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Day to Day

We can do better

Cory and I celebrated our two year anniversary this past weekend and it has me thinking about goals. Both of us know we have put on weight since we started dating and neither of us are thrilled about it. We both can do better…

We went to Indianapolis on Memorial Day and we had a stranger take our photo in front of the LOVE sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I didn’t look at the photos at the time, in fact, it wasn’t until the following day that I looked at them. I’m realizing I’ve been avoiding any type of full length mirror since gaining weight. I guess my justification is if I can’t see it, it didn’t happen. Boy, was I in for a shock when I saw those photos! I promised myself I’d never let myself get back to that unhappy 240 pound girl, and I’m almost back there. Granted, I’m not that unhappy, well until I saw those photos. I did let myself get back there.

I’m not really ready to publish my goals or that photo until I’ve solidified what I’ll be doing. It always seems like I have these grand plans and no follow through on them. I think I try to do too much all at once and then when it doesn’t work I give up instead of altering the plan. I do know I want to blog more. I do miss it and it was a way for me to stay on the right path. If I had a bad week, I wrote about it, and moved on. It kept me honest which is what I need.

Day to Day

Where I’ve been…

I’ve been wanting to write here for a while but I haven’t really made the time to sit down and simply start writing. I enjoy blogging a lot, but in the list of things I have to do blogging tends to fall down toward the bottom of the list. I need to change that because it does help to get the words down for myself and hopefully someone out there can relate to the things that I write.

I last updated around August about halting calorie counting indefinitely. The short version of what has happened in that time is that I finally got my thyroid levels in a normal range (for now), but also in that same day, I was put on medicine for depression and anxiety. I’ve dealt with depression since I was about 16 years old, it would come and go through the years depending on the environment I was in. The anxiety is new though. I’m not really sure when it started but it really reared its head last semester.

I was finally back to full-time at school and it was all very overwhelming. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was feeling my moods swing back and forth, I couldn’t focus, I would wake up to my heart beating rapidly, I started crying at random, and every little thing was beginning to stress me out to the max. I remember one specific time being in the cafeteria at school and I felt like everyone was staring at me and the room was closing in on me. I finally had to leave the building and get on the bus to go home despite still having classes to go to. I’ve never enjoyed crowds but it hasn’t got to the point that I had to remove myself from an environment, and so I knew something was going on with me.

I went to the doctor in November after having some blood work done for my thyroid and she told me it was finally in a normal range. I started tearing up when she told me that and she asked what was wrong when she saw the tears in my eyes. I started weeping in her office because if it wasn’t my thyroid causing this what was? Was I going crazy? In between weeping and trying to breathe, I told her about all the things I had been feeling lately. She was very comforting and understanding, as she had once been in my situation, and finally asked if I wanted some “help”. I knew what “help” meant: pills. I didn’t accept right away but the more I thought about it, it seemed like the best option. I knew I couldn’t keep feeling the way I did.


Credit: Unknown

I started taking the pills she prescribed and the first week was a night and day difference. I was actually sleeping through the night and I felt rested when I woke. I was feeling carefree; a little too carefree at times — oh, I have a test tomorrow? I don’t need to study… I’ll be ok! Not to divulge too much info but I was actually going to the bathroom like a normal person. It’s amazing what stress does to your body. For the most part, my moods have become more normal, and while I don’t feel 100%, it’s definitely an improvement from where I was.

I guess the biggest thing that has changed is my weight which I think started some of the anxiety. I have gained most of my weight back that I’ve lost. I stepped on the scale about a week ago and my heart sunk when I saw 232 lbs. It’s a bit disheartening . . . ok, a lot disheartening. I haven’t really gone around a lot of people because I know I’ll be too worried that they’re thinking “Wow, she gained all of her weight back!” I typically don’t worry what others think of me but that is one thing I fear.

