Cheaters Never Win, Unless It’s With Moderation

Top of the morning/afternoon/evening/night/whatever time you’re reading this to my readers! This week I’m going to share with you a secret of my weight loss that not a lot of people understand. Just because I eat healthy most of the time it doesn’t mean that I don’t still get to enjoy some of my favorite foods. So many programs and people will tell you that in order to see results you have to completely change the way that you eat and avoid anything that’s bad for you. But the truth of the matter is, that’s no way to live your life. It’s absolutely not sustainable for long periods of time. If you’re giving up everything that you want to eat, you’re left with eating stuff you don’t want to eat and how can you be expected to keep that up long enough to see results? You can’t. I was recently introduced to the idea of the 80/20 rule which allows you to balance your diet by eating well 80% of the time and giving yourself 20% of leeway. This seems to be the way I work my cheat meals that works well for me.

So here’s one of the secrets to my success, I’ve never completely stopped eating the things that I love. For me, the number one craving I get that is hard to satisfy while keeping a healthy lifestyle is pizza. I can blame my Italian roots, or the fact that growing up we had pizza every Saturday night, but I think that really when it comes down to it I just really love pizza. I used to eat pizza pretty frequently, and when you pay for delivery it’s definitely not cheap. Now I definitely have my days where I go all out on carbs and eat a real legitimate pizza, but most of the time I try to stick to thin crust. It’s a modification, sure, but it’s definitely better than not getting any pizza at all and it honestly satisfies my cravings. Most of the time I just buy frozen thin crust pizza and have it on the days I do my long runs. With how many calories I burn, I can usually eat the whole thing for dinner and still be under my calorie total for the day. Which feels pretty awesome. Lately though I’ve been trying a lower carb meal plan so I haven’t been able to really eat pizza unless I seriously prepare for it. But you can bet that on my cheat days it’s definitely what I want.

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Last week’s cheat day dinner- an incredible build your own pizza from Blaze Pizza!

That’s another thing you should keep in mind, everybody needs cheat days. No one wants to eat salads and clean food every single day. You’ve gotta give yourself some leniency, especially given that sometimes you need to eat a little crazy to kick start your metabolism if you’re in a slump and have stalled in weight loss. Personally, I reserve my cheat days for Fridays for the simple reason that it’s Chris’s day off of work and we usually like to go out and eat or he wants to cook something that doesn’t fit into my meal parameters. This allows me to have a day that I can look forward to for most of the week, and keeps me from cheating on other days. If I know I have a cheat day coming up that’s no more than 6 days away, I can stick to my healthy eating for the most part.

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Recent cheat day included a trip to Wahlburgers Orlando which had the awesome option of putting any burger on a chop salad to make it lower carb! So I made up for it with Sweet Potato Tots instead. 

Another fun part, at least in my opinion, about making changes to your diet and eating is getting to explore new recipes. I’ve got several pinterest boards with oodles and oodles of recipes on them that are healthy. Some are paleo, keto, whole30, and some are just low calorie but I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to broaden my culinary horizons and find some new foods that I love. 2 years ago I would not eat sweet potatoes after a bad incident from my childhood that involved me getting sick and it being orange and scarring. Now I eat them probably every other week in some form. I’ve spent time perfecting my mashed sweet potato recipe and I’m pretty proud of it. In my 25 years I had never even tried Brussel sprouts until this past December, and now I can’t get enough of them. I have a favorite recipe that I got from my godmother, but I also love to use them in other recipes. I made this incredible pork and Brussel sprouts skillet a few weeks back that was seriously one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever made and it had less than 10g carbs per serving. Prior to my weight loss journey beginning, I made pasta probably twice a week and my “recipes” were a handful of family recipes and the occasional chicken dish I had thrown together. Now I make a new recipe almost every week and repeat the ones I really love when I crave them. It makes me feel like a real cook.

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This paleo pork and brussel sprouts skillet was seriously the bomb diggity. 

