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Spring has sprung! Which means that the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, and fitting in outdoor activities is a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of renewal, and in the spring of 2016  I’m living my life in full bloom! Now that I’m losing the weight that I’ve re-gained, the pounds I lose this spring are like petals on a flower, making my life just a bit more beautiful. I want to enjoy each day of this season, soaking in the sunshine, blue skies, and happiness. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. My Sunday progress updates will be called Super Spring Weigh-Ins.

Week 1 of losing my regain found me slowly getting back on track after that painful reality check of last week’s weigh in when I saw 201.0 on the scale; a number I thought I’d never see again.  But sometimes a shock to the system is exactly what it takes to get me moving in the right direction. I was on spring break this week, so I had the time to make some slight, yet significant changes: I went on a hike and worked out at the gym with RDC3, I got in over 10,000 steps on trips to Half Moon Bay (with RDC3 and my parents) and Carmel (with RDC3 and Sofi).  I made a grocery run, prepared healthier meals, and had a general sense of things getting back into place.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 199.2, which is a loss of 1.8 pounds this week! I’ve lost a total of 77.8 lbs since surgery and 115.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 49.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really happy with this week’s loss.  The first pound came off right away when I did my daily weigh-in on Monday; the other 0.8 came off a little at a time as the week continued.  Not only did I lose almost 2 pounds without any huge changes to my diet and exercise, but I’m gratefully back in ONEDERLAND.  I will never get out of it again!

Today I had an NSV when I texted RDC3 for our Sunday weight loss accountability update.  We’ve both gained weight since we’ve been together, so we’ve decided that enough is enough and it’s time to get serious about getting these pounds off.  He’s as committed to living a healthy lifestyle as I am, which is so nice. This is a whole new experience for me, because while I’ve had lots of great female friends who are weight loss buddies, I’ve never shared the weight loss journey with a boyfriend before.  That’s where the milestone comes in.  I’ve never, ever shared my actual weight with someone I was dating before.  EVER.  Even last week when I had that fateful weigh-in, I told RDC3 how much I’d gained, but not the actual number on the scale.  Today when I texted him my update, I told him the number.  Gulp!  He knew what it meant to me to be able to feel safe in sharing that with him, and he was so supportive.  He cheered on the fact that I’d lost 1.8 lbs, and didn’t make it a big deal about the 201.  Which means absolutely everything to me.  As he said, “we should be able to share everything with each other.”  And I couldn’t agree more.  That’s one of the many reasons I know that this is IT!

Phew! This week has been quite productive, when I look back at everything.  I faced the scale, made some easy changes, saw weight loss results, shared my weight with my boyfriend, and made lots of updates on my blog.  Progress!!

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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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Let me start by saying that I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more excited to write a post since I started this blog 7 1/2 years ago.  Longtime readers know that this blog has mainly focused on my weight loss and healthy living journey.  You’ve been with me through the struggles, the striving, and the successes.  But one of the underlying dreams I’ve had for years, one that I wrote a lot about on my original blog, was to have a romantic relationship.

When I was at my heaviest weight, feeling insecure about how I looked and feeling like my outside didn’t match the inside, I just gave up on dating.  I wasn’t meeting quality people; actually they were just the opposite of that. I decided that if this guy wasn’t someone I’d date when I was at my goal weight, why would I settle and date him now?  On the one hand, it was empowering to know that I was worth more than hanging out with some random guy.  On the other hand, my lack of a dating life was an area that left me with such longing.  Not one to dwell on the negative, I pushed past any thoughts of “I wish I had a boyfriend…” and just focused all of my energy on myself and losing weight.  That tactic paid off, and I couldn’t be happier with the results of all of my hard work.

In the back of my head I thought that once I lost all the weight, I’d be able to meet a really great guy and finally start that part of my life again.  Little did I know how difficult it would be to find someone even at a normal weight.  Lots of bad dates with odd ducks, dates with guys who weren’t into me, good dates with people I thought had potential, but didn’t end up working out.  I’ve written quite a bit about how frustrating the whole thing was, and I took another break at the end of the summer last year.

