Feeling Stronger Every Day

C’mon, you know I couldn’t resist a Chicago reference!

I’m feeling better this week than last. Last Tuesday I had that doctor’s appointment where I found out that I have prehypertension (which means that my blood pressure is a bit high), Vitamin D deficiency, and my BMI classifies me as obese*. Awesome. Still got a couple of weeks before I get to go to the next doctor and do some serious digging into the rest of the symptoms that I’m pretty sure are related to a hormone imbalance, but I wanted to get a jump on fixing what I could with a renewed focus on diet and exercise. (*I do put stock in there being such a thing as a healthy weight, and I’m definitely not where I should be, weight-wise, but BMI isn’t the best way to determine it. Here’s a New York Times article on the discrepancies of the system.)

On Wednesday I put on my big girl pants and went back to eating 95% paleo, instead of my typical 60%. I’m also testing out how I do with intermittent fasting, eating my full day’s worth of calories between 10am and 6pm most days to give my body more time to rest between processes. For more info on intermittent fasting, here’s a great article from Nerd Fitness with all the basics.

Dropped coffee (I was already only drinking decaf, and it was still giving me jitters) from my diet, and I’m taking it easy with alcohol, as well. Taking all of my supplements (magnesium/calcium, multivitamin, B complex, D, probiotic, glucosamine, and fish oil) every day, but I was already doing that. Also went back to drinking an ounce of water per pound of body weight, which means that I have to pee pretty much constantly, but between the water and cutting out coffee, my skin is looking great!

One thing I’ve noticed is that since I started cutting off my ability to eat at night, I’ve weirdly stopped craving food. Went to the grocery store tonight and was able to walk right past those homemade double chocolate caramel brownies that I typically adore. (Though I’m not a saint – I did buy a dark chocolate orange peel bar to get me through the late night work session I’m about to embark upon after finishing up this blog post.) I’m also starting to pay attention to when I’m actually hungry vs. just bored – and guess what? Every time in the last week that I’ve felt like I should be eating something “after hours”, thus far it’s ALWAYS been related to boredom or being upset. Of course, I pretty much knew that, but reaffirming it by taking a mental note each time it happens is going to be very helpful in the long run. Hopefully, at least.

Last week I worked out four days at Iron Tribe, and this week I’m going to try for five or six. That doesn’t include steps – I’ve been aiming for (and hitting) 15k steps per day. That’s nothing new, though. I’ve been doing 15k steps per day for months now. In fact, I’m thinking of upping it to 20k steps, but for the moment I think it’s more important to get fully into the new eating schedule and take care of my right calf, which has been kind of tight lately. I don’t want to overwork it too much and damage myself, because my daily walks keep me sane. A day without a good long walk just feels wrong somehow.

All of the above is important, but the biggest changes are the ones that were already happening for me at the gym. The weight might not be falling off, but there are other ways to take a look at fitness, and it’s evident from the inches that I’ve lost and the new challenges that I’ve been undertaking during my workouts that working out is working, period. I’m finally able to see some definition in my arms, I’ve lost an inch off of my waist and thighs, two inches off of my boobs (sigh) and holy crap, can I lift some weight!

When I started at Iron Tribe last October, I had trouble just lifting the 35 lbs. bar without plates added. This Monday our workout included 2 reps of push presses for our heaviest weight, and I put 85 lbs. over my head – the most weight I’ve ever put over my head in any lift (strict, push press, push jerk, you name it)! I also have a feeling that if we weren’t doing 5 second holds as part of the press, I might have been able to do 90 to 95 lbs. In fact, I’m just realizing that I PR’d in my clean, too, since I put 95 lbs. into my front rack but couldn’t complete the press. Yay me! Adding it to my list of current PRs: 135 lbs. in front squat, back squat, and deadlift, 85 lbs. push press, and a 95 lbs. clean. Sweet.

