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Today I participated in the San Jose 408K (5 miles), which benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. It was part of Race the Bay, a 3-part race series around the Bay Area.  It was my first time doing this race, but I think it’s going to become an annual event for me.

The fun thing about this race was that I organized a group of my colleagues to participate in it with me.  When I first heard about the race, I asked my principal if she would mind if I organized a group of faculty to do the race, and she did me one better and said that she’d pay for everyone’s bibs!  How generous!  My original thought was that we could all train together, as we did for our powderpuff football game, for months before the race.  The only kink in that plan was that those months coincided with soccer season; the team uses the same field that our track is on.  But these were a committed group of racers who put in the hours in their neighborhoods and on treadmills to get ready for the race.  I’ve been overwhelmed by all the thank-yous and expressions of gratitude that my colleagues have given me! They loved that we were doing something that was so healthy and fun.

2014-03-02 06.24.10 What’s a race without my usual bathroom selfie?  Since our school colors are blue and gold, I’d asked one of our school’s families who own a screen printing shop if they would help us design a training tee. My original vision was that we’d wear it when  we were training together, but since we didn’t end up training together, we all decided to be distinctive and wear our specialy-created shirts during the race.  And I love that my Sparkly Soul headband matches perfectly!  I have to say, I’m surprised by how bright-eyed I look in that shot, because I started off the morning very early (I woke up at 5am before my alarm!) to make sure I was down at the race in plenty of time to hang up this poster I had my students make for us to put up in a meeting area. (One really cool NSV this morning was that one of the teachers said that she’d seen me from across the street, but had no idea it was me until she got closer; then she complimented me on my weight loss).

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Isn’t it adorable?!

1656061_10102504660372363_490544330_nI was really impressed that we had 27 of the 30 teachers who signed up show up today.  It was a chilly, damp morning and the lure of a warm bed was huge, but they were dedicated and determined.  For quite a few of them, this was their first race ever, so it’s all the more impressive that they were doing 5 miles.

2014-03-02 15.53.39 As we waited for the race to start, we snapped tons of pictures, one of which I took. See all those people wearing blue behind us, they are all part of the group…

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The race itself was a beautiful course that featured different radio stations at each of the mile markers.  I had decided to walk today’s race for a few reasons: 1). Most of the faculty had decided to walk, and I thought it would be a lot more fun to be part of that group, 2). I haven’t done a 5-mile run/walk before, and I wasn’t sure if this was the day to try it, and 3). I woke up with a sore ankle and thought it was better not to push it.

I’m really glad that I ended up walking because it was a lot of fun to chat with a few of my colleagues as we completed the race.  And I’m proud to tell you that I kept up with the “talls” who have long legs and a fast stride.  For this 5’3″ girl, keeping up with these lanky ladies is pretty remarkable!  We walked the entire course, until the final stretch, where we decided to finish strong and run into the finish line.

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We started to run right before this point, but once I saw that Finish sign, it really powered me through.

I’m happy to say that every one of the faculty who started the race finished it!  We all had such a good time that we’ve decided we want to make it an annual team building event.  After the race we all headed to breakfast, where we toasted with mimosas and enjoyed egg white omelets (or, at least, that’s what I ordered).

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All smiles after the race, sporting our “race bling!”

In terms of my own race, I felt strong and confident the entire time.  My sore ankle only bothered me for the last half mile, which wasn’t too bad.  The only pain I have now, beyond the normal post-race muscle soreness, is a tiny blister on the bottom of my left foot, which is thanks to a poor choice of socks.  But really, I had so much fun at this race, especially during “mariachi mile,” when groups of mariachis played for us for our last mile.  1655341_724409950912195_61886308_o

It really was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. We decided we’re all wearing our race bling and the official race shirts to school tomorrow, to show off our accomplishment.  Fun!

Considering that I walked 99.5% of the race, I’m especially proud of my time today!

2014-03-02 14.17.25

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Lately the work clothes side of my closet has been looking like someone snuck in and stole everything they could get their hands on.  Lots of wide, open space and nothing but empty hangers. It’s definitely seen better days. I’ve been “getting by” wearing jeans and sweaters, but now that the weather is getting nicer outside (aside from the rainstorm we’ve had the last few days), it was time to do something about it.

The thing is, I haven’t wanted to spend tons of money because I’m still losing weight rapidly and sizes don’t last long.  So, I figured a trip to Marshall’s was in order.