At the beginning of May, my friend encouraged me to join Zoosk, which is an online dating site that I hadn’t heard of before.  After kissing a lot of frogs, she had found a great guy and she wanted me to give it a shot, too.  So I went on the site, uploaded my photos, wrote a bit about myself and crossed my fingers.  I got a lot of attention from all sorts of men, and sifting through everyone was a bit overwhelming. Lots of chatting, texting, talking on the phone, and even one date that was pretty humbling.  (I thought we’d had a pretty decent date, albeit not a lot of chemistry, but when I texted to thank him for the dinner, he just disappeared).  Online dating makes people think it’s ok to be rude – ugh.

Through all of this, there was one guy that had completely intrigued me.  RC3 had such a sincere profile, was a complete doll, was my same age, had a passion for photography and art, and didn’t have kids.  He was like an online dating unicorn!!  We texted back and forth for a few days, and then started talking on the phone.  As soon as we were on that first phone call, I knew that we had chemistry and wanted to get to know him even better.  The one downside was that we lived about 30 miles from each other and had completely opposite work schedules.  When I mentioned that this might pose a problem, his reply was, “these are easy obstacles to overcome.”  That positive attitude put a smile on my face, and made me take even more notice of him.

He asked me out for that Saturday, May 16th.  We were meeting at Santana Row, a great spot near my house with lots of stores, restaurants, and bars. It was ideal because we could walk around and see where we felt like going.  Plus, it’s really beautiful.  I’d decided to go to Dry Bar to get a blowout so that I was looking my best, but of course the stylist was 30 minutes late. Not the best way to start out a date – worried and running behind.  RC3 was super cool about it when I texted him, telling me to take my time and not worry about it.  That put me at ease, and showed me that he was a really flexible, patient person.

Our meeting spot allowed me to scope him out a bit as I walked up to him, before he saw me.  I knew he was tall (6’3″) and good looking, but when I walked up and saw him, the word that popped in my head was “whoa!”  He was even better in person than in his profile.  (A rarity that only those who have been on a date with someone whose profile picture is 10+ years old can understand).  He has the warmest eyes and the sweetest smile, and he seemed really happy to see me, too.  He complimented my hair, and I said, “well, you have to say that after making you wait!” It broke the ice, although I had a nervous excitement that I couldn’t shake. But I knew he liked what he saw, and that gave me the best confidence boost.

Our first date was really awesome – we had a great dinner, walked around looking at all the shops, talked easily, had drinks at a pretty outside bar, and just clicked.  The chemistry was so strong that when we were sitting outside at the bar I did something that I never do – I leaned over and kissed him! Such a huge risk (especially for a girl who doesn’t like to make the first move with guys) but it paid off, because he kissed me right back, and we shared an amazing first kiss.  He confessed that he’d been wanting to kiss me for awhile, but wanted to be a gentleman.  So sweet!  As he walked me back to my car later in the evening, we even took a selfie to commemorate the date.  I can’t tell you how cool it was that he didn’t mind taking photos like that, since I drive my family and friends crazy with how often my camera is out to capture memories.  (Although that makes sense, since he is a photographer).

We hung out the next evening, where I drove up to his area and he showed me all around.  More selfies, more kisses, more laughs, more butterflies, and more getting to know each other.  We have so many things in common – love the same kind of music, enjoy the same types of tv shows and movies, have cultures that value family and food, and are both honest, sincere people. I can trust him and he knows he can trust me, too.  He likes that I’m a strong woman, thinks my “spiciness” is sexy, and just gets me. I can’t tell you how exceptional that is, because my personality is definitely not for everyone. I like that he’s such a gentleman who opens doors for me (every single time we get in the car, he opens the door for me, which I love), has such a giving heart, and has an artsy side that completely captivates me.

Every time we see each other, we get closer and closer. We have the best time when we’re together, whether we’re eating a great restaurant or strolling the aisles at Target.  It’s so fun showing each other around our cities and making new discoveries together.  Things are so easy between us – we just have an ebb and flow that works perfectly together – he’s the calm to my excited, he’s patient when I’m impatient. We are both passionate people, although we display it in different ways.  We just fit.  And I feel absolutely lucky and so grateful that he found me on Zoosk.

