Four years ago I got into the best shape I’ve been in in a long time (possibly in my life) and dropped from 175 pounds to a healthy 143 pounds.
But the journey to a healthier body wasn’t due to a lifestyle change. Not a permanent one, anyway.
It was more of an I’m-going-to-lose-a-shit-ton-of-weight-and-win-this-competition-because-I’m-super-competitive thing.
A couple healthy changes did stick from that competition.
Exercise stuck. I love to exercise (for the most part). I learned there is such a thing as a runner’s high. Moving out of my comfort zone and trying new things was exciting for me.
I learned I love competing in triathlons and running marathons.
But a few months after the competition ended (I got second, by like 1%, by the way), the weight I lost crept back on, bit by bit.
Then my husband had two major (and unexpected) surgeries two summers in a row, and the triathlons fell by the wayside because I couldn’t train for them with him out of commission.
Then I developed a piriformis issue that brought the running to a halt, and after seeing a couple doctors and not feeling listened to and nothing improving and becoming extremely frustrated, I kind of gave up on the running.
And then my eating completely spiraled out of control, and two weeks ago I went into my closet and picked out a button up shirt to wear, and I couldn’t get it over my head.
My pants had become too tight to button a few months before that.
But when I could no longer button any shirts in my closet, I knew I had to do something.
I literally had nothing that fit me except for yoga pants and my pajamas.
Four years ago I was on an unreasonable quest to get the body I had before kids. I remember writing a post about my goal being “white tank top ready.”
Because I didn’t feel worthy of wearing a white tank top — because white does not hide “flaws” like a black tank top does — until I had a super flat stomach. Maybe even a six pack.
There was a whole lot of body shaming going on back then.
Now, I appreciate my body for all that it has done and for all that it can do. I’m not in search of a particular number or clothing size or reflection in the mirror.
But I am in search of health.
And right now, I’m not healthy.
And that’s why I shared a picture of myself in a bikini last week.
Not because I feel bad about my reflection. But because I gain weight around my middle first which is the most unhealthy place to gain weight, because my blood levels are in the prediabetic range, because when I went for the first yearly visit to a new primary care physician in January she said, “Well, you’re not in the obese range, but you are definitely overweight.”
And she’s right.
So before anyone jumps on the fat shaming bandwagon, I want to be perfectly clear.
My documentation of the quest I am on to become healthier (in part by losing weight) is not about vanity or body shaming or thinking that a number on a scale is going to magically make me happier.
In fact, I don’t even want to look at a scale.
But the truth of the matter is that I need things like a scale to keep me in check.
I tried completely ditching the scale, but when I don’t have lots of different benchmarks in place, I easily go off the rails.
I wish I didn’t need the help of a scale, but I do.
I cannot do moderation with sugar (or anything, really).
I wish I could, but I can’t.
I need external accountability in this aspect of my life and that’s just the way it is. I need a regimen. A strict one. At least for now.
I hope to get to the point where I can relax a little more in this department.
But right now I just can’t.
And it’s okay.
Because I’m ready. I’m ready to eat better. Differently. I’m ready to accept that binging on ice cream isn’t treating my body.
I’m ready to accept that discipline is treating my body.
Because I want to be an 80 year-old chick who can still actively participate in life.
And that won’t happen the way I’ve been operating.
Plus, like I mentioned last week, I want to do an Ironman (and not just the Lake Placid one, but the one in Hawaii) and I want to break 4 hours in a marathon, and both of those things are going to require some significant lifestyle (aka eating) changes if I want to get to check those goals off the bucket list.
So two weeks ago I committed to changing the way I eat, and I started exercising more regularly. I have a workout buddy who I’ve been meeting to do Beachbody 80 Day Obsession workouts with (because I need the strength training), I’ve started running again, and I’m on a swim schedule and I’m swimming every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
After two weeks of regular swimming, I can now swim without feeling like I need an immediate nap when I get home.
Two weeks ago I couldn’t do a side plank, but now I can.
Two weeks ago I couldn’t run more than two minutes at a stretch, and last week I ran 2 miles nonstop.
It was NOT FAST.
If I compare how fast I am running now to how fast I ran four years ago, it’s not even close.
Four years ago I could run a 5K and average 8:30/mile.
Now I’m nowhere near that.
Here was my first 2 mile run last week:
It took me 25 minutes to run 2.17 miles. I averaged 11:37/mile.
I ran 3.1 miles faster than that four years ago.
But it’s okay.
I’m not looking at how far I have to go.
I’m looking at how far I’ve come.
I may not be nearly as fast as I was four years ago, but I’m already way faster than I was four weeks ago!
So I’m moving in the right direction.
Like the scale, these levels of fitness are another gauge of progress for me.
And there are other ways I’m holding myself accountable — this also helps me to see that what I’m doing is having postive effects on my body and my life.
In two weeks I’ve lost five pounds, I’ve lost an inch around my hips, 3/4 inch from my waist, and an half inch off my arms.
I’ve done one more thing.
I’ve professed my love for my bullet journal before.
And I am using it to stay on top of what I eat.
What I have learned in the last two weeks since keeping track of my food (I’ve tried apps like Lose It and My Fitness Pal but I just do better with a good old fashioned pencil and paper) is that I was eating portions fit for Sasquatch and I was just eating an insane amount of food.
I’ve been following the eating plan that goes along with the Beachbody 80 Day Obsession plan which is basically the 21 day fix plan (I think).
I’m not telling anyone what they should do. I’m just telling you what has been working for me.
The plan I’m following has a pre workout meal, a post workout meal, and then three more meals during the day.
Every meal I have contains a vegetable (well, it should) and a protein. Then there are fruits, carbs, fats, and oils too (limited servings of those).
What I have learned in the last two weeks is that I don’t eat as many vegetables as I thought I did.
I also am planning and prepping food better, and I feel so much better.
Plus I notice a big difference in my skin and my color.
Somebody I hadn’t seen in a while saw me last week and told me I was glowing!
Anyway, I’m showing you my bullet journal.
AND AGAIN, I’M ONLY SHOWING THIS TO YOU SO YOU CAN SEE WHAT I’M DOING AND HOW IT IS WORKING FOR ME.
I am not implying anyone else should or shouldn’t do this.
Here is the first week:
Here is this week:
Some days I forget to write stuff down.
Some days I eat exactly the same thing as the day before. I still get to eat my peanut butter and bread and fruit.
I am still working on the meal prep becoming a habit.
Eventually I won’t need to write down everything I eat. Eventually healthy eating will be second nature.
But until then, I’ll keep doing this in my bullet journal.
If you are trying to make changes in your life and could use some help, you are in luck!
I made a Facebook group for anyone who is looking for a little extra support after someone suggested it in a comment on last week’s post.
If you want to join, click here. (Give me some time to approve you).
Next week updated progress pictures are coming.
Now I’m off to prep some food. 🙂