When I was wearing sizes 28, 26, or even 24, I could never shop at Marshall’s because they never had anything that fit me.  And on the off chance that they actually had a garment in my size, it was never the right fit – too boxy, too “old lady,” or just too ugly.  I longed for the day when I could walk into Marshall’s and find a bunch of clothes in my size that looked good on me for a great deal.

Well, I’m so thrilled to announce that today was that day!!

First let’s start with the things that didn’t work…

For one reason or another, these didn't make it out of the dressing room.

For one reason or another, these didn’t make it out of the dressing room.

  • The top left was a cute INC shirt in medium, and I was all set to get it, until I noticed that it had a bead missing on that accessory in the middle.
  • The bottom left was a size large and just too loud.  I grabbed it and thought maybe it would look better on than it had on the hanger, but no dice.  Plus, it had a dolman sleeve style which doesn’t look good on me.
  • I almost brought home this bright orange top on the right.  It’s from Juicy Couture, and I loved how happy it looked. It was also a medium.  In the end, it was $30, and while that’s a good price for the brand, I didn’t want to spend that much on it.

Ok, so let’s get to the things that came home with me. Let me preface these photos by explaining that I had on skinny jeans and Uggs, and because the dressing rooms at Marshall’s have bare floors, and I didn’t have socks on, I didn’t want to take off my Uggs or jeans.  Which is why you see the jeans around my ankles, which is an oh-so-Klassy (yes, classy with a K) look.

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The thing that I love about this dress is how thin I feel in it.  It’s got a racer back, and has a gold zipper on the outside of the dress in the back that adds a perfect touch of style.  It has side pockets, too, which are really convenient.  I can’t believe that it’s a size L and it’s not tight at all in the booty, hips, or thighs. And with a price tag of $29.99, it was definitely coming home with me.

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I loved this pattern because it’s very spring-like and happy, but it’s still sophisticated.  This one is a faux-wrap dress, and it hits me just at the knee.  It’s a bit clingy in the hips & booty, but that’s what shapers are for.  And actually, don’t mind that it’s slightly fitted because it will fit me for quite some time. This dress was also priced right at $29.99.

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This outfit makes me feel young and light.  The skirt is slightly short, but I think it will look great with tights.  Plus, I can wear a skirt for a lot longer than I can pants. When pants get too big, they are really unflattering.  When this skirt starts to get a bit bigger, it will rest lower on my hips, and it will still be a good length. The skirt was $30, which is a good price for the brand. And this top… it’s a medium! I love the color blocking because it’s so flattering, and the hot pink color is really my favorite. The top was $16.99, which is an amazing deal!

So, I got two dresses, a skirt, and a top!  Three cute outfits, two pieces of which I can mix and match with other things.  Oh, and I also picked up an SF Giants woman’s tee ($12.99) that I’m going to wear to the BBQ tomorrow.  And because it’s Marshall’s, I also picked up an 18-pack of Tully’s Hawaiian coffee K-Cups (to get me in the mood for my trip!) for $8.99 and an Alladin stainless steel coffee tumbler for $5.99.  My total bill was $149.53 for all of that stuff! Not too shabby!!

The Marshall’s I went to had a huge activewear section that I didn’t even go through because I was trying to show some restraint.  Believe me, I’m going to be a regular customer of that section very soon.

I had an amazing day today!  Shopping is always fun, but shopping for clothes like these in sizes like this was truly exceptional.  I was so proud as I slipped each item on and saw how it looked reflected back to me in the mirror.  And when I look at these photos as I’m writing this post, I am really thrilled that I see collar bones jutting out, dimples prominently displayed, and such a happy look on my face.  Losing 125 pounds is an awesome accomplishment, but seeing myself as this new, dare-I-say…thin woman is breathtaking.

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2014-02-02 09.10.57

February – love is in the air, and this month is going to be all about loving myself enough to continue making 2014 my year to shine. I’m vowing here and now that I will reach my goal weight in 2014. What an amazing accomplishment it will be! To achieve my goals, I’m going to focus on the basics – eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins and getting in 5 cardio workouts a week. I’ve started strength training with #ToneItUp and their #LoveYourBody series is helping see just how strong I am as I change my body. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend. This month is going to be all about loving all the little things that make life special. My Sunday progress updates will be called Fabulous February Weigh-Ins.

