Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Journey Back to Light

Life is full of limitless opportunities and everyone gets to choose their own path. We have the amazing ability to design our own lives by the thoughts we choose to think, our attitudes, our beliefs, and ultimately our actions. It's easy to get caught up in our day to day lives, our jobs, our kids, paying bills, making dinner, laundry, homework, etc. and forget the awesome power we possess.

It's like someone is slowly turning the lights out on our dreams. Our eyes gradually adjust to the darkness and that becomes our new normal. We don't even realize we have been in the dark all that time until one day someone or something "flips the switch" and gives us a glimpse of the light. It's scary, shocking, and maybe even a little painful for our eyes to take in all that bright light. Often, our first instinct is to turn the light back off as quickly as possible.

But now that we've seen the light, the darkness becomes darker than ever before. The darkness in no longer a comfortable place for us because we realize there is another way. We realize there is so much we are missing out on because we couldn't see clearly while we were sitting in the dark. We want desperately to get back to the light.

But do we really?

Nothing is clear anymore. We begin to question how things are in our life. We can either step out of our comfort zone and start making different choices and moving towards the light or we can attempt to run backwards, back into the darkness, and pretend that everything is still the same. Like it was before we had a glimpse of the light, before we knew our life is of our making.

However it is impossible to go back to how it was before we knew. Because now we know. We know there is more to life than what we have been living. We know that we can make different choices and get different results. We know that the power to change our life is within us and that it has been all along. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.

Change occurs from the inside out.

All of these statements are true.

I know from experience.

Over the last year and a half I have been on a journey from sickness to health, from fat to thin, from darkness to light.

While my transformation started out as physical, it has become so much more than that for me. It has become about finding my inner strength. It has become about seeing myself as more than I am right now. It has become about endless opportunities for my personal growth and development. It has become about stepping outside of my comfort zone and into the light.

This is just the beginning of my journey... My journey to transform my life from something mediocre into something extraordinary.

My hope, as I continue on this path, venturing outside of my comfort zone, is to inspire, encourage, and empower others to do the same. It is my hope that I will meet others along the way who have chosen to take that first step towards realizing their dreams. Others who are ready to take that first, courageous step out of the darkness and into the light. My hope is to meet you...

What's YOUR dream?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Results!

We are both extremely pleased with our results! We wore the same clothes in the before and after pictures too for consistency. Loving our AdvoCare products! 

Lindsay's Before                                               Lindsay's After

Arms: 12 in                                                          Arm: 10 in             (-2 inches)
Chest: 34 in                                                         Chest: 33.5            (-.5 inch)
Waist: 35.5 in                                                      Waist: 32               (-3.5 inches)
Hips: 37 in                                                           Hips: 36.5              (-.5 inch)
Thighs: 23.25 in                                                   Thighs: 20.25         (-3 inches)       Total = MINUS 9.5!!! 

That's a 9 lbs weight loss! At one point it was just shy of 10 lbs, but that is the number on the scale today so we'll go with it... I am still VERY happy with the results! :)

John's Before                                                            John's After

Arms: 16 in                                                                  Arms: 15          (-1 inch)
Chest: 42 in                                                                 Chest: 45.5       (+3.5 inches!! workout's paying off!)
Waist: 44 in                                                                 Waist: 41.5       (-2.5 inches)
Hips: 46 in                                                                   Hips: 45.5         (-.5 inch)  Total = MINUS 4 inches!

That's a 10 lb loss!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

24 Day Challenge: Days 8 & 9

We are wrapping up the 10 Day Cleanse, which is the first part of the 24 Day Challenge. It is amazing what a change we feel in 10 shorts days. Well, 9 because tomorrow is the 10th day - results day! We feel great, we've lost weight, we've increased our energy, and we have rid our body of a bunch of built up toxins and are ready to move onto the max phase of the cleanse!

Here's are food, energy, exercise, etc. for the last couple of days. 

Lindsay's Day 8

Food: Kashi Cereal. Blueberries. Strawberries. Celery. Carrots. Banana bread (made from almond flour). Nature's Valley Granola bar. Turkey sandwich (on wheat). Spaghetti with meatsauce (lean groundbeef). Salad.

Energy: Excellent

Exercise: Rest Day

John's Day 8

Food: Oatmeal. Handful peanuts (unsalted). Orange. Banana. Strawberries. Chicken noodle casserole (egg noodles). Lowfat yogurt. Carrots. Nature Valley Granola bar. Spaghetti with meat sauce (whole grain past & lean ground beef). Salad.

Exercise: 2.5 miles on elliptical. Weights (shoulders)

Energy: Good

Combining the success and challenge because we are both experiencing the same successes and challenges as we progress through our 24 days.

Success: Improving energy levels.

Challenge: Eating right. Getting enough fruits and vegetables. 

Lindsay's Day 9

Food: Kashi Cereal. Egg muffin (egg,veggies, ground turkey). Pineapple. Blueberries. Celery. Carrots. Salad. Nature Valley granola bar. Banana. Jambalaya (Zaterans - I know... not so clean) Salad. Pears.

