Saturday, April 21, 2012

Potato to 5k in Five Weeks

If you read my last post, you learned that I have slowly lost 54 pounds. Well, just a few weeks ago I decided to start the Couch to 5k running program. It trains you to go from a couch potato to running a 5k (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks.

Prior to starting the program, I improved my cardio stamina by using my elliptical machine for an hour three to four days a week for one month. That paid off. I went from not running at all to running a 5k in just over five weeks. If you are familiar with the program at all, you know week five plays a nasty, yet glorious trick on you. You begin week five by jogging for five minutes, then walking, then jogging five minutes again, etc., but by the end of week five the program jumps to twenty minutes of non-stop jogging! No more intervals of jogging and walking. Well, I figured, since I ran for twenty minutes and lived to tell about it, I might as well skip all the rest of the training weeks and go for the full 5k. It worked!

Tonight I ran around a local park with a registered 5k trail. I ran (well...jogged) the whole 3.1 miles without stopping. It was hard. It was brutal. I really wanted to stop several times. The trail has lots of unwelcome hills but plenty of people and things to look at to help pass the time.

And, since I promised a current photo, here is the picture my hubby took of me tonight as I finished my first 5k. If you haven't read my last post, go look at my "before" picture to see how much I've changed during my healthy transformation. I'd still like to lose eight more pounds so I can weigh what I did when I got married, but I'm not really hung up on the number on the scale. I just enjoy being healthy and am thrilled to be fit enough to complete a 5k.

Friday, April 13, 2012

54 Pounds Gone!

I have slowly reduced my weight by 54 pounds (and counting). I'm frequently asked how I am losing the weight. I started my journey when my twins were a year-and-a-half old. I only wore stretchy yoga pants (and no, I didn't do yoga), so I can only guess I was a size 16. My size 14 clothes were very, very, tight. Ugh! I had three significant surgeries during my twins' first year (a C-section, an emergency hysterectomy, and a repair surgery) each of these required 8 weeks of recovery. That was next to impossible when I had three children under the age of two. With very little sleep I survived on carbs, packaged foods, and coffee with lots of cream and sugar. I was exhausted and miserable.

This picture was taken in June of 2010. This was my "aha" moment. I had no idea I was this large until I saw this photo. When I finally weighed myself I was horrified to read 207 pounds! I'm 5'8" and medium-boned, so at my thinnest, I'd still weigh more than a fine-boned more petite woman. But, come on! 207 pounds? That's ridiculous...and gross. I was very unhappy. It was an unhealthy image to give my girls too. I determined to model a healthy lifestyle filled with good food and physical activity. On a humorous side-note,  those of you who know me, know I don't curse, smoke, drink, or chew. Because of my prudish lifestyle, I find it very humorous to use the "Damn I'm Good" mug my in-laws have in their cupboard when we visit them in Nebraska. It's out of character for me and it makes me laugh every time I see it.

It is important to note that I was not fat because I had 3 kids. I can't stand when moms use childbirth as an excuse to be overweight and out of shape. Years later, if I'm still carrying extra weight it isn't "baby" weight. I am not a victim. Let's be honest and call it was it is -- personal poor choices that I alone own.

I do not use pills, shots, or surgery. I don't starve myself. I don't live at the gym. I am reducing my weight and regaining my health the slow, old-fashioned way:
  • reduce my calories (though I don't actually count them)
  • eat and drink nutritious food (and write down in a journal everything that goes in my mouth)
  • sleep 
  • exercise 30-60 minutes 4-5 days a week 
In future posts I'll delve into more details about my weight loss, but today I'll share with you my typical daily salad.

I buy large bags of Taylor Organic Romain lettuce from Sam's Warehouse. I eat a salad every day for lunch or dinner (not both). I don't use traditional salad dressing. I only use organic cold-pressed olive oil (again, at Sam's for a great price) with Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. There are tons of reasons why I use this as my salad dressing, but if you are interested, you could start by reading about the health benefits of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar here. The lettuce and dressing are my base salad to which I add all sorts of extras. I don't eat all of these at one time, but choose combinations of unsalted sunflower seeds, diced avocado, garbanzo beans (chick peas), red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Every once in a blue moon I'll add some chicken breast or ground beef to it if I feel I need additional protein. I do not add cheese.

Today I weigh 153 pounds (and still losing). I went from an XL top to a Small (I'm pear shaped, so my top half is smaller than my bottom half). My pant size went from a super tight 14 to a baggy 10. I'm probably an 8. I've lost 30 inches from my chest, waist, hips, and thighs (so far). Sorry, I don't have a current full-body picture. I'll get one and post it soon. This picture was taken a little while ago and I'm down eight more pounds now. Those jeans are too big now and I've completely changed my hair. Oh well, this will have to do.

Stay tuned for more details. Next, I'll post my breakfast shake recipe I use every single morning.

Family Portraits

Alaina is an adorable barista I befriended at the nearby Rocket Brothers Coffee spot. Alaina also is a photographer. A few weeks ago she simply volunteered to photograph my family. How amazing is that?!

Alaina took us to a very old abandoned shop whose layers of chipped paint revealed transformations long forgotten. Time left its mark on this textured building, and so this location was perfect.

Here are just a few of my favorite shots Alaina took.

Visit Alaina's site for more examples of her beautiful work.