If you can’t tell by now, sparks are flying!

Things are moving quickly, and while we’re being realistic, we both agreed to just go with the flow and not worry about timelines.  We’re at the age where we’ve been hurt, know what we want, what we don’t want, and what we need from another person.  So to me, if things move at a faster pace, it makes sense, because we’ve already done the hard work of wading through a lot of the B.S. that comes with dating.  We’ve had lots of serious conversations about our pasts, shared things that we haven’t told very many people, and understand how where we’ve come from makes us the people we are today. We’ve allowed each other to be vulnerable with the other, taking the risk that comes with opening up. Those late night chats have allowed us to take the leap of faith that comes with commitment.  With that said, I’m happy to announce that RC3 is my boyfriend!!!

My boyfriend?!  I haven’t used those two words together in longer than I’d like to admit.  Which makes it all the more special.

And remember all of those fears I had about getting intimate with someone?  The worry that once the person saw me without my clothes on, things would be awkward, weird, or otherwise terrible?  Not at all the case with RC3. Quite the opposite, actually. He makes me feel absolutely beautiful, flaws and all, because he doesn’t just see the outside, but connects with me on a much deeper level.  It’s awesome when he compliments me on how pretty he thinks my eyes are, or how he likes my curves, or how cool my hair is, but it’s even more amazing when he looks at me and I know he’s seeing my soul.

I am beyond thrilled that summer is literally two days away and we have so many fun adventures ahead of us.  We’ve already made so many plans about places we want to go and things we want to see.  We’ve already spent many fantastic days together – walking along Jack London Square, popping into old bookstores, discovering a bike shop with the coolest cruisers, getting together with Tinkerbell and her hubby to watch the Warriors win, riding the roller coasters in Santa Cruz, hearing a great singer (Eilen Jewell) at a local jazz spot, and just looking at the moon while we’re on the phone together.

I can honestly say that I haven’t felt like this in years.  When we’re together, I feel like I’m in my 20s, and not just because we both look young for our ages.  But because I haven’t experienced something like this since that time.  Actually, I haven’t really ever experienced something like this. I wasn’t ready for it then, but I am now. The connection I thought I’d made with people in the recent past pale in comparison to the connection that RC3 and I are forging.  I love how attentive he is – texting and calling me even when he’s on a weekend boys’ trip and his friends give him a bad time for contacting me so much.  Bringing me coffee from a great coffeehouse in Portland because he knows how much I like a good, dark roast. Sending me photos of his day. Letting me borrow his favorite art books. Listening to the songs that he knows I love. Just checking in to see how my day is going. We click on so many levels – artistically, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  It’s exciting and never fails to take my breath away.  You can see it in the Instagram photos I’ve posted. I’m completely smitten, and RC3 shows me in lots of little ways that the same is true for him.

I’m definitely falling…

…and it was completely worth the wait.

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Getting Real

Before I get into my joining in on the ToneItUp Bikini Series again this year, I thought I should take a moment to get real.  It’s been quite some time since I updated my weight on this blog (or even on MFP, for that matter).  I’ve mentioned in a previous post that throughout the fall and winter, my workouts and eating had been a bit sporadic.  I did workouts some days, but nothing extremely consistent, as I had been.  I ate pretty well, but did let more carbs and “snacks” creep into my diet, especially as the holidays approached.  And I gained about 13 pounds from my lowest weight of 170, meaning that on Sunday, April 12th I weighed in at 183.0.  I wasn’t overly surprised by this gain; my clothes had started to fit a bit snugger and my face didn’t look as thin as it had in late summer.  At the same time, I know that in my pre-WLS days not eating great and not working out for 6 months would have netted a gain of much more than 13 pounds.  Which is why I’m so grateful for this VSG tool.  It helps to keep me in line with my portion sizes and helps me make sure that things don’t ever get totally out of control.  13 pounds I can deal with.

TIU Bikini Series

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Thanks to @toningupcoco for creating this awesome image!