I’m currently working on getting myself mentally healthy and making changes here and there to get myself ready for shedding these pounds off + more. I know once it warms up and the sun is out more often I’ll perk up and have no problems getting outdoors to get this weight off. But one step at a time…

Day to Day

Calorie Counting

I feel as though I should preface this post. I don’t mean to offend anyone; these are just my thoughts on calorie counting, why it’s not working for me, and why I won’t be doing it anymore. If you enjoy it or it works for you, I envy you very much.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about calorie counting and have briefly read some articles on people who have lost weight without having to count a single calorie. I know you can lose weight without counting calories. I can honestly say, when I originally dropped 30lbs I didn’t count a damn calorie. Not one. I’d say 80% of the time I was good. I won’t lie, I did treat myself, but I ate less of the bad stuff. I felt differently about food for once in my life. I didn’t use it to console or reward myself. I was finally in the frame of mind to use it as fuel. I trusted myself.

I’ve been half-ass calorie counting the past few months and I think I’ve finally decided it’s time to stop. The only things I plan to log from now are exercises for my own records. Before you think that’s the dumbest decision ever, hear me out…

My reasoning behind not counting calories is based on the experiences I’ve had in the past and things I am experiencing now. Calorie counting isn’t a fun task for anyone but it causes me unnecessary stress. Like a lot of stress. I’m the type, if I go in; I go all the way in. In which case, I need to know every single calorie that passes my lips. Calorie counting discourages me from making anything from scratch because I’d have to input every single ingredient into that damn calculator. How do I determine what is serving? I’m inherently lazy (and crippled by anything math related) so some times I’d opt for something from a box that has a barcode that I could easily scan into Myfitnesspal.

I’d have good days and even a few good days in a row at times. Then like clockwork, I’d have several days of binging where I’d eat all of those calories back plus more. I’d eat food I wouldn’t normally crave or want on a somewhat regular basis like McDonalds. A prime example of this is last week. I had a couple good days early in the week and then came Friday. I logged every bit of what I ate that day; I went ~2000 calories over what I was supposed to. I began to wonder if this was worth it. It sure didn’t feel worth it after all those extra calories I just ate.

Another thing about my calorie counting experience, I was meeting my calorie goal on those good days but was I really eating the right things? I actually measured out salad in a measuring cup. Salad is good for me, why am I treating it like it isn’t? I’d feel bad about eating an avocado because a whole avocado is ~200 calories – by the way, how can anyone eat just ½ an avocado? Instead of eating the avocado, I’d substitute it for baked chips or some sort of low calorie/low fat item. Those baked chips and other items I’d eat in place of an avocado wouldn’t keep me full and then I’d eat something else. In the end, I should’ve just eaten the damn avocado. Not to mention, when you trade lower calories and/or fat you get extra sugar and lots of other things. Why did I sacrifice that avocado that is perfectly good for me? All of this to meet some sort of dumb quota at the end of the day.

Calorie counting makes me think about food all the time. When I’m eating, I don’t actually enjoy what I’m eating. Instead, I think about how much this meal is and what I will need to sacrifice later in the day. This does not seem like a healthy way to treat myself or my body. When I think of the opportunity costs, I’d rather it take me forever to get down to where I need to be and be happy and have less stress than always feeling as though I’m restricting myself. Restricting myself results in me binging. I know this.

I think about the short-term and my time is limited. I work. I currently go to school full-time; 4 days a week with a two hour commute round trip. This is my first time full-time in a long time so I have the added stress of an extra class along with the stress of keeping a certain GPA for the business school. I have homework that is expected of me outside of class along with other responsibilities. Which makes me wonder, how do people with kids manage??

I need peace somewhere in my life and one of the places I find that is going to the gym. I go to the gym because I never regret it when I’m done. I truly believe you’ll only succeed with a lifestyle change when you enjoy what you’re doing and not doing it because you have to. Counting calories is not something I enjoy, and I know how I am and it’s always going to be this battle.