Energy Level: Awesome. Awesome. And did I mention, awesome?!

Exercise: Ran 5.4 miles.

Success: Just felt great overall today. I think the 80 degrees day helped a smidge ;)

Challenge: n/a

John's Day 9

Food: Raisin Bran. Oatmeal. Carrots. Celery. Apple. Orange. Turkey sandwich on wheat. Low fat cottage cheese. Low fat yogurt. Nature valley granola bar. Jambalaya. Salad.

Exercise: Ran 2.5 on elliptical. Weights (arms).

Energy Level: Good. Mr. John is starting to get a wee bit impressed by the fact that his energy levels are improving despite giving up coffee, pop, monster, and 5 hour energy...

Success: Just a good day.

Challenge: N/A

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Days 6 and 7

Here's the summary of our days 6 and 7 on the AdvoCare 24 day challenge. We are still in the 10 Day Cleanse Phase and this Thursday will begin the 14 day "Max Phase". So far we are seeing great results and are truly amazed by these products! 

Lindsay's Day 6

Food: Kashi cereal. AdvoBar raw. Salad. Celery. An apple. Grapes. More celery. Chicken. Green beans. Pineapple. Granola bar.
After My 9 Miler 

 Energy Level: Still awesome :)

Exercise: Ran 9 miles.

Success: Honestly? My run. (see pic below)

Challenge: It was hard to not drink coffee today.

John's Day 6

Food: Raisin Bran. Turkey sandwich on wheat. 2nd bowl of raisin bran. 2 natural fruit juices. Chicken. Green beans. Pineapple.

Energy Level: Good!

Exercise: 4 miles on elliptical

Success: Energy levels finally going in the right direction!

Challenge: N/A Today was good.

Lindsay's Day 7

Food: Kashi cereal. 2 turkey wraps. Blueberries. Taco salad (lean ground beef, low fat sour scream). Peaches.

Energy Level: Awesome!

Exercise: Rest Day

Success: Ok, so we're feeling so awesome and I couldn't wait for 3 more days to see if I am losing weight too... Stepped on the scale as saw 148 lbs - that's a 7 pound loss! In one week! (Please pay no attention to my ugly runners feet!)

Last year, when I was steadily losing weight, I was losing about 8 lbs a month... Seven lbs in one week is CRAZY! There is nothing to attribute that weight loss to except for Advocare! So seriously if you want to get healthy, lose weight, and feel AWESOME in the process check these products out!

Challenge: N/A - didn't even miss my coffee today.

John's Day 7

Food: Raisin Bran. 2 cups of naked fruit and vegetable juice (16 oz). Nature Valley granola bar. Cheese quesadilla. Tacos with lettuce, tomato, black olive (lean ground beef). Peaches.

Energy Level: Good most of the day. Energy is leveling out and staying steady throughout the day.

Exercise: Rest Day

Success: Energy is getting better which is a major plus for John. And after I (Lindsay) found out I've lost 7 pounds in a week, John had to step on the scale too. His weight loss was also 7 pounds this week! We are both very excited about how well these products are working for us!

Challenge: Missing coffee this morning.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge:Day 5

Spark is giving me AMAZING energy levels!
We're on day 5 of the challenge and I am feeling so awesome! The biggest difference for me has been my energy levels. I used to have this daily roller coaster with my energy going from low when I woke up, to high after my coffee, to low after lunch. And now Spark has seemed to really help even-out my energy level throughout the day. I am feeling more focused at work and no longer having that afternoon "I Can't Concentrate" feeling.

I am really starting to get curious to know if I am losing weight and inches too. Just the increased energy I am having is enough for me to say this cleanse is a success but if I end up losing a few lbs and/or inches that would make it an even better success.

But don't take my word for it ...

Lindsay's Day

Food: Kashi cereal. Salad with rice, black beans, sauteed peppers & onions, corn, avocado, and tomato salsa. Turkey brat. Salad. Asparagus.

Energy Level: Awesome! I cannot explain what a difference there is with energy levels throughout the day! Consistent verses rise & fall.

Exercise: Rest day. Although, I walked to the park with my sister-in- law, my niece, and Micah.

Success: Energy, energy, and more energy!

Challenge: Friday nights are usually pizza & beer nights at our house. So I'm missing my pizza and Coors Light, but the weather tonight and the walk to the park helped to distract me :)

John's Day

Food: Raisin Bran. A couple handfuls of unsalted peanuts. Carrots. An apple. Ham, pepperjack cheese on wheat with lettuce & tomato. Carrots. Naked fruit smoothie. Fat free yogurt. Turkey brat. Salad. Asparagus.

Energy Levels: Slowly getting better. This is still John's biggest struggle - maintaining consistent energy.

Exercise: Weights (abs) Cardio - 2.5 on elliptical in 22 minutes (John told me to put the time! ;)

Success: Overcoming his cravings for coffee.

