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It doesn't come naturally to me...

You know what rocks about MFP? The community. Having a vast hoard of people who can steer you in the right direction when you go astray. Last time I tried to lose weight, I used a site to count calories, but I didn't participate in the forums. Big mistake. There was no one to tell me when I was being stupid. And boy, was I stupid!

I'm not Lady GaGa. I wasn't Born This Way. I was born lazy and completely non-athletic. About 6 years ago when I was losing weight, I thought calorie restriction was all that was needed. I resented exercise. I didn't want to do it. I thought it was stupid. I had a busy, physically demanding job, and I walked and hiked all over with my dog, and I thought that should be enough. 

I got to my goal weight, and still had back fat rolls, muffin top, double chins, etc. Because I didn't know a damn thing about how to retain muscle or why it was important. 

When I joined here, I still didn't know how to keep it or why it was important, but I kept an open mind and listened to people who looked and sounded like they know wtf they were talking about.

I mentioned in another thread how I wished my parents had taken better care of themselves. They're both gone. One of my older brothers is in his mid 50s and has been a runner since his 20s, sometimes lifting weights and boxing and stuff like that. (Thank you, Rocky Balboa, for being an influence on him at a young age!) My dad was the greatest dad ever in so many ways, but I look at my brother and see how active and energetic he is... and I remember my dad at his age, with staples in his chest and a tube down his throat from his first triple bipass. I'm so happy for my neices that they're going to have their dad a long, long time. And jealous. Definitely jealous.

It was after losing my parents that I started on here, and made my health, not my weight, the focus. I just wanted to be fit enough to run a 5k. That lead to doing some light resistance and circuit training. Then running further distances, and faster, then as I got more involved in MFP, seeing how amazing women who lift look, so I started doing that, too. Along the way, I was able to stop taking my antidepressants and Xanax, too. And eat... holy crap, can I eat!  

None of this came naturally to me, though. I had to step out of my comfort zone emotionally, physically and intellectually. I had to forget old ideas and make room for new ones. Because everything I thought I knew about weight loss and fitness was wrong.

 
(Posted some of this in a thread, but the OP's posts tend to end up going bye-bye, so I wanted to copy this here.) 

It ain't over when you hit your goal...

I hit my goal weight of 135 in June of 2011. Lost a little more, gained a little back, but stayed more or less the same size. Maintaining is NO different from losing. You have to keep doing all the same things you did to lose weight. You need to continue exercising. You need to continue to monitor your calories and macros, but there is a little more wiggle room. And you have to continue to find ways to track your progress to stay motivated.

I stay motivated by photos. My weight has fluctuated between 126 and 139 in the past year, so the scale isn't a good way to track things. I can't see changes in the mirror because they happen gradually... it's like watching grass grow. The measuring tape is tricky, too, because I always wonder if I'm measuring in the exact same place, and whether or not I pulled the tape tighter this time, or last time. And really, who's going to get excited over a 1/16th of an inch change?!

Since hitting my goal, I started strength training. I still run 3x a week, too. I eat about 2000 calories a day, and I'm going to increase it soon. Here's what "maintenance" looks like. Hardly any actual weight change, but lots of body composition changes.

Back, flexing. My waist got itty bitty and my bum got higher! Not to mention the shoulders. 

Back, not flexing. Love the reduction of cellulite!

 

Front, flexing. Ignore the 5 o'clock shadow on the pits, please. The curse of having such dark hair. 

Front, not flexing. I'm hoping I can build up my pecs a little more to fill in some of the boniness on the chest.

Side view.I have a weird shaped rib cage. The ribs at the bottom stick out further than the ribs at the top.

 

I also posted what just two months of training with free weights can do on the forums yesterday, but didn't want to be accused of being an attention whore by posting another thread so soon, so I'll stick this here.  

 

Photos from today's run...

It was a beautiful day. 

The Susquehanna River crossing the Pierce St Bridge. 

On the other side of the river, with the Market Street Bridge in the distance.

Downtown Wilkes Barre from the Market Street Bridge.

Luzerne County Courthouse in the distance, where I got hitched nearly 11 years ago.

I think they call this "Millenium Circle" or something. Whatever. A little over a year ago, it was all under water.

From above Millenium Circle, looking back on the Market Street Bridge.

 

8 miles today. Over the river and through some woods then back over the river and past a prison, a cemetery and a hospital, and eventually home. 1:18 and some seconds, including some walk intervals and pauses to take these photos. Then a 2 hour bubble bath to recover. 

It was a good day. :) 

Inspiration and Progress

When I first started losing, Lisa Edelstein from House was one of my body inspirations. I loved the way she dressed on the show... how her clothes emphasized her curves and ample backside. Plus, she close to my age, and I figured aiming for someone a few years older than me would be more realistic than trying to emulate a 20 year old. 

