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Archive for the ‘NSV’ Category

Saturday, August 2nd – a day I’d been anticipating for more than 20 years.

You see, that was the last time I had actually ridden a roller coaster, and then just barely.  My memory is a bit fuzzy with the details from that fateful day 20 years ago, the last day I was able to ride a roller coaster.  The day my weight changed from “she’s so pretty if she’d just lose a bit of weight” to “too fat to ride a roller coaster.”  I think I was at Great America, squishing myself into a ride, saying a silent prayer that the safety bar would click into place.  Only this time the prayer went unanswered because the bar wasn’t going to click easily.  The attendant came over, about to tell me I had to get off the ride, and he must’ve seen the tears flooding my eyes and the pleading look on my face, because he took pity on me and let me ride the ride anyway.  Totally unsafe, but if given the choice between getting hurt on a ride that I wasn’t completely secured in or the mortification of being asked to get off the ride because I was too fat, I’d gladly take the chance of getting hurt.  After that ride, I never risked it again on a roller coaster.  And I got bigger, gained more weight, and knew that riding roller coasters was a thing of the past for me.

But in all these years, I never gave up the hope that someday I’d ride them again.  I put it on my #createyoursummer wishlist for ToneItUp.  I have it on my bucket list.  I even mentioned it to TR on one of our first dates when he asked me what my plans for my summer vacation were.  The problem had been none of my friends, or even my nieces, wanted to ride roller coasters with me.  It seems very few shared my love of speed, daring, and adventure.  TR was one of the only people who seemed even remotely interested in joining me, and he was actually really enthusiastic about it.  He even mentioned it again on the night of our goodbye phone call.  So about a week ago when I realized that the days of summer were  quickly disappearing, I texted TR and asked if he’d still be up for riding roller coasters with me, which he was.  We figured out a date, and now I just had to wait.  And you guys know how great I am with waiting.

That entire week I had a lot of trouble sleeping.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about how the day would go.  About whether TR and I would have fun or if it would be awkward now that our relationship was relegated to something between dating and the dreaded “friend zone.”  About whether or not I’d be able to ride any of the rides.  About what I was going to wear.  About what the weather would be like.  About every single detail.  Friday night was the worst, I was giddy with anticipation and trying to sweep any doubts or dread out of my mind, until I finally just got up at 5:30am, as excited and anxious as a kid waiting for Santa Claus.

I picked TR up at 9am and we drove in the Beetle with the top down, even though it was an overcast morning.  As it turned out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of our rapport.  The conversation flowed as easily as ever, and I felt as comfortable with him as I always had.  We made excellent time and got to the Boardwalk in 30 minutes.

My heart was pounding out of my chest from the moment we drove by and I saw this sign.

My heart was pounding out of my chest from the moment we drove by and I saw this sign.

After finding the ticket booth and buying bracelets  that would let us go on unlimited rides (TR bought both our bracelets, which was incredibly generous of him, especially given the fact that I invited him and had been planning on paying for both of us.  In some ways it made the day even more special, because it was like a gift), TR asked me which ride I wanted to start with.  “The Giant Dipper!!!” I immediately responded.  “Starting off with the big one, I like it!” he said.  And I told him, that that’s how I like to live my life – do it big or don’t do it at all.

Because we’d gotten there so early and were among the first people at the Boardwalk, we had a miniscule line to wait in.  But it didn’t stop me from being ridiculously squirmy.  I was so excited, nervous, & anxious, and I couldn’t keep my thoughts from zipping around my head. Would I fit? Would the bar close?  Would my heart ever stop beating so hard?  Would we have fun?  The list went on and on.  I think I verbalized a bit of it, and TR just tried to reassure me that YES I would fit without any problems, that YES the bar would close with plenty of room.  If he could read my mind the poor guy might’ve run in the other direction from this crazy girl he was standing next to.  I must’ve been giving off some kind of vibe because right before it was our turn to get on the ride, the man in front of us turned around and said, “she’s more excited than my son to ride this ride!”

Finally, the moment of truth arrived.  It was my turn to get on the ride and sit down.  Even as I was doing it, I kept thinking, “please, God, let me fit.”  Of course I fit, with plenty of room!  The bar came down with no issues, and before I could even say anything, we were off, swept into the darkness of the ride, making our ascent to the top of the coaster before that first and best plummet.  The ride was SO much fun, but it was all a blur because all I was thinking the entire time was, “I’m doing it! I fit in the ride.  I’m small enough to fit in a roller coaster.  I can ride The Giant Dipper!!!”  