The point I’m trying to make here is that just because you want to lose weight and feel or look better it doesn’t mean that you have to give up eating the things that you love. If you’re like me, you might even discover new foods that you enjoy and you never would have given a second glance previously. Also I would like to add that when you’re first starting out, don’t go for broke and start eating nothing but salads or you will never stick with it. Initially I just controlled my portions and counted calories and was losing weight at a pretty quick clip. I’m almost 2 years into my journey and I just started trying a low carb diet about a month ago, it’s all about trying things and seeing what works for you. In the past, I didn’t need to do low carb to lose weight but recently I wanted to see if trying it would do anything positive for me. Since I started, I’ve lost half an inch from my waist and about 6 pounds when I spent months at the same weight. Basically try a lot of different things and see what works best for you! Weight loss is an individual activity, just because some crazy diet worked for someone else it doesn’t mean it will have the same results for you. Listen to your body and give it what it wants.

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And for me that means my body wants pizza. Always. So I have to cut it back a bit. 

My First Half Marathon

As many of my readers know, the half marathon I was supposed to run in January wound up getting cancelled due to inclement weather so I was able to defer my registration to a different race. Well I’m happy to report that I finally was able to run my official half marathon with RunDisney last weekend, the Star Wars Dark Side Half, and it was a pretty awesome experience! In this entry I would like to regale you with tales of my training and meeting my goals and finishing my first official half marathon. I was able to run my first half with my godmother, Suzanne, and one of my oldest friends, Sarah, which was a great way to stay distracted and have fun for two and a half hours while running.

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Here’s just a preview of some of our shenanigans. 

For my last half, I did a novice training program by Hal Higdon that was really good for me given my starting point. The unofficial half I ran, I clocked in at around 2:53 which is pretty decent for a first go at running 13.1 miles. This time, since I was already pretty well trained from January (I picked up about 3 weeks after) so I wanted to try a different plan and settled on another Hal Higdon plan, the HM3 (for more experienced runners). Despite the fact that it would only be my first “official” half marathon, I felt pretty good after the last round of training that I was ready for a tougher program. I found it to be a great program and only had a couple of missed training runs in the 3 months and that was including a week where I was sick. I was also challenged by an article on the internet to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, which I finished in 28 and definitely attribute to my awesome training.

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28:05 – that’s right stupid internet article I AM in shape! 

Now let’s get on to the real exciting stuff, race weekend! For all RunDisney races you have to attend their running expo to pick up your bib and shirt before your race. They have tons of exhibitors set up at the Wide World of Sports selling various running accoutrements and health related stuff. There was even a booth set up by Celebration Hospital that had a body composition scan you could do for free and in just a couple of minutes.  Suzanne and I decided to give it a shot and I was thrilled with my results! After 8 weeks of bodyweight training (and several prior months of lifting) I apparently have 72 lbs of skeletal muscle mass and 18.7% body fat (despite my BMI being closer to 24). Based on this information I’m in the “fitness” category of body fat percentile and pretty close to “athlete” which of course gave me a huge boost of self-confidence which I assume helped me run my heart out the next day.

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Getting my body composition scan done, fancy machine and all. 

Now on to the actual race, which by the way starts at 5:30 in the morning, and required a bright and early 3am wake up on my part. So after sleeping about 4 hours (because nerves sometimes don’t let you fall asleep), we three lady warriors trudged to the bus stop at 4am to sit around in our corral for a while before it was our turn to run. Now it should be made clear that Sarah (who I’ve known for 20 years because we’re so old now) ran this race after having only 3 weeks of training and also one week of it being sick. Suzanne is a seasoned pro at running, she even finished a full marathon in under 5 hours earlier this year. And right in the middle you have me, who has been running for 18 months and trained the full 3 months for this race. But we stayed together for most of the race, Suzanne keeping me at a pace on track to finish in under 2 hours and 45 minutes, and Sarah kicking ass alongside us until about mile 9. I had my half marathon playlist in one ear to keep me motivated and Suzanne encouraging me and pushing me to go hard and stay on track in the other. One last motivation for me was knowing my dad & Suzanne’s son Hayden (one of my best friends and only 12 years old) were waiting for us at the Boardwalk around mile 12 to help push us through to the finish. I started getting emotional around mile 10, but after seeing them and getting to hug Hayden I couldn’t help but cry a little.