In the long-term, even if I were to “suck it up”, I don’t want to be counting calories 10, 20, 30 years from now. That doesn’t seem sustainable. You only live once. When I say, “you only live once”, I don’t mean I’m going to go out and eat fast food for every meal. I mean that life is too short not to enjoy it every now and then.

I need to get back mentally to that place where I was at one time. Back to where I was eating well a good portion of the time and treating myself as needed. I need to trust myself with food again and not be pressured to hit some sort of quota, which may or may not be an accurate depiction of how healthy I’m being.

As I said at the start of this post, I don’t want anyone to feel offended. I was a bit on the fence about posting this because I know some will think I’m stupid. Maybe you disagree with me and that’s ok. I’m not condoning anything anyone else is doing, calorie counting works for some but I know it doesn’t work for me.

Photo via Pexels.

Day to Day WOTD

Where I workout : Bernheim

A couple weeks ago my gym was closed due to renovations so I had to find ways to stay active that didn’t require gym equipment. I typically do a lot of my cardio outside, and I almost prefer it that way so long as it’s not too hot out. If you follow me on Instagram a lot of my outdoor photos are on our farm. For a change of scenery, I decided to go to Bernheim Forest in Clermont, Kentucky; about 1/2 hour from Louisville.

As I was walking around I started thinking about blog ideas and I thought it might be fun to show off some of the places I workout that isn’t at a gym. Bernheim has paved trails that are easy and won’t get you a huge calorie burn but sometimes it’s nice to take your time and explore. That being said, they have plenty of trails through the woods that are no joke! I hope you enjoy the photos!

Day to Day

Happy & Proud

This afternoon I met with my trainer and she kicked my butt as she always does. But today was different. I don’t intentionally phone it in when I workout but I know there are times when I could push myself harder. Today I didn’t think any further than what needed to be done with the kettlebells and punching. I felt like this was one of the more memorable workouts where I gave it everything I had. I don’t know why today felt different.

I think back to anything significant that might’ve happened recently… Saturday evening Cory and I were out on a date and he commented he needed to take a picture of me. I see why now. I’m happy. Maybe seeing that photo was motivation. Two years ago, I rarely took photos of myself, and if I did, they were in the most flattering angles possible, which makes it difficult when I want to go back and see how far I’ve come. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been comfortable wearing the strapless dress I wore this weekend without a cardigan over it. Even if it was 90-degrees out I would’ve worn that cardigan and been miserable.

happy

While my weight isn’t moving as quickly as I want, the changes I’ve made to my lifestyle are better than any number on the scale. I didn’t get to my highest weight overnight, so naturally, it will take a while to get to a “healthy” weight. All of this hard work will be worth it in the end and I will be a better person for it. I am worth it.

I hope all of you know your worth and continue on your journey no matter what obstacles come across your path. You’re worth it!

Day to Day

Comfort Zones : Part 2

On Tuesday I went to the gym with the intention of meeting with my trainer but somewhere our lines got crossed and she didn’t have me down. She invited me to join the kickboxing class that was about to start, and despite never attempting kickboxing outside of my Taebo dvds, I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. One of the ladies who is also in my sculpting class assured me it wasn’t as bad as our Thursday class. It was as if our trainer heard this because it wasn’t an easy class at all. It was physically demanding but it wasn’t until the very last cool down exercise that I started feeling that familiar lightheaded/nauseous feeling again. I powered through and then took a bit of a breather to cool down. I left sooner than I should’ve and finally had to pull over. I lied there in the car so frustrated. My sister was in town and I finally accepted she would have to take me home. At that moment I wasn’t even feeling sad; I was mad as hell! Why did this keep happening? What was I doing wrong? Anger typically fuels me more than feeling sorry for myself. So that night I ate something light for dinner and went out for a jog near sunset. I burned well over 800 calories from those two activities. Those two experiences were enough to light a fire under me. I need to get my upper body stronger and the only way to do that is to continue on my journey.

