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?

Losing the Pregnancy Weight…Twice!

One of my goals with marathon training and changing my eating habits was to get back into my pre pre-pregnancy clothes. You’ve had a glimpse inside my closet before :), and by now you know that I love clothes. Getting back to my size was so important; there’s no way I could afford another closet in a different size!

With my daughter, I went from starting the pregnancy at 135ish (my goal weight) to weighing 180 when it was time for her arrival April ’12. Post pregnancy, I waited the full 6 weeks before starting any exercise. I began with hot yoga and loved it! I thought it was the best transition into beginning to do other exercises. I began casually running soon after and then decided to register for RnR Arizona 2013.

When my daughter was 7 months, I was around 15lbs away from my pregnancy weight when we discovered we were pregnant again. I was happy I had lost enough weight to have a starting point that wouldn’t make it impossible to lose once I was done with this second pregnancy. I continued to run throughout the second pregnancy and ran a 5k when I was 8ish weeks and then RnR AZ ’13 when I was around 15 weeks.

When it was time for my son to arrive that July, again, I reached 180lbs. I thought this was great though considering I had an extra 15lbs at the start.

Left: 40 weeks with my daughter Right: 39 weeks with my son

Left: 40 weeks w/ my daughter; Right: 39 weeks w/ my son

And finally, six months later and after 2+ years of not wearing my “normal” clothes, I’m finally back to my pre pre pregnancy size!

Left: 3 days post partum with my son; Right: about 2 weeks ago

Left: 3 days postpartum w/ my son; Right: about 2 weeks ago

I know that deciding to have goals to work towards, RnR AZ 2014 and of course my first marathon, is the reason I was able to get back to my size so quickly (for me, 6 months is quick!). And I didn’t make extremely drastic changes either; I still indulge–In n Out is my replacement for McDonald’s–but I’ve just become better at limiting my indulgences. This biggest change I’d have to say, have been curbing my fast food intake and decreasing my soda intake. Just those two alone have made a huge difference. Of course training for Phoenix marathon has made me workout like a machine, so with changing my eating habits and exercising, I’m finally here, finally out of maternity clothes and stretchy pants lol!

It takes a lot of discipline. Anyone training for a race knows that it does. But, having small goals and big goals have been my motivation and fitting into my clothes was one of those goals. Dusting off a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in years (yes, there was dust on them!) and finally being able to put them on was pure joy!

–Have you ever worked towards losing weight?
–Does setting goals help you lose weight? (It definitely did for me!)
–What is your biggest struggle with losing weight? (Easily fast food 😦 )

Time for a Giveaway!! {The Color Run 5K}

So I’ve mentioned before that I’m part of an online healthy mommy’s group and many of the moms in the group are new runners. Part of what we’ve encouraged them to do is sign up for a race to train for and by far the most popular race chosen has been The Color Run.

TCR1

When the moms would report back, they had nothing but positive comments about the race. They loved that it was a 5k, a great distance for beginners; it’s untimed, so no pressure; they loved the atmosphere, and they loved the swag. We’re talking a headband, a sling bag, a t-shirt, and a bracelet!

TCRarmband TCRsling

TCRshirtTCRbracelet

Because I saw how much fun my healthy mommas had with this run, I decided to contact The Color Run people so that I can give away TWO FREE RACE ENTRIES to my readers. They were able to hook me up and now I want someone to win these and report back with how it went!

All you have to do is comment below with what your favorite color is–mine’s purple but you don’t get extra entries for agreeing with me 😉

If you do want an additional entry, go to my Facebook page and give me a like.
Want another entry? Follow me on Twitter at @hellyontherun
Still want to increase your odds? Find me on Instagram at @hellyontherun

If you don’t win, all is not lost. Go to the website http://thecolorrun.com/events/ and use this coupon code, COLOR5OFF, to get $5 off your registration! ( Make sure you type in the code and not copy/paste.)

I’ll be announcing a winner Friday, January 10th!!

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway