Christmas (same day). I need to re-learn lost lessons. If I’ve seen progress in that month (which, duh, of course I will!), then I will reassess. Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — whatever! — and get on me to keep it up, please!

Question:
What do you find is your biggest challenge as far as sticking with a healthy lifestyle? 

Thankful Every Day.

23 Nov

I hope your Thanksgiving went well! Mine sure did, everything went really well.  I took Wednesday off of work to prep for the big day, and I sure am glad that I did! Thursday was pretty relaxing, up until right before the meal. After I put the turkey (15 lbs) in the oven at 11:00 AM (anticipating a 4-4 1/2 hour cook time), Zach and I just relaxed and watched Sons of Anarchy repeats. My beast of an oven managed to cook my entire turkey in 3 hours, however, so I panicked a little! The internet told me to wrap the turkey in several layers of aluminum foil and a towel to keep the warmth in, so that’s what I did. It worked out pretty well.

The rest of the meal was great. I actually didn’t eat very much, I had a bit of a nervous stomach. I did get to have two desserts though:

I wish I had more photos of the meal itself, but between running around to get everything on the table and cooking, I didn’t stop to snap many photos, so here is a collage of some of my photos from yesterday:

 

I read a lot of posts yesterday listing what everyone was thankful for, and they were great! It’s inspiring to hear all the positive things in people’s lives. I have a few things I’d like to mention that I’m thankful for, even though it’s a day late 🙂

My family. I have the best family there is, and I don’t get to see them nearly often enough, but they are the best, most supportive family a girl could have

Zach. I never knew what it truly meant to be “in love with your best friend” until he came along. I couldn’t be happier that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

My kitties, even the fat, grumpy one !


My health. Sometimes I’m down on my body for various reasons, but it’s good to remember that I have my strength, and that’s all that is important.

My friends! I have the best friends around, truly! I got so many supportive texts, tweets and Facebook messages yesterday, because everyone knew how nervous I was to cook my first full Thanksgiving meal. I appreciate it so much!

I’m thankful for a billion more things, but I think I’ll stop there for now.

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In other news, I’m still going strong on the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer, and I’m happy to report I’ve dropped a few pounds. I’m a cardio junkie, it’s true, and I’ve always heard that if you keep the cardio to a minimum, you can actually lose more weight (if you do it right). I think the fact that I’m lifting heavy and not focusing on the cardio (although I did do some light cardio here and there) is really showing me that I don’t have to do cardio every single day to see results. This is really helpful for being able to stick with the plan!

I signed up for Lindsey and Ella’s Elf for Health, which sounds SO fun! Basically, they are hosting a six-week challenge that starts the Monday after Thanksgiving. I really love blog challenges, but I don’t always stick with them (ahem, the October Yoga Challenge — although I did do WAY more yoga that month, and Carrots n Cake’s plank challenge), I’m really going to try to stick with this! It may be easier because the coolest part of this challenge is that you get a buddy to pair up with for each round! If you think you might be interested in participating (you don’t have to have a blog to participate!), click on the button below:

 

 

Question of the Day:
How was your Thanksgiving?

What do you do to stay on track with your health and fitness over the Holiday season?