Thursday was my last sculpting class and I was a little disappointed when it was over because I wondered what I would do now. This class (and attending that kickboxing class) has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve used equipment in the gym I was too scared to use before — specifically exercise balls. For some reason I had it in my head that I would sit on it and it would burst. I learned that using those balls to do crunches actually feels better on my back than lying on the floor and it’s much easier to remember to breathe on those balls as well. Also, using those training ropes are so much harder than they appear.

I have come so far in the past year and a half. I’ve never stuck with any fitness routine this long. I have been knocked down quite a few times but I keep getting back up and I know there’s a reason for that. I would’ve given up last year if I didn’t truly want this. It may take me years to get my BMI to what is considered a “healthy” range but I will get there.

What sort of positive things happened to you this week or recently that helped you push on through?

Day to Day

Comfort zones

I think every now and then we need to be knocked down a notch or two whether it’s from a fitness standpoint or life in general. It helps us to not be complacent and reevaluate goals.

Now that my energy levels feel like they’re getting better; at least my desire to stay in bed until noon has diminished, I’ve begun exercising more. I signed up for a personal trainer at my gym that I’ll meet with twice a month, and I also signed up for small group class themed around sculpting and kettlebells that meets weekly for the next three weeks.

I had a day before the class began to think about how badass* (*please keep reading I’m not that egotistical!) I was for signing up for personal training and an hour-long class. The bad ass feeling completely went away 5-10 minutes into the class. You know, 10 lbs don’t seem like much to be lifting but it tends to sting a bit when you do it 100 times. Not to mention, I’ve been doing very little strength training the past few months. I guess I thought it’d be like riding a bike and I’d magically be back to where I was. The entire time I kept thinking, why am I sweating so much?! I felt fine other than being hot and then a sudden faint feeling hit me about 35 minutes in as I finished doing lunges. I told the instructor I needed to stop for a minute and I’d be back. I ran off to the shower room and sat there with my head between my legs trying not to move so I could regain my composure and so I wouldn’t throw up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really anywhere I could throw up so that wasn’t an option.

It took me about 10 minutes to get back up and head back to my group. I was met by one of the owner’s and she told me to lie down and she’d get an ice pack. I started feeling better a few minutes later and the instructor told me I could join in for the cooldown if I wanted. I did that and as soon as the class was over I had to run back to the shower room. My clothes were soaked and I needed cold water on me. The thing with being lightheaded is even the simplest tasks, like taking off clothes are impossible. I momentarily thought about sacrificing my Fitbit and heart rate monitor just so I could get into the shower. Thankfully, I didn’t and just sat there. Plus, all of these scenarios went through my head of, if I do get my clothes off, and actually need some sort of medical help, this will be incredibly embarrassing. Needless to say, I opted to just sit in my wet clothes until the feeling subsided.

I felt better eventually, changed my clothes, and made it back to my car. I didn’t feel embarrassed by the situation until I was driving away from the gym. That’s when tears began to well up in my eyes because of events that just transpired and also because it’s realizing you’re not good at something. I had a moment to feel sorry for myself but then I realized I stepped out of my comfort zone. I did things I hadn’t done before. I did burpees and didn’t die for god’s sake! Those are good things. Yes, strength training is not something I’ve been doing consistently lately, and never for that long, and so it’s to be expected that I would suck.

A few years ago, I took a boot camp class at this same gym and had a similar experience, and unfortunately never went back to that class. At that time, I might’ve gone to the gym once a week if I was lucky, so it’s no wonder I felt lightheaded. I made up all sorts of excuses as to why I wasn’t going to go back to that class. The truth was I was a coward and it was easier to be complacent than to actually put forth the time and effort to change something. With this most recent experience, instead of running away, I see the areas that need work. I can’t expect to be good at something without practicing it a lot. I very well may get lightheaded again at the next class but things won’t change unless I change.