Challenge: Really craved coffee today.

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge:Day Day 4

Here's the day 4 highlights! As I type this I am at the beginning of day 5 and feeling really awesome! Seriously cannot believe the energy I have throughout the day. I'm so excited to see the results from the 10 day cleanse and move on to the 14 day max phase of the challenge! 

Lindsay's Day

Food: Kashi cereal. Celery. Blueberries. Carrots. Cherry tomatoes. Salad. AdvoBar. Chicken noodle casserole (egg noodles). Peas.

Energy Levels: Great

Exercise: Lunges. Dead leg lifts. Squats. Stretches. Ran 3.4 miles.

Success: Feeling really good today - full of energy, healthy, focused. Plus it was nice to be able to run outside today :)

Challenge: Really starting to miss salt and realizing just how much I use.

John's Day

Food: Raisin Bran. A couple handfuls of unsalted peanuts. Banana. Apple. Fat free yogurt. Sugar free pudding. Left over spaghetti with meat sauce (whole grain pasta & lean ground beef). Carrots. Apple juice. Chicken noodle casserole (egg noodles). Peas.

Energy Levels: Pretty good. No dip in energy levels despite giving up coffee, pop, & 5 hour energy. Replaced all caffeinated drinks with Spark. Drinking 3 Sparks a day.

Exercise: Weights ( biceps & triceps) Cardio - 2.5 miles on the elliptical.

Success: John's considering every day he does the cleanse "without cheating" a success.

Challenge: Meal planning. Giving up coffee, pop, tea, continues to be a challenge.

I also realized I've been forgetting to record our water intake. We've both been drinking a lot of water, which isn't a huge change for us. About 70 - 80 ounces for me (Lindsay) and 100-120 for John.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The 24 Day Challenge: Day 3

Lindsay's Day

Food: Lots of fruit & veggies - banana, celery, carrots, salad, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, green beens, snap peas, blue berries, and strawberries. An AdvoBar. Chicken. Flourless peanut butter banana muffins (thanks Timyra for the recipe!)

Energy Level: Good - consist energy all day.

Exercise: Stretching, squats, dead leg lifts, bridges, lunges.

John's Day

Food: Raisin Bran, banana, celery, carrots, apple, 2 turkey sandwiches on wheat, low fat cottage cheese, chicken, salad, greens beans.

Energy Levels: Better today than last 2 days. More consistent energy throughout the day.

Exercise: Walking

For this post, I did our successes and challenges and together.

Successes: We're both starting to feel consistent energy throughout the day. We just feel better - we can tell the toxins are being flushed out of our systems.

Challenges: Making good food choices and avoiding processed food, dairy, coffee, sugar, etc.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 2

Today we received the Catalyst and extra Spark I ordered last week! Catalyst is a supplement that you can take in conjunction with the 24 Day Challenge to assist with maintaining lean muscle mass as you burn fat through exercise. To learn more about Catalyst and other AdvoCare products, click here

Lindsay's Day 2

Food:  Kashi wheat cereal. Lots of fruits and vegetables (celery, carrots, blue berries, orange, banana). Turkey sandwich on wheat bread. Spaghetti with meat sauce (lean ground beef, whole grain pasta) and salad for dinner. 

Energy Levels: Great! I had a high, steady level of energy all day. This is different than my usual energy levels, which was a caffeine (coffee) induced energy high in the morning that bottomed out after lunch leaving me feeling tired and unable to concentrate.

Exercise: Ran 4 miles

Success: Sustaining a high level of energy throughout the day.

Challenge: Avoiding processed foods, dairy, and lunch meat. I am starting to realize just how much processed food &dairy my family eats.

John's Day 2

Food: Skipped breakfast and ate a banana when he got to work. A couple handfuls of peanuts. Sugar free pudding. 2 turkey sandwiches on wheat. An apple. Natural granola bar. Celery & carrots. Spaghetti with meat sauce (lean ground beef, whole grain pasta)and and salad.

Energy Levels: Ok.

Exercise: Weights (lower body). Cardio - 2.5 miles on elliptical.

Success: Making it through his 2nd day without coffee.

Challenge: Food choices and eating too much - especially at dinner. Also his low energy levels are an ongoing struggle (prior to AdvoCare).

Monday, April 1, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 1

Today was Day 1 of our AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. John and I were both pleasantly surprised that the first day was an easy adjustment as far as the changes in our diet. The booklet that came with our products has been a helpful guide to show us when to take what products. It also contains general food guidelines. 

To the left you will see the AdvoCare products we used today. First thing in the morning we drank Spark, which replaced our coffee (yes, REPLACED our coffee!!). Then we drank our fiber drinks with breakfast. Both of us chose to pack an AdvoBar Raw in our lunches today. We took our Omegaplex with our dinner tonight and we will be taking our Herbal Cleanse before bed tonight. 

As we continue with the 24 Day Challenge I am going to do my best to post a short little description of our daily activities. Some of the products we take change depending on the day of the cleanse. Also, I will note a general description of our food, energy levels, exercise, water intake, successes, and challenges.