Tuesday’s workout was better, but for a different reason: I had three personal firsts that were directly related to being stronger, all in the same workout. First off, we had to open and close the workout with 15 burpees. I typically try a couple of regulation burpees, then get worn out and do a scaled version where you step up instead of jump up. I got through NINE in the opening round, which is huge for me. Here’s a pic of me doing burpees at the end of the workout (22 minutes to do 15 burpees, 5 rounds of 6 pull ups and 6 deadlifts, 15 more burpees – I finished in 16:52), with my coach, Shelby, beside me helping me through those last few reps. Doesn’t she have the most amazing arms? I’m asking Santa for two of those this Christmas 😀

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The next good thing to happen was during pull ups. If you can’t do an unassisted pull up, you can use a resistance band to help support your weight and get you back to the top of the bar. If you squint a bit at the photo above, you can see green and red lines hanging near the top of the shot – those are the bands, dangling down from the pull up bar. You put one foot in your band(s), cross your ankles, and do the pull up as normal, and the bands help you pull your own weight back up to get your chin over the bar.

There are multiple weights of resistance bands, and people with less arm strength combine two bands of the heaviest weight, or maybe one of the heaviest weight and one of the next weight down. I usually use the two heaviest bands, but yesterday I felt stronger, and had a hunch that I’d be able to do a little better. So I used a strong band and a weaker band that even a month ago I wouldn’t have been able to do a single pull up with – and I rocked it! Was super tired by the end of the workout, and almost couldn’t get that very last pull up, but I got there after a few attempts. My arms were noodles today, but it was so worth it.

Today was also a victory, but in yet another sense – I got so bummed about not being able to make it to the gym because of work that I ended up putting work on hold so I could walk the 45 minutes there, do my workout, and walk back. Not a single regret 🙂

Alright, time to get some of that work done, so I’ll sign off. Have you been seeing any big changes in your life (physical, mental, spiritual)? I’d love to hear about them. Drop me a line in the comments!

Tackling Tribal Wars

ITF NOLA's Gray Division teams before Tribal Wars started.

ITF NOLA’s Gray Division teams before Tribal Wars started.

This weekend I competed in my first-ever fitness competition. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll have seen me talk about joining a gym called Iron Tribe Fitness. I’ve never been to a crossfit gym, but I hear that the two are very similar, but technically they’re both their own brands. So I’m not a crossfitter, I’m an ITF athlete…which suits me just fine.

I go to the gym four or five days a week, unless I’m traveling or sick. The workouts are 45 minutes long, and consist of a warm up, cool down, and about 35 minutes of HIIT training / weight lifting. Every day is something different, so you never get bored. The coaches are really hands on, and there’s a real camaraderie between coaches and athletes. Everyone’s very supportive, no matter your fitness level, and over the course of the last nine months I’ve ended up making both gym friends (folks that I chat with on site), and real life friends (people that I hang out with outside of gym-related activities). When I started at ITF, I had no clue how deeply my life would be affected, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve grown to adore my coaches and the people I work out with, and genuinely look forward to that precious time each day when I get to just go and work up a good sweat with people who not only don’t judge me, but also help me forget to judge myself for awhile. To put it mildly, it’s a great feeling.

Even with all of the above being said, I was still very nervous to sign up for Tribal Wars, the annual Iron Tribe competition. The event is for teams of four, competing in one of three divisions: Gray (lowest weight and reps), Orange (more weight and reps), and Black (lots of weight and reps, ie. superhuman effort). Our workouts at the gym are color coded, as well, and I’m typically working out in the Gray range, so I knew that I’d be competing in Gray as well. Easy. But none of my regular gym friends were competing, so I didn’t know how to tackle that. Luckily, the coaches were really helpful on that level, and set me up in a team with three other people I hadn’t met before in class, but ended up really liking.

Last Friday I hitched a ride up to Birmingham, AL with Lauren, another girl from the gym that I’d said hi to on occasion but didn’t know that well. As it turned out, she ended up being awesome, and we talked non-stop on the five-hour trip from Louisiana to Alabama. We were also in the same hotel room as our female coach, Shelby, which ended up being a great arrangement, since our personalities meshed really well. We all crashed pretty early, then woke up at 5:30 the next morning to make it to the stadium for Tribal Wars by 6:30. My team had had a hard time getting together prior to the competition, so that morning was the first time we were all in one place. We talked strategy, sat through a “how to” session where the event judges ran us through what constituted a rep or a no-rep (that means that you’ve done something incorrectly and that rep won’t count), and got ready to rumble.