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Suzanne & I still leaping around mile 11, and hamming it up. 

I consider myself very lucky that Suzanne joined me in this race and volunteered to stick with me and pace me for my first race. Without her help I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to meet my goal and finish in under 2:45. Almost every time I wanted to walk or take it easy for a bit, I thought about keeping up with her and wanting to achieve my goal and kept running. Plus we took some amazing pictures together on the race course that I’ve already framed in my apartment and make me laugh every time I see them. I would like to one more time acknowledge the fact that she was placed in the C corral, her best ever, and she came all the way back with me in corral G so that we could be together. Thanks to her and a little bit of my training, I finished the race in 2:33:16 – far under my 2:45 goal going in. Throughout the race I didn’t have any issues until I was sprinting to the finish and my calves started cramping up. So what you can’t see in my finish line photo is the Charlie horse like pain searing through both of my calves, luckily I’m good at hiding my discomfort. I’m happy to say that after plenty of walking, a shower and a stellar breakfast at Olivia’s Café, I was all better for my day at Hollywood Studios and was able to enjoy wearing my medal proudly around the park.

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My finish line photo, feeling very triumphant and not at all like my calves are on fire and seizing up. 

For my first half marathon, I could not have had a better experience. RunDisney may not be perfect in their organization, but I had a great first race at the Dark Side half marathon and would most certainly do another in the future. I’m thinking my next goal might be to complete the dark side challenge, which consists of running a 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. 19.3 miles in 2 days doesn’t sound so rough right now, but ask me again by the time next year’s race rolls around. For now, I’m going to keep running 3 days a week, bodyweight training 2-3 days (more on that soon), and working on my nutrition. At this rate, I’ll never stop working on being the best I can be- which isn’t such a bad position to be in.

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We 3 Amazonians conquered the 13.1 mile course, and I’m super proud of all of us! On to the next adventure! 

When Life Gives You Lemons

As promised (to no one in particular other than myself) over the weekend I decided to run my makeup half marathon, after last weekend’s RunDisney cancellation. I sit here with my laptop, medal around my neck to type this up. On Sunday morning at 6am, I dragged myself out of bed and laced up my shoes prepared to run 13.1 miles to earn that half marathon medal. When I began my run, it was still dark out so I had to use the flashlight on my phone in order to see the pavement in front of me. But I knew that the later I started, the longer I was going to have to be running in the sun, so a dark start was for the best. I plugged in my ear buds, put on an episode of the “Anna Faris is Unqualified” podcast and began my nearly 3 hour run.

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After nearly 3 hours of running, I did it. 

Prior to this point, the farthest I had run was 10 miles in my training and I had planned on running my first half marathon at the happiest place on earth, with thousands of other people alongside me. If you’re not a runner you might not understand the difference between a training run and a race, but they’re pretty significant. At a race you have mile markers, water stations, medical tents, and a group of peers doing the same thing as you that provide you with the motivation to keep going. At RunDisney events in particular, there’s a sense of camaraderie fostered among the runners. When you see someone struggling you give them words of encouragement or a high-five, and other people support you. In a race you have people to pass and someone to chase ahead of you, but on a training run you’re alone and have to support yourself.

As I chugged along my running trail in the dark, I let my mind wander as I often do on my long runs as it provides a great distraction. I spent time thinking about how far I’ve come since starting Couch to 5k in December of 2015, and how now I was embarking on my first half marathon. If I could finish these 13.1 miles, I really would be able to call myself a runner and put that 13.1 magnet on my car that I was so proud to buy. The medal I had picked up from Wide World of Sports last Saturday would have some meaning, it would mean that I had achieved something significant I had been working at for months.

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Post-run on the couch with the medal around my neck. Proud as can be. 

There were times where I got a stitch in my side and slowed to a walk or felt my quads getting tight and wanted to give up and just walk home. But you know what, I didn’t. Even when I had no one else holding me accountable and was doing this for no one but myself I kept going. I thought about when I was younger and I would cheat myself and lie to my mom about running a mile like she recommended to get me in shape for softball season. I would walk up and down the street for 10 minutes and then sprint down the hill by our house to get my heart rate up before I went home. I used to cut corners and cheat myself often when I was younger, but that was no longer the way I conduct myself. Today I was going to keep going and finish this half marathon even if it was just for myself and no one else.