Lindsay Day 1

Food: Kashi Wheat Cereal, a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, AdvoBar Raw, taco salad with lean ground beef, low fat sour cream, and taco sauce (no cheese). Half a flour tortilla. 

Energy Level: Good - better than average. 

Exercise: Ran 3 miles

Water Intake: Unfortunately, I didn't count this very well today. I probably drank around 64-70 ounces of water not including the Spark and fiber drink. 

Success: I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to give up my morning coffee without much of a struggle. I was also psyched that I still had a good energy level even late in the afternoon. The Spark seems to really be helping my mental focus throughout the day. 

Challenge: My biggest challenge today was eating breakfast. I am not now, nor have I ever been, much of a breakfast eater. I felt rushed this morning trying to fit it in. I think for tomorrow I am going to try to drink my Spark while I am getting around in the morning and on the way to work and then eat my breakfast and drink my fiber drink at work closer to 9 am. 

John Day 1

Food: Kashi Wheat Cereal, a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread (natural peanut butter), AdvoBar Raw, yogurt, tacos with flour torillas, lean ground beef, low fat sour cream, taco sauce, and light cheese. 

Energy Level: Normal. Energy is a struggle for John. He was actually surprised his energy levels didn't take a dip due to cutting out coffee, tea, and pop. 

Exercise: Weights (chest), Cardio 2.5 miles on elliptical

Water Intake: 100 - 120 ounces  or more. Johns generally drinks a lot of water. Today he likely drank more than usual due to cutting out coffee, tea, and pop.

Success: Cutting out coffee. And the 1/2 cup or more of sugar that goes with the coffee. 

Challenge: Drinking the fiber drink. John does not care for thick-textured beverages.

If anyone has any burning questions for us as we progress through our 24 Day Challenge please don't be shy to ask! 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge

Tomorrow, April 1, 2013, John and I will start the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. My goal is to write a short post every day (or at least every couple days) as we progress through the challenge. The 24 Day Challenge consists of a 10 day "cleanse phase"and a 14 day "max phase". 

This evening I prepared a lot of fruits and vegetables to grab a quick pre-portioned bag for a snack or to pack in our lunches throughout the week. During the cleanse we will be eating "clean" - meaning little to no processed food, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and soda pop. We will eat mostly fruits vegetables, proteins, and complex carbohydrates. 

Then, I created our AdvoCare Shelf (pretty sweet, huh?)

We both weighed ourselves and completed our measurements. We will weigh ourselves again at the end of the 10 day cleanse and again at the end of the challenge. We will redo our measurements at the end of the challenge as well. 

Lindsay's Before:

Can't seem to get the picture right side up!
Weight: 155.2
Arms: 12 in
Chest: 34 in
Waist: 35.5 in
Hips: 37 in
Thighs: 23.25 in

John's Before:

Weight: 257
Arms: 16 in
Chest: 42 in
Waist: 44 in
Hips: 46 in

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Mushy Gushyness

My husband picked out the sweetest Valentine's Day card for me (that was actually a birthday card but he liked the poem so much he got it anyways!) and I love it so much I had to share!

For My Beautiful Wife

You still look great in blue jeans, your kiss still drives me wild.
I have been in love with you from the moment that you smiled.

I'm rough around the edges (I know you know that's true!), 
but I'm a better man and that's all because of you.

You gave my heart a home, your love has changed my life.
You're everything I wanted. My friend, my love, my wife.

Seriously, I love it! I even brought it to work with me so I could read it again throughout the day. I know, it's kinda corny, but I love getting sweet cards and my husband knows it. What special things does your significant other do for you on Valentine's Day?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Saturday

It's Saturday and there's no better way to start off the day than with a nice six mile run. Although it was a little chilly, it was a beautiful morning! The sun was shining and the skies were blue. It felt as though God made this day just for me... for my run. My endorphins were flowing and it felt great!

After my 6 mile run

After my run I stretched and iced my knees. I've been experiencing some mild to moderate knee pain beginning a few miles into my runs. I'm thinking it may be my iliotibial band. (If anyone has some tips for how to manage knee pain while training please let me know) I'm thinking about visiting a running specialty store this weekend to get some good advice and possibly new shoes, a knee band, and a foam roller!

Next on the agenda - trying out my new baby cakes donuts maker. It was my first time making donuts and, I've gotta say, they didn't turn out half bad. I know what you're thinking... why run six miles and then ruin it by eating donuts? But you've gotta splurge every once and awhile. I've found that if I'm too restrictive with my diet, that I end up having a "cheat" day that goes way overboard. It's a lot easier to stick with exercising and eating right if you allow yourself some sweets and other "junk" food once and awhile. Moderation is the key.


Then, after demonstrating my mad donut-making skills, I took a nice hot shower and laid my little man down for his afternoon nap. Micah's new favorite thing to do is to climb out of his crib and pack and play. I'm glad my baby boy is so strong and mighty, but the pack and play is the only place we can could put him for a minute to keep him safe and out of the way while we got some stuff done. So I spent the next half hour repeatedly putting my toddler back into his crib and attempting to settle him down for a nap.