As we got off the ride, I was completely overwhelmed.  A wave of emotion washed over me.  I was so dizzy that I grabbed TR’s arm to steady myself, but then worrying that he’d think I was being too forward or trying to be romantic, I dropped it.  Tears were in my eyes, and I was trying to explain what I was feeling.  I apologized for acting so strangely, to which he replied, “you have nothing to apologize for.”  He really is an amazing person.  So I asked if we could walk down to the beach, to be near the waves, because the ocean always calms me.  He said of course, and as soon as we sat down, I felt better.  As I was sitting in the sand next to TR, I was talking a mile a minute, beginning the “ugly cry,” looking out at the ocean for strenth, and trying to capture all that I was experiencing. It was something along the lines of:

I am so excited that we just did that! I can’t believe we just rode The Giant Dipper!!!  I am sorry that I’m crying, I didn’t expect to react this way. Actually,  I don’t know how I expected to react.  After not being able to do something that you love for over 20 years and then finally being able to do it, it’s just crazy.  More than any number on a scale, more than any size I’m wearing, doing this today is amazing to me.  It’s something that I thought about, wished for, and wanted for so long.  And I can finally do it!  I’m finally a NORMAL person.  I know it’s crazy to you that I thought I wouldn’t fit. But even now, after losing all of this weight, I still don’t always see myself as I really am.  I’m surprised by how small I am now.  I’m surprised when I see pictures of myself in the same way that I used to surprise myself by how big I looked in pictures when I was heavy.  My head is still catching up to all of these changes.  And I guess that’s why with you I showed so many insecurities.  I’m such a confident person in every other aspect of my life, but I’ve always been insecure about my weight.  And even now that I have lost all this weight and I’m so proud of myself, I’m still getting used to this new body.  To this new person I’ve become.  From the outside, no one might know that I’ve lost all this weight, but underneath my clothes, there are still issues.  Things that I wish looked better, were tighter, or whatever.  I’ve worked so hard, and I wish all that hard work really showed and that I didn’t have any loose skin to feel weird about.  And this whole dating thing is so new to me.  I didn’t date for so long, and then I find someone like you that I like so much, and it’s so great.  And I totally understand where you’re coming from with the whole kids thing, so don’t worry. I heard you.  I just wish it could be different, but I get that it can’t.  And that’s ok.  I’m so glad that you’re here to share this with me today. This was awesome.”

And TR was really great about my little meltdown.  He said it wasn’t a meltdown, and that now he understood that I wasn’t afraid to actually ride the roller coaster, but that was nervous about fitting in the seat.  I told him it was never about being scared of going too fast on the roller coaster – that it could never be too fast or too high or too wild for me – that I loved all that.  And he got it.  He also said that we all have insecurities and that I never came across to him as insecure, which was really sweet of him to say, although I’m not sure how true it is.  While we were sitting on the beach something pretty incredible happened – two dolphins were right near the shore, swimming around.  They probably shouldn’t have been there, it was probably dangerous for them to be that close to the shore, but I took it as a sign.  That the day was going to be amazing.  That TR was exactly the person I was supposed to be sharing this experience with.  And that I could just calm down and enjoy it.  Which is what I did.

2014-08-02 10.48.44 Although at the next ride, the UnderTow, I did have a few moments of worry creep back in.  There was a sign saying that guests should check to make sure they could fit in the seats, because they were bucket seats, and smaller than on the other rides.  I asked TR if I should check if I could fit, and he said, “you can if you want to, but you’re going to fit.  With room to spare. You don’t have to worry.”  So I didn’t check ahead of time and just took it on faith that I’d fit without a problem.  And you know what, I did.  Plenty of room.  No worries at all.  It was at that point that I really just let all the insecurities and doubts go and just enjoyed the day.

As you can see, there was plenty of room in the seat.  I love the action shot of the two of us.  LOL.

As you can see, there was plenty of room in the seat. I love the action shot of the two of us. LOL.

We rode the Giant Dipper four times, the Under Tow twice, and the Log Ride once. I relished the fact that I could ride ANY ride on the Boardwalk, I could fit into ANY seat. That nothing could keep me from these roller coasters ever again! It was such empowerment, such freedom. As if I could fly. It was a remarkable feeling.

TR commented that I look "so tan and ripped" in this photo.  :D

TR commented that I look “so tan and ripped” in this photo. (I’ve never been complimented on my arms before, so that was very cool, even if it wasn’t quite accurate).

TR said that he was inspired by my accomplishment and wanted to conquer a bit of his own fear – a fear of heights, so he agreed to go on the gondola ride with me. Which was so impressive and endearing.  I give him so much credit for doing it, but the ride crept along at a snail’s pace and he was pretty shaky and white-knuckling it the whole way across.  “We won’t be taking that one again,” he said, and I completely understood.  That’s the thing about our dynamic that I think is so rare and so incredible – we can be completely open and honest with each other, revealing our vulnerabilities, and appreciating each other all the more because (rather than in spite) of them.