My team after the competition.

My team after the competition.

My team was named The French Squatters, which was meant to be a pun on French Quarter and the numerous weightlifting exercises that involve squatting. It was funny enough, and none of us really cared that much about the name, but there were some truly funny/clever ones out on the field. I loved The Chalking Dead (where the logo had a chalk handprint), and Double Stuffed (their logo was a kettlebell that looked like an Oreo cookie), but my favorite one was 2 Jerks & 2 Snatches. There was also a team that wore Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts. Can’t remember their actual team name, but they wore cool uniforms. Really looking forward to next year’s team name/uniforms. I’d love to put together an all-girl team named The Power Snatches!

Each division had three workouts overall. I didn’t pay attention to how the workouts were being scored, but there were several different things that were being calculated, involving weights and times, and a certain number of reps were required in each workout. The event took place on a college football field, and each team had an aisle to work out in. I don’t know much about how football fields are marked, but the aisle was the area between the horizontal lines that mark the field. Yard lines? Not sure, and not taking the time to look it up.

Doing kettlebell swings in Workout #1.

Doing kettlebell swings in Workout #1.

Anyway, Workout #1 for Gray Division sent two people to one end of the aisle, and the other two people to the other end. At one end, the two people had to do 100 barbell cleans (55 lbs) and 100 box jumps. At the other end, the other two people had 300 single unders (jump rope) and 100 kettlebell swings (26 lbs). After both sides had completed all assigned activity, all four team members met up in the middle for 15 team barbell burpees, where all four people had to do a burpee and jump over the equivalent of a barbell, then all four would do a burpee on that side, then jump, then burpee, etc, back and forth. All team members had to jump and land with both feet off the ground, or it would be a no rep and the whole team would have to repeat that burpee. I was most worried about the burpees for this workout. My teammate Olga and I were on the jump rope / kettlebell side, and didn’t have much problem taking care of them. I tripped a couple of times on the jump rope, which I honestly didn’t expect because I’m typically pretty quick at single unders, but she picked up when I faltered, and I did my fair share of kettlebell swings to help her out. I was surprised to really love those, by the way. I keep finding exercises that I used to be afraid of, and now really like. What surprised me most is that even though I was afraid that I’d be really slow and hold my team up on the burpees, we were all about the same level of proficiency, and I was even faster at some points. That surprised me a lot.

Workout #2 was a 300 meter shuttle run where the first team member ran up and down the field, then as soon as the first person got back, the second person and the first person could go again, then as soon as the second person got back, the first, second and third people could go, etc. As soon as the first person was done with the run (3 trips across and back the short side of the football field), they could go to the sidelines where there was a rack set up with a barbell and weights. All team members then had the remainder of the time for that workout (I think it was 15 minutes overall) to reach their heaviest weight for a complex of 3 front squats and an overhead of each person’s choice. I was a little bit disappointed on this workout, to be honest. My shuttle run was a lot faster than I’d thought it would be, but in the end there wasn’t enough time to get to my heaviest front squats / overhead combo. My PR with an overhead up until that point was 75 lbs, but that day I knew I had more in me. Since we were working our way up to adding more weight as a team, there just wasn’t enough time on the clock to adding any more weight, and my final weight was the same as my existing PR. I honestly think I could have done at least 85 lbs, but that day I was planning on trying for 95 lbs. Oh well – that gives me something to try for in the coming weeks. One great thing about the front squats is that I wasn’t very confident that my squat was low enough, and I was afraid of getting a no rep. I’ve historically had a lot of hip and back pain, and though squats have really been helping me get rid of the tightness in my hips, I still was worrying all the way up to the competition. While I was working out, Lauren took some photos of me from the stands – and look at this awesome front squat! I don’t look beautiful in this pic, but I look strong, and I’m very proud of it.