Week 39 was nothing short of amazing!  I had the entire week off, got to spend time with a few different friends, planned to try a bunch of new fitness classes at the gym, like Spin and Zumba Step, and it was also my 9-month surgiversary.

So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 189.6, which is a loss of 4.2 pounds this week, and a loss of 87.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 125.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 39.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. What an amazing week!!  I’m in the 180s!!!!!  I haven’t seen a loss this big in quite some time, and I can only attribute it to the fact that I didn’t have any stress, could spend the days working out and drinking plenty of water, and cooked delicious, healthy meals for myself.

This week someone told me I was lucky to have lost so much weight since surgery.  I responded that luck had nothing to do with it, that it was a lot of hard work.  And it has been.  I haven’t just sat back and let the weight loss happen.  I’ve put in the effort of planning, shopping, cooking, and logging each meal.  I’ve spent the time in the gym, on the track, and on the hybrid.  I’ve chosen to make the most out of these first 9 months after surgery because I know it’s when the maximum weight loss happens.  I’ve changed my life.  And that has made all the difference. That’s why I know I’ll reach every single goal I set for myself.

I had a lot of time this week off to celebrate my successes.  I was able to write lots of blog posts, and reflecting like that really helps me put things into perspective.  I am in completely new territory in terms of my weight, and I don’t want to forget any of these moments.  For so long I dreamed of arriving at this moment, and I don’t want to take a second of it for granted.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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bilbl_superI’d been looking forward to trying Zumba Step for the past month, ever since I first saw the flyer for the new class at my gym.  The only problem was, they only offered classes while I was at work – 11am on Thursdays and 8am on Fridays. So having this week off, I knew I wanted to try the class out.

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I love the music and the energy of Zumba classes, and I used to have fun taking step classes back in the day, so I figured the combination of the two could be really fun…or a catastrophe.  I could see myself tripping over the step as I tried to samba to the beat.

The teacher had brought two other instructors with her so that people on each side of the room could have someone to follow along.  She told us to grab a step, and at the most, to get one riser.  I decided to stick with the step by itself for this first class.

The class was really fun.  The teacher did a great job of cueing us about the moves ahead of time.  The difference between this class and a regular Zumba class was that the step was used about half the time to add some height to some of the moves.  We did the usual step-ups and knee raises, but included swaying hips and fun arm movements.  I’m happy to say there was absolutely no tripping over the step.

I’ll definitely take the class again.  I like the challenge including the step adds, and I could definitely feel it the next day.  As the class becomes more popular, I know they’ll add more sessions in the evening and weekends.  In fact, in checking the schedule just now, I saw that they now offer a class at 8:30pm on Tuesdays, so I’ll probably incorporate it into my schedule a couple of times a month.

The thing I really loved about the class was my own personal progress from the last time I took a Zumba class.  I haven’t taken a Zumba class since surgery, and the weight I’ve lost made a major difference in what I could do this go around.  I always gave it my all in Zumba classes, even when I was at my heaviest.  The thing is, my all was keeping things no-impact: no jumping, no hopping, no bouncing. Sometimes I’d end up a beat or two behind the class because I wasn’t able to keep up with the fast pace.  This time, I was jumping, bouncing, and hopping right along with the class. In fact, I was “that girl” who was going above and beyond.  The best part was that even though I was exerting myself and really getting in a sweaty workout, I wasn’t overwhelmed or out of breath.  At one point I got major tears in my eyes when I realized just how far I’d come.

In the past, I enjoyed Zumba so much that I thought “maybe someday I’ll be able to teach Zumba,” but it was a far off dream.  On Thursday, after I felt like I’d mastered the class, I knew with certainty that I will be a Zumba instructor.  That confidence is the coolest feeling in the world.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely "glowing" after the class.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely “glowing” afterward.

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Today marks nine months since my VSG surgery, and oh how my life has changed in this time.  Nine months ago I was so hopeful, looking forward to this moment right here – when I’d lost enough to really notice a dramatic transformation.