2014-08-02 15.14.15

Spending the day riding roller coasters was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, and probably moreso than I could have ever imagined.  It was thrilling, exciting, and incredibly fun. The day was fantastic in a way that I can’t find the words for.  It was day that I will never, ever forget. It was living my dreams and fulfilling long-held desires.  It was the highlight of the summer of 2014. It was perfect.

2014-08-02 15.19.32

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 61 was awesome!  Not only did I enjoy my increased calorie intake, but I got in 6 days of solid workouts (which helped me exceed my goal of #150bysummer!), and I finally made it to the beach for the first time this summer.  With only two weeks left before I start my teacher meetings, I’m determined to make each day count.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 178.4, which is a loss of 2.4 pounds this week, and a loss of 98.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 136.6 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 28.4 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really excited to see a significant loss like this on the scale, because it’s been awhile!  Increasing my daily calories to around 1000 net calories per day is working well; it keeps me really satisfied throughout the day and it also curbs any cravings I may have. This morning’s weigh in marks my lowest weight on the scale in the last 20+ years, and I can’t wait to keep hitting new “lows” as these weeks continue.

One NSV that I’d like to share happened yesterday, on #TransformationTuesday, appropriately enough.  When I was originally asked to be a SweatPink Ambasador, one of the cool things the Fit Approach crew does is send out pink shoelaces and a SweatPink tank.  The shoelaces were no problem. The tank, though, didn’t fit, not by a LONG shot.  I ordered the largest size available, and there was no way on earth that it was going to fit me.  So I put it away for all this time.  Over two years it sat on a shelf, just waiting for the day when I could put it on.  For some reason, I decided to give it a try yesterday.  And you know what, it not only fit, but I was really happy with how I looked in it.

Here’s my post to the FB group:

SPAFB

I’m floored that 145 people “liked” my post!

Better than that was that when I posted about it on the SweatPink Ambassadors’ Facebook page, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Just a few of the comments I got from my SPAs

Lately I’ve been seeing myself as a fit person, which is amazing to me.  For so many years I  was the “pretty plus-sized girl,” but now I’m proud of the body that I have.  I’m not hiding it behind loose clothes and layers, I’m wearing form-fitting outfits that show off my strong legs, shapely waist, curvy booty, and arms that are beginning to show some definition.  I love the way I’ve transformed, and I’m really enjoying dressing this new physique.  I like showing it off a bit, which is such a switch from the years of camouflaging my flaws.   Yes, I still have things I want to work on, but I’m happy to let the real me SHINE.

choosetoshine

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

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2014-07-25 10.02.15

(I used the Rhonna Designs app on my iPhone to make this pic. I used this picture I took from my trip to Oahu in April.  This is Waikiki Beach, and I loved the color of those umbrellas).

1.  As soon as I finish writing this post, Sofi and I are hitting the road and going to the beach for the first time this summer.  I can’t believe I haven’t been to the beach at all yet this summer. I’m excited to beat the heat (it’s supposed to hit the mid-high 90s here today), walk along the beach with Sofi, and just enjoy the crashing waves. Look for pictures on my Instagram later.

2.curly-curling-creme_0For those of you with curly hair, you know how important it is to find the right products.  It’s only recently that my hair has returned to it’s normal curls. After getting my hair smoothed with the formaldehyde-free keratin treatment last December, my curl pattern was completely changed; it wasn’t curly anymore, it was barely wavy.  I’m glad that I got the keratin treatment, because my massive weight loss affected my hair terribly, making it thin, frizzy, and really difficult to manage.  But I’ve realized that I’m just not great at blow drying my own hair on a regular basis (I just don’t have the technique), so I’ve decided not to get the keratin treatment again (which costs $300), and instead treat myself to Dry Bar appointments now and then. But let’s get back to the products.  Now that my hair is back to it’s normal curls, I wanted to find a product that would keep them defined, control the frizz, but and not build up. After trying lots of different things, I found Curly Sexy Hair. I’ve been using the shampoo, conditioner, Full-On Curls, and the Curling Creme.  I like that these products are really affordable, and that they work. I’ve been enjoying lots of compliments on my hair lately, which I haven’t had in about a year.

3. I’ve had a few clothing NSVs this week.  On Sunday, I found the cutest top, but it as in the petite section.  I liked it so much that I decided to try on the petite Medium anyway, and it FIT! Then on Monday, I was shopping around Target and found a cute 49er tee that was a juniors Large (see Instagram photo). The week before last, I went online to Venus and found a bunch of cute tops, all of which were size Mediums; they came on Tuesday, and every single one fits great (see the turquoise, floral peplum top in my Instagram). Yesterday I was thrilled to finally fit into the Chase Infinite tank that I’d bought a couple of months ago (again, see yesterday’s Instagram workout post). Every time I buy clothes in these small sizes, I am amazed at the fact that they fit. Not only fit, but that they look good.  Shopping is such a pleasure now.  I’ve always loved getting new clothes, but now that I can walk into any store and find something adorable, I am loving it!

