Tag Archives: weight loss

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? 

On Track

25 Apr

In my old position at work, I was the Wellness Coordinator for our office. My job is to inform our employees of opportunities for preventative health programs with our health insurance provider, promote wellness in the workplace and set up our annual health screening.

Our health insurance provider offers a $10/month premium discount for all members who participate in the annual health screening. If you get a score of “green”, you get to keep your $10 discount automatically. However, if you get a score of “yellow” or “red”, you must first participate in an “engagement” program. This year one of the engagement programs that was offered was that an Exercise Physiologist would come to your workplace and evaluate employees to see where they could improve in their fitness. All employees were welcome to participate (regardless of their health screening score) and I was able to garner quite a bit of interest.

Charles, our EP, put us through a series of tests to evaluate our fitness. He took our blood pressure, our body fat percentage, resting heart rate and waist circumference. Then he had us use some equipment to test our grip strength, we had to step up on a step for 3 minutes to test how quickly our heart rate falls after exercise, and tested our upper body and ab strength with a push-up and sit-up test. After we finished, he would go through our results with us and tell us what we could do to meet the goals we stated to him when we first started.

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the 'well trained athlete' section :)

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the ‘well trained athlete’ section 🙂

As expected, I scored very well in everything but it did show that my body fat percentage, BMI and waist circumference could use some work. Basically, I’m very fit, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. But those are vanity pounds, because all in all I’m in excellent health  — which is all that matters! 

I was really excited to bring this program to my coworkers, and I hope to do it again next year to see how people improve their scores.


In other news, I got up early this morning to hit Crossfit and the workout was a doozie:

800 m run
80 air squats
8 pull-ups

We did this twice through, but with a rest between. The goal was to do it once through, and then try to beat your time the second time through. You would think with all the running I’ve been doing lately, the run would have been the easy part, but it wasn’t! My legs felt like lead through the run and that was definitely the part that held me back. I did the first round in 9:10 and the second round in 8:50, so I was pretty pleased to beat my score, even though I struggled a bit through the workout.

This is definitely a fun workout you could do at the gym or at home! You should try it. I really liked trying to beat my time the second time through, as it forces you to really push.

After Crossfit, Frank and I went for a nice long walk! I’m glad the weather decided to shape up again today. Frank had some pent up energy that needed expended!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever met with an Exercise Physiologist? Did it help you meet your fitness goals? 


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.


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



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.



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.



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. 


Healthy Living Survey

23 Jan

Good morning!

I’ve been feeling like my blog posts have been subpar lately, so I was glad to see this Healthy Living Survey on Tina’s blog  this morning. Maybe it’s a cop out, but I really like to keep up the habit of blogging daily.

Before I get started, I wanted to mention that despite a terrible, very bad, no good day yesterday, I’m feeling much better today! My chipped tooth was driving me crazy yesterday, and it was just a bad day at work. I did manage to go for a run though — well, kind of. I got on the treadmill for 22 minutes and only did 1.81 miles. But, I did it. That’s all that matters! I woke up this morning feeling much better, so I headed to the gym despite the frigid morning temps. I went to the Cardio Fusion class which was a killer today. By the end of the first circuit of weights, the instructor mentioned that it was time for cardio, but my heart was already pumping and my breathing was already heavy! Ha!

1. What did you eat for breakfast? 

No photo of this, because it looks really gross, but I ate peanut butter and jelly oats with an egg, and a very, very ripe pear. I cooked my oats in almond milk, added an egg while it was cooking and added one tablespoon each of peanut butter and preserves. SO good! Also, oatmeal has been keeping me full longer lately.

2. How much water do you drink each day? 

I have a 16 oz. cup on my desk at work that I fill up twice before lunch and three times after lunch. I’ll usually drink about 16 oz. during lunch (sometimes more, sometimes less) and then one or two 16 oz. cups during dinner/afterwards. So, that adds up to….between 112 and 128 oz/day! I’d say that’s an underestimate, however, because I usually drink some before/during/after my workout as well.