  • On the day of surgery I weighed in at 277; today I weighed in at 191. That’s a loss of 86 pounds in 9 months, and 124 pounds from my highest weight.
  • 9 months ago I was wearing size 24 pants; today I wear size 14 from the “regular” side of the store, not plus.
  • 9 months ago I was wearing tight-fitting 2x tops; today I’m wearing women’s size large.
  • Since surgery I’ve lost 48.5 inches around my body.
  • I can cross my legs.
  • I can go up several flights of stairs without getting winded.
  • I’ve run/walked a 5K.
  • I’ve taken and LOVED a spin class.
  • I can keep up with a Zumba class at full intensity – bouncing and jumping with the best of them, without being out of breath.
  • I’ve started a toning program, and love the results I’m getting.
  • I’ve purchased boyfriend sweats from Victoria’s Secret and now they’re two sizes too large for me.
  • I no longer spill over the seat in the chairs at Starbucks, my car, etc.
  • I’ve reached Onederland, and I’m almost in the 180′s!
  • When I take my first plane ride in over 6 years to Hawaii in April, I’ll have no worries about infringing on my neighbor’s seat and I won’t need a seatbelt extender.

The way I move through the world is so different now.  I’ve always been a confident person, but I have an extra bit of pep in my step. I feel happy, content, and very, very proud.

Marking Progress

I’ve decided that to celebrate my surgiversary on a monthly basis, I’m going to start posting progress pics and measurements on the 20th of the month. I’m excited to start marking my progress more frequently.

Here’s a repost of my measurements:

3/4/12

2/16/14

Change

Neck

14.5

13

-1.5 inches

Arms

16.25

12.5

-3.75 inches

Wrist

6.75

6.5

-0.25 inches

Bust

43

34

-9 inches

Waist

44.5

34

-10.5 inches

Hips

61

48

-13 inches

Thighs

35

28.25

-6.75 inches

Calf

18.5

15.75

-2.75 inches

Ankle

9.5

8.5

-1 inch

In total, I’ve lost 48 1/2 inches from around my body!! That’s four feet!!! I’m really excited with all of these changes, but especially the changes in my bust, waist, hips, and thighs.

And now some pictures.

This first comparison is from the day of surgery and today. 9 months and 86 pounds.

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2014-02-20 14.53.35

On a side note, today’s dress is one that I bought maybe seven or eight years ago at a Cabi party.  At the time the XL size was way out of reach, but today, the dress is too big on me.  That’s my sports bra showing underneath it.  The dress is reversible (colorful floral on one side, black and white on the other).  I really like it, so I may pay to get it altered; it needs to be taken in at the top and at the waist.

I’ve decided to start posing with just my sports bra and running pants on to really show the changes the toning and exercise are making to my body.  I’ve been really remiss about taking progress photos up to this point, so I decided to show photos from one year ago.  I weighed 293 in the “before” photos, and today I’m 191 – so -102 pounds between the photos.

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Left: Feb 2013, Right: Feb 2014 (today)
Can you see that slight indention in my stomach? Is that the start of some sort of ab definition? Exciting!

Left: Feb 2013, Right: Feb 2014 (today)

Left: Feb 2013, Right: Feb 2014 (today)

Left: Feb 2013, Right: Feb 2014 (today) Sorry for the crazy angle, but my sis wasn't around to help me take the photos.  Hopefully next month.

Left: Feb 2013, Right: Feb 2014 (today)
Sorry for the crazy angle, but my sis wasn’t around to help me take the photos. Hopefully next month.

Thanks for letting me indulge in a bit of celebration today.  You can believe I’m all smiles. :)

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bilbl_superThis morning I woke up in just enough time to head to the spin class I’d been planning to attend for more than a week.  Actually, today’s spin class has been years in the making.  I’ve wanted to try spinning forever, but was extremely intimidated by the proximity of the bikes to each other.  When I was over 300 pounds, I was worried that I’d spill over into my neighbor’s personal space.  Not a great feeling.

There was the time, back in August 2011, when I went into the empty spin room and spent 5 minutes on the bike.  I know I didn’t even get “out of the saddle”/stand up on the bike, because I had no idea what I was doing.   I also didn’t change the tension at all.  I do remember that I felt the pain in the pubic bone that comes with spinning.

So I prepared for that pain by buying some padded spin pants that had a skirt overlay.  I’d first seen them on Emmie’s blog, and because I was convinced I was eventually going to try spinning, I decided the investment was worth it.  I remember in August 2011 that I was embarrassed to wear them in public because of how tight they were.  The skirt was almost indecent because my big booty was causing it to ride way up in the back, barely covering. Here’s the post from December 2011 where the pants showed up again.  This time, I actually missed the spin class because I was fooling around with the fit of the pants, trying to camouflage how tight they were on me.