What have you done to step out of your comfort zone?

Getting Started

Finding motivation

Starting Monday I begin a dietbet challenge. I just recently heard about this site and quite honestly I need something to give me motivation. Every dietbet has a certain amount that you have to put in to join, the one I joined apparently is one of the “cheaper” ones, but is still $30. At the end of the challenge, everyone who achieves the set goal (in this particular bet it’s 4% of your body weight) receives money! Currently, there’s almost $6000 in the pot so it could be a good payout if you reach your goal. If you want to join the challenge I’m apart of there’s still some time and it’s only 28 days of your time. Here’s the link: Anti-Jared’s Summer Blast.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately trying to eat better and lose weight. It’s not for lack of trying. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a recent post or not but I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism about six months ago. They’re still working on getting my thyroid level down to where it needs to be. It was around 9.8 when I first began and was down to 5.6 during my last checkup. It’s been incredibly hard to lose weight despite the fact that my doctor said I might lose weight easier. I spent well over a month counting every little thing I put into my body and exercising, and I was lucky if I saw a single pound loss some weeks. It’s frustrating to say the least.

Due to my underactive thyroid, I go through spells of low energy a lot, and most recently I’ve been feeling more anxiety and depression. None of these things help weight loss. I try hard to remain positive but this week was a rough one. I’ve done things that I’ve had to do, like go to work, but other than that I just want to stay in bed and sleep. The weather has been beautiful lately, so it makes me sad not to have the energy to get out and enjoy it.

Something else that has been bringing me down is watching friends constantly write about everything they’re doing in terms of getting healthy and how much success they’re seeing with their bodies and on the scale. Yes, I want to see friends successful, but there’s a fine line between being motivating and making others feel bad about their choices and that they aren’t doing enough. Please think of that because you don’t know who you’re making feel bad and discouraging.

I had my lovely boyfriend take full body shots of me this week so I can compare before and after the dietbet. Looking at these photos made me cringe a bit. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this or not, but I have this idea of how I look based on how I feel, and in my head (most of the time), I feel much thinner. Seeing these photos makes me think about areas I need to focus on which I guess is a good thing.

Getting back to the dietbet, I’ve accepted I might not see big numbers each week given past experience, but I need something to keep me moving. I’ve spent $30 on worse things. I’m going to try my hardest and do everything within my power to make positive changes in my life and my mind. Yes, I want to win some extra money but I’m using this dietbet as motivation to keep going. Getting my energy level back to where it used to be is too important to me right now.

I hope things are well in your world!

Eating Out Getting Started

Eating out healthfully – part one

I’ve spent a long time avoiding calorie counting, just the mere thought about the task gave me lots of anxiety. When I’d actually commit to it I’d binge after a day or two and give up. Even when I lost weight at the end of 2011/2012 I never counted a single calorie. That being said, I did mentally keep an eye on what I was eating and was eating much healthier and less than I had in the past.

I’m happy to report I’ve had a few successful days logging food on myfitnesspal. I’ve lasted longer than I have in the past, and that gives me hope that I can stick with it. I think I’ve enjoyed logging workouts most because that means I have extra calories at the end of the day that I can save, or if I’m still feeling hungry I can have a little something extra and still be under my goal. Thankfully, at the moment I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on any foods even though I do feel really ravenous today. I’m still trying to figure out a good combination for breakfast (and other meals for that matter) that will leave me full for a while without eating up a lot of my calories for the day.

As I was eating out the other day, I thought it might be a good idea to start posting meals that are health-friendly. Hopefully, you’ll get some ideas for yourself and I’ll have more to add in the future.