4. I usually love watching movies in the summer, but I have to say that I’ve been very underwhelmed at the offerings.  The last movie I went to was The Fault in Our Stars, which was very good.  In the many weeks since, there really hasn’t been much I’d be willing to see.  But suddenly there are a few that I’m looking forward to:

  • j3231_mostwantedman_1sht_67f_web
  • boyhood_posterart
  • wiwh_poster_finalsm

5. 2014-07-13 00.05.37 I found this photo on Instagram awhile ago, and I love it.  Not only is “choose happy” the way that I try to live my life on a daily basis, but I also love the beach and the image of the sun.  Seeing this just makes me smile, and I’m going to put it up on my white board at school as a daily reminder.  Because no matter how stressful the situation, how disappointing the news, or how unfortunate the event – I choose my reaction and I choose HAPPY.

2014-04-25 05.54.55

Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of fun and exciting adventures.

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 60 was quite a mix.  I started off the week pretty strong – eating well and working out.  Then on Thursday, I got some really disappointing news and took a bit of a downward turn on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday I’d sort of pulled it together, and I’ve been going really strong since Monday.  Whew! Did you follow all that?

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 180.8. Technically, this is a gain from last week (2 lbs), but I went up over the weekend (<4 lbs), so this is a 2.8 lb loss since I weighed in on Monday.  I’ve lost 96.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 134.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 30.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds.

I’m not thrilled with myself that I let my emotions get the better of me on Friday and Saturday and spent much of the time sitting on the couch snacking.  I did get out with friends on Friday night, but that led to quite a few cocktails, which also had an adverse affect on my weight.  Could I have handled things differently?  Of course.  Was it a human response that I got under control after two days of wallowing?  Yes.  So I’m actually pretty proud of my ability to bounce back and move on from heartbreak.

The thing I’m actually excited to talk about today is the way I’ve tweaked my eating plan since Monday.  One of my pals on MyFitnessPal messaged me on Monday, asking about the idea of upping calories.  She’s about 6 months out from VSG surgery, and had an appointment with her doctor and nutritionist where they told her they wanted her to start eating more calories. Specifically, that they wanted her to get 1000 net calories per day.  She’s been following my food diaries from the beginning, and has modeled the way she eats after me – trying to eat a balanced diet of protein, veggies, and carbs.  Mostly whole foods, with the occasional treat thrown in.  She said she was hesitant to raise her calories, but tried it for one week, and after stalling on the scale two weeks in a row, she lost 5 pounds the week she upped her calories!

As you guys know, I’ve been basically the same weight for the past several months.  Even though I’ve been eating well, working out, getting lots of water, etc., my weight loss has basically become very stagnant.  I know it’s because I have so few pounds to lose to get to goal (compared to how many I had to lose to begin with)When I went to my 1-year follow up appointment, the nutritionist recommended that I increase my calories to 1200 per day, but I really didn’t think much of that advice, and just continued my normal eating.  Which meant eating between 850-950 calories a day, about 500-650 net calories.  Which is very low, when I think about it in those terms.  Now that I’m post-VSG I will never consume the amount of calories that someone with a normal stomach can, but I have been wanting to change something with my eating to see if I could shake up my body and amp up my weight loss. It makes sense that at this point post-op my body is getting too used to so few calories, and might even be in a bit of “starvation mode.” Although it’s much different for me with only 20% of a normal stomach, I do think upping my calories and eating more frequently will jumpstart my metabolism and lead to weight loss.

Actually, I don’t “think,” I know. I lost 2.8 pounds since Monday following the 1000 net calorie plan.  What I’ve come up with is adding in more snacks throughout the day, as well as incorporating some higher calorie, but very good for me, foods. For example, yesterday:

breakfast

A yummy green smoothie

Morning Snack

Morning Snack

A really great salad

A really great salad

Afternoon snack

Afternoon snack

Caprese salad and a tiny bit of pasta

Caprese salad and a tiny bit of pasta

Evening snack/dessert

Evening snack/dessert

Daily Total: 1437 calories, 102g protein, 138g carbs, 35g fiber, 68g fat! Net calories: 979.

The thing I like about increasing my calories this way is that I am eating foods that I’ve shied away from because they had more calories, but that I love. I’ve noticed that I haven’t had any cravings, either, because I know that I’ll be enjoying something I like soon enough.  I’m going to give it until next Wednesday and see if the results continue.  If not, I can always go back to what I was doing before. But I have a strong feeling this is going to work well.