I haven’t tried spinning in all this time, but today was the day.  My gym offers lots of spin classes Monday-Thursday: at 5:45am, 9am, and 6pm.  I figured the 5:45am class would be packed, as would the 6pm, and since I was off, 9am seemed like the ticket.  Because I’d heard all the horror stories about how much the spin seat hurts the pubic bone, I decided to wear the padded, skirted pants even though they were way too big.  Like at least 3 sizes too large! Let’s compare the fit, shall we?

Left - 12/2011 Right - today, 2/2014

Left – 12/2011  Right – today, 2/2014
The difference in these two photos is really striking, especially because I’m sucking in my stomach in both shots. Dramatic difference!!

I don't know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today.  Less of a booty keeping it up!

I don’t know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today. Less of a booty keeping it up!

And here’s a front view picture, just for good measure.

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So many of my workout clothes are just way, way too big. This top is supposed to be one of those snug, dry-weave tanks, but you can see that it’s super loose on me. I’ve gotta hit an activewear sale soon.

Anyway, back to the class.  I got there about 10 minutes early, just to make sure that I had time to chat with the teacher and make sure I had the bike all set up.  I found out that the seat should be set so that it’s in the middle of my hip when I’m standing up next to it.  I also made sure that when I sat on the bike my legs were still slightly bent, not completely straight.  The teacher showed me how to change the tension, and told me that I could stay a “half step behind” if I wanted to; meaning I could take it a bit easier than the rest of the class since it was my first time.  You guys know that there was no way I was going to take it easy, right?!

The class itself was so great!  The teacher started off the class with Pharrell’s “Happy,” which couldn’t have been more perfect! In fact, take 4 minutes right now and listen to it.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel fantastic!

The teacher immediately turned off the lights in the room.  I’m not really sure why – maybe so that we wouldn’t focus on how we looked in that room which was surrounded by mirrors?  At one point during the class, I caught a glimpse of a girl in the mirror across the room and my first thought was how good she looked on the bike, how confident she seemed as she pedaled.  Only, she didn’t look like any of the women in the class.  I went one by one trying to figure out which one she was, until I realized – SHE WAS ME!  I can’t tell you how amazing that felt.  That I thought that I looked great during an exercise class is a new first.  That and the fact that I wasn’t the biggest girl in the room.  And I wasn’t worried at all about being too big for the bike – there was plenty of room on either side of me today.  NSVs abounded!

I felt empowered by how strong my legs were, and how well I kept up, even when we were “climbing.”  Climbing is when you slowly increase the tension in the bike higher and higher to mimic climbing a hill or mountain.  Sometimes these climbs were done “in saddle” (sitting down) and other times the climbs were done while standing the entire time. She also had us go on “mixed climbs” where we alternated between sitting and standing as we increased the tension.  I really enjoyed how the teacher used the music to help us get through the tough parts of the workout, and I can see that a really great playlist can make all the difference.

To be honest, the worst part of the entire class was when we were “in saddle” because my pubic bone just killed me.  I kept squirming and moving around as I sat there, trying to get in any position that would relieve a little of the pain.  I can’t imagine what it would’ve felt like without the padding in my pants!  I’m still slightly sore right now, 8 hours later, as I write this.  Everyone says the pain goes away and you get used to it the more you do it.  Still, I’m going to have to dig out that bike seat cover that I’d bought a few years ago, because I will take any extra padding I can get.  Even with the pain, I absolutely loved the spin class!

This is the photo I posted on Instagram this morning.  See how big that smile is in both of those photos?  That’s because I felt so accomplished, so proud.  I finally did something that I’d been wanting to do forever.  And not only did I do it, but I loved it.  I was good at it.  My strong legs took me through the entire class, and while I was “glowing” within 10 minutes, I felt beautiful.

2014-02-18 10.04.51Today’s Adventure in Fitness was amazing! So much so that I’m going to start going to spin classes at least once a week. And I’m going to treat myself to a session at Soul Cycle sometime soon, to check another thing off my Fitness Bucket List.

