The Next Big Thing

Well, there’s a few…

I’ve hinted at having some pretty awesome things coming up. My marathon was a big, big race but it was only the beginning 🙂

1. I’m finally going to see my family in Ohio. My mom, brother, and sister live in Ohio and it’s rare when we go visit them. Luckily, one of them manages to make it down here to Arizona–my sister not so often as she’s got her clan to travel with. My husband, Ben, was the one who suggested us making the trip up there this time and he had zero reservations from me 🙂 We’ll be heading out there in a few weeks and it just so happens to be right before my little girl’s 2nd birthday. So, she’ll be having her birthday party with her cousins; I’m we’re so excited!!

Of course, I thought about whether I could squeeze in a race while I was there. I found a local 5k close to my sister’s place and signed Ben and I up. My sister is a runner so it wasn’t too difficult to get her to join in as well. But guess what?? My non-running, 6’2, 280 lb brother signed up too!!!! This will be his first race and our first race all three of us have done together!! I’m so ridiculously pumped about this.

He texted me this yesterday: “3.5 mile fast walk done!”

I had the biggest smile all day from reading that.

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2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid, Spain anyone?

Ben and I were looking at spring/early summer races and considering Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego in June. We looked at the website at what other RnR races there were around the time frame we wanted and we saw Madrid. What if we did something crazy like that? We are not very spontaneous people and doing things like just isn’t normal for us. But, we were in a moment and we decided to go for it! We’ll be taking a week long trip to Europe late April starting in Spain, then going to Italy, and going home from France. I don’t think it’s fully registered that we’re doing this.

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3. Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim

Living in Arizona, going to the Grand Canyon is a must. I went with my family when I was 6 and don’t remember a thing 😦 It’s been on my to-do list for quite some time and when my run club told me they do a yearly hike in the canyon I jumped at the chance. There was a pretty long waiting list but after a few months of waiting, I made it!

I’d be doing it alone with my club though and hiking the canyon was something I would have loved doing with my husband. But, this was an opportunity I wasn’t sure I’d get again. The dates to hike are mid to late May and since I’ll be going back to work (more about that another time), those days are blackout days. I couldn’t pass this up.

So on May 17th I’ll be making a 23 mile hike down the canyon and then making a 25 mile return back up. Sounds like fun, right? I’m so freaking excited about this!!!

Now that my marathon is over, I’ll be doing a lot more trail running and branching out a little from my usual pavement/treadmill runs. I’m looking forward to doing different things and can’t wait for this challenge.

Want more info on this? Go here to read about this awesomeness that is Rim to Rim.

So there you have it! I have other races sprinkled in between, but these are the next big things 🙂

–What’s on your race radar?

–What are some cool races you’d want to do? (I still have quite a few things on my wish list lol!)

 

 

Losing Weight, Gaining Perspective {a guest post}

So I mentioned yesterday that my good friend Amy would be guest blogging today. (She’s a part of that healthy moms group I’ve mentioned a few times.) Amy is in the midst of a lifestyle change and….
Well, I’m just going to let her share her story with you
: )

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Hi, friends of Helly! I am so honored to be here sharing my story with you. Helly and I are internet-turned-real-life friends. Our daughters are about a week apart in age and she inspires me daily with her infectious positive attitude and her commitment to her health and her family. It’s great to “meet” you all! This is a little slice of my life, and the journey I’ve been on the past couple months to lose weight and reclaim my confidence and self-worth.

Helly and my daugher M, October 2013

Helly and my daugher M, October 2013

First, a little background. Unlike most of you, my default state is sedentary. While I like endorphins (who doesn’t?!), I can’t stand to exercise. I’ve searched high and low and I haven’t found one type that I truly enjoy. It takes a huge extrinsic motivation for me to get up off the couch and move. At the same time, I love food. Cooking and baking (especially baking!) are my passions, but most of all I love to eat. A lot. It’s so extreme that I’ve sometimes wondered if I have a food addiction. I have gone very long stretches of time where I have absolutely no regulation over what and how much I’m eating. Plus the whiter the carb, the better.