ToneItUp is at it again – helping people get “bikini ready” in the 8 weeks before summer.  Since this is their 5th year of the Bikini Series, they decided to kick things off a bit earlier, so this year’s Bikini Series will end on June 6th.  Just like last year, I decided to join in on the fun, and immediately signed up for the Bikini Series.  Unlike last year, I’ve become a full-fledged member of the TIUTeam this year.  I bought the TIU Nutrition Program, which includes 1000s of recipes and meal ideas.  Once you buy the Nutrition Program, you’re a member for life; you’re never charged more and you get seasonal additions to the plan. This year for the 5th Bikini Series, they came out with an 8-week meal plan, making it that much easier to follow the TIU suggested meals.  They even included a grocery list and meal prep guide.  With all this built in organization and healthy eating, I just couldn’t wait to start on April 12th.

To prepare, I hit Sprouts and Trader Joe’s on Saturday, and spent some time meal prepping so that I’d be ready to start my day on Sunday with all the foods I needed for the early part of the day.

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Then I spent a few hours on Sunday prepping food for the rest of the week.  I’m really enjoying the recipes they suggested, and have been liking trying some new ingredients like shredded coconut and almond flour, trying new meals like chia pudding, and eating a bit more calories than I’m used to.  Since their meals are all based around clean, whole foods, upping the calories hasn’t been departmental to my weight loss.  I have had to cut the portion sizes to fit my post-WLS tummy, but that’s been pretty simple.  At this point, almost 2 years post-op, I know how much I can eat in one sitting.  (So, instead of eating 6oz of mahi mahi, I eat 4oz). I love how colorful and full of flavor the meals are, and I’m eating a ton of fruits and veggies.  The recipes themselves are all pretty easy to make, which is a plus.

Here’s an example of a typical day of food on the Bikini Series 8-Week Meal Plan:

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Breakfast: Blueberry Zest muffins, strawberries, and 1/2 protein shake (I added this in lieu of almond milk because it has more protein)
Snack: apple and hard-boiled egg
Lunch: Spinach, tuna w/ wasabi mayo (this is another one of my own meals, not strictly on the plan, but within most of their guidelines)
Snack: Berry Bright Chia Pudding
Dinner: Chili in a Bowl w/1/4 avocado

Bikini Series Goals

Another thing I really like about the Tone It Up approach is that it’s not just about food and working out (although those are super-important!), it’s also about the mindset you have.  They suggested setting goals to accomplish throughout the Bikini Series:

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I’m really proud of the fact that this week, I woke up and did my “bootycalls” (morning workouts) all 5 days before work!  It wasn’t always easy, but I made it happen, and I really do think my day went better because I got the workout in early and felt so energized.  I also love creating the photo collages I put up on IG every morning, like this one I did today:

IMG_3687 As you can see, I’m already well on my goal of hitting 100 miles  by summer! I’m doing so well on this goal that I may increase it to 150 miles by summer – I want to wait another week and see how many I log after two weeks before I make the switch.

TIU Team

Another huge part of the Tone It Up philosophy is women supporting and encouraging each other.  Last year I started following tons of other TIU girls on IG, liking and commenting on their photos.  This year I decided to amp it up a bit by joining two new groups on FB dedicated to TIU.  One is a general TIU Bikini Series group that has people from all over the world in it.  It’s been a fun place to share ideas, ask questions, and get encouragement.  I also joined a more local TIU group on FB for other TIU girls who live in the South SF Bay Area.  This is the group I’m most excited about because it’s full of other women who live in my area.  We’ve already scheduled a few meetups, one of which is happening next Thursday at a spinning studio that I’ve never been to.  I can’t wait to meet some new friends who share my interest in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Progress Photos – “Before”

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Lots of the TIU ladies were nervous about posting their “before” photos online, but I wasn’t.  These aren’t my before photos – you guys know that I started this weight loss journey at my all-time heaviest weight of 315.  I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished since then, so these photos are a badge of honor to me.  And I just can’t wait to see how much slimmer I look in my “after” photos at the end of the 8 weeks.

Oh, and another point of inspiration – this morning when I weighed myself I was already down 1.4 lbs since Sunday, weighing in at 181.6.  Not bad for 5 days.  Especially considering that I increased my calories from an average of 900/day to about 1200/day.