I finally get low enough in my front squat!!!

I finally get low enough in my front squat!!!

My feet are too far apart, and I could have put more weight over my head. But this is me holding up 75 lbs overhead, when 9 months ago I struggled with just putting a 35 lbs bar up there.

My feet are too far apart, I’m making THE WORST expression, and I could have put more weight over my head. But this is me holding up 75 lbs overhead, when 9 months ago I struggled with just putting a 35 lbs bar up there, so I’m sharing it for posterity.

The first two workouts had been common knowledge for a few weeks before the competition, but the final workout was kept a mystery until that day. We had to do weighted forwards and backwards lunges with 2 kettlebells (26 lbs for girls, 35 lbs for guys), a 250 meter row on a rowing machine, and 100 push presses as a team (55 lbs for girls, 75 lbs for guys). The hitch was that the first person would do the lunges, run to the rowing machine, and as soon as they got strapped into the rowing machine, the next person would pick up their kettlebells and stand with them (no lunges) until the row was complete. At that point, the rower would run to the push press station and start working on push presses, and the lunger would start doing lunges, then move on to the rower. The person doing lunges could never start doing them until the rower was done, and if at any point the person put down their kettlebells the rower had to stop rowing until the kettlebells were back in hand. After all of the team members were done with lunges, rowing, and all 100 push presses, then they had to do this weird exercise called a mudskipper (after a fish native to the region that walks on land). One team member puts their toes on a frisbee, gets into what basically turns out to be the plank position, and uses their hands to walk across the football field and drag their feet behind them. The best strategy that we saw for this was to do more of an inchworm move, where instead of making the back half of your body deadweight, you bring your knees towards your chest, walk hands forward, scoot knees to chest, walk hands forward, etc. It covered a lot more ground more quickly, and was a great ab workout.

The Gray Division teams after competing, sweaty and happy.

The Gray Division teams after competing, sweaty and happy.

In the end, my team didn’t win. We finished 45th out of 47 teams. But to my surprise, I wasn’t disappointed at all. We worked REALLY HARD. It was a great workout. We finished everything we started out to do, and never gave up. For a team where only one of us had competed in Tribal Wars before, we did a damn good job.

What was even more surprising for me is that after the competition was over, after we all got together on Saturday night to take over the hotel bar, and after the biggest Cracker Barrel breakfast the next morning, all the way home I couldn’t help but plan for how I’d be better next year. I walked into Tribal Wars feeling pretty apprehensive, not sure that I’d even make it through the workouts, almost certain that I was bound to disappoint my teammates and make a fool of myself. I left Birmingham feeling awesome. I’d made new friends, completed a really hard workout, and had complete faith that I could do it again – better – next year. It also gave me the idea to start thinking of every workout between now and the next Tribal Wars as competition training. It’s entirely possible to get much, much stronger between now and then, and I’m going to do it.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel on Sunday - we had so many plates that we were running out of room on the table!

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel on Sunday – we had so many plates that we were running out of room on the table!

Overall, I’m really grateful to my Iron Tribe friends and family for being there. I have a lot of issues with my body. I was never confident about my physical appearance to begin with, but gaining so much weight over the last couple of years has been an enormous strain on me. I feel like Tribal Wars helped punch a big ol’ hole in those clouds of doubt. Yes, I’m aware that my body doesn’t look how I’d look in an ideal world. But I’m happy to trade out those worries for the time being, and to instead concentrate on how powerful and capable my body is. I’m so strong, and only getting stronger. I’m totally OK with that.

Starting My Own Transformation Challenge

This isn’t so much a post as a reminder to myself. If you’ve been reading along since the new year, you’ll know that from January 5th to February 13th, I was doing a transformation challenge with my gym, Iron Tribe. Long story short, I didn’t win the challenge (bummer – would have really liked that top prize!), but I’m not that upset about it. One of my nicest classmates lost over 5% body fat and ended up with the top prize. Since he has a family, that gift certificate to Whole Foods is really going to come in handy.

