Lent: Or How I Learned About Sacrifice

As those of you, like me, who were raised Catholic may know we have reached the Lenten season leading into Easter. For those of you not raised in the Catholic Church, or brow beaten into going to Sunday school… Lent is the period of 40 days prior to Easter in which we spend time praying, making sacrifices, and not eating meat on Fridays- and fasting if you’re confirmed! Anyway the biggest part of lent, after the whole not eating meat on Fridays/fasting is the Lenten sacrifice. For the 40 days, you are expected to give something up or find some way to better yourself as a human. Though my Catholic faith is less than consistent at this point, I always attempted to participate in lent and chose to sacrifice each year in lieu of bettering myself. This year however, I’ve chosen to work on bettering myself- physically, mentally, and spiritually. But before we get to this year, let’s review some of my past lents!

Growing up, once you make first communion (2nd grade) you’re expected to begin observing lent and start participating in the whole sacrifice thing. For many years of my childhood I recall giving up something rather minuscule like ice cream. Which, while I love ice cream is not something I was eating every single day or anything. It was tough, for a kid but probably not all that difficult past elementary school. When I was younger (and even still) my family would go to Disney pretty often, always in the spring before Easter as it’s typically less crowded. I remember us going to one of our favorite restaurants, Alfredo’s in Italy at EPCOT, and ordering spaghetti and meatballs and my mom reminding me that it was Friday and I couldn’t have the meatballs. As an 8-year old I was absolutely devastated by this news. Instead of letting me absolutely lose it and burst into tears in the restaurant, my mom told me that we would just set the meatballs aside and box them up and bring them back to the room with us and I could eat them tomorrow. I stopped my almost-tears from flowing and agreed to this arrangement, pleased that my sacrifice needed only be temporary. However later that night, when I realized I wouldn’t be able to have my traditional Disney dessert of a Mickey Premium bar, the weight of what I had given up really hit me. I think this was probably one of the first times I really understood what it meant to give something up.

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You can’t see the devastation on my face in this picture, but giving up ice cream was hard. 

Let’s fast forward a few years to middle school, where my typical Lenten sacrifice was chocolate. While this may not seem a big sacrifice to some of you, it was huge to preteen/teenage Meg. Chocolate has always been a vice for me, a reward when I’ve done well and something to lift my spirits when I’ve experienced some form of sadness or defeat. Giving up chocolate for 40 days meant I wouldn’t be able to celebrate an achievement or commiserate a loss in a way. While ice cream was something few and far between for me, chocolate was a much more present sacrifice. I learned that sacrifice was something that was meant to be hard, not something casual that was a bummer here and there. When I hit high school, I really stepped up my game for lent and decided to try and give up snacks and sweets of all kinds. Obviously I could partake in fruit and the like, but I wasn’t allowed any: candy, ice cream, cake, cookie, brownie, etc. and also wasn’t allowed to snack between meals. This way I ensured that I would fast on Fridays because I had no other choice, snacks were out. Those were some tough 40 day periods, but when I came out the other side successful it meant a lot. It meant that I could give up a lot and still get by each day without these things I thought I needed.

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A slightly more mature (aka middle school) Meg with my friend Nicole… also at Disney because that’s where all my pictures are from apparently. 

Now let’s get around to my point, which is that this weight loss journey was about a lot of big sacrifices. I gave up a lot of things that I loved, and never thought I could live without. Truly. That’s how addicted I was to some of these things. Pasta was a part of my weekly, sometimes daily life in the past and to cut that out because of all the carbs and calories was really tough for me. In the last 20 months I’ve made quite a lot of sacrifice in the service of bettering myself physically. It’s time that the rest of my life start sacrificing things in order to better myself in other ways. This year for lent I decided not to give something up specifically, but rather just work on improving little things. I’ve starts trying to spend less time on social media- Facebook was always my go to scrolling place when I was bored or had nothing better to do. Now, instead I’m trying to spend extra time reading or writing posts for this blog. I’m trying to unplug and just enjoy things as they happen instead of constantly attempting to capture an elusive moment with my phone. As for the spiritual betterment, that’s a work in progress. But for the time being, I’m exploring my options- mostly by doing yoga and trying to use breathing exercises when I’m stressed. Working on calming the inner me and becoming mellower or something. Like I said, it’s definitely a work in progress.