When I got home and collapsed onto my couch, Gatorade in hand, it finally sank in that I had just run a half marathon. That I did it by myself without anyone holding me accountable. I already had the medal I was to earn, so I didn’t do it for the bling. This time I did it for me, to prove to myself that I could do it. When I started this weight loss quest some 19 months ago I never thought I would lose 100 pounds, let alone run a half marathon. I’ve achieved so much in that time and I didn’t do it for anyone else, I did it all for me and maybe a little bit for my mom.

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My reward for running 13.1 miles, 2/3 of a supreme pizza for dinner! 

I frequently think about my mom and what she would think about all that I’ve done. I’m sure that she would be proud of me, and I know there are lots of other people who are but I can’t help but wonder what she would have to say. My mom always had something to say about things and I just miss her unique brand of humor. One thing I know for sure, she would’ve been waiting for me at the finish of my first Disney half-marathon and cheering me on, rain or shine. And I know that no matter what I do as far as running in the future, she will be there with me in spirit as she is every day.

What Comes Next For Our Hero?

I would like to apologize for my lack of entries this month, but it’s been really crazy with the holidays and such. Here’s one last entry to wrap up the year since I achieved my weight loss goal finally! It has occurred to me that I never really explained what my ultimate goals were with my weight loss, especially since I so infrequently use the numbers on the scale in my blog. The truth is, that for a while I was pretty embarrassed of how high my starting weight was and didn’t want anyone to know just how far gone I was at the start. Now that I’m below my goal weight and I’m no longer ashamed of the number on the scale I’m not afraid to share my weight or where I started. When I began this journey, my weight was not the highest it had ever been but it was certainly much higher than I ever expected to be at 264.6 lbs and a BMI of 39.1, which is right on the edge of being classified as morbidly obese. Now here I sit about 18 months later weighing 163.6 lbs with a BMI of 24.2 (healthy weight!) and in the best shape of my life. I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made and hope I can continue to reach future goals going forward.

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12/16/16 – I reached my weight loss goal! 

Now comes the part where I admit to you that I’m not perfect and I’m only human and have legitimate fears, one of which has to do with my weight loss. I’ve lived my life as an overweight person for a very long time, more than half of my 25 years. For the last year and a half, I’ve lived my life as someone losing weight and I’ve been pretty ok at it, to put things modestly. But what absolutely terrifies me is what comes next, when I reach the goal weight. I have no idea how to live as someone maintaining weight, as it’s not something I’ve ever had to do before and I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be very good at it. Sometimes I lie awake at night worrying about things like gaining the weight back and ending off worse for it, but I do worry a lot so that’s not particularly unusual for me.

What is unusual for me, is having finally reached this goal and not knowing where to go next. I work well with linear things like schedules, lists, and goals. When I started this weight loss journey, I never really expected to get this far or to ever make it to the goal I had set initially (which was 200 pounds and I have long since surpassed). Now as I have surpassed my V-W Day (Victory in Weight Loss)  I worry about the next step of my journey. When I began this noble quest, I knew that this was a lifelong journey and I was going to make changes in my lifestyle that were permanent. I guess I just didn’t expect to reach my goal so quickly, not that 18 months is a quick amount of time to lose 100 pounds, but it is much faster than I expected for sure. Based on my previous weight loss struggles, I didn’t even think I would make it this far.

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December of 2013 weighing in around 279/ December of 2016 weighing around 165

When I started running I used the Couch to 5k plan and loved having a schedule, then I got signed up for a 10k and began the Bridge to 10k program. After my 10k I took a couple days off and relaxed, I said I wasn’t going to run for a week but I ended up lacing up my shoes and heading out for a run 2 days later. When I finished my two and a half mile run, I got home and felt very odd, sort of empty, when normally I feel great after a run. I realized that I felt empty because I had nothing I was working towards, I had completed my 10k and had no future goal for my running. This was when I allowed my godmother to swindle me into doing the Disney Half Marathon in January 2017. Having several months before I needed to start training granted me the freedom to take things easy and spend the summer running shorter distances and working on my pace which I am certainly grateful for. Around October 4th I began my half marathon training program and was so happy to have a set schedule leading up to the half marathon next weekend.  But I’m getting away from the point here, which is I like schedules and programs and when I’m without them I tend to get distracted easily like I am currently.