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measurements

It’s Monday, and because I love alliteration, I figured Major Measurements were perfect for a Monday. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have been really remiss in taking measurements.  In fact, the last records I have of any measurements at all are from two years ago, in March 2012.  Back at that time, I was still on my quest to lose the pre-op weight loss requirement, and I was struggling with it.  So much so that after looking back at the posts on this blog from March 2012, I can see that I wasn’t really weighing in at all.  There is one weigh-in post from the beginning of the month, and it said that I weighed 297.  So, while these numbers aren’t from my very highest weight of 315, which I bounced up to in late 2012, they’re probably pretty close.

Admittedly, after losing over 120 pounds (-122.4 as of this morning!) since the first set of measurements were taken, I was going to see big changes in the numbers, but it is really astounding when I see it in black and white.

3/4/12

2/16/14

Change

Neck

14.5

13

-1.5 inches

Arms

16.25

12.5

-3.75 inches

Wrist

6.75

6.5

-0.25 inches

Bust

43

34

-9 inches

Waist

44.5

34

-10.5 inches

Hips

61

48

-13 inches

Thighs

35

28.25

-6.75 inches

Calf

18.5

15.75

-2.75 inches

Ankle

9.5

8.5

-1 inch

In total, I’ve lost 48 1/2 inches from around my body!!  That’s four feet!!! I’m really excited with all of these changes, but especially the changes in my bust, waist, hips, and thighs.

From here on out I’m going to take measurements once a month, on the 20th. I had my VSG surgery on May 20th, so celebrating progress like this on the 20th of each month seems like a perfect thing to do. I’ve also decided to start taking progress photos in my sports bra and running pants, because that will really help to show the changes in my body. This is a major step for me, taking pictures in so little clothing.  But I guess that’s all part of this journey, right?

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2014-02-02 09.10.57

February – love is in the air, and this month is going to be all about loving myself enough to continue making 2014 my year to shine. I’m vowing here and now that I will reach my goal weight in 2014. What an amazing accomplishment it will be! To achieve my goals, I’m going to focus on the basics – eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins and getting in 5 cardio workouts a week. I’ve started strength training with #ToneItUp and their #LoveYourBody series is helping see just how strong I am as I change my body. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend. This month is going to be all about loving all the little things that make life special. My Sunday progress updates will be called Fabulous February Weigh-Ins.

Week 38 was stressful and challenging, but I’m happy to say I made it through better off than I began.  It wasn’t a terrible week, just one where everything seemed to be running at a fever-pitch.  I did get my workouts in, and I’m noticing some great changes in my body.

So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 193.8, which is a loss of 0.8 pounds this week, and a loss of 83.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 121.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 43.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really thankful for a loss this week, because of my poor choices on Friday.  Let’s be honest, it was one meal, and I still stayed under my calories for the day.  I made good choices the rest of the time, but with the challenges of the week, I’m happy to see a loss at all.  Plus, last week I had a big loss, and that’s usually followed by a smaller one.

One of the things that struck me this week were the changes I’m noticing in my body.  When I’m laying flat on my back about to do some ab work, I can really see and feel my ribs, and my hip bones are becoming apparent.  When I look at myself from a side-view standing at the mirror, I can see the start of definition in my stomach, and I’m definitely seeing a very slim profile. All of these changes are the result of my weight loss, sure, but I do think it’s because of the toning I’ve been doing with the #ToneItUp program.  I started four weeks ago, and I really wish I would’ve taken measurements at that time, but I didn’t.  Today the ToneItUp trainers will be sending a new set of workouts to get ready for spring, and I’m going to make sure to take measurements and photos for comparison at the end of the 6-week plan.

On a side note, I’m really upset that I haven’t been taking measurements all along since my surgery.  I meant to, but one thing or another would distract me and then I never did.  I do have some measurements from way back pre-op, March 2012, when I weighed 297 lbs or so. I just went back on this blog and I noticed that I wasn’t weighing in regularly at that time, probably because I was having such a hard time losing weight and regular weigh-ins were stressing me out.  Plus, there was more than a bit of denial there – if I  wasn’t seeing that the scale wasn’t moving, I wasn’t having to admit to my failings.  Regardless, when I take my measurements later today, I’m going to do a major comparison just for fun. My plan is to start taking measurements every Sunday, along with progress photos, so that I can start recording the changes in my body, and post about the progress once a month or so.