2012-11-08 13.12.00

My water cup at work.

3. What is your current favorite workout? 

Uhhh…running? I try so many different workouts, but running is the one thing I do consistently. I really need to get a better weight training schedule!

4. How many calories do you eat a day? 

Well, I don’t keep track. Right now I’m doing Weight Watchers and the thing I love about the new WW Points Plus plan is that calories aren’t even taken into account! Isn’t that awesome? All you put into the calculator is grams of fat, carbs, protein and fiber. I think there is just such an emphasis on calories and it gets confusing — like, the less calories you eat the more weight you will lose, but what people don’t understand is that calories aren’t little packets of evil. Calories are a measure of energy. You must ingest food so that your body can convert it to energy. If you don’t have enough fuel for your cells to make ATP over a long period of time, you will encounter many health problems and it can lead to death in very extreme cases!

Anywho, off my soapbox.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks? 

I’m a snack fanatic. If I don’t pack snacks at work, I turn into a bear that can and will attack the vending machine at any second. My body runs most efficiently if I’m eating often. My favorite snacks consist of a protein source and a carb. For example:

  • Toast with peanut butter
  • An apple and a handful of almonds
  • yogurt and granola
  • cheese and crackers
  • carrots with yogurt dip
  • raw veggies and hummus

You get the point. A protein + a carb = snack satisfaction. I like that! Here’s a pinnable image for you:


6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

I like to eat dinner leftovers, but if that’s not an option, I like soup and sandwiches, and sometimes I’ll just make a big bowl of sauteed veggies with cheese, which is delicious!

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train? 

Upper body for sure. Leg day is a killer.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train? 

I bet you thought I’d say legs, huh? Nope! It’s abs. I almost always avoid doing core specific exercises. I’d rather do sprints to train my core.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings? 

I hate calling food bad! I don’t think foods are bad, but I guess my unhealthiest cravings are super salty, savory food like chicken wings, pizza, chips…

10. Do you take vitamins/supplements? 

I really should. I don’t. I’ll occasionally take Vitamin D and a B complex, but it’s rare. It’s on my to-do list!

11. How often do you eat out? 

We try to eat out only once a week, but I value time with friends so if we’re invited it’s hard to say no!

12. Do you eat fast food? 

Very rarely! I like fast food french fries a lot, but I only eat them once in a blue moon. I really like Taco Bell, and I’ve been craving it for a while now, but I’ve held out. I have a feeling that I’m going to cave to that craving this weekend! P.S. I TRY to stick to the Fresca menu!


13. Who is your biggest supporter? 

Definitely Zach! He supports me in everything I do, not just fitness or health related. If I ever whine about not wanting to work out, he reminds me how much better I always feel after I do. What a guy

2012-08-30 19.46.54

14. Do you have a gym membership? 

Yep! And I’ll never give it up. I am constantly trying to find places to cut spending, but the gym membership is never on the chopping block. Even if I take a break from the gym for a few days to work out at home, having the treadmill for bad weather and the access to the classes is invaluable!

15. How many hours of sleep do you get each night? 

Well, it varies. I try to get 7 solid hours or more each night. I find if I go to bed early enough that I would get a full 8, however, I end up waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep so I think my body requires 6-7 hours. If I let myself sleep and wake up naturally, I usually hit 6 and a half hours before waking.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day? 

I don’t really like the idea of cheat days. FOR ME, I find it hard to get back on track after a full-out extravaganza, so I tend to not do cheat days. I will sometimes allow myself a meal where I don’t concern myself with eating healthy for special occasions, but in general I just try to balance everything out. If I know I’m going out to eat with friends for dinner, for example, I’ll try to eat a little lighter throughout the day.

17. Do you drink alcohol? 


18. Do you have a workout buddy. 

Unfortunately, I don’t. I’d really like to, I think, but I’m the type of person who concerns herself with others, so every time I’ve invited a friend to go workout with me, I end up worrying more about if they are doing ok than what I’m doing.