Another great concern I have is that after losing all of this weight I will have become someone who is never content with their body. I’ve lost 101 pounds and I still occasionally find myself noticing things I want to change, like how I wish my arms would be slimmer or that my tree trunk thighs would get smaller (granted I’ve lost eight and a half inches from them) but I am my own harshest critic. I suppose as long as I’m still working toward a goal (finishing the half marathon in this case- which is 7 days away) I’ll have room to work on my body and won’t have to worry about my weight so much.

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Stretching like a dork before the Jingle Bell Run 5k in Bradenton earlier this month, it looks like I have no idea what I’m doing but I swear I’m a real runner. 

Basically I just wanted to take this last entry of the year to talk out some of my anxieties and show you all that I’m not some awesome perfect weight loss guru. I’m just as unsure and anxious as anyone else, maybe even more so. If anyone else has struggled with the same thoughts or has been through it, I would absolutely appreciate comments and discussions on the matter.

Thanks For The Memories (And The Tips)

I would like to start off with an apology to all my faithful readers for missing the last couple weeks of posts. I’ve been incredibly busy with school and sales have been picking up on my Etsy shop so I’ve been stretched a bit thin. I definitely wanted to take some time before the holiday this week to talk about what I’m thankful for especially regarding my weight loss and fitness. I also intend on sharing some of my “tricks of the trade” for getting through Thanksgiving without winding up overstuffed (stuffed, like a turkey. Get it? I like puns, I’m not sorry). So kick back and enjoy this post full of sentimental nonsense and a couple eating tips.

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Had an early Thanksgiving with my second family, the Tyos over the weekend! I’m so thankful that they always have room for me at their table. 

As we approach the day in which we give thanks, I typically tend to take some time to reflect on what I’m thankful for like many others. Mostly so that when I’m inevitably asked on Thursday while sitting around a table full of people, what I’m thankful for I can be prepared with an answer. In the past it’s always been something smarmy like my family, or more recently my dad for always taking care of me and my brother and keeping us together even without my mom. But this year there’s a lot of things I’m thankful for besides the generic answers.

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Chris is of course #1 on the list, the Superman to my Wonder Woman. Hence the Halloween costumes (this is also the most recent picture of us such a coincidence). 

I’m thankful for my boyfriend and biggest supporter throughout this journey, Chris, without whom I would’ve never made it this far or probably even past the first month. I’ve tried losing weight so many times before and I’ve never stuck with it for more than a month. Thanks to his endless support and a bit of my perseverance I’m going 17 months strong and have lost 98 pounds. I’m also incredibly thankful for my godmother, who’s been a huge inspiration for my fitness journey and has helped me through my weak moments and not only started but has supported my running habit for nearly a year. Yeah, I said habit, like a “drug habit” because it’s a serious addiction. I wake up at 6:30 am 3 days a week to run, something I would’ve never believed possible before. My godmother is more than just a fitness mentor to me, she’s always been an important person in my life but since beginning this journey she’s really become such a close friend and I love that so much. Her family is so important to me, even if we’re not blood I consider them to be my family. I’m thankful for my friends, especially the ones who make time for me even though they might not live near me or have a lot going on in their lives. Emily lives 2 time zones away but we manage to text nearly every day and Facetime pretty often to keep up with each other.

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I love any time I get to spend with my godmother, especially if it’s at Disney. 

I have so much to be thankful for that it’s hard to just reduce it down to bite size chunks for a blog post, but those are mostly the greatest hits. Believe me, I could spend hours droning on about how great my life is and all of the fantastic things I have to be thankful for but no one wants to hear all of that. The other side to that coin of course is that there are plenty of things in my life and everyone else’s that aren’t perfect or idyllic and can drag you down on any given day. I’ve chosen to ignore those bits as best I can and try to look on the bright side of things as often as possible. If I don’t feed the dementor of depression, sometimes I hope that it will go away for good (If you don’t get this metaphor, see my earlier blog post about finding your patronus).