Qdoba
Naked taco salad ~470 calories / ~340 without guacamole | Around $10 with a drink
with grilled chicken, lettuce, black bean & corn salsa, pico de gallo, salsa verde, grilled veggies, and guacamole

I ate at Qdoba for lunch Tuesday (in addition to last Thursday heh) and as much as I wanted a burrito, I found a way to still get what I like but I made it healthier. I got the naked taco salad with the ingredients mentioned above. You can save about 130 calories by leaving off the guacamole. During both visits, I didn’t finish the entire thing and I stayed full for a decent amount of time, but I did need a snack a couple of hours later.


McAlister’s
Choose 2 : Savannah chopped salad (210 cal) + fire roasted veggie soup (60 cal) ~270 calories | around $9 with a drink

Looking at McAlister’s menu is pretty depressing when you’re trying to be good. I didn’t realize how many calories are in everything; even getting 1/2 portions was still pretty shocking. I’ve had the Savannah chopped salad before and it was OK; as OK as a salad can be and I got a cup of their vegetable soup. I was able to finish both items and I was pretty full afterward. It seemed to stay with me longer than Qdoba did but I prefer the taste of Qdoba.

Hopefully, these will give you some ideas. Until next time…

Day to Day Races

The Color Run + other updates

I probably should dust off this blog… I’ve been writing with a few others about my mini-marathon training at the Louisville Sports Commission blog, and any ideas I have to write about tend to go over there. I’m planning to write down ideas as they come to me so I can keep this blog active as well.

The Color Run

This past weekend I completed The Color Run alongside a few of my closest friends. What an unforgettable experience it was. I say that not only in a good way but also because I got sick not long after I finished. The night before I felt suddenly feverish at dinner, and I woke up feeling OK. Cue to me puking on the Great Lawn (lol) and in the port-a-potties after I finished. Thankfully, it didn’t happen during the race. I have to laugh at it now because this was the first race my boyfriend came out to and I puked right in front of him. Clearly, the honeymoon period is over… hahaha. I missed out on the color throw because I was sick but I will be there next year. Here are a couple of photos from the race:

Annual check-up

Usually the week before my birthday I go in for an annual checkup. For once, I wasn’t told: “you need to lose weight”. I was reminded where my BMI needed to be, however, there was no real scolding over it since she saw a difference in my weight, and my blood pressure in her words was “excellent”. The only thing she scolded me over was the fact I didn’t check the box saying that I flossed daily. Things could be worse… While I was there, I set up an appointment with a nutritionist. Hopefully, that will be helpful.

Mini marathon training

I’ve been trying to run more often to get ready for the mini, and quite honestly it’s been slow going with the heat. I’ll get there. My recent post on the LSC’s site was a few reasons why I wanted to do a mini, I thought I’d share those here too.

I want to say I did it.

I started my lifestyle change in September, and come November, I want to say I did a 5K, 10K, 10-miler, and a mini-marathon in 2012. Even if this is the only year I challenge myself to races, I want to say I did it.

To break up the monotany.

We all know that doing the same workout routine gets boring and eventually makes you plateau if you’re trying to lose weight. I want to keep up the exercise habit I have and keep things interesting. Hopefully between training for this mini, strength training that gets regularly changed, and walking I won’t be bored.

To challenge not only my body but also my mind.

Food and exercising are the biggest mental challenges I face. I spent years rewarding or consoling myself with food; always unhealthy food. I still have days where I binge on food that I shouldn’t. Even as I get healthier and stronger, I know that will still be something I face. However, I’m usually pretty good about figuring out why I did it, and try to learn from it, to keep it from happening as often.
With exercising, I still have to ignore my brain when it tries to tell me I’m tired or I should slow down. I’m not talking about when I’m putting myself into danger, but when I’m trying to cut corners. I know running 13.1 miles is going to be difficult. I’ve been lucky to have friends at my side in previous races, but I’m going to be alone during this race and I’m curious as to how this will go. Will I push myself harder or go easy on myself? Only time will tell, but I hope for pushing myself harder.

Most importantly, to be healthy.

This kind of goes with all of the above, but I want to keep moving no matter what.