19. What is the best thing about your life that has changed since you began a healthy lifestyle? 

You know, I think people might think the obvious answer is that I feel better because I lost the weight:

before after

I think the best thing is that while, yes, I feel amazing, I have the most confidence in myself. If someone asked me to climb a mountain with them, I’d do it. I’ve never done it, but I know I can do it. While I have no desire to run a full marathon, I know I have the capability to do it. It’s awesome to feel like you can do anything. The other thing is that I know I’m healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, and if I keep up my lifestyle, I’ll live long enough to do it!

20. What was the last healthy thing you did? 

I  make healthy choices all day long. It’s pretty automatic, now, but sometimes I try. For example, I just made the choice to go to the kitchen at work and fill my water cup, rather than buying a soda from the machine. The 2007 me up there probably would have went soda, but I didn’t even think twice about it.

Question of the Day:
Answer a question above! Or, answer all of them on your blog and link me. 🙂 

Operation: Zip the Wedding Dress.

13 Nov

I got my wedding dress in the mail last week! It’s beautiful. I wish I could share it on this blog, but it’s a secret until the big day. However, there is a slight problem. It fits perfectly everywhere, except right around my rib cage, it won’t zip! I really don’t want to return it for the bigger size, considering that might require a lot of alterations because the rest of the dress fits so well. Also, if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve gained a few pounds that I can stand to lose anyway.

So, Operation Zip the Wedding Dress starts today.

Considering my wedding is still 10 months away, I have plenty of time. So here is my plan:

1. Start Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer

I started this today! Luckily, you do no cardio for the first 4 weeks of the program. This is good, because walking the one block to the gym brought me pain in my knee and Achilles tendon. I think no running or jumping for 4 weeks is just the rest my poor right leg needs. Luckily, today and tomorrow’s workout is upper body. Here’s what I did today:

Wide push-ups — 3 sets of 12
Dumbbell bench press — 3 sets of 12; 12 lb dumbbells
Flat bench cable flyes — 3 sets of 12; 20 lbs
Narrow push-ups — 1 set of 7; 1 set of 6; 1 set of 7 — narrow push-ups are my nemesis
Standing dumbbell extension — 3 sets of 12; 8 lb dumbbells
Triceps pushdowns — 1 set of 12; 60 lbs; 2 sets of 12 40 lbs

It felt weird to just go to the gym, knock out that workout (in 30 minutes) and then leave. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that! But, I definitely feel it. My arms are still jello!

2. Log food with My Fitness Pal; Eat Clean

hate logging my food, but there is no doubt that it works. I actually solidly logged my food for probably 2-3 years, and about a year ago I just got so sick of it and stopped. The Jamie Eason Trainer has an eating plan as well, but I’m not sure I will follow it exactly. I know I need to eat clean to see results, so my main goals are to eat clean at every meal, eat about 6 times a day, drink plenty of water, and log all my food, even if I slip up.

One thing Jamie says to do is to eat your first meal within an hour of waking up. Usually, I just have coffee before the gym and then eat breakfast once I get to work. That means I’m not eating until about 3 hours after I wake up! Probably not good. So this morning, I made some sauteed kale with 3 eggs, toasted a piece of whole wheat bread and cut half an avocado. I put half of the breakfast on a plate and the other half in a Tupperware container to take to work.

I ate this right after getting back from the gym, just about 1 hour after I had woken up. I mashed the avocado onto the toast. It was delicious. I also had a cup of coffee with almond milk and stevia. Yum.

Then, I had the other half of that breakfast when I got to work. I’m nice and satisfied, and will hopefully stay that way until lunch.

…and that’s it! Yep, just exercise regularly and eat right. That’s all it takes to lose weight!

Weight loss can be a touchy subject, so I just want to be clear that I’m not just losing weight to fit into my dress, although it is the motivating factor at this moment. Since I got back from vacation at the end of August, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been off track. Not only have I seen some higher numbers on the scale (not always the most accurate tell of weight gain, by the way), I’ve also noticed that some of  my clothes are a little more snug than they usually are, and I’m getting that icky feeling when I see certain photos of myself (my finish line photos from the half were NOT flattering — and not just because I was clearly in intense pain). I am not an advocate of constantly trying to fit a certain ideal, but I am an advocate of feeling good about yourself. When I don’t feel great about myself, it’s important to me to adjust accordingly.

Question of the Day:
How do you adjust accordingly when you aren’t feeling happy with your body? 

Post-vacation weight gain

4 Sep

I had the best of intentions for this blog while I was on vacation. I was going to post a few times, filling you in on my awesome adventures.

However, like I like to say, “Life got in the Way”

The vacation started off with a bang, with Zach asking me to marry him. After that, my goal to have a stress-free vacation was pretty easy, because I was floating on cloud nine. I’ve always assumed that Zach and I would get married, but the fact that he planned this all out and bought me a gorgeous ring made me feel incredibly special. Now, I get to plan a wedding! That’s actually not something I ever thought that I’d want to do, but recently the idea is growing on me in a big way.

We had the best time. Our house was out of this world incredible, with a pool, a hot tub and direct beach access. Besides a rainy day trek to the Aquarium and a night out for dinner, we spent most of  our time lounging around the house, alternating between the pool and the beach. For your viewing pleasure (and mine), here are some photos:

From top left, our beach, the sunrise, some boys lounging by the pool, sunset, more pool and our last evening at sunset.

Since we’ve been back in town, the weather has been overcast and very humid. I think now that my beach trip is over, I’m ready for cool fall weather!


Now, this is a health and fitness blog, so let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Weight Gain. I didn’t practice much moderation while I was away. I was happy and relaxed so I ate (and drank) whatever I wanted — and a lot of it.

I’m not terribly proud of this, but the important thing is to recognize it and move on. The other thing that happened was that I didn’t get my exercise in like I would have liked. I went for a run three times, once on the beach (that’s hard!). We got home Sunday evening and I haven’t done a bit of exercise since. I’m not going to panic, but I just don’t feel like I have it in me right now. I need to get on a plan, and quick. So, I present you with my my Plan to Lose the Vacation Weight and Prepare for my Wedding:

  1. Resume counting calories: As we know, no amount of exercise will cancel out a poor diet, so my first goal is to resume counting calories using My Fitness Pal. I have been successful using this app in the past, but once you reach a comfortable weight, there comes a time when you have to toss out the calorie counter and go with your gut, so to speak. I’ve done that, it worked, but now I need to lose a few pounds so I’m back!
  2. Get back on my training schedule: This is going to be hard. Exercise is a habit, and once you break it, even for a short amount of time, it’s hard to get back on track. So I will make my training schedule for the rest of the week and I will stick to it. I will report my food and exercise here to be held accountable.
  3. Cut back on alcohol during the week: Since vacation was a bit of a drink-a-thon, it won’t kill me to stop drinking alcohol except on the weekends.
  4. Reduce sugar and grains: As we all know, this is a sure-fire way to lose weight. I’ve become quite accustomed to dessert, and I’m going to have to start subbing fruit instead.
  5. Greatly increase my strength training: Even though I only want to lose a few pounds, I’ve noticed some extra flab and even after I lose those 3 or so lbs of vacation weight, I want to gain some muscle. So I will devise a strength training plan that I will stick to for 6 weeks. I will post a plan here tomorrow.

As a way to be held accountable, here are my stats:

My comfortable, usual weight is 148 lbs. This morning, I weighed in at 151.7. Not terrible, and definitely doable. The main issue I have is that I have some flab, so the strength training in addition to my half-marathon training will help with that.

Question of the Day:
What do you do when you know you need to lose a few pounds? 

Well, maybe I’m a blogger after all.

11 Jul

I read a lot of blogs every single day. In fact, I subscribe to over 50 healthy living, fitness or weight loss blogs on my Google Reader. Recently, I started to wonder if I had anything to add to this already substantial community, so I asked my friend Ashley, who is a writer and has her own blog, if she could help me think of a unique idea for my blog.