Wrapping It Up

I’m thrilled with the choice I made to join the Bikini Series again this year, and I’m really looking forward to all of the positive things that will come of it.

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That’s what one of my closest friends told me a few weeks ago, when she and I were having a heart-to-heart about life.  She’s so right.  Things have been “off” since August.

Before you get too concerned, it’s nothing super serious, but I have had a mild sense of not feeling like myself.  Not depressed exactly, but a mild sense of the blahs that have spilled over into most areas of my life – working out, eating right, blogging, etc.  You guys know I’ve been really absent on this blog, only writing very sporadically – I just haven’t felt inspired to write, which is so unlike me. Not that I’ve been going completely off the rails – I get workouts in here and there.  I eat healthy most of the time and log most of my meals into MFP.  I see friends and family, regularly.  But I’ve felt like I’m just going through the motions a lot of the time.  Kind of a “fake it ’till you make it” existence, which is so NOT me. I’m a live-life-outloud kinda girl, so “just getting through it” is not a comfortable place for me.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I still had all the same goals for my life – keeping up a healthy lifestyle, getting to my goal weight, spending time with friends and family, generally keeping a positive outlook on life. So why was I just going through the motions?  I finally took a long, hard look at my life, and realized that it was the new position I’d taken as a new teacher mentor.

I loved some aspects of the job. Working with the new teachers and helping them navigate all of the aspects of being a 1st or 2nd year teacher.  Seeing how instruction is implemented at the 5 different high schools where my 18 new teacher work.  Getting to know the principals, vice-principals, and deans at the 5 schools.  Working closely with my mentoring partner, whom I worked with at my high school, and whom I respect tremendously.  Meeting lots of other mentors who work throughout my county.  Learning more about Common Core, ELD standards, equity in education, and great teaching practices.  I enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of the new teachers, as well as their willingness to receive feedback about how they could improve their teaching. Even planning, writing, and hosting the professional development for the new teachers on topics like supporting ELL students, implementing academic vocabulary, new apps and technology for the classroom, etc.

But there were lots of things that the new position entailed that weren’t so great. Like all the driving – in my head I knew I’d be traveling from school to school throughout the day, but until I was actually in the car driving so many miles every single day, I didn’t realize how much of a toll it would take on me.  I missed having a home – being at a school where they knew and loved me.  I only have two new teachers at my old high school, and I relish every time I’m on that campus because students run up to me saying hello, colleagues offer hugs, and I just breathe a sigh of relief because it’s my familiar.  I missed the school spirit – dressing up for spirit week, wearing goofy costumes, donning blue and gold on Fridays for our school pride day.     I missed being part of a faculty and having that sense of community on a daily basis.  I knew I was a social person, but I didn’t realize just how much I needed that interaction. The unpredictability of my daily schedule was also something that drained me.  I love variety and keeping things fresh, but waking up and not knowing where I’m going and who I’m going to see until I check my iCal appointments was off-putting in a way I never anticipated.  And the work day was much longer – I usually wake up at 5:30, read and respond to work emails while I have coffee, get ready for the day and leave the house by 8 or 8:30 and drive all around until at least 4:30 or 5pm, then take phone calls and answer emails or do paperwork when I got home.  Now I know that might not sound like a long day to most people, and when I was teaching I’d spend the normal school day working and then have to plan lessons and grade in the evenings and weekends, but this new schedule just felt a lot longer to me. Probably because I wasn’t doing what I loved like I did when I was teaching.  One the nights we held professional development, which was once a month, we’d work until 7pm. I felt like the hours of this position were all-consuming.

And then there was the conversation with the district administrators whom my mentoring partner and I report to who let us know that next year they expect us to add more “districtwide” professional development to our plans. Which means they expected us to provide professional development to all teachers, not just new teachers on “district initiatives” that they decided for us.  When I expressed that we might not be experts in these areas, my boss said, “well then, we’ll send you to a workshop so that you can become an expert.”  How would we possibly fit in more than we were doing now?  We were both running around like chickens with our heads cut off as it was just keeping up with all we were required to do for the new teachers.  When would we find the time to plan, write, and teach these new professional developments?  And what if these “district initiatives” weren’t on topics that we believed in?  It’s very difficult to teach something that I don’t fully support, yet these new topics would be chosen by the district administrators, not by my mentoring partner and me.  I abhor being dictated to and feeling like my opinion doesn’t matter, yet that was the message I was getting.  Not being someone to quietly deal with a situation that I hate, I decided to take a stand.