As for me, I ended up losing about 13 pounds and 3% body fat, and getting a lot stronger. Plus, the gym does two challenges a year, so there’s always next time. But since I don’t want to wait 6 months to work on seriously getting into shape, I figured that maybe I should take the format of the official challenge and create my own challenge to keep me motivated over the next 40 day cycle.

My actions: work out 5 times a week at Iron Tribe, walk at least 15,000 steps a day, stick to my paleo diet, take PAGG and vitamins/supplements, avoid alcohol and pointless snacking, and keep a detailed daily nutrition/exercise diary.

My goal: Get to 170 pounds, and cut body fat by another 3%

My incentive: A diamond belly button ring that I’ve been eyeing for years now. If I get to 170, I get the ring. If I don’t get to 170, I don’t. If I somehow magically get to the 160’s, I’ll reconsider my decision – maybe I deserve something even nicer, who knows 😀

Starting point(s): The challenge started on Monday, February 23rd, and will last until Friday, April 3rd. My weight has been fluctuating a little bit based on eating everything that came within arm’s reach all last week, but as of today I was 185.7 pounds. I’m thinking I’ll be back to around 182 or so by the weekend, putting me back to where I ended up with the last challenge. Then it’s just staying focused from there!

Thanks Coach

itisinherself

Yeah…but having a few friends doesn’t hurt, either.

 

I’ve been taking my time with answering the Beautiful You prompts, mostly because I don’t always have an easy answer when I read about what I’m supposed to be thinking/writing about that day. Sometimes it takes some time to think everything through enough to take a stab at talking about it here. For instance, I’ve been ruminating over today’s prompt for almost two weeks now. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Day 21 asks us to consider how we’ve been championed, either by ourselves or others. Who has stood up for us, told us we were worth something, made us start to realize it for ourselves? I’ve got to be honest with you, this took a long time to wrap my head around. It’s not that I don’t have some wonderful, supportive people in my life. It’s just that until lately, when it came to the mental and physical battle of coming to terms with my body, I felt like I was all on my own.

Tomorrow’s the last day of the Iron Tribe Transformation Challenge. I was having a hard go of it last week, and now I’ve been sick for the last couple of days, so I’m having my doubts about winning the competition. However, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that no matter who gets the prize in the end, I AM a winner. I have won something really important over the last 40 days: knowledge that I can change, that I am much stronger and more capable than I’d imagined, and that there’s a support system in place for me. I’m not on my own in this any longer.

Throughout this journey, I’ve been so lucky to have some amazing coaches there at the gym, and on social media, and via text. Shelby, Joe, Hayden and Jim have had my back every time I had a question or a worry. Joe sent me a note in the mail the other day to tell me he was proud of my improvement, and I cried like a baby – because I KNEW I deserved his praise, and that’s not an emotion I’m really familiar with. Shelby in particular has been there for me every step of the way, and I can’t begin to tell you how important that has been for me. She’s so warm and genuine. She’s given me support when I was struggling (mentally and physically), offered me advice and laughter when I most needed it (but as always, was too proud to ask), and has been a shining example of what a coach – and a human being – should be.

It’s tough to explain it, but like a lot of people, I spend probably 95% of my time mentally beating myself up for not being good enough. The coaching staff at Iron Tribe has made me start to take a look at myself and realize that I don’t deserve that kind of mistreatment. Sure, I’m not lifting crazy heavy. I might be the slowest ever at burpees. I still haven’t mastered the double under or the handstand pushup. But I’m getting better at box jumps, and my deadlifts aren’t half bad. My squat is 100% better than where it was a few months ago, and you should see my calf muscles and triceps – killer. If I keep this up, I’ll be wearing a bikini this summer, and rocking that Star Trek TOS uniform mini by next Mardi Gras.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’ve lost almost 14 lbs over the course of this challenge, and I’m so much stronger and wiser. I’m eating healthier, drinking much less, and feel like I could keep this up indefinitely. Which I’m guessing is the entire point Iron Tribe is trying to get us to realize – those sneaky bastards.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that whether or not I win a single thing, I’m winning inside. Thanks Coach.