Workouts are going great, and I love being able to workout first thing in the morning.  The realization hit me today that I only have 2 1/2 weeks before I start my teacher meetings and school starts, and I’m very grateful that I will have a morning prep so I can continue the beginning of the day workouts without having to get up at 4am!

My goal for these next 2 1/2 weeks is to enjoy every bit of summer vacation that I can.  Which means going to the beach, riding roller coasters at the Boardwalk, hitting the road for a girls’ trip to Long Beach, and simply enjoying the quiet moments in my backyard with Sofi.

This week is all about being open to changes. I’m grateful that I’m someone who embraces change – it’s needed and necessary.

2014-04-06 19.15.38

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

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2014-07-21 13.01.20Today marks fourteen months since my VSG surgery, and it’s also Monday, so I figured this was the perfect Motivation Monday post.

Measurements

6/20/14

 7/21/14

Change

Neck

12.75

12.75

same

Arms

11

11

same

Wrist

6.25

6.25

same

Bust

33

 32.5

-0.5 inch

Waist

32

31.5

-0.5 inch

Hips

43

42

-1 inch

Thighs

25

24.5 -0.5 inch

Calf

15.5

 15.5

same

Ankle

8.5

8.25

-0.25 inch

It’s good to see that I’m still making progress in the “parts” that count – bust, waist, hips, & thighs.  My older clothes are fitting looser, and I’ve gone down in sizes, so it makes sense.

Photos

I have on the exact same clothes in both photos.  My sports bra and VS yoga crops. The left photos were taken 6/20/14 and the right photos were taken today, 7/21/14.

I know my body looks higher in the photo on the right, and my legs are more widely spread, but I think you can see a difference in my waistline.  (And in my tan - I was DARK last month!)

I know my body looks higher in the photo on the right, and my legs are more widely spread, but I think you can see a difference in my waistline. (And in my tan – I was DARK last month!)

2014-07-21 12.49.47

Last month my body was turned slightly, but even still, I think the photo on the right shows that my waist is more defined and that my butt has gone down a bit.

2014-07-21 12.50.46

I don’t really notice much difference between these two photos. I think I have a bit less “back flub” in today’s photo, but because of the angle, it’s hard to tell.

I’m happy that I can still see the changes in these photos.  They may be slight, but they’re still there, which is motivating to me.  I’ve continued to kill it at the gym and in outdoor exercise over the past month, so it’s nice to see those changes show up in photos.

I have just under a month until school starts again, and I am really excited to see what I can achieve in that time. Thanks for sharing my 14-month surgiversary with me!

82ea2429e80bf8d49b9276aecaa43ca7

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 59 was great!  I spent 1 1/2 of the days at the beginning of the week in Sacramento at a teaching conference.  The weekend was full of activity, and the past few days were just fun.  It was a busy week, with lots of eating out, yet I’m proud of how well I stuck to my plan and fit in all the exercise.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 178.8, which is a loss of 1 pound this week, and a loss of 98.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 136.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 28.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. This is a solid loss for a week that was completely outside my normal routine.  Not only that, but this week’s weigh-in takes me to my lowest weight as an adult, which is exciting!  I’m also really happy to see a loss after a few weeks of maintenance spurred on by indulgences.  Not to mention the fact that weight loss is so much more difficult at this stage of the journey.

Now that I have less than 30 pounds to go to get to my ultimate goal weight, weight loss has really slowed down.  I know it doesn’t help that I’ve been going out a lot, drinking more alcohol than normal, and enjoying the summer to the fullest.  Not that a healthy eating plan can’t include meals out or cocktails, but let’s be honest, there are a lot more calories when you eat that way.  So, it’s a balancing act – I want to continue my active social life, but I have to keep my focus strong so that I can continue to see losses on the scale.

My workouts are the things that haven’t suffered one iota in all of this merriment, and for that I’m eternally grateful.  I absolutely love working out – the way I can move my body, the ways I can push myself to new levels, and of  course the proud feeling I get after a kickass workout. I’ve really discovered how much better morning workouts make me feel, and I am looking forward to continuing those during the school year.  This week I’ve got a couple new workouts planned, which should be fun to try.  Working out has really become my major hobby; it’s not just something that I get through, but something that I enjoy.

At this stage in my journey, I am content.  I still have pounds to lose to get to my goal weight, but I’m very pleased with the way that I look and feel right now.  I’m not ready to call this my goal weight or to say that I’m in maintenance, but I am also very happy with the person I am right now in this very moment.  That’s something I’ve never experienced before.  I like the woman who is reflected back at me in the mirror.  I enjoy shopping for clothes at this size, and the admiring looks I get from men as I walk down the street/in the mall/at the grocery store. Not to mention the fact that I can run up a flight or two of stairs without getting the least bit winded.  I’m still striving towards my goal, but I’m loving the NOW, too.