In February I told the deputy superintendent in charge of human resources that I would like to return to the classroom next year.  In essence, I was resigning from this position.  I didn’t mention the things that made me unhappy about the job; I just told her that I really missed teaching.  Which is completely true.  Teaching is my passion, and seeing all of those new teachers in their own classrooms made me long for my own room full of students. I am still considered a teacher even as a mentor, I’m still fully fledged in the teachers’ union, retain my tenure and seniority, and I am guaranteed a teaching position somewhere in the district.  The unknown was whether or not I’d be able to return to my old school.  I had high hopes because there were two open positions in the English department, my former principal wanted me back, and I wanted to return.  But HR had to keep me guessing, hoping, praying, and wishing for awhile.  Finally, on April 1, I found out that I will be able to return to my old school!! I’m so excited and I know I’m going to go back with a renewed sense of purpose.

I’ll be teaching most of the same classes I have in the past, although I will have two classes that I haven’t taught in about 10 years.  I will also be in a new classroom, at my request.  The teacher who moved into my old classroom is staying on next year, and I just didn’t want to make him have to move everything. Plus, there were so many things about my old classroom that I didn’t really like – it was a huge room, but it was weirdly shaped, making it difficult to keep organized.  The new room has great counters and cabinets, so keeping everything tidy will be much easier.  Plus, in the new room I’ll be right next door to one of my favorite teaching buddies, whom I’ll be collaborating with on 4 of the classes.  And I love the idea of a fresh start in a new room.  I can’t wait to “move in” and decorate it this summer!

It’s hard for me to express the combination of excitement yet calm I feel knowing that I’ll be back to my high school.  I feel like I can breathe easier knowing that I’ll be back to doing what I love, working with the people I enjoy, interacting with 120+ students who will be “mine” for the year.  Back to having a predictable schedule – knowing what time I begin and end my day and where I’ll be every single weekday.  Yet there’s a huge amount of excitement, too – back to discussing texts, helping students improve their writing, planning curriculum with colleagues, and of course, wearing all the goofy, spirited outfits. I’m going to enjoy the remainder of this mentoring position for these last couple of months (I’m done June 5th), and I’ll really relish all the fun that comes with summer vacation, but I am also feeling so inspired for the 2015-16 school year.  I have a feeling of peace that I haven’t felt in so long.  And I think that’s going to spill over into all other areas of my life.

I’ll write more about my plans for working out and eating right in an upcoming post.  If you haven’t noticed, I was inspired yesterday and finally wrote out my 2015 goals and my mantra for the year.  I’m not going to promise how often I’ll write, but I will say that I’m planning to write more often than I have been.  Until then, I hope you have a happy Friday!

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Talk about spoiled! Driving with the top down on a sunny, 70-degree day in January!

Talk about spoiled! Driving with the top down on a sunny, 70-degree day in January!

Happy Sunday!  I seem to begin every new blog post this way lately…it’s been far too long since my last post.  To be honest, I really don’t know why.  My new position as a new teacher advisor does make my work day a bit longer than when I was teaching, but I also don’t have any grading, so that’s not really it.  I think I’ve just gotten out of the habit.  When something exciting or fun happens, my first thought is “I’ll put it on Instagram” rather than, “I’ll write a blog post.”  Maybe it’s just that my interaction with social media has changed?  In any case, I do still love writing and getting my thoughts out, and I would like to blog more often in 2015.  Anything would be better than what I’ve been doing in the last 6 months, right?