As usual, the answer was right in front of my face, I just needed a wiser friend to guide me there (luckily, I have no shortage of wise friends).

In 2008, The Centers for Disease and Prevention named the town where I live, Huntington, WV, the fattest and unhealthiest city in America. As you can see from the graphic below, Huntington wasn’t doing so well in 2008:


Even worse, if you read this article, it seemed like we didn’t really care, either.

So, let’s recap: We aren’t even the largest town in one of the least populated states, and we are the fattest and unhealthiest city in the whole country! Well, we were. I’m not sure if this study has been replicated, but I would say that things have changed in the past four years.

Interestingly enough, my personal health overhaul story mimics Huntington’s. I’m not originally from Huntington, or even West Virginia. I grew up just outside of Pittsburgh, and my family still lives there. I came to Huntington to go to school and I stayed here. I was semi-active in High School, but became sedentary afterwards. I slowly gained weight until one day (around 2008), I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I had allowed my weight to get out of control, and on a Thanksgiving day at my parent’s house in Pennsylvania, I stepped on a scale and realized that I weighed over 200 lbs!

I was devastated, to say the least, but after years of saying, “I’ll get around to losing the weight….someday,” that day I decided it was time to make some serious changes.

When I got back to Huntington, I joined the local Weight Watchers. I couldn’t afford to pay the weekly fee, so I took the materials and followed the program on my own. I did a little exercise, but not much. I ended up losing about 40 pounds.

I was pretty stoked about those 40 lbs!


Circa 2007, at my heaviest weight.


A little less than one year later, 40 pounds lighter

After I lost those initial 40 pounds, I made the mistake I think a lot of people make when they lose a significant amount of weight — I thought I was done. I knew I couldn’t go back to my bad habits, but I thought I could stop “trying” and just move on. I certainly wasn’t at my “goal” weight — not even close (I’m still not at that long ago decided on “goal weight”) — but I felt better so I just moved on with my life.

When I noticed a few months later that I the weight had started to creep back up, I realized that I needed to get back on track. I got back on the Weight Watchers train, but this time I decided to incorporate more exercise into my routine. I started (and completed) the Insanity program from Beachbody, and then I decided to try “running” (when I first started, I was doing a lot more walking!) The rest, as they say, is history. I found my passion in fitness. I love all kinds of fitness endeavors: Running, group fitness classes, swimming, weight lifting — I’ll try anything! I will admit, eating healthfully is still a struggle. I do the best I can, my asking myself what my best choices are every day, but I still slip up — probably even once a day! But all in all, I’ve maintained a 70 pound weight loss from that Thanksgiving Day in 2007 — plus or minus a few pounds here and there.

But what about Huntington? How is it doing?

Well, the answer is, I don’t really know. Since that study came out in 2008, Jamie Oliver came to Huntington and filmed a show about reforming our school lunch programs (from what I’m told, some of his changes stuck!), several organizations have popped up trying to promote health and fitness around our town, and I personally have noticed a huge trend toward fitness. I think every warm season, I see more and more people walking and jogging around town.

Which brings us to now. I love this town. A lot of people have problems with Huntington, but I’ve found a life here. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and despite it’s problems, Huntington can be beautiful. I want to help my town become the best it can be, while helping me be the best I can be too. So that’s what I’ll focus on here. Maybe I’ll learn about new fitness classes, or visit our local fresh markets. Sometimes I’ll just talk about everything I ate that day or what I did to work out. Maybe sometimes I’ll just talk about life.

But hopefully, you’ll find something of interest here.

Before I go, I’ll share this photo I made of my ‘before and after’. I found the ‘before’ picture on my hard drive, and I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve seen this picture since I was that large, and looking back at it, I can’t believe I ever was.

I used to hate that photo, but I am trying to find some pride in it. I deserve it!

Thanks for reading!