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A photo with my dad & Shaun from last weekend at EPCOT. I’m really proud of the definition in my arms that’s showing up now! Happy Easter Season! 

Are any of you participating in Lent or any form of self-sacrifice for the time being? Maybe for a prescribed period, maybe for an indefinite amount of time. I would love to hear from anyone working on bettering themselves!

 

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Time After Time-hop

Reflecting on the past is something we all do, sometimes we moon over the good old days or recollect our sorrows. As a society we care so much about our past that we’ve invented 2 separate days to share our memories with the social media word- throwback Thursday and flashback Friday. One of the biggest proponents of reviewing our past has been the rise of the app “Timehop” which gives you a daily dose of all your social media posts on this day for multiple years, as far back as your social media history goes. Like many millennials, I used to spend a lot of my time posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so my Timehop tends to be filled with gems.

As much as I enjoy cringing at the Facebook statuses an 18 year old Meg thought was worthy enough to share, after my weight loss journey it has provided me with a lot to ponder. On the days that I see pictures from 2-3 years ago I find myself wondering how much I ate that day and how I was feeling about myself at the time. Truthfully most of the time I know the answer is that I ate far too much and probably felt pretty sorry for myself. Sometimes I see posts about me trying to diet or getting back to the gym and how good it felt. I tried so many times before to improve myself- lose weight or get into better shape, and none of these attempts ever lasted longer than a couple weeks. I try to think about what it is that deterred me from achieving my health goals back then, how I could let one slip up get me off the wagon- so to speak.

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January 3, 2013 – “Bought loads of veggies for what I’m calling the Healthy Initiative so that dieting sounds fun.” This lasted all of maybe 1 month. 

The real explanation for why I never kept up or committed to health in the past is that I wasn’t in the right place mentally, and I didn’t have the support I needed. When I began this journey 20 months ago, I had the best possible support system. The love and support of a man who truly believed in me, a best friend/roommate in crazy good shape (despite never giving up cheese) to not only keep me on track but encourage me, a literal superwoman for a godmother who provided endless inspiration and support, and a whole community of losers (weight losers) on Reddit to keep me accountable.

However the wisdom I really want to share with all of my readers is the importance of being open and honest in weight loss. When I look back at those pictures of the overweight girl occasionally smiling uncomfortably, I’m reminded of the things that girl did to make herself feel better. To avoid judgement from that same supportive roommate, I would wait until after she was asleep to make myself 2 grilled cheeses and dip them in Thousand Island dressing while I watched Netflix and avoided going to sleep at a reasonable hour. I hid my body in baggy, mostly black t shirts and knee length shorts or jeans. I would hide the shame I felt about how I looked by burying my feelings down deep and distracting myself with excessive internet usage and binge watching television and movies. These days I still watch entirely too much TV and movies, but I consider myself a pop culture enthusiast so we’ll call that normal.

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March 17, 2014 – This girl was very dishonest with herself about what she was eating and how she felt. But that girl is no longer! 

I no longer hide anything, I mean I did make an entire blog dedicated to talking about me and my fitness journey and my feelings, blah blah blah. I record every calorie I eat to the best of my ability in MyFitnessPal. I wear dresses that show off my legs and tank tops that show off my linebacker sized shoulders and arms. I don’t keep my feelings bottled up for the most part (hey old habits die hard!) in that I consciously try to talk about the things that upset me and be honest with the people in my life.

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This is by far the shortest dress I’ve ever owned, and I love the way it looks on me now! This skinny girl is very happy. 

Losing weight and bettering yourself overall isn’t by any means easy, but it is a pursuit that’s truly worthwhile. While I may occasionally struggle to stick to my healthy lifestyle (Taco Bell I’m looking at you), I do my best to stay committed to being the best that I can be. Maybe someday you too will look back at your previous photos and think that you can’t even recognize the person you see and it’s not a bad thing. When I see that girl from even 2 years ago and realize I barely even remember what it was like to be her, I swell with pride in the woman I’ve become. With the existence of Timehop I’ll never truly forget the old Meg, but I will always look at her and know she would be proud of what I’ve done and how happy I am now.