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

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bilbl_superI had so much fun challenging myself to the Tone It Up #150bysummer goal (I exceeded it by 5 miles and logged 155 miles) that I didn’t want to see it end right when summer is just starting.

For me, summer is the time that I get in lots of daily workouts, because:

  • it’s something I can do by myself or with friends
  • it gets me outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather
  • it’s very inexpensive
  • it fills my time off in a very productive way
  • I love the way I feel while/after I’m working out

This morning on FB, Kandis TIU, who is a huge supporter of the entire TIU Community, made an adorable chart for tracking our cardio miles. She purposely made it blank at the top so that we could edit it and use it for our own purposes.  So, I thought I’d put out a summer challenge that we can all do together.

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Bella’s Summer Challenge: #150byBacktoSchool

The way the TIU miles work is simple.  If you can count miles, like when you’re walking or running, do that. If you’re biking, you’re supposed to divide your mileage by 3 (so if you biked for 12 miles, you’d only count 4 miles into your totals). If you’re doing a class or some other form of cardio, 1 mile = 10 minutes of intense cardio.

Since I was able to do 155 miles in the 8 weeks of the Bikini Series (and that was with me taking about a week and a half off), I figured we should all be able to log 150 miles in the 8 weeks between now and the time I go back to school, August 15th (my first teacher workday). I’ll be using Instagram/Twitter to keep myself accountable, using the hashtags: #150byBacktoSchool and #BellasSummerChallenge. Be sure to tag me @bellablogger on Instagram or Twitter so that I can see how well you’re doing.  And because I love incentives, I’ll be doing a small giveaway for the people who log the most miles/check in often.

Use the chart above and mark off your miles each day, along with a pic of you doing the activity, and a cool quote, if you’d like.  My favorite apps to jazz up photos are Rhonna Designs, A Beautiful Mess, and InstaPic Frames. I’ll post my favorites each week on this blog, along with my totals so far so that we can encourage each other.

Are you in?

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-1

Today marks thirteen months since my VSG surgery, and it’s also Friday, so it’s really a cause for celebration.  I was really interested to see my measurements today, since I skipped measuring last month and because I know I’ve gone down a size in my clothes.

Measurements

4/20/14

 6/20/14

Change

Neck

12.75

12.75

same

Arms

11.75

11

-0.75 inch

Wrist

6.25

6.25

same

Bust

33

 33

same

Waist

32.5

32

-0.5 inch

Hips

44

43

-1 inch

Thighs

25.5

25 -0.5 inch

Calf

15.5

 15.5

same

Ankle

8.5

8.5

same

I’m happy with this progress, although I did think I might see bigger changes between the two months.  Still, I’m so happy knowing that I’ve gone down a size in both pants and tops.

Photos

I have on different pants in the photo from today, but the top is the same. The photos on the left were actually taken for the Tone It Up #bikiniseries on April 29, 2014 and the ones on the right were taken today, June 20, 2014.

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Even though the two photos are slightly off in angle, I can see a difference in my abs and in my hips/thighs.

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My body is turned slightly in the photo on the right, but I do think I can see more of definition in my midsection. (Part of the problem is that the pants I’m wearing on the right fit me a lot more snugly than the ones on the left, so it’s a bit deceiving).

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Again, the angle is off between the two photos, but I think my butt looks smaller in the photo on the right.

And just for good measure, I thought I’d include a great comparison picture, my driver’s license.  The “before” was taken 4 years ago, and the one on the right was taken yesterday, right after I got out of the DMV.  Quite a difference, right?  And that wasn’t even me at my heaviest on the right.  Wow!

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I look forward to seeing what I can achieve over the next month. Thanks for sharing my 13-month surgiversary with me!

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summer

It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 55  has been wonderful! Even though it’s summer vacation, and I haven’t had to go into work, I have been really busy each day.  I’m hoping that things will slow down a little bit, so that I have more time to spend relaxing.  Still, staying busy and active is a great way to stay on track, so I’m not complaining.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 179.6, which is a loss of 0.4 pounds this week***,and a loss of 97.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 135.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 29.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m in the 170s!!!  Just barely, but hey, I’ll take it! Especially after having a stall in my weight loss that lasted 6 weeks.  ***I have the stars by this week’s weight loss because I actually lost 6.2 pounds from June 8 to June 15 because I’d gained 5 pounds of water weight during the last two weeks of school when things got crazy and I stopped working out for a week and wasn’t making the best food choices.  I knew the weight would come off quickly, and it did.  And it got me down to the 170s.  But since my last reported weight on this blog was 180, I’m going to keep it simple and say that I’ve lost 0.4 this week.  (I have it all documented on MFP for accuracy).  Another reason I have the stars by my weight this morning is that I’ve been fairly constipated this week even though I’ve been drinking plenty of water.  I know it’s because I got out of my habit of taking the fiber supplement, and I need to get back to it, ASAP, because I don’t like this feeling.  So I’m guessing that I’ve actually lost more weight than the scale showed this morning, but I want to go with what the actual numbers were, so that’s what I’m reporting.