Here's a picture of daddy holding the little crazy man after we finally gave up on the nap .

Now it's time to kick back and enjoy the afternoon. The big boys are outside getting some exercise old school style by riding their bikes and playing Nerf wars - a totally made up game they play with the neighborhood kids that includes a very serious set of rules. In a little while, I will take Riley to Walmart to spend his Christmas money. (He's been begging me to take him for like two weeks and we just haven't found a good time when neither he or I are busy with other obligations and we both felt up to going.) I took Khegan shopping to spend his Christmas the week after Christmas, but Riley was up visiting my grandparents for x-mas break so he didn't get to go. 

Then, a little later I will make dinner for the family and possibly the boys' friends if they are still around. Dinner is going to be either spaghetti or tacos. I haven't decided yet. Any votes? 

Finally, I'll wrap up my Saturday with a family movie night and some snuggle time with my man. 

I LOVE the weekends!

And this one has THREE whole days - yay!  :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part IV

By August of 2012, I had lost 24 lbs and was weighing in at 168 lbs - just 5 lbs from the goal weight I had set for myself in January. After recently completing my first 5k, I was feel confident and strong. My husband & I had our weeknight routine down. When he got home, I was off to the gym to hit the treadmill. Things were rolling along smooth as could be...

Until football season.

Now you're probably thinking college or pro season ... nope. I am talking about Western Irish youth football. The boys were playing tackle football for the first time through our church. They've never played in that league before and we didn't know what to expect. We were used to 1 hour practices one night a week & games on Saturday mornings. We were in for a rude awakening...

Practice was 2 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week! My husband LOVED it... He loved watching those boys struggle and sweat as they ran drills and did up and downs in the late afternoon August sunshine. And, I've got to admit, I enjoyed watching them as well - my little men. ;-)

Still... it cut into my workout time!

MY time!

Now I was rushing home from work, picking up two big boys wearing full football gear, one baby boy who needed his own gear (stroller, diaper bag, sippy, snack, etc), and loading them all in the car to get to practice by five! My husband would meet me at their practice between 5:30 and 6 pm. Now, I could leave and head to the gym, but you moms know how important it is for your kids that you watch their practices. Not to mention that these practices were in several different location, some of which weren't that close to home.


What was I supposed to do?

After an internal debate, I resigned myself to what I knew I had to do... run outside. If I changed to my  running gear before heading to the boys' practice, I was able to watch the first 30 - 40 minutes before my hubby arrived. Then I would pass the little one off to him, get my run in (usually in an adjoining neighborhood), and be back to watch the last 30 minutes or so of practice. It was challenging. And forced me to face my fear of running outside. But it was worth it... for so many reasons.

First and foremost, it allowed me to watch a good portion of the boys' football practice. I also learned the many joys of running outside. I learned to run without worrying about pace. Or distance. Or calories burned. I learned to soak in the scenery. To enjoy the warm weather. To relax and let the stress of the day melt away.

I learned to LOVE running.

My endurance increased. My speed increased (although I am still a slow runner).

And I continued to lose weight.

In September, my work held their annual health evaluations. We have this program at work designed to assist employees in getting healthy or staying healthy. As part of the program they provide annual health assessments. They take your blood pressure, review your blood glucose levels, weight, cholesterol, etc.

Guess how my I weighed on the assessment day?

163 lbs!

I had finally reached my weight loss goal and was officially in a "normal"routine BMI range! I was ecstatic.
Aside from my weight, my good cholesterol was high and my bad cholesterol was low - so low that it didn't even register on their machine! And my blood pressure was 110/70! WOW! Look what running did for my health! I was truly amazed and more motivated than ever to keep on running!

So I signed up for another 5k... the Thanksgiving Wattle. I ran that race in 30 minutes and 32 seconds!
Around that same time (Thanksgiving) I slipped into a pair of size 10 jeans - a fete I hadn't accomplished since my Sophomore year in high school.

2012 was quite the journey for me - by the end of the year I was down to 157 lbs and feeling better than ever! My total weight loss to date has been 35 pounds and I am maintaining at 157 lbs.

Now what is a weight loss success story without the before and after photos?

Before 11-11-11
After 12-8-12

This journey will continue... 

...because I will keep on running!

My goal for 2013 is to run my first half marathon. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part III

It was May and I was focused on pushing through the grief from my miscarriage in order to continue on the path for which I had set out in January - to lose weight. In January, when I had joined Weight Watchers, dead set against exercise, let alone running, I had set a goal weight of 163 lbs. Based off of the BMI scale, for a women my height and weight, 163 lbs was the highest weight in the "normal" range. 

It was a lofty goal.

The last time I weighed 163 lbs I was a Sophomore in high school. 