This week I have the entire week off, and since I didn’t end up going to Tahoe (I decided to save the money I would’ve spent and put it towards my Hawaiian vacation in April), I’m going to spend the week trying out a bunch of fitness classes that I can’t normally attend.  Here’s my cardio plan for the week (I’ll add in the toning once I get the week of workouts from ToneItUp):

  • Sunday: Run/walk with Di. She and I have been meeting up every Sunday morning, and I really look forward to this time to catch up and then get our sweat on.
  • Monday: Pilates. I tried Pilates a long time ago, and liked it for the first 10 minutes, but my almost-300 pound frame just couldn’t do most of the moves, so I left the class early. I can’t wait to see how much more I’m able to do now.
  • Tuesday: Spin. This is the class I’ve been dying to try, but was also completely intimidated at the same time.  Not because I didn’t think I could keep up, because even at my heaviest weight, I had so much strength in my legs/thighs, but because of my girth and the close proximity of the bikes to one another in the spin room.  The bikes are literally on top of each other, and when I was at my heaviest, I felt like I’d be overflowing into my neighbor’s space, and that just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with.  So I’ve avoided the class for all this time.  I have a feeling I’m going to love spin and it’s going to become one of my regular things.
  • Wednesday: Warm Yoga Flow. This is a vinyasa yoga class done in a room heated to about 90 degrees.  I love taking heated yoga because you feel so much better afterward.  In the past I avoided any sort of vinyasa or flow class because the poses moved too quickly for me to keep up with, but I think I’ll be able to keep pace much better now.
  • Thursday: Zumba Step. I love Zumba and haven’t been a class in a really long time.  I somehow got out of the Saturday morning routine of going.  I think the fact that one of my favorite teachers stopped teaching at my location also had something to do with it.  When I heard that 24 Hour Fitness was featuring this new class, which includes a step, I thought it sounded like a fun thing to try. Right now the Zumba Step class is only offered in the middle of the day during the week, so this is a rare opportunity for me to try it.  If I like it, I’ll definitely seek it out once summer starts.
  • Friday: Body Combat. This is a Les Mills class and the description taken straight from their website says, “This fiercely energetic program is inspired by mixed martial arts and draws from a wide array of disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. During this ultimate warrior workout, you’ll strike, punch, kick and kata your way through calories to superior cardio fitness.” I’m not sure if I’m physically ready for the class, but I figured it doesn’t hurt to try.

All of these classes are brand new to me, and I’m excited to try them.  You guys know how much I love variety in my workouts, so this is something that I’m really looking forward to.  A few of the classes, like Spin and Body Combat, are offered several times a week at the gym, so if I like them I can take them regularly. Warm Yoga Flow is offered a few times throughout the week at the yoga studio I like to go to, but I only have a limited number of classes that I’ve paid for, so I’ll need to space those classes out a bit if I like it.  Pilates and Zumba Step are only offered in the morning during the week, so I’ll have to wait for summer if I really like those.

I really can’t wait to see how I perform in these classes, and I think each of them will offer a challenge, but one that I can achieve. So many times in the past, I had the desire to take classes like these, but physically I just wasn’t up to the task.  Not to mention that feeling of “other” that I got whenever I looked around a room and saw that I was, by far, the biggest person in there.  What a different experience it will be this time! Just another way that this weight loss has transformed (and is transforming) my life.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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February – love is in the air, and this month is going to be all about loving myself enough to continue making 2014 my year to shine. I’m vowing here and now that I will reach my goal weight in 2014. What an amazing accomplishment it will be! To achieve my goals, I’m going to focus on the basics – eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins and getting in 5 cardio workouts a week. I’ve started strength training with #ToneItUp and their #LoveYourBody series is helping see just how strong I am as I change my body. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend. This month is going to be all about loving all the little things that make life special. My Sunday progress updates will be called Fabulous February Weigh-Ins.

Week 37 was wonderful! Throughout the week, I felt lighter and smaller, and my clothes were showing all the hard work I’d been putting into my workouts.  I made some really delicious meals that made me feel like I was nourishing my body in a really creative way.  This week a lot of new people complimented me on my weight loss, the sweetest of which was one of the custodians at school who is so shy and meek – when he told me that I look great and to “keep it up,” it really made me smile.  And I topped it all off with a fantastic shopping trip that became a milestone.

