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Who Said New Year's Resolutions Had To Start on January 1st?

I've already been thinking about New Years Resolutions, something that I've never really done in my entire life. I've been the type of person that if I wanted to change something, it started tomorrow, not January 1st. I did have a sort-of resolution last year to start losing weight and I did, but on Feb 15th once I had started my full-time job and relocated to Virginia for it. I've now lost 47 lbs since that day. And I hoped from last New Years Eve that I might be able to spend the next one with a boyfriend, and Randy and I have been going out since Oct 9th :) So, I've decided to make a few goals/resolutions to start right now to help me get rid of the last 15-ish pounds and put some things in perspective.

1.) EAT MORE! For most people, this isn't a problem that usually comes up. But for me, I admit I've been under my calories entirely too often, and not a little bit under. I had days where I came in around 1000. And dropping my calories that low worked for about 2 weeks when I lost like 4.5 lbs. And then it stopped dead. And I wondered why the scale wasn't moving, maybe it was the traveling or something. But no, I KILLED my metabolism! It couldn't survive daily workouts for 45-60 minutes AND 1000-1150 calories. So, I've changed my weight loss to 1 lb a week, which gives me 1270 calories and I'm eating all of them! And maybe even some exercise calories. I was eating all my calories before October, and I was losing steadily. Starvation mode is an ugly thing, and I'm never doing it again.

2.) Change up the exercise/intensity.  I'm nearing the end of Turbo Fire/Chalean Extreme hybrid. I have I think 6 weeks to go. So I'm planning to continue with that but I think I might need to incorporate running or something back into my routine. I've been avoiding the free gym in my office because I don't really like it and there are only 2 treadmills, one of which doesn't incline. So, I think I just need to suck it up and start going again 2 times a week, no excuses! Please hold me to this people... haha

3.) Focus on eating real, healthy, and fresh food. I admit, I'm a bad and lazy cook. I love things I can microwave in 3 minutes and eat. But I've been using Shakeology as a complete raplacement for protein with dinner and I'm going back to regular food I think. I'll still drink it a few times a week, but I can't swap a shake out for a real dinner. So I'm going to focus on having chicken or fish or some form of protein with a side of veggies for dinner. I was doing that and I was losing weight fine and getting enough protein and carbs and stuff. I'm going food shopping tonight to pick up a few things, lately my food shopping has been buying yogurt and soy milk and little else. Maybe getting a bit adventerous with cooking will help with eating better, because right now I'm just lazy.

4.) Take my time! I'd love to lose these 13 lbs to get me to 140 and a healthy weight in the next month, but it's not realistic. Given that I'm that close to a healthy weight, it's gonna come off slowly whether I like it or not. I admit I sabbotaged myself with eating too little and it's the reason I haven't lost more than a pound in the last month. But now I've got things back on track, and I'm shooting for 1 lb a week. That's it. At this pace, I'll reach my goal some time in February, which is what I wanted. Plenty of time to tone up, perhaps lose a little more, and let my skin bounce back before Spring and Summer and bikini wearing time!

 

So that's my gameplan, starting this week, not Jan 1st. Why waste 4 weeks of improving my habits and enjoying the holiday season. My goal is getting close, might as well start today :)

I Think I've Gone Overboard...

I think I've fallen into ANOTHER plateau... the last one was in August when I got stuck between 163-165 for a month. Now I'm stuck between 153-155 since my birthday weekend Oct 22nd. I've seen the scale dip as low as 152.8, but it jumps back up to 154ish as soon as I have a day of eating like a normal person... which is starting to worry me.

I'll be the first to admit, I can be kind of obsessive. And I'm someone who likes numbers. Combine this all with trying to lose a large amount of weight and it can be a successful but potentially dangerous combination. I've been looking back at my food diary from the past month. On days where it's not some special occasion (like a visit home to Jersey or date night with my recently acquired boyfriend), I average around 1100 calories. Which are tightly rationed, planned, counted and worked off after I get home from work in the evening. Breakfast is a Vitatop (100 calories), lunch is often a salad (350ish calories) and dinner is Shakeology and something small like veggies or a lean pocket that will usually total 400-500 calories. I don't really snack during the day, I drink coffee. And this information scares me a bit. It seriously looks like I'm starving myself! 

Maybe I am, I mean, 1100 calories isn't enough. I can't live off of a meal replacement shake forever.  I can't drink coffee instead of eating real food. I can't workout for an hour every day and expect my body to just magically burn off all the fat if I'm not feeding it. I swore I'd never get to this point... I'm only 13ish pounds away from my goal and a healthy weight. But I really don't think I can keep going as I am. 