Rather than end things on that downer of a note, I’ll give you my tips and tricks for surviving thanksgiving without packing on the poundage. Tip #1 if you can take some time to get a little cardio in before the feasting it will allow yourself some extra calories for feasting! I had an early thanksgiving over the weekend with my second family, the Tyos and I ran 4 miles in the morning so I would eat without guilt. It was so worth it to enjoy a piece of pecan pie. Tip #2 don’t waste plate space or calories on things you don’t absolutely love. I go for my favorites first and I can usually fill up on that without things like salad and corn. For me it’s white meat turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and a roll. Rule #3 always save calories and/or room for dessert- you will want pie and you should have it. Tip #4 and this one is the most important, portion control will save your life. You’re more than entitled to fill your plate, just be careful of things like extra helpings and calorie fillers like alcohol (unless your family supported the opposing presidential candidate in which case alcohol may save you). Let yourself have dessert, just don’t eat half the pie. Or something useful like that. I know I said that the last tip was the most important, but tip #5 is actually the MOST most important. Tip #5 don’t be afraid to let loose and enjoy yourself! If you eat a little too much don’t beat yourself up, you’ll get back on track the next day or the next week. You can survive the holiday season and you can do it while losing weight. I promise. Just stick to your guns!

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Be like Linda, and conquer Thanksgiving. Be the alpha turkey. 

Listen To Your Body (Forget About Your Heart)

So maybe don’t forget about your heart, I was trying to make a play on the song “Listen To Your Heart” but make it apply to your body. Yeah, it probably doesn’t really work like I intended. What can I say, my jokes don’t always land. Apologies to my readers for missing last week, I was embroiled in some serious preparations for Hurricane Matthew and just ran out of time before the storm. I was blessed to not suffer any damage from the hurricane, other than some minor flooding on my porch. Anyway back to the matter at hand, this week’s entry. This week I would like to take some time to talk about fitness, rather than just weight loss. More specifically, I want to talk about recovery and how important it is to listen to your body.

As some of you may know, I tend to follow a pretty strict fitness regimen most weeks in order to keep losing weight and gaining muscle in my quest for the perfect human form. All kidding aside, I tend to be pretty strict about my fitness plan. I run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday and I lift weights with cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. But every once in a while things get in the way of that and I have to take a break and recover. Last week during my hurricane prep, I took a bit of a tumble while boarding up a house and bruised up my leg. I wasn’t really concerned with the pain after I got up, I was too busy worrying about how much it was going to set back my half marathon training. I had already started my first week of training and I didn’t want to have to wait around for my leg to get better before I could run. After consulting with my coach/fitness mentor/fairy godmother, Suzanne, I realized that I needed to take it easy for a bit and not run for at least a week. So for the last week I’ve been “resting”, not running or doing cardio, and only lifting weights. Which has been driving me nuts!

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It might be hard to tell without a comparison foot, but my ankle was pretty swollen and note the bruising on the lower part of my leg and a couple spots up top. 

I’m not good at taking it easy, I like to stick to schedules and it’s been a difficult week of recovery. That being said, by icing my leg 3 times a day and not overdoing it by resting, my swelling has gone down significantly and the bruising has been getting better. I think I’m finally ready to start running again and I hope I haven’t lost too much of my edge after this week off. As much as it pains me to admit, resting and recovery have been crucial to the healing process of my leg and they’re definitely important to mind on any fitness journey. Suzanne is always telling me to listen to my body, to avoid injury or general wear and tear. While I’m 100% certain she’s correct and the authority on this, I struggle with it sometimes. My mom used to tell me I had “selective hearing” when it came to listening to her. That I would only listen to what would benefit me, and not the rest of what she would say (which is probably accurate). So occasionally I like to think that I have the same selective hearing when it comes to recovery and listening to my body.

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Sometimes your body is telling you to have a margarita. 