Body Body Body

So if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, at some point (or probably more than just one point) you’ve seen me laugh about/complain/despair/bitch about/at least mention my weight. I want to be a strong, self-confident woman who just doesn’t give a damn about not being physically perfect, but let’s face it, I’m not. I’m fine with being crazy, opinionated, weird, witchy, and occasionally even a bit wild, but when it comes to flabby arms, I’m just not able to let it go.

In high school, many moons ago, I weighed in at 135 pounds, and was skinny fat – no muscles in my upper body, eating whatever I pleased, not really working out much other than half-heartedly running track in Sophomore and Junior years. Back then I wore JNCOs & midriff-baring “baby tees” with a belly chain when I went out. Yup, it was that kind of party. When I got to college, I gained 20 lbs within a year, just eating everything I could get my grubby little paws on and not exercising at all. A few people told me I looked better than ever, and since I wasn’t interested in changing my lifestyle, I chose to believe them. Fast forward to four years ago, when I tipped the scales at 168 and decided I need to change. Ever since, I’ve been losing and gaining, never getting back to 168 but also never making it below my college weight of 155. I keep trying, but nothing I’m doing on my own is working. My ability to push myself to achieve a fitness goal is just not there, and I’ve started and stopped fitness plans so many times now that I can’t even list them all. I can’t do it on my own, and I accept that I need help.

So I’m getting help. A month ago I was put on a new nutrition plan by an award-winning bodybuilder, and haven’t stuck to it religiously over the holidays, but I’m back now. When I first went on before the holidays, I dropped weight and felt better pretty quickly. Now, after a few days back on, I’m dropping weight again and feeling a lot more energetic than I felt for the better part of the last month. But that’s only half of the battle (OK, I’ve heard that it’s actually 80% of the battle, but you know what I mean).

That’s why I’ve started training with a personal trainer. Lucky me, I was just hired to handle the marketing for a well-known personal training company in town, Pro Fitness Trainers, headed up by the amazing Eric Capers (Side note: Yay – go me!). Part of me getting to know the company and really be part of the Pro Fitness Trainers team is to get in shape with them, see how they work, and hang out at their gym on Freret Street. So on Saturday, I went in early in the day for what Eric calls a “fitness assessment” (and I call “intro to torture”). Despite my fear, Eric was amazing and really cool as he pushed me to my physical limits to see where my muscles needed improvement. The answer: everywhere. After 30 minutes, I was beat, and he had a good idea of my fitness levels. Today I went in for a full training session and learned that the fitness assessment was child’s play in comparison to what’s really going to be happening for me in the gym from now on.

My body is in serious trouble, so I’m glad that I’m still young and going to Eric now before I fell apart too much more. I worked for an hour today, sweating buckets, heaving mightily to lift five pound weights, grunting like a sad little piglet during the second minute in plank position. While struggling with (hydraulically assisted) pull up #7, I asked “So have I EVER used these muscles?” Eric gamely replied, “Nope, doesn’t look like it.” He’s transformed hundreds of people over the course of his career, and inspired thousands more in his college football career and throughout his time in the gym, and his kindness and optimism are contagious. He told me today that in three months, he’d make me a brand new woman. I believe him, and can’t wait to start seeing results.

Right now I’m certainly already feeling results. I can barely walk – poor little ol’ me 🙂

Working Out the Work Out

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that I’m constantly going on about losing weight, and never managing to do much about it. I count calories or work out for a week or so at a time, then fall off the wagon. It happens over and over. I’ve done all kinds of things to try to get myself on a schedule and actually in the weight loss zone. My latest endeavor was that great app, Gympact, which essentially pays you for going to the gym and charges you if you don’t. Eighty six percent of Gympact users supposedly make their alotted gym visits every week, but somehow I managed to screw up every week. To date I’ve lost about $100, and every time I lost money, I just got a little less inclined to try harder next time. Guess I’m in that small percentage of people who just can’t seem to try hard enough to meet the goal line.