Late May 2012
Four and a half months and one miscarriage later, I was weighing in at 176 pounds - just 13 lbs away from my goal weight. I had already lost 16 lbs and I didn't want to give up on the tremendous (for me anyways) progress that I had made towards my goal. I was really liking the way I looked. And, since I was no longer sick from an over-abundance of pregnancy hormones, I was also liking the way I felt.

However, I was not sure I wanted to go back to Weight Watchers. While, WW gave my the jump-start I needed to begin seeing weight loss success, I was tired of counting Points.... I truly felt that if I focused on my fitness and eating healthy foods that I would no longer need the meetings and Point restrictions in order to continue down the path to a healthy weight. 

Around that same time, my sister, Sara, asked me to run a 5k with her in July.  The race supported a cause close to our hearts so I decided it would be a good motivator to sign up for the race. That would give me about two months to "train" and build up to the distance. My goal was to run the entire race no matter what the pace. 

Although it was spring time and the weather was good, I preferred doing my training indoors on the treadmill.  Honestly, I was frightened at the thought of running outside. Outside, people I know might see me running on the trail near my home - a risk I was not yet ready to take. Plus, when you are outside running and you get a mile away from your house, you are a MILE AWAY FROM YOUR HOUSE!! What if I had to use the bathroom, or needed a drink of water? No, thank you! I was perfectly happy running on the treadmill in the temperature controlled gym with my water bottle, sweat towel, and music all at arms length away. 

Still, I knew that at some point, I would have to run outside. I couldn't complete the 5k race on a treadmill, after all.... 

Time was ticking away. I was taking it day by day. My hubby and I had fell back into the routine of my coming home, getting the kids situated, changing to my running gear, and starting dinner. Then, when he got home, I would leave him to finish dinner and head to the gym to run. When I arrived home, he'd have dinner waiting. What an AWESOME husband I have! 

Most days I was 'running' 2-3 miles. I use the term 'running' loosely because I would take frequent walk breaks. Slowly, I built up my running minutes in between my walk break. Even with the walk breaks I was averaging about 12-13 minute miles. Now it was time to increase my distance. 

By June my workouts were three miles long and it took me between 36-40 minutes to complete. At that point I was still running inside on the treadmill and I knew I had to get myself outside. Finally, one Saturday, mid-June, I decided to run outside!

The logistics were tough for me. At that point I didn't know about "map my run", which I now use regularly to track my workouts, so I had to drive the distance in order to map a turn around point about 1.5 miles away from my house. The idea of being 1.5 miles from my house still scared me. Also, what about my music? I don't run with an ipod like most people do - I use my phone to stream iheartradio and listen to this GenX station out of Louisville, Kentucky. (Love me some GenX music :) For my first outside run, I decided I was going to just hold my cell phone while I ran. There was also the matter of water. I decided I would just have to deal with not have water readily available while I ran outside. 

Big Mistake. 

This was Ohio, mid-June, and it was H-O-T hot outside. 

That run sucked and sent me crawling back to the gym. How do people do it? All the time I see these fit, sun-kissed, gorgeous, tone, runners trotting along with out anything in their hands -no water, no phone, no sweat towel, nothing. And I couldn't figure out how they could do it. 

Then, one morning on my way home from the gym, I saw a gal running along side the road with a hydration belt on and I thought, "I MUST have on of those!" I would have my water, phone, and sweat towel all stashed right in that belt. Everything available to me at the gym would be right there - except for bathrooms, but I knew I could make it for a 30 - 60 minute run/walk/jog without needing to hit up the bathroom. 

So I searched for a hydration belt and finally found one I deemed suitable. Then, I geared myself up for Saturday, when I would run the FIVE mile loop I had mapped out near my house. 

Saturday came and it was overcast. I debated whether to call the run before I even set out due to the possibility of ran, but I decided I had to listen to NIKE and Just Do It! It took some time to get my hydration belt adjusted. When I finally got out the door and moving I realized that I did not like the jiggling of the water bottles on the hydration belt at all. 

Slowly, I traversed the path I had plotted out. I ran a good 2 miles before I had to stop for my first of several walking breaks. About half way through my course, the water in my bottles had gotten warm from the heat of the day as well as my body heat. Still, I suppose warm water is better than no water. My belt continued to jiggle and I continued to stop and adjust it throughout the run. I felt very conspicuous as I wiggled and jiggled that belt every few minutes. 

As I entered into the last 1.5 miles of my run, I began to feel sprinkles.

At first there were just a few, but in a matter of minutes there was a downpour. No thunder or lightening - just a refreshing summer rain. A refreshing summer rain that SOAKED my clothes. Luckily, I had put my phone in a plastic ziplock bag before I put it in the pouch on the hydration belt. (I know, I'm a dork, but I was afraid of damaging my phone if it rained.) My socks were sloshy in my shoes. And I was tired, so I was still taking walking breaks as the rain poured down.

But, as I turned that last curve that headed up to my neighborhood, something clicked. I felt free! I laughed out loud. It was almost if that rain was just for me - to cool me down after my first official "long run". 