I’m really happy with the way I’ve been eating.  It’s nice to have so many more choices of fruits and veggies during the summer, and of course, I love being able to grill my proteins every night.  Eating in the summer is just so much easier – I just naturally make lighter, healthier choices, even when going out.  For example, I joined Tinkerbell and her hubby for happy hour at The Fish Market on Monday evening, and enjoyed some delicious oysters on the half shell.  I know raw oysters aren’t everyone’s thing, but to me they are the essence of summertime – fresh, light, and salty.  Yum!  I also enjoyed a couple of pieces of sushi along with most of a small fish taco along with some wine.  Light bites that were highly enjoyable yet totally within my food budget.  I love being able to go out socially, but not overindulge. The same thing happened with our Father’s Day BBQ – we planned a menu that worked well for the way I like to eat, and it was really delicious.  What are your favorite, healthy summer meals?

Exercising has been fantastic.  Most mornings I’ve been meeting Tinkerbell to workout at 7 or 7:30, which is a great way to start the day.  It’s early enough to give me the rest of the day to do whatever I need to, but not crack-of-dawn early like I was doing during the school year. I also met up with a co-worker, and she and I have plans to do a stair workout on Friday. While I enjoy working out alone, it’s definitely fun to meet up with friends and catch up while getting the workout in. I’ve been keeping the variety in my workouts by doing spinning, elliptical, C25K, walks with Sofi, and of course, the ToneItUp toning workouts. This coming week I want to take a few more fitness classes, like Body Combat, and work in some yoga sessions, too.

I have two NSVs to share, both of which are really exciting!  A while ago I was talking with Scale Warfare, who had VSG surgery about two years before I did.  I was telling her about how the jiggliness of my thighs was making it really difficult to buy comfy yoga pants.  Sure, I could fit into smaller sizes, but a lot of the thinner, summer-friendly yoga pants weren’t working with all the extra wiggle I had going on now that I’d lost so much weight and had the excess skin in my thighs.  She suggested that I try Victoria’s Secret yoga pants, because while they were thin and light, they were also fairly good at ‘sucking it all in.’ So a couple of weeks ago I when they were having a sale, I went on the site and ordered VS Most-Loved Yoga Crops in a size Large! I wasn’t sure A.) if they would fit and B.) how they would look if I could get them on.  They came in the mail yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more pleased! They fit great, really hold things in, and are still really light and comfy.  If loose skin/jiggly thighs are at all an issue for you, I’d highly recommend them.

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The 2nd NSV is something I’m super proud of.  This morning I tackled C25K, Week 5, Day 2, which includes a 5 min. walking warmup, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of brisk walking, 8 minutes of running, and a 5 minute cool down.  And I did it!! I’ve started C25K two other times – once when I was way too heavy to run and then more recently after my surgery.  The first time, I was repeating the weeks two times, and I couldn’t make it to running more than 90 seconds at a time, because my poor body just couldn’t do it.  The second time, I stopped at Week 5; I just couldn’t run for 5 minutes in a row.  I could do 3 or even 4, but not 5.  So today when I was running for 8 whole minutes without stopping, and feeling really strong in my run, I amazed myself!  The key, besides being at my lightest weight in the past 20-something years, is that I’m taking the runs very slowly.  I’m at a 4.3mph run, which is just fine by me if it means that I can run for that duration and feel good.  I did move it up to 4.5mph with two minutes to go and felt good, and then “sprinted” up to 5.omph the last 30 seconds, just to see if I could.  And I did!  5.0mph isn’t a pace I can sustain right now, but it is kind cool that I can keep up with it for a very short duration.  This is all so exciting! I will say I’m a bit nervous about Friday’s run: 20 minutes of straight jogging!! But I know I can do it if I just keep my mind positive and my breathing steady. Plus, it’s right on track with my goal of running the entire MOOnlight 5K on July 12th.

Today’s quote is perfect.  It speaks to this person I’ve become – the woman who is unafraid of challenges in every aspect of her life, which finally also includes weight loss and fitness.  I have created a wonderful, vibrant life for myself, and it’s so exciting to be living it to the fullest.

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

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Happy Sunday! Happy Father’s Day!  I hope you’ve been enjoying the weekend with family and friends, doing all the things you love to do.  My family celebrated Father’s Day yesterday with a great BBQ at my house.  We had baby back ribs that fell off the bone, red potato & string bean salad, deviled eggs, and a Caprese salad.  Dessert was a delicious assortment of melons, although I just had coffee.  My dad loved his presents, we took a neighborhood walk with the pups after dinner, and really enjoyed each other. A wonderful afternoon and evening.