The most recent post from my currently dormant food blog of 6 years

The most recent post from my currently dormant food blog of 6 years

Because of all this couch-sitting and food-over-enjoying, I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. Along with that has come a lot of depression and shame. In 2010, after recovering from a herniated disc, I finally decided to do something about it. Together with my husband, I trained for and ran the 1st Annual Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World—very fitting for my foodie self! I still consider that one of my proudest moments ever.

At Epcot after our race

At Epcot after our race

My healthy momentum from the race carried me for a while, but over the past few years I have slowly slipped back into my mega-eating, non-exercising ways. Since then, I’ve been yo-yo-ing, and have been up and down within a 25 pound range.

A couple months ago, I found myself at my highest weight ever. Despite adding in a bike commute to work (something I’m so proud of!), I hated how my clothes fit and I hated looking in the mirror. I hated my obese BMI and I hated looking like I was 5 months pregnant. It was time to make a real, permanent change. I wanted to hold my head up high, have more energy, and set an example of good health for my daughter.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever but I will always regret how heavy I look; Halloween 2013

This is one of my favorite pictures ever but I will always regret how heavy I look; Halloween 2013

This change needed to be sustainable, given my yo-yo tendencies. This time I’m committed to setting myself up for success instead of expecting that I’ll fail. There are a million diets and methods and clubs out there to lose weight, but I started out simple. In early January of this year, I started a Dietbet (something that’s helped motivate me in the past). I bet $25 that I could lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. My husband and about 75 friends and friends of friends joined us, and those of us who reached their goal (spoiler alert: including me and my husband!) split the pot.

To reach my Dietbet goal, I started logging every single thing I ate with My Fitness Pal. This has been so key to my success. There have been days when I’ve overeaten or slipped up, but logging it has helped me realize that I’m so very hard on myself. I’m allowed to mess up, and messing up doesn’t mean that I’m a total failure. AT ALL. It’s also helped with this sustainability thing. I can have a cookie for an afternoon snack once in a while or my beloved Chinese food in small doses and I can still stay on a downward trend of weight loss.

Now, about that pesky exercise. I’m about to share my dirty little secret with you, are you ready? Promise not to laugh at me. A friend gave me a series of workout videos by trainer Leslie Sansone. Her thing is “Walk at Home.” Yes, I said walk. At home. I know it sounds ridiculously low-impact and I’m mildly embarrassed to share this on a running blog. But as out of shape as I was, it started out hard! She has a wide variety of workouts and I was quickly able to increase difficulty. I still find the harder ones extremely challenging, and I’m in much better shape now. I took her 30-day challenge to work out 6 days a week, alternating days of cardio and strength. I successfully finished that challenge a few weeks ago and have continued with her videos since. I couldn’t have done this without Leslie!

My favorite 4-mile "walk"

My favorite 4-mile “walk”

I also got a Fitbit since I walk a lot at work, and these Leslie workouts have helped catapult me past my 10k step goal every day. I picked the Flex model; the fun interchangeable colored bands was a must for me! Orange and Teal are my favorites. Fitbit’s “gamification” of working out has definitely won me over.

I have started plateauing a bit with my weight in the past couple of weeks and have been ready for a new challenge, so I just started the Focus T25 program. I’m only 1 day in but WOW, that is a workout. I can’t believe I did that voluntarily. I’m really excited to see what kind of new results this adventure brings.

Now, for the punchline: Since I started in early January, I’ve lost 7.3% of my body weight and one pant size, and am no longer in the Obese BMI category!

Before and after my 4-week Dietbet. I've lost another 5 more pounds since then

Before and after my 4-week Dietbet. I’ve lost another 5 more pounds since then

That brings me to why Helly asked me to write this post. It’s been SO satisfying checking off my daily exercise and watching the scale tick down. But I have a lot of work to do on my mind and spirit. I still feel like the fat kid. When I look in the mirror, it’s hard for me to see what I’ve accomplished. I have some hard-wired patterns of self-doubt that are going to take a lot of hard work to undo. What I’m starting to realize is that this part is going to be as hard, if not harder, than exercising or counting calories.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of my progress, and I know the numbers don’t lie. I have accomplished so much. I can do more reps with more weight now, my endurance is so much better, and I really am holding my head up higher just like I had hoped. But this is just the beginning of the journey for me. As I continue to creep down towards my goal weight, my biggest challenge will be treating myself kindly. Yes, that means treating my body with respect, but also allowing forgiveness when I mess up, and knowing that I am strong and I am capable and I can do this.