So, I think I need a new gameplan. First off, I need to eat. On days where I let myself eat normally, it feels good, I don't go crazy, but since my body isn't used to the calories it holds onto them and I'm up a pound or two for a week. So, I need to get my body used to 1300-1400 calories a day again, which is what I was eating. I also need to start eating real food again. I would have chicken or fish or something for dinner, not a shake that replaces all of it. And perhaps my workouts need shaking up, I'm gonna get back into running at the gym two times a week like I used to. Turbo Fire has done wonders for my stamina (after a HIIT interval my breathing is back to normal in like 30 seconds even tho my HR is in the 170s). 

Hopefully mixing it up with help me get rid of these last few pounds that I want gone. I mean, realisitically I could stop here. I'm a size 8, I'm happy with how I look... kinda. Now that I've seen how far I can go, I really want to be confident in my bikini, not just passable. So, I'm gonna keep going because I know I can, However, I know for sure I can't keep going like this. It's not healthy in the long run and my body has been telling me that for weeks. I'm just finally realizing that I have to listen to it! Weight loss is a tricky thing... not enough committment and results are hard to get... too much focus and obsession can easily lead to the situation I'm in now. At least I see it and I'm working on it. Plus, I want to enjoy the holidays, starving myself isn't the way to do it.

If 91 Year Old Great Aunt Rita Notices, I'm Doing Something Right!

Family can be awesome for weight loss, or turn my willpower into a non-existant afterthough whilst chowing down on yummy food. This weekend, it was both!

I had a family wedding shower for my cousin's finace yesterday, a rare chance to see all the women in my extended family on my mom's side. The last time I saw them was at my Grandmother's wake/funeral in May 2009 (so a solid year+ ago). I weighed 215 pounds and was a stressed out college Senior. When I went up to say hello to my relatives yesterday, a few mistook me for my sister! She's 130 pounds, size 4, and with all the weight that I've lost we look quite similar now. A few other relatives didn't realize it was me at all, they were like, "wait, Sara... Patty's daughter? WOW!" And then there is my Great Aunt Rita, essentially the family matriarch that keeps us all in line. I walked up to her to say hello and she looks at me and said "where is the other half of you?" LOL!!!!! In Aunt Rita terms, that's quite the complement. She also asked if I have a boyfriend yet, and I was incredibly happy to tell her yes for once! After a nod of approval and a hug, I was sent on my way, finally passing muster with her. 

At that same wedding shower, I did eat quite a bit of food and some cake, and the night before my parents and sister took me out to dinner and I had some delicious Shepherd's Pie. But it's nice to have a normal family weekend every now and then. Yes, the scale yelped in pain when I stepped on it this morning (water and normal healthy food is on the menu for the entire week to make up for it), but it was a great weekend. It was nice to show everyone (especially Great Aunt Rita) how much I've changed in a year. I was grinning the entire shower, between being fabulous in a wool mini skirt, knee high leather boots, and a cute top and cardigan and actually having a guy that I'm dating to tell people about.

At this point, I can worry about the scale all I want but it's important to keep it in perspective. I'm already SO TINY in comparison that I still look in the mirror and wonder, like Aunt Rita, where is the other half of me???? I'd love to hit my mini goals of 150 for Thanksgiving and 145 for Christmas. But I'm not going to miss out on family time and eating like a normal person... haha. So if I can get to those goals in time, fabulous. If not, I'll hit them soon after. I've got a whole winter of wearing cute clothes that cover up everything until i'm thrown into sundress and swimsuit weather (when I REALLY want to be at my goal of 130-140). February, March, April... whenever I get there, I'll be thrilled. 

The Dangers of Dessert (Especially with the Holidays Approaching...)

I'll be the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth. I always have since I was little and my granny would let me stir the cake mix or something when we'd bake together (I was about 2 in a high chair). I always wanted dessert after dinner, or lunch even. Holidays were dangerous because of all the desserts my family would have out on the table. And then I'd bring home leftovers. But I've realized something unfair, and terrible, and maddening about desserts...

THEY HAVE SO MANY CALORIES!!!!

It is hard to find a good dessert that doesn't double the calories from eating a sensible meal beforehand. It's a terrible tradition, really. I realized this today logging my sensible Thanksgiving lunch from the work cafeteria. I told the woman dolling out giant scoops of mashed potatoes and easily 5-6 slices of turkey per plate to keep the portions small. I ended up with one scoop of mashed potatoes, 2 slices of turkey with a drizzle of gravy, and a scoop of corn. Grand total was around 350 calories for the meal. And then it came with a slice of pie. Delicious apple pie with whipped cream on top (just a little). And then I try to enter that slice of heaven into my food diary. To my horror (altho not exactly surprise), the total calories for the meal jumped to 700. FROM PIE! I mean, it's bad enough I took the biscuit against my better judgement, but even that didn't break the food bank. It was THE PIE. So yummy... SO DEADLY!