Anyway, here's a photo of her I used for inspiration, and a photo of me last summer, when I was really happy with my progress toward that goal. And me yesterday morning. Even happier with my progress toward that goal, especially considering I weigh about 5 pounds more than I did when I took the other photo. I'm amazed at how much smaller my waist is now. And my chest isn't as bony. Yay, strength training!

 

I'm not as tight and trim as Lisa, but then again... it's not my JOB to look good. It's just a bonus. ;) 

Why are YOU still here?!

A common complaint on the forum is "What are all these fit people doing on a weight loss site???"

Forgive me for being blunt, but this site is MyFITNESSPal, not MyFATNESSPal. People are here for a variety of reasons, and while weight loss is probably the biggest reason, it's not the only one. It's not strictly a weight loss site.

As for myself, I came here wanting to drop ~25 pounds and become fit enough to run the Warrior Dash. I did that in 6 months. I've been here more than a year and a half now. Why? Because it's not "over" when you reach your goal. Because I'm still learning. And who did and do I learn the most from? The people who've reached their goals.

If everyone who's lost the weight they wanted to lose is booted off the site like a member of the boy band Menudo when he reached 16, this site would be... well, kind of a case of the inmates running the asylum. A whole bunch of people telling each other 800 calories a day is fine and that dumbbells that weigh less than a Big Gulp are all you need.

I'm not saying I'm any kind of fitness expert. Everything I've achieved has been through trial and error. But without listening to the advice of the fine shirtless men and bikini clad women who came before me, I'd very likely have had a lot more error than trial, and have quit before reaching my goal just like I did every other time I tried to lose weight. I like to think I've picked up quite a bit of knowledge in the past ~630 days of using this site, and I'd like to share that knowledge with others.

One Pooped Pup!

We took our Pekingese, Beavis, for a walk today and much to his joy, someone had left a soccer ball in the park. Beavis, in his warped little doggie brain, thinks he's David Beckham. There's quite a few videos on YouTube of his soccer playing escapades. He doesn't realize that he's a rather chubby, somewhat middle aged, stubby legged dog with no nose.

This video wasn't taken today, but it gives you an idea what he's like when there's a ball. It's also really hard to run, hold a leash (wouldn't let him off leash in an unfenced area), and try to keep him in fram while filming.

Imbed won't work. Here's a link. 

After about 10 minutes of running, he was breathing pretty ragged and I didn't want him to have a little doggie stroke. So we dragged him away from the ball and hit the trail. But he was SPENT.

This is how he finished his walk.

 

Sorry, bud. I don't think they're going to make a movie called, "Bend It Like Beavis" anytime soon. 

To Log, or Not to Log... That is the Question!

MFP was a huge, huge, huge help to me in losing weight. Logging my food and exercise and seeing exactly what I needed to eat in terms of calories, carbs, fat and protein was... uh...  exactly what I needed. But sometimes... it's good to take a break from logging.

Way back in April of 2011, I logged everything for my niece's bachelorette party. I logged my breakfast and lunch as normal, exercised as normal, pre-planned what I'd order for dinner, logged a piece of cake, logged enough calories for as many alcoholic beverages as I thought I would probably drink, and hit the "finish your diary" button. Ended up with over 2500 calories that day, and the message said if every day were like today, in five weeks, I'd gain five pounds.

I thought, "That's it?!" I could eat like that, drink like that, EVERY DAY for five weeks and only gain five pounds?! You know what?! It would be SOOOOO worth it!

After that, I stopped logging food on one weekend day a week. If there was a party, I wasn't going to log. If I was going out for dinner with my husband, I wasn't going to log. I knew I couldn't possibly do enough damage even eating like mad to undo what I did the rest of the week, because every day wouldn't be like that one day. When it came time for my niece's bridal shower, I didn't log a damn thing. Same goes for my birthday, and Warrior Dash, and her wedding, and my other niece's baby shower, and my other-other neices' birthday party, and so on and so on.

By June 2011, I stopped logging on weekends and holidays all together, and I've been doing that ever since. Sometimes I take longer breaks from logging, like a month-long hiatus when I had my stress fracture. I reasoned that the worst that would happen, eating like a pack of wild dogs, is that I might gain a pound a week. I knew when my ankle healed and I could exercise again, I'd be able to take anything I gained right back off again.

I gained one pound. 

[Edited to add: This was inspired by a post from someone distraught over going over her calories at a birthday party. I'm not saying, "Don't log, ever again!" I'm saying that taking a break from logging food, thinking about calories, fats, carbs, protein, sugar, fiber, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, yadda yadda yadda... whether it's one meal, one day, one weekend or even a little longer... is NOT going to magically make you gain all your weight back.]

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