So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 194.6, which is a loss of 2.8 pounds this week, and a loss of 82.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 120.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 44.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. This week’s weight big loss was so important for me, because all of my hard work is paying off.  Finally my body has relaxed into the strength training exercises I’ve been doing with #ToneItUp, and I think I’m really getting the metabolic benefits of toning.  I worked hard with my cardio, as well.  I had tons of variety this week: elliptical, bike, walking, and I also went to the gym twice to get back into the run/walk intervals.  (More on that in a minute). I kept my meals really interesting and delicious with dinners like grilled salmon, sauteed scallops, grilled sirloin tips, and a breakfast-for-dinner scramble.  Lunches were just as good: I turned the leftover grilled salmon and sirloin into amazing salads with arugula.  All in all, it was such a great week, and I love that it all showed up on the scale, too.

As I mentioned, I got back to the run/walks this week, and I have to say, they’ve been a lot more difficult for me than they were before my cold.  The main reason is that I’ve been pushing myself with the speed, and I think I need to ease up on that a bit.  I’ve been trying to keep the running at a 5.0 pace, but right now, that’s just a bit too fast for me to maintain for an entire 3-minute cycle, so I’ve been cutting it down to 2 minutes, which is less than ideal.  I’m meeting my friend Di to do another run/walk session a bit later this morning, and my plan is to take my pace down to 4.5 and maintain that for 3 minutes so I can get back to a strong 3/1 pace.  (3 minutes running, 1 minute walking).

This week I’m looking forward to keeping lots of variety in my cardio workouts – run/walk intervals, recumbent bike, elliptical, flow yoga (since I had such a great experience on Saturday), and of course walking Sofi.  I’ll also continue the ToneItUp strength training, which I’m really enjoying.  I’ve loved being active for a long time now, but I’m finding that my workouts are actually becoming my hobby, and I miss doing them on my rest days.  I can see a future where fitness moves into more than just a hobby for me, and becomes a profession.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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rain_cloud_glossyToday the forecast was rainy, which was great news, because we really need it.  Plus, I love cloudy weather at this time of year.  No matter what the weather was like today, I was all smiles, because it brought with it lots of new NSVs.

The first came as I was getting ready for a morning yoga class.  All of my previous yoga clothes have long since been donated because they’re too big for me, so I ended up putting on my running capris and a sleeveless yoga top that had always been too small for me.  The NSV comes in when I looked in the mirror and really liked the image I saw staring back at me.  Yes, the pants are tight, but I don’t feel self conscious, and the top that was too small in the past was now way too big, but it would work for the yoga class, so I wore it. And it was pretty cool that the grey pants went well with the grey in the top.

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Sorry for the bad lighting. I didn’t take the photo until later at night. I’ll take another one in the morning and change it out here.

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I was so cold this morning that I had on two jackets – my heavy raincoat and underneath it a fleece hoodie.

Once at the yoga studio, I was amazed that I was able to get into poses and postures that I have never been able to get into before.  Even something as simple as being able to draw my knees up to my chest and cradle my hands underneath the knees was something that eluded me in the past.  I was estatic that I could bend my leg up behind me and catch my foot in my hand – I’ve never, ever been able to do that before and always had to use straps to get into that position.  And the best of all was when we were doing chaturanga and I  could go directly back into downward dog on the tops of my toes, instead of having to drop to my knees first.  All of these little moments made me so proud as I continued to push myself through the 75 minute class. And this success definitely makes me want to get to another yoga class soon!!

Later in the afternoon my mom, sister, and I went to Macy’s to check out the Super Saturday sale.  I still had a bit over $100 on the gift card my parents had given me for Christmas, and it was time to get new jeans again.  Here’s where the NSV comes in – I’m now in a size 14.  Not a 14W, but a true, honest-to-goodness size 14 from the normal-size section!!!!! The jeans I got are slightly tight, but after about a week, they should look great.  I can’t tell you how exciting this is for me, especially considering I started in a tight size 28.  What a thrill!! I bought two pair – one in the dark wash in the photos and one in a wash slightly lighter.  I also got two tops, both in a size L!  Again, at my very heaviest I was wearing 26 in tops.

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(again, this lighting is really bad, so I’ll retake the photos in the morning. I just didn’t want to wait to post this).

What a day!  I still can’t believe that I am totally out of plus sizes!!!!!! This is a day to remember.  Thanks for letting me share it.

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