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.

Life Is Like Photography- Sometimes We Develop From The Negatives

Well my faithful readers, I have some disappointing news to share with you. I was unable to run the Disney half marathon last weekend, as it was cancelled due to inclement weather. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but after 13 weeks of training for this race I was pretty upset to not be able to run on Saturday morning. Because the race was cancelled (for the first time in RunDisney history) we were offered several options as repayment for the cancelled race including park hopper tickets, a Disney gift card for the cost of the race, the chance to run the full marathon the following day, or the option to defer and run another RunDisney in the next 2 years. I chose to defer to another race so this weekend I have to email RunDisney with preferences for what race I want to run and hopefully I will get my chance to run a half marathon later this year.

While this was a pretty big bummer for me, it gave me the opportunity to learn some lessons about myself personally and physically. The biggest revelation was the fact that I was absolutely crushed when I found out I wouldn’t be able to run the half marathon. If you had told me even a year ago that I would be so disappointed that I didn’t have to run 13.1 miles, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. It really is amazing how much can change in a year- last January I was just finishing up the Couch to 5k program and this year I finished up a half marathon training program. It took quite some time, but I consider myself to be a real runner now and that’s something I’m really proud of.

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These photos were taken to serve as memories of my first half marathon weekend. Now they show me how excited I was to run 13.1 miles- something I never thought possible. 

Despite the fact that we didn’t actually get to run the race, everyone who was signed up was able to get their finisher medal either at the Wide World of Sports or in the mail. Seeing as how I was going to the runner’s expo that day anyway, I decided to pick mine up in person. When I received my medal, instead of feeling that sense of accomplishment and pride in what I had completed I just felt empty and hopeless. I had this incredible medal that I had done nothing to get, it felt like getting a participation trophy for softball and it didn’t feel good. I decided not to wear my medal to the parks, as I had intended to after running, because I hadn’t earned it. One of my friends pointed out to me that I should think of it as the reward for losing 100 pounds- because I hadn’t done anything big for myself after the accomplishment. That made me feel a lot better, but I still want to earn my medal. So this weekend I intend on going out and running 13.1 miles on my own, so I can really say I’ve run a half marathon and put the 13.1 magnet on my car without guilt.

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The excitement was palpable- just hours before the disappointing news. 

The other really good thing that came out of this weekend was that I was able to meet and chat with Jeff Galloway, the Olympic runner and trainer. My godmother wanted to meet him so I joined her to wait in line after exploring the expo. I introduced myself and shook his hand and Suzanne decided to be a proud godmother and brag about my weight loss to Jeff. He really took an interest in my story not only because of my substantial weight loss, but also because I decided to do this in my early twenties instead of waiting like so many others do. He took down my information, we took a picture together, and he said he would email me about mentioning me on his website. So that was a pretty cool opportunity! I don’t really tend to bring up my weight loss or brag about it unless someone else brings it up to me first, because I don’t want to seem like the total narcissist that I actually am. But when an Olympian acknowledges that what I did was impressive, it does make me feel pretty accomplished.

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Me with Jeff Galloway! It was so great to meet him! 

Hopefully in the near future I’ll be posting about my excitement for my next half marathon (cross your fingers that I get in)! Despite the disappointment I faced this weekend, I’m glad I had the opportunity to do some self-reflection and hopefully I’ll be able to set some new goals for a future race.

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Some good things did come out of Saturday- like this cuddle party with my Godbrothers! 

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.

Let’s Go To The Mall!

I wish I had the enthusiasm of Robin Sparkles when it comes to shopping, but alas I remain Sparkle-less. I’m giving everyone a fair warning here, it’s very likely that this is going to end up being a bit rant-y by the time this entry is all said and done. But I feel like my readers have learned to put up with my humorous view on life and will take the good with the bad. At least I hope so. After 18 months of hard work, I’m currently one pound away from my goal weight, though at this point it doesn’t even excite me much because it feels like a given. When you’ve lost 99 pounds, 100 doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still immensely proud of my accomplishments but it’s no longer the largest focus in my fitness journey.

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What I wouldn’t give for that 90’s Canadian savoir faire.  