Looking back, that run was really a comical disaster. And I never used the hydration belt again after that run. Still, that run was a turning point for me... I no longer wanted to be a runner - I WAS a RUNNER!

Things began to get easier when I bought an arm band to put my phone in while I ran - it turns out I am not the only runner who streams music through their phone instead of an ipod. :-) Also, I realized that for longer runs, it didn't bother me to carry a water bottle with me. 

By the time July 28th rolled around, I was ready! 

My race time was 32:24! 

That was a GREAT time for me! Way better than my goal of 36 minutes. And, although I did have to take a couple 'walking breaks' during the race, I ended feeling very accomplished. 

I was really starting to ENJOY running! 

And, I had lost another 8 pounds, bringing my weight down to 168 lbs

... only five pounds from my goal. 

My Mom, Me, My Sister Sara

Mom & Me

Curious how this story ends? 

Stay tuned for My Weight Loss and Running Journey Part IV ....

Missed the beginning?

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Week in Review

My Week in Review

Happy Friday! This was my first full work week since the holidays and I am glad it is finally coming to an end!

Work was business as usual.

This was week 2 of my half marathon training schedule. I have adapted Hal Higdon's Novice 2 half marathon training schedule from 12 weeks to 18 weeks to cover the rest of the time leading up to my race on May 4th. Stretching out the schedule allows me to do most of the long run distances twice, which will hopefully build my confidence as I prepare to run the full 13.1 miles.

Side Note: I hope to have my half marathon training page up & running soon. Then you all can follow my progress and hold me accountable to keep up with my training :-)

Last night (Thursday) I missed my scheduled 3 mile training run. Why? Because I was so tired I could not drag my butt to the gym. Why? Baby boy Micah had woke up a little after midnight the night before & did not settle back down to sleep until 2:30 am. I was one tired mama yesterday! A little disappointed with myself that I missed my run, but stuff happens, right?

Still not sure if little Micah man had a nightmare or was in pain from the diaper rash he's had all week. Apparently the antibiotic he's taking for his ear infection makes his poop red & his butt sore - poor little guy.

The good news is both Micah & I slept well last night. And it's FRIDAY!

P.S. If you're eagerly awaiting the third installment of My Running and Weight Loss Journey, stay tuned. I am planning to get it posted over the weekend.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part II

By the middle of February 2012, I had lost 12 lbs and could comfortably wear size 14 pants. My self esteem was increasing and I was starting to feel more and more like the self-confident woman I had once been. Weight Watchers was largely to thank for my success. I had been attending weekly meetings and adhering to their Points Plus program, which included the ability to earn Activity Points through weekly exercise. 

My weight loss efforts were going well and I was getting into my exercising grove! I felt better than I had felt in a LONG time. And... I was finding that I really enjoyed running! Over the last 6 weeks I had gradually increased my "running minutes" on the treadmill. Now, I was able to run for SIX solid minutes before stopping to walk! That may not sound like much to you, but for me that was a miracle. 

Then, something unexpected happened. 

I was tired. 

I was cranky. 

I was late. 

Yes - that kind of late. But I have struggled with PCOS and infertility for quite some time. We had just had our little miracle baby, Micah, in May of 2011 and we know we want another child. Due to my PCOS and the fact that we needed assistance from a fertility doctor to conceive Micah, we were not using birth control. Instead, we were trusting God that if we were meant to have another child, it would happen in His timing. 

... It was a Saturday afternoon in February. I had just TRIPLED my longest run. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, I had just ran for 18 minutes with no walking breaks! I was on cloud nine. As I left the gym and to headed to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for Micah, I was thinking about how much I was really starting to enjoy running. Then, my mind drifted as I began to think about how tired I had been the last week and that I was late for my period, although that was nothing new due to my PCOS. On a whim, I bought a box of home pregnancy tests. I felt kinda silly for even buying them - it reminded my of when I was taking test after test, month after month, when we were trying to conceive. Well, at least I would know I am not pregnant and the box contained a couple extra tests for when I was late again next month or the month after that...

When I get home, I kissed my kiddos and hopped in the shower. That night was date night for my and hubby and I was looking forward to (comfortably) wearing my new size 14 AE jeans. While I was getting around for the evening, I took a test and set it on the sink to wait the allotted 5 minutes while I continued to get ready. A few minutes later, I glance at the test... 


WHAT?! That can't be right... but it was. 

Of course, we were elated and I quickly adapted into pregnant mode. 

I quit Weight Watchers.
My nightly gym sessions were traded in for nightly naps. 

And I was SICK. 

The morning sickness was ridiculous. It was every day, seemingly all day. And went I wasn't yacking, my tummy was queasy. No cravings for me. Nothing sounded good. I lost more weight. 

And slept. 

I was EXHAUSTED all the time. 

But my doctor said things were good when she did a 7 week ultra sound. At our 11 week appointment she did not do an ultra sound check, but said the baby's heart was strong and we were "in the clear" meaning our chances of having a miscarriage dropped dramatically at 12 weeks. 