So here goes another thought. What if I treat going to yoga class every morning like going to work? What if it’s a required part of my week days, and there’s no question as to whether or not I have to get up to 5:30 to meet the expectation every morning? In the past when I had a required work punch in time, I wasn’t late and I didn’t skip – I woke up on time, got ready, and went. Even when my commute was upwards of an hour, I’d figure it out and make my goal of getting to work at such-and-such a time.

Tomorrow I’m going to set my alarm with the idea that going to Bikram is essentially starting the work day. Then we’ll figure it out from there.

Sunday, January 15th

Today’s Weight: 158.8 lbs.

Exercise: I ran 3.16 miles in a little over 34 minutes, the longest distance I’ve run without stopping in many, many months. It felt good, easy even. I’ll have to work on improving my time, but I’m happy with my accomplishment for now. Also, when I got home I made it through about 15 minutes of a Zumba workout before I felt like I was putting serious stress on a groin muscle. Instead of persevering, I stopped and stretched and called it a day. Better to go a little easy on myself today and still be able to move tomorrow to try again.

Food: So far, I’ve had almond milk yogurt and blueberries, and four or five glasses of water. I’ll most likely have soup and an egg later in the day, then maybe fish and some sauteed veggies for dinner, depending on what SparkPeople.com says about my calorie allotment.

Last night after posting, I used MS Word to create a calendar sheet depicting January. In each day I inserted three lines of text: “Run Miles:”, “Zumba ?”, and “Weight:”. Then I put it up on my refrigerator. Every day I’m going to weigh myself first thing, record that on the fridge, then go running and do a Zumba workout and record my mileage and whether or not I did Zumba. I’m going to aim for burning between 500 and 800 calories a day with exercise, and abstaining from all of the crap food I’m supposed to be avoiding, anyway. I think I can easily be 155 by the end of the month, and 150 by the end of next month if I just concentrate on eating like a non-mutant and training for this upcoming 5K on January 29th, and then pick another 5K to train for in February.

 

More Motivation Than I’d Hoped For

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Not sure of today’s weight – I didn’t check. Today’s mood was great, if a little tired. It was a long week, and today I ran a couple of miles, then came home and did an hour of Zumba. On top of the physically tiring activity, my mind is racing. I got news yesterday that I’m approved for a very low interest loan, and the loan is enough to pay off all of my very high-interest debts. At first I was skeptical of using the money, but after carefully going over my budget with my financially savvy boyfriend, we realized it would be a good call to pay off my CC debts now, as it would save me a great deal of money in the end and also give me a way to start saving money right now so I can have some set aside in case of emergency.

It’s fabulous news for me – I never realized before yesterday just how much stress my debt has had on me. All the nights I’ve gone to sleep wondering how I was going to afford to put gas in the car to drive to band practice, pay for my monthly prescription medicine, pay the rent without bouncing a check, ever get out of debt, be able to afford to do anything fun at all without feeling guilty the entire time…all of a sudden I can see a little spot of blue in the sky.

This is going to give me a chance to afford to change careers when it’s time, and more relevant to this blog, it’s going to give me the ability to buy some new clothes for the first time in a VERY long time. Before, whenever I was thinking about the pretty clothes I’d like to wear if I were a bit more trim, in the back of my mind I knew that I’d never actually be able to afford new things, even if I was successful in losing weight. Now I will be able to buy a pair of new jeans, or splurge on a cute dress every once in awhile. Now I can set a weight goal and reward myself with a new outfit once I’ve reached that point. I got so excited when I realized that this morning, and as a result, my energy level when working out was so much higher.

This is definitely one of those times when I’m reminded of why I believe in being as positive as possible, even when it’s hard dredging up goodwill. Just keep aiming at where you want to be, and you WILL be helped. It might take six years, but eventually things will line up. Tonight I’m celebrating the sheer effort of plugging along. Maybe by next month I’ll be celebrating some new color (and sizes) in my wardrobe!