Now that I’m finally at the end of this weight loss journey (or at least as far as I wanted to get), it’s time that I finally bite the bullet and rebuild my wardrobe. For many women I’m sure this would be a very exciting opportunity, but for me it’s more of a nightmare scenario. For those of you who don’t know me well, I’m a very casual/boring dresser. My daily outfit pretty much always consists of jeans or shorts, some semblance of a pop culture t shirt, and flip flops or converse sneakers. I’m not what one would call a snappy dresser, I like to wear clothes that are comfortable and allow me some form of self-expression. Over the last several weeks I’ve been taking a few hours here and there to attempt to shop for some new clothes, however most of these errands have been rather fruitless. So I’ll just go ahead and lay out for you the things I’ve discovered about shopping after losing a pretty significant amount of weight.

Being an “average” size makes it hard to find clothes. This one was rather unexpected, because I recall so many issues with trying to find clothes when I was a size 22 and I assumed being a size 8 would make my life easier. The fact of the matter is, being a size 6/8 (medium) means that I’m now fighting for clothes with all of the other “average” sized women of the world and that means there’s less available. At size 22 I would have to try several stores to find a dress for a friend’s wedding that even fit, let alone be something I actually wanted to wear. Now there’s definitely more variety available to me, but there’s also less of a chance that they’ll have the dress I like in my size. #TheStruggleIsReal

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This is my “impressed that I fit into a size 6” face. 

I have no idea what style clothes look good on my new body. For most of my life, I’ve known that darker colors work better for me to hide the problem areas. My mom taught me to look for dresses with A-line silhouettes and a cinched waist to accentuate my curves. Now that I’m “thin” I have no idea what looks good on me, I’m super indecisive and it’s just compounded with my total lack of fashion knowledge. I’ve been trying on an extensive assortment of tops, dresses, pants, etc. trying to see what looks good and it all seems so strange to me. The clothes look good, but none of them feel quite right. Though that’s probably because I need someone else to tell me that I’m not delusional and something looks good on me.

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I don’t really know when this whole sleeve cutout trend started, but I tried this on specifically because it looked like something Elektra would wear. 

Despite being thin, I still gravitate towards baggy clothes. It seems that even though I know I can now wear tighter clothes and they won’t make me look like a sausage about to burst out of its casing, I’m so used to being in baggy clothes that it’s the only thing I feel comfortable in. As I’ve mentioned, I pretty much live in t shirts and even though most of the time now I can fit into a men’s small or women’s medium I find myself still buying a size up. I’m hoping that with time I’ll get used to wearing clothes that fit and will be more confident in purchasing them for myself. That being said, I don’t think I will ever give up my penchant for wearing flannel shirts over my t shirts in the “winter” of Florida. 2 years ago in Target I saw a mannequin with a flannel shirt over a Thor t shirt and jeans and felt vindicated that it was stylish if it was on a mannequin. Or at least that’s what I told Ariel and was my defense for the look.

My procrastination skills extend to rebuilding my wardrobe. I am a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to most things in life (i.e. being 25 and still trying to finish my bachelor’s degree). This is even more of an issue for me when it comes to clothes shopping. Over the course of my weight loss journey, I would wait until my previous pair of shorts/pants was hanging off of my waist and wearing a belt no longer even helped before I would buy a new pair. I also tend to rarely have more than 2 pair of shorts/pants at a time especially while I was in the middle of losing weight. If you need any more evidence of this, you’ll just have to look in my fitness clothes drawer which is still more than half full of L/XL shorts that I have to tie the drawstrings on so they don’t fall off at the gym. As long as I have the bear minimum to get me through the week between laundry loads I won’t buy new clothes. Though that may be a combination of procrastination and my stubbornness in all honesty.

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Before I wrap things up, here’s another progress pic. 99 pounds of difference and 2.5 years between these photos. 

Well I usually feel like I’m able to wrap up my blog entries into this nice neat little bow, but considering how this one ended up as I suspected becoming a rant I don’t really know how to end it. So I suppose when in doubt, use a Bob’s Burgers gif to wrap things up and how Gene is in this one accurately captures how I feel about my new style. Indecisive but committed.

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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!

alpha-turkey

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