At the end of April 2012, 4 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant, I went in for my 4 month check up. I was 15 weeks pregnant. My husband did not come with me because it was just a routine check. There wouldn't be a need for an ultra sound... 

She couldn't find the heartbeat. 

I couldn't breathe. I was nervous. Anxious. Uncertain. Scared. I tried to concentrate on her words, "The baby's probably just hiding. Let's get you over to the other room for an ultra sound. At least you'll get to see your little peanut today." 

As I wait in the cold, sterile room where the U/S machine is, I had an overwhelming feeling of dread. Something wasn't right. This entire pregnancy didn't seem quite right. The last few weeks I actually had felt like something was very wrong. 

The doctor confirmed my fears. 

The ultrasound showed a little fetus with no heartbeat. 

We came to find out it was a "partial molar" pregnancy. Basically, a genetic abnormality where the baby had inherited an extra set of chromosomes. He or she didn't have a chance from day one. 

Micah & I on his 1st Birthday
On May 6th we celebrated Micah's first birthday. We were determined to focus on the blessings in our lives. Our children. Our families. Our jobs. Our health. We would get up every day and put one foot in front of the other and trust that there is a reason for everything in this life. 

One week after Micah's first birthday, I made the decision that I would go back to the gym. It was mid-May and I had lost 16 pounds since January, leaving me weighing in at 176 lbs - 4 lbs lighter than I was on my wedding day. 

I made up my mind.

Despite my grief.

I would keep on running... 

Stay tuned for My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part III.. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Running  and Weight Loss Journey Part I

My 2012 New Year's Resolution was to lose weight. At 30 years old I weighed in at 192 lbs. Having recently given birth to my second child, instead of "losing the baby weight" I had just continued to pack on the pounds. I didn't like the way I looked. I didn't like the way I felt. So on the evening of January 1, 2012, I found myself attending my first-ever Weight Watchers meeting. 

Before 11-11-11 Size 16
The Points Plus Program assigned me thirty-some "points" a day and allowed for unlimited "free" fruits and veggies. The first meeting was fun and I liked the idea of being held accountable with weekly weigh-ins. The program structure seemed very supportive and conducive to my weight loss needs. One of my favorites tenets of the program was that you didn't HAVE to exercise! 

This appealed to me because I was not a big fan of exercising. Over the course of my adult life, there have been a few brief periods of time where I would get on an 'exercising kick' and I probably even lost a few pounds here and there. Still, I despised exercising. It was hard. It made my body sore. It took a lot of effort. It was expensive. I didn't have the time. And, at the end of a long work day, I certainly didn't have the energy. (Sound familiar?)

It didn't take me long to realize that I was WAY off-base with the whole "no exercise" thing. While it wasn't required as part of the WW program, participants could earn extra Points, called Activity Points, for exercising. And extra Points = extra FOOD. I may have not been motivated to exercise for the sake of exercise, but the idea of having extra Points to splurge on that slice of pizza on Friday nights was sure motivating!

I decided it wouldn't hurt to exercise for 15-30 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. But, I was NOT going to RUN. Running was not my thing. No way. 

When I was in middle school some of my friends got the bright idea to join cross country. They did great. They loved gossiping back and forth as we traversed the trail behind the school. They held full conversations during those runs. Meanwhile I was red-faced and panting and praying I wouldn't trip and fall flat on my face. Eventually I would have to stop and walk while they ran on. In middle school cross country the races were only 2 miles but it took me the entire season to be able to run the full race without taking walking breaks. While my friends were running 7 minute miles, mine were 13 minutes. Needless to say that was the first and only season I participated in cross country. 

My only other running experience ever was a 5k race that I ran/walked with no prior training or conditioning. The race was sponsored by an agency I used to work for so I felt obligated by my role in the agency to participate in the race. Yeah. Probably the sorest I have ever been in my LIFE. 

No running for me. I would use the elliptical machine or walk on the treadmill to earn my Activity Points.

My husband was very supportive of my weight loss efforts. We stopping buying soda pop and began buying more fruits and vegetables. I would plan my meals in advance and log my Points prior to each meal. (I found it helpful to log the Points before I ate so I would be less tempted to overeat.) I started setting aside two or three nights a week to go to the gym. My husband would 'pick up the slack' by making dinner on those nights - which has become our new routine to this very day.

Slowly, I began losing weight. 

2-18-12 Weight Loss 12 lbs. Size 14
One day - a few weeks into my new exercising routine - I decided to run for one minute at the end of my treadmill session. Then next day I broke my 20 minute treadmill session into two, 10 minute halves, and I walked for 9 minutes and ran for the other minute. By February I was able to run for 6 minutes straight. It had been about 6 weeks since I started WW and I had lost about 12 pounds and I was feeling GOOD! 

Then, something unexpected happened and my Weight Watchers journey and my newly founded exercise routine came to a screeching halt... 

Read what happens next in the second installment - My Weight Loss and Running Journey Part II.