So I think I'm gonna need a gameplan, because I've realize that despite all my amazing self control that I seem to have, I cannot say no to dessert. And that's kind of a problem.Given how many dinners and family meals and the like I'm going to be encountering between now and January. So we can take a few approaches here:

1.) LEARN TO SAY NO! Yeah, easier said than done. It's easy when I have to pay for it, I'm not shelling out another $5-7 for something of unknown calorie content. I'll skip it. But if I'm home or at a homemade meal, it's really hard not to take one. Which leads me to my next plan.

2.) PORTION CONTROL BABY! I do it with everything else, I still eat yummy meals, I'm not depriving myself, I just eat small portions. For some reason, that slips a bit with dessert. But if I can stick to one small brownie, one scoop of ice cream, or a tiny slice of pie, it's much better than trying to hold out and scarfing down a giant slice of pie out of weakness. Or I could...

3.) EARN IT! I can easily go home today, Turbo Fire my buns off and burn 400 calories and negate the pie! It's math! EASY! Work out = pie goes away. Except for that junk that I put in my body... oh the delicious junk. My tummy usually isn't happy either way. But it's feasible to trade off a workout for a dessert. As long as I don't go crazy and get a giant plate of desserts and eat them all (totally used to do that...), I can easily negate the dessert. It's like it never happened!!!

 

But it did, and it's not entirely healthy. And I know how much I love dessert. So, I might need to employ some combination of these tactics to get through the holidays. I'm thinking I'll skip dessert when it's not something I absolutely love, not worth the calories. I'll stick to small portions when possible and only sample a few things when I have a selection. And if I'm presented with something amazing that I cannot say no to (red velvet cupcakes and anything pumpkin fit into this category) I will live a little, eat my favorite things, and work it off. I can't stay on a diet forever, in fact I don't consider myself on one now. I just make sensible choices of what is worth putting in my body. And damn it, a red velvet cupcake belongs in my tummy!!! That doesn't mean that the extra poundage from consuming it belongs on my ass. 

Now that I have a gameplan... let's see how the next 2 months goes. I've got 7.8 lbs to reach my Christmas miracle goal of 145.  In between lies two Thanksgiving dinners, a couple dates with the guy I'm seeing, a holiday party, and everything Christmas.  Looks like I might be doing a lot of exercising... teehee

 

A Sprint or a Marathon?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the future. I've always wanted to have my entire life planned out. I mean, I basically have the job I wanted when I was 7! Who actually does that? I wanted to work on things that go into space, now I'm a satellite engineer. And I've been neurotically planning for all of that since I was 7! It was all part of the master plan for a perfect life.There were a few minor details missing though. One of them is the reason I'm here, how I felt about my job and school and brains didn't match with how I felt about my body.

I've never been skinny. Or normal for that matter. Or comfortable in my own skin. EVER. I can remember back to ballet class when I was 9 or 10 and hating having to wear a leotard and tights. I also got kicked out of ballet class for bad behavior, but that's another story unrelated to all this... haha. College didn't do much to help with how I thought about how I looked because I was so busy, never had time to workout, the dining hall food was delicious and calorific and plentiful. I easily gain 40 pounds while I was in school! 2 degrees in engineering, lots of independence, and 40 pounds. Rough tradeoff. 

Now that I've had time to get my life in order, I can tackle my last remaining issues. 1 year later and I've lost 61 pounds and counting. Yet another life goal is within reach... a healthy weight! I didn't realize how much my weight was tied to everything else in my life.I have a more positive attitude (which was actually written up in my employee performance review, "upbeat personaility and positive attitude". I mean, I wasn't Oscar the Grouch before, but I wasn't Little Miss Sunshine either.) I'm not really afraid to approach or talk to people, and I love to talk. I'm treated better in general, especially by guys. Society kind of sucks like that, where you have to be thin and pretty to get noticed. I feel PRETTY! Honestly, that's the biggest change. I've never really felt attractive, or thought I had a pretty face. Now I'm looking in the mirror and I finally see it!  And I think because I finally realized it, other guys have picked up on my confidence and now I'm seeing someone! I've never really done a long term relationship before, so this month of casually dating is a world record. And I'm just going to enjoy it. I was stressing out about figuring out exactly what's going on and defining it and all that crap, and I just need to enjoy it. It'll work itself out.