This post is a bit overdue (as so many of the posts are, but now that it’s summer, I promise to catch up).  Last Tuesday Tinkerbell and I went shopping.  I was in search of some capris, so we headed to Macy’s.  My two favorite brands at Macy’s are INC and Style & Co, and both of them had what I was looking for.

I knew that although my weight had remained the same for the past 6 weeks or so, my clothes were fitting looser, so I decided to take a chance on bringing size 12s into the fitting room.  (Along with my backup 14s, just in case).  I’m thrilled to report that the 12s fit!!  And not just one random pair of “curvy boyfriend,” but every pair I brought into the dressing room.  This is a great time to remind you that I started out this journey in a tight size 28!  And now I’m in size 12!!!!!  I really don’t remember the last time I wore size 12.  Maybe in high school?  But even then, I remember being size 13/14.  I’m sure at some point, when I was on Jenny Craig and got down to 130, I was a size 12, but it was for such a brief moment in time that I really don’t recall.  In any case, I was absolutely thrilled!

The cool thing was that it wasn’t just at Macy’s that this size fit, it was at Old Navy, too.  Later during Tuesday’s shopping trip, Tink and I found ourselves at Old Navy, and I found some cute capri jeans for $20.  Now, to be completely honest, those were size 14, but Old Navy fits me smaller.  In other words, when I was wearing size 14 at Macy’s and every other store, I was in size 16s at Old Navy, which I refused to buy.  This time I decided that I could live with the 14s, because they looked really cute and they were only $20.  Plus, no one sees what size they are, and I know that size 14s at ON translate to 12s everywhere else.

The other really cool discovery was that Tinkerbell and I wear the same size pants.  This is astonishing to me, because I look at her as having really skinny, fit legs and I don’t see myself that way at all.  Her legs are solid and toned, while mine are flabby and full of loose skin.  But after I tried on the Old Navy capris she asked if she could try the same ones on.  I said, “Tink, those are going to be WAY too big for you – your legs are so much smaller than mine.” To which she replied, “Bella, no they’re not.  Your legs are actually small too, without all the skin.”  This really hit me.  Now I don’t think I’d consider my legs as small, and I’ll always think of myself as a curvy girl, but seeing Tinkerbell put on the pants and that they fit her about the same way they fit me was really illuminating.  And oh so cool!  I’ve never had a bestie I could share clothes with before – and now we can!  Fun!!

Friday I went to Kohls to look for some tops, but just to verify this new size 12 pants thing I tried on a few pair of pants, and the 12s fit there, too!  The fun thing at Kohls was that I’m solidly in a size Medium top.  All sorts of tops fit me in that size – which is really crazy. I’ve always been smaller on top than on the bottom, but at my heaviest I was wearing size 26s that were super tight around my hips.  Not anymore!  Shopping is so much fun now as I try to figure out my style.  I’ll make sure to post OOTD photos on Instagram, if you’d like to keep up with my evolving style there.  I didn’t take photos of everything, but here are a couple of outfits that show these new sizes:

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I was going to the SJ Giants game on Wednesday night, so I have that tshirt on, along with the size 12 INC curvy boyfriend jeans (which I rolled into capris). As the night wore on the jeans got looser, and at one point Di even commented that the jeans were too loose.  LOL.  I need to wash and dry them.

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This was my outfit yesterday for the Father’s Day BBQ.  The top is size medium from Kohls – I love that bandana print.  The top is super comfy and light, perfect for hot weather.  The pants are the size 12 Style & Co capris.  Also super light and comfy.

I’m so happy that my body is still making progress, even though the scale has slowed down a bit.  It shows that all my hard work at the gym has paid off, and that I’m losing inches.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

{On a side note, I forgot to do a weigh in post on Wednesday, so let me give an update.  After taking about a week off from working out and making some poor food choices during the last week or so of school, last Saturday had me up about 5 pounds at 185.8.  Yesterday I weighed in at 179.6 – that’s a loss of 6 .2 pounds this past week.  I’m really proud of that for a few reasons:

  1. I knew the weight gain was mostly water weight from eating movie popcorn with butter, too many trips to Yogurtland, and a few other poor meal choices, not to mention not getting enough water or any workouts in.  I knew it would come off fast.
  2. I’ve been putting in WORK at the gym with cardio and toning routines this week.  Tink and I met at 7:30am twice and at 7am another time.  And I worked out myself the other days.
  3. I’m finally in the 170s!!  Even if it is just barely into the 170s, I’ll take it.  It means the scale is moving, and I’m happy with that.

I promise that I’ll write a Wednesday weigh-in post this week}.

 

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