Romance Update – Currently there’s nothing on the horizon in terms of dating.  Since my last update, I’ve gone on a few dates.  A few of them were promising, but then things just sort of fell apart.  It seems to be the norm with online dating that people just kind of disappear.  Things are going well, we’re texting or talking daily, we may go on a date or two, text and talk less frequently, and then it’s just radio silence.  It gets really disappointing.  As much as I really want to meet someone and get into a relationship, this whole process is very frustrating.  Right now I’m on a bit of a break because I just wasn’t seeing many people who interest me.  When I’m out and about, watching football or enjoying a meal with friends, I don’t get approached by guys.  Maybe it’s too intimidating to come up to a group, or maybe I’m just not giving off the approachable vibe.  Friends in person or on social media tell me how pretty I am (without trying to sound conceited), and I’ve lost all this weight and I look so much healthier, so why is it that I can’t seem to meet someone?  I’m not giving up, but it’s hard not to lose hope.

Fitness Update – Just like blogging, I haven’t been in the gym much in these last 4-5 months, but that doesn’t mean my fitness routine has gone totally out the window.  4-5 times a week I workout at home. Cardio is either jumping on my home elliptical or doing a HIIT routine.  For toning, I’ve been following the plan that ToneItUp.com puts out every Sunday.  I really enjoy their workouts because they’re easy to do and I notice a difference in the way my body looks and feels when I do them regularly.  But I do miss going to the gym because there is a better variety of equipment there. Plus, seeing other people pushing themselves really motivates me.  So I want to start going to the gym to workout or take classes at least twice a week moving forward.

Weight Update – I’m pleased to say that I’m at my lowest weight to date – 170.0.  I’m soooooo close to getting into the 160s!!  I know that if I just stick to eating protein and veggies, limiting starches like rice, potatoes, and bread to midday meals most days, I will reach the next weight category soon.  Moving forward, my plan is to continue doing what I know how to do – prepare flavorful, healthy meals and keep indulgences to once or twice a week.

Remembering Why I Love Blogging Update – Two weeks ago I participated in the SF Hot Chocolate 5K, and as my cousin, her friends, and I were waiting for the race to start, a woman came up to me and said, “Do you have a blog?”  When I said yes, she introduced herself as a longtime blog reader.  I was stunned that someone who reads my blog recognized me on that dark, early morning and took the time to say hello.  She said some other really heartwarming things, and it put me in such a great mood.  It also made me feel very guilty about the infrequency of my blog posts lately.

Body Consciousness Update – As I’ve written about so much in the past, even though I’m so proud of how my body has transformed with my weight loss, I’m also very self-conscious of the way my body looks.  Lots of loose skin that will never tighten up or show muscle tone not matter how many squats and lunges I perform.  I was talking with a male friend recently, and he really gave me a pep talk that helped me change the way I think about my body.  He and I got into a long, deep conversation, and he told me that the way I feel about myself is really all in my head.  When I explained my fears about someone seeing me naked and getting an unpleasant surprise because the way I look in clothes is so much better than without, he said I was crazy.  He told me that anyone who sees me has a very good idea of how I look, and that the loose skin that bothers me so much isn’t something that would put most guys off; at least not someone who is worth getting that intimate with.  He told me that I have a beautiful body, and his sincerity with the entire discussion assured me that he wasn’t just staying things to make me feel better.  He also said that I really need to get over this insecurity, because he’s sure that it spills over into the way I interact with the men I’m dating, and that it’s been holding me back in a major way. I can’t disagree with him.  Ever since our conversation last Sunday, I’ve been doing my best to reframe the way I think about my body.  You guys know how determined I can be, and I’ve decided to channel that determination into this new appreciation of how I look right now.

So that’s what’s been going on.  I hope you’ve all been doing well, and if you’ve read this far, I want to thank you for continuing to support me, despite my long absences.

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Autumn has (almost officially) arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout. I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years! Bring on fall 2014 – it’s time to reach new heights! Wednesday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the work week, and will give me a positive outlook for the weekend. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Wednesday weight loss updates called WonderFALL Weigh-Ins.

Week 68 was busy, hectic and long.  So much so that I didn’t even have time to write a weight loss update.  I actually didn’t even have a chance to weigh in at all until this morning.  So, here’s a midweek weigh-in update. Even though the week was super busy, I did a good fairly job with my meal planning, eating, and exercising.

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 171.0, which is a loss of 1.2 pounds this week, and a loss of 106 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 144 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 21 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really happy to see this loss, especially because I haven’t really been putting as much concentration on weight loss this week.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made great meals, gotten in some solid workouts, and continued to eat within my meal plan.  The nice thing about this point in my journey is that I don’t have to think about all of these things as much as I used to.  They’ve become such a habit, such a way of life, that I can go on “auto-pilot” during a crazy week and still see a good result.  That makes me feel awesome.

This week shouldn’t be quite as busy so I’ll have more time to concentrate on working out and meal planning.  I’m not going to go into too many details here, because I’ll write a weekly workout plan post in a few minutes.

I’m so close to reaching the next weight category – the 160s!!  I can’t wait to hit that section, because I haven’t been at that weight since I was 18 years old.  It’s so cool that now at 43, I’ll be even fitter than I was when I was 18. Back then, I wasn’t wearing size small and medium tops or size 10/12 pants, and I think the difference is that I’ve really changed my entire body with the cardio and toning workouts I’ve been doing.  It’s amazing to see such a transformation in my body, and each time I hit a new NSV with clothes, it’s so surreal to me.

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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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Autumn has (almost officially) arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout. I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years! Bring on fall 2014 – it’s time to reach new heights! Wednesday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the work week, and will give me a positive outlook for the weekend. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Wednesday weight loss updates called WonderFALL Weigh-Ins.

Week 67 was a pretty good one. I made some great meals, got in a few strong workouts, and even took a long walk when I wasn’t feeling that great over the weekend.

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 172.2, which is a maintain this week, and a loss of 104.8 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 142.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 22.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I can’t lie, I’m disappointed that I didn’t see a loss on the scale this week, because I’ve been putting in work and eating right.  But when I look at the week, I did skip two weekday workouts and I wasn’t feeling great this weekend, so I didn’t do as much as I normally would have.  I ate a lot more carbs and less protein than I should’ve late last week (in the form of a chicken pesto pizza that lasted for 3 meals). I’m not too upset about this maintain, because I know it’s only temporary.  It also shows me that at this point in my journey, I need to push harder in order to see a loss on the scale.

So far this week (the past two days), I’ve been getting in strong workouts, following the Tone It Up Frisky Fall Challenge.  This morning my legs are really feeling the squats, lunges, and other moves that I’ve been doing.  I love pushing myself with the toning workouts.  I’ve also resumed C25K, and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt strong in my runs even though I’d taken so much time off from running training.  My main workout goal this week is to make sure I get in all my weekday workouts, not allowing myself to skip any because I’m tried, which usually happens around Thursday or Friday.

In terms of food, things are going well. As I mentioned above, toward the end of last week and into the weekend I wasn’t making the best food choices.  I kept my calories under my daily goal, but I wasn’t eating enough protein and veggies.  I know this is a main reason the scale didn’t move this week.  I know better.  I know that in order to lose weight, I need to eat well, not just keep the calories within my limits.  It’s much more important to keep WHAT I’m eating in check.  Eating out several meals in one week doesn’t lead to weight loss.  It would’ve been better for me to eat that chicken pesto pizza for just the one meal and leave the rest.  I need to release myself from the idea of “wasting food,” and continuing to eat a heavy carb and fat with little protein meal several times just so that I don’t feel wasteful.  Indulging for one meal is one fine, but eating that same meal three times because I have leftovers isn’t good for my weight loss goals. From now on if I go out and indulge in a meal that doesn’t really fit in with my plan, I’m going to enjoy that one meal and leave the leftovers at the restaurant because it’s just not worth the damage it does. So far this week, I’ve done a good job with balancing my protein, veggies, and carbs.

If anything, this maintain is going to spur me to push myself harder this week.  I don’t want to see another maintain on the scale next week, and I’m determined to make sure that I see a new loss.  I’m so close to a new weight “decade,” and I’ve love to move into the 160s next week which is completely doable – I’d only need a loss of 2.4 lbs.  I’m going to keep that number in mind and use it to motivate myself in my workout and in my food choices.  Here’s to moving forward!

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

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