Yellowstone 5K 2017

One of my goals in my fitness journey, is to run a 5K.

I have technically done two Polar Plunge 5Ks before, but I walked both of those. Yes, I technically finished them both (and was at the back of the pack in both). Yes, I got a shirt from each one. This said, neither met my goal of running a 5K.

A couple months ago, Jason pitched me the idea of doing a virtual 5K together. I didn’t really know what a virtual 5K was… basically, you pay the entry fee, and you run a 5K wherever you want. You send in your time by a certain date, and they send you a medal and shirt. I decided it might be a good way to ease into this whole running thing. I have been doing some running at the gym, but not as much as I’d like. One day, Jason sent me a message and said, “Let’s do our 5K tonight.” Neither of us had done much training, but what the heck… why not? Jason had a goal of finishing in 45 minutes. I did not want to commit to that time, but was committed to finishing.

During the show I was recently in, I talked to one of the cast members who has been doing a lot of running and biking over the past couple years. I told him about the little training I had done, and about my struggles to maintain a running pace. My stamina was terrible! Even though I didn’t think I was very fast compared to other people I had seen at the gym, he told me I was running too fast. His advice was to take the speed down a bit, and shoot for small goals – running for x number of minutes, or one mile, whatever. My goal while Jason and I did our 5K was to run for one mile straight. I set it at 4.8, really more of a jog, but one I thought I could maintain. I was able to maintain a speed between 4.8 and 5 MPH for an entire mile, then walked (at a fast pace) for a short while. I jogged for a half mile, and walked a little more. I was able to keep the intervals of jogging and fast walking going for the entire 3.2 miles. The last half a mile was tough, but I kept going.

In the end, I finished in 42 minutes, 34 seconds. This was under the 45 minutes that I didn’t think I’d make in the first place! That means I averaged 4.53 MPH for 3.2 miles!! I can’t walk that fast, which means that I officially did it! I ran a 5K! The best part? I beat Jason by 20 seconds!!

Today, Jason and I got our medals and shirts from the Yellowstone Virtual 5K. This race raised money for Yellowstone National Park, which we loved when we went a couple years ago. It was a good cause for a first race. The medal was based on the Grand Prismatic Spring, and was much more beautiful than it looked online. The shirts were great quality too! I look forward to wearing it.

Jason and I, showing off our swag!

This summer, Today, Jason and I plan on doing a couple more. Not sure if they will all be virtual races (which feel like less pressure), or if I will run a race with other people at the same time, but I will definitely do more.


12 Days of Fitness

Lifetime Fitness had a “12 Days of Fitness” challenge. If you completed all 12 workouts, you’d be entered into a chance for a Spa services. Since I could really use a massage, I went for it. In the 14 days of the challenge, I managed to complete 8 of the workouts. I also had a personal training session with Kevin, who showed me how to properly use kettlebells, and showed me some of the equipment listed on some of the workouts, so I would know what to do to complete them… I also attended a Kettlebell class as part of the 60 Day Challenge. That class kicked my butt, and I decided to let my body rest for the next 2 days (during which time, I completed all of my Christmas shopping, and baked most of my Christmas cookies).
Am I disappointed that I didn’t get all 12 workouts done? A little, but I still feel really good about what I accomplished during that time! I tried new things I previously wouldn’t have. I took pictures of some of the workouts that I enjoyed, so that I can do them again in the future.
I’m not going to lose a bunch of weight right now… I’m working towards a healthier me, I’m working to maintain where I am at, I am working towards building up my strength. Once the holidays are over, I will get back to focusing on what I’m eating again, while continuing to work out. I might not get skinny again (heck, when I was, people were offering me a sandwich everywhere I went, and that’s annoying). That said, I don’t ever want to get to the point where I am disgusted by what I see in the mirror – not ever again!!
The journey is what it’s about, and that journey is still going. 🙂

The MyFitnessPal App

As part of my journey to get in shape, and be more healthy, I have been using is the MyFitnessPal app. It’s a free app in the Play Store. My husband uses the paid version, which just gives him a few more benefits. For me, the free version is good enough. Here’s how I use the app:

  1. First, I entered my goals, and it calculated how many calories/day I should eat.
  2. I enter my food and exercise every day, and it keeps track of how many calories I have left, or went over for the day. What’s nice, is that it adds calories to what I can eat, based on the amount of exercise I do. For someone like me, who loves to eat, that’s great motivation to work out!
  3. screenshot_20160911-222452The app breaks down what I’ve eaten into percentages of protein, carbs, and fats. It tells me what I should aim for, which is very helpful. What I’ve found, is that I don’t eat enough protein. Using the macros on the app has gotten me to pay attention to balancing out the foods I’m eating, so that I get enough protein, or watch my carb consumption in the next meal when I’ve had way too many already that day.
  4. It also tells me how I’m doing on getting enough vitamins/nutrients. I’ve discovered, that even though I’m eating a banana every day, I’m not getting enough potassium. That is one that’s hard to find decent supplements for, but I’m now taking multivitamins, as well as some other supplements (such as flax seed oil – which I will be switching to fish oil when these are out). I said in a previous post that I didn’t want to rely on supplements to feel better, and that’s still true. I am, however, trying to make sure I get enough nutrients to keep my body able to work hard. So far, it’s paying off. 
  5. Finally, by entering food into my food diary, I am also educating myself about my food intake. For example, when I go to Caribou Coffee and get a piece of cinnamon coffee cake, and a Campfire Mocha with skim, I am consuming about 1/3 the number of calories I should be having in an entire day. That is generally what I would have 3 or more days per week as a snack for much of last year. No wonder I gained so much weight! This does not mean I am going to quit going to Caribou (it’s my favorite), it simply means I will pay attention to how often I am going there. I will most likely save it for a day I have worked out, or am planning on eating a lot of protein (to balance out the carbs and fat in the mocha).

As a bonus, MyFitnessPal syncs with my fitbit. When I walk a lot of steps, but haven’t necessarily “exercised”, it gives me a calorie credit based on the number of steps I have walked. Not only that, but my water consumption, weight loss or gain, etc. updates in both apps as I enter them (regardless of which app I initially enter it into).

Similar to much of social media, you can connect with your friends on the app. The only one I am “friends” with right now, is my husband, Jason. We can “like” or leave comments on each other’s progress with exercise, weight loss, etc. A feature that I have taken advantage of, is that I can see Jason’s diary each day. If we both ate the same meal, and he entered his first, I can just copy it right over to my own food diary. This comes in especially handy when it’s a custom meal that he entered the recipe for.

The final feature that comes to mind that I use often are the health and nutrition articles that are available on the app. When I first open the app, and let it know that I want to track my food, exercise, water consumption, etc, it opens my “newsfeed”. This shows me not only my notifications/progress, but Jason’s as well. Interspersed, are useful articles. None of them are too long, and most that I have read, have great information.

I would recommend this app to anyone trying to get a handle on their eating, or just trying to improve their weight or fitness level.

Celebrating Small Successes

I’ve spent the past two months or so, working really hard to get back in shape, and get healthy. We did the Whole 30 diet (mine was modified), I lost a total of about 8 lbs. I also gained some better eating habits, such as preparing ahead, and being willing to do more cooking of real foods. It also got me looking at labels more, and made me realize how much added sugar there is in so many foods that you wouldn’t think of.

In July, I started going to the gym at least 3 times a week. That has since increased to about 5-6 days/week. I’ve been doing a lot of Zumba