I’m not the type to overwork myself, I have the schedule in place that I do because after a lot of tweaking I found it worked best for me and didn’t cause strain. I am however, the type to ignore minor bumps and bruises or pain here and there, in favor of my fitness goals. Learning to listen to my body has been a long process, but I’m so happy that I’ve gotten better at it over the last year. It hasn’t been easy, I pulled a muscle in my lower back last February and tried to run 3 miles, let’s just say it was one of the more painful runs of my life. I learned my lesson the hard way, but now when I feel these aches and pains I know to take it easy and allow myself the time to recover. A couple weeks ago when I tweaked my back I skipped running and the gym for 3 days, until there was no longer any pain, and instead did yoga designed for back pain. It wasn’t the workout I had planned, but it was something and it aided in my recovery and I was back to running in less than a week pain-free.

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This is my “I just ran 3 miles with a pulled back muscle” face. I was in a world of hurt. 

I guess this blog entry is aimed at the Type-A people, like me, who never want to stop their progress even for one day. If you haven’t already learned the importance of recovery, learn from my mistakes and don’t run 3 miles on a pulled back muscle. It is NOT FUN. This weight loss journey has definitely been a learning experience for me, and I think it has tremendously benefited me both in regards to my overall health and the lessons I’ve learned that apply to other areas of life. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and allow yourself recovery, whether that’s from exercise or life in general. Listen to your body, it’s not just telling you things for the hell of it.

BMI: Bullsh*t Measure Index

Apologies to my readers for missing a post last week, it was a crazy week with exams at school and a lot going on. But I’m getting back to business now!

As someone who has been losing weight for over a year and managed to drop my BMI by almost 14%, I think I have enough experience in the area to call out Body Mass Index for being a ridiculous measure of what’s normal. According to the Body Mass Index, an average body mass is between 18.5 and 24.9% fat. Of course, what this doesn’t account for is how much muscle weighs, different body types, etc. My current BMI is 25.2% so even though I’ve lost 94 pounds and I’m able to run 3+ miles multiple times a week, according to this scale I’m still overweight and therefore “unhealthy”. My blood pressure is the lowest it’s ever been, I weigh less than I have in over a decade, and yet by the standards of science I’m still considered to be overweight, which I think is total bull.

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This “overweight” individual just ran 4 miles in under 56 minutes. (insert shade throwing eye roll at BMI)

As of 2010, the average size of an American woman is a 14 and the average BMI is 28.7% (which is considered overweight). While I’m extremely proud to be better than the national average based on this information (at a size 8 and 25.2% body fat), it really is discouraging to know that I’m still not considered “normal” by these standards.  I’ve never subscribed to the idea of wanting to be normal, as I don’t believe that “normal” is a reality. I once heard the phrase “normal is just a setting on the dryer” and I have never agreed with something more. I’ve always been into “weird” stuff, like older movies, and nerd culture so I never thought I would be considered normal and I was ok with that for a very long time. Things changed when I started losing weight though, as I got closer to my initial goal I decided to readjust and make my goal to have a normal BMI.

I’m currently nearing my weight loss goal, sometimes the end feels so close that I can taste it, but it still bugs me that Body Mass Index is used as a measure of “health” in our country. I haven’t considered myself to be thin since before I hit puberty, and for the first time I am confident enough in the way that I look to say that I’m thin. I know that it must be true because Ariel has started telling me to “eat something”, the true mark of being thin. It makes me feel amazing that the important people in my life think that I look good and healthy. I certainly think I’m in the best shape of my life, but this internationally recognized “scale” says I’m still overweight.

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If looking like this isn’t “normal” or healthy, I don’t think I want to be normal. I was teaching my Godbrother Hayden how to pass a sobriety test at EPCOT, though I was drunk while teaching him. 

So I’ve decided to reject the Body Mass Index and just be happy where I’m at. I’m still trying to lose those last few pounds to reach my goal, but I’m not being so hard on myself about it. I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made, and I’m so much healthier for it that some number on a scale or some reading from an index doesn’t matter. If the way I look and feel now is unhealthy, then I don’t know what it would take to be considered healthy. It’s my belief that as long as you’re working on being healthy and getting in shape, the number on the scale shouldn’t matter. If eating right and exercising consistently is healthy enough for me to lose almost 100 pounds in under a year and a half, I think I’m pretty healthy.