And I realized, the same goes for losing weight. I could be obsessive complusive (like I am about most things), stick to the plan 24/7 and get to my goal weight as fast as possible. Or I can take a step back, enjoy a few weekends visiting friends and family, have a damn cupcake every now and then (red velvet... mmmmmm), take a night off for a date in which I don't pick the lowest calorie option and skip the beer (because that's no fun on a date!). In short, I'd rather LIVE than live to lose weight.  At this point, I'm already pretty small, even for 154 pounds. I'm a size 8 and a small/medium on top. I'm close to where I want to be and getting there a month sooner won't do much. I'm just working on flattening out my stomach before I have to put on a bikini again and shrinking my legs and arms (so far so good!, skin appears to be snapping back gradually). So at this point, I'm not at an all out sprint for the finish line. What's really waiting for me there? I'm already so much happier than when I started! Yes, a size 4 would rock, so would a healthy BMI. But I WILL get there, I'm just stopping to smell the roses or whatever... haha. As long as my weight is on a downward trend while I'm enjoying life, I'm happy with it. My goal was 140 by February. That's 3 months to lose 14 pounds. I don't have to break my neck to be on that pace. After that, it's bonus pounds til the summer time when I'm finally smokin' hot in a bikini while sailing on the Potomac River (assuming I'm still dating this guy...)

All while I'm thinking this, a lot of "what ifs" enter my brain. What if my body hates me and gets stuck at a higher weight? What if things don't work out with this guy? What if my legs don't shrink enough for size 4 jeans? What if my stomach is still kinda flabby from loose skin when I'm done? Or my arms?  What if lose my motivation? My answer to that is to STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! Maybe it'll all work out perfectly like my life plan usually does. Or I'll have to take a detour. Or I'll just have to deal with what I get. I'll figure it out. I think that's one of the things I've learned from all of this, it doesn't have to be perfect or a sprint to the finish. I just have to be happy. And I am. FINALLY!

Weekend Warrior... Not So Much

As if losing weight isn't hard enough on it's own during the week, when I have my healthy snacks at my desk, a workout planned every day after work, and a salad bar in the office cafeteria for a nutritious lunch, the weekend is BRUTAL!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my weekends. I need to relax, I get to socialize, go on a date or something with my new guy (it's been a month now :D), and of course, SHOP! But lately I've been traveling just about every other weekend, either home to Jersey for some family event (everyone really needs to stop getting married all at once, too many events to go to), or just visiting friends somewhere (California was last weekend). It throws me out of my routine, I don't get a workout in first thing in the morning, I don't eat as well, and counting calories is much harder in general. 

Basically this has amounted to some measly weight loss over the last 2 weeks. I'm officially 0.1 lbs below where I was on my birthday 2 Friday's ago, after being down 0.8 lbs last Friday and gaining a bit back from California. And I know it won't get any easier. Next weekend I'm going to Jersey AGAIN for a wedding shower, and then 2 weekends after that is the dreaded Thanksgiving weekend! Food, dessert, lethargy, and a family trying to feed me. UGH! Well, not entirely UGH because its fun, but it makes things harder.

So, I need to get my act together, I can't afford to bust my bum all week to have it erased every weekend. That's all fine and dandy when I want to maintain my weight, but I'm still a a solid 15 lbs away from my initial goal and it's looking like I want to push that somewhere into the 130s so I have a nice cushion of a few pounds when I do go into maintenance. I'm not looking to sprint to the finish, but I feel like after 60+ pounds lost, I should have this down to a science! It was almost easier to resist temptations closer to the beginning than it is now. Lately I've had a few red velvet cupcakes, some ice cream, basically desserts are my indulgences... and thai food. Plus drinking. And I wonder why I'm losing slowly?

OK, new game plan. I WILL BEHAVE ON THE WEEKENDS! I don't care if I'm home, workouts in the morning. I will wake up at 9am on Thanksgiving to do Turbo Fire for an hour if I have to. I'm curbing my tendency to eat less than desirable food when out and about. I just need to start throwing Kashi bars in my purse for when I'm out and hungry so I don't snack on junk.  Drinking will be kept to a minimum! I'm saving it for special occasions for a while. As I say all this, I have my date tonight which will likely involve eating out, drinking, and not getting a morning workout in (well.... maybe there will be some sort of morning workout... teehee!). I'll just have to be as good as the situation allows. 

I think if I focus, I can get around 150 for Thanksgiving, which I actually have set as a Christmas goal. My unofficial Christmas goal is 145. That number still blows my mind, when at Christmas one year ago I weighed 200 pounds. I can almost steal my little sister's clothes! (She's  an athletic 130 pounds, same height as me, size 4/6 and small/medium).  So, skinny me will just be my Christmas gift to myself. 9.9 lbs to go! 3 solid weeks to try to get rid of 4.9 lbs. If I follow my rules every day of the week, I think I can do it! Will power don't fail me now!

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