Thanks so much to Helly and all of you for letting me be vulnerable for a few minutes. Writing out my story really helped me gain some insight, and I hope maybe you got something out of it too. If you’d like to stay connected and follow my progress (and see lots of pictures of my kid!), I’m amy_i on Instagram.

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Isn’t she awesome?? I’m so proud and honored that Amy shared her story on my blog. She’s been such an inspiration to me and I know that many of us can relate to the struggle that is weight loss and being good to ourselves. Thank you for visiting my page today and I’ll try my best to get Amy back here for a follow-up post soon : )

Have you struggled with weight loss before?

Why do you think that even after losing weight we are still hard on ourselves?

5 Things My Daughter is Teaching Me

My daughter is almost 2 and in her short lifetime has already taught me so much and continues to do so. Sometimes, when I get stressed out from training, house chores, or simply life, she does something that reminds me that I need to take a step and relax.

Here are a few things I’m learning from her:

1. Be Fearless: Lauren is an adventurer. The lengths she goes through to accomplish something she wants is truly admirable. Currently she’s really into electricity and seeing how things turn on and off. Of course, she sees us turn light switches on and off and wants to be able to do it too. My husband and I like to think we’ve done a pretty good job of child-proofing but our Lauren is a smart one. Here’s a pic of how she managed to get to a light switch.

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I have always viewed the marathon as scary and something unattainable. For some reason, it wasn’t until after having both of my kids did I start think it was something I could do. Becoming a mother makes you think/feel like you’re superwoman lol!

I want to show my daughter that mommy set aside her fear and did something pretty awesome. I’m going to tell her that her fearlessness was contagious.

2. Say No: Lauren’s favorite word besides “food” is “no”. She says it so emphatically and with zero doubt. I love it. But, in my own life, I find it difficult to say no. I often take on more than I can handle thinking that I like having a lot to do. In reality, I end up stressing myself out trying to find a way to accomplish everything on my to-do list.

Every time Lauren gives me her assertive “no”, I’m reminded that sometimes you just gotta say it and mean it and without hesitation.

3. Don’t Give Up: Lauren loves figuring how things work. Often, she gets frustrated when she doesn’t get it right on the first try. But instead of heaving it across the room in anger, she’ll let out a grunt and keep at it until she gets it. I love seeing her in action. There are so many range of emotions with her trying something new: Curiosity, Puzzlement, Intense Thinking, Frustration, Persistence, Discovery, Elation. Lauren will not give up until she does it and does it right.

There have been many a days where I just wanted to stay home and rest. Sometimes I have. But most of the time, I think of how far I’ve come in my training and how disappointed I’d be if I just threw in the towel. During RnR Arizona, around mile 10, boy did I want to stop and walk. But I didn’t and I’m so glad. I accomplished something that was difficult by not giving up.

4. It’s Okay To Show Emotion: Going along with number 3 and Lauren’s range of emotions, I’ve loved seeing her express herself. Even if it’s anger she’s showing.

I often try and be strong and not show how I truly feel about things, one of them being staying at home. It’s been a difficult adjustment and I sometimes feel guilty about not liking it so I try and hide it. I finally confessed my emotions to my husband one day and he told me that it’s perfectly okay to feel that way and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to work and be a working mom. It feels so good talking about how I feel and sometimes having a good cry session to release some built up emotions. And I love that my husband makes me feel comfortable enough to do it in front of him.

5. Have An Opinion: Maybe it’s a toddler thing but my Lauren sure is opinionated. She’ll definitely tell me how she feels about things. Sometimes I just stare at her in wonder. I think, “This is my daughter. This is really my daughter.” From deciding what to wear to where her toys should be put away, she’s got her own opinion about it. In fact, I love making everything a question so I can see how she answers.

I like to think she gets this from me as I’m pretty opinionated and always seem to have something to say about everything. I’ve learned throughout the years to keep some things to myself or know the right time/place to say things. Lauren reminds me when she blurts things out that sometimes you’ve gotta think about those things.

What are some unique ways you’ve learned something?

How are you still learning?

Don’t forget, the Road ID giveaway is still happening! Who doesn’t want FREE $35 bucks to spend?? Click here to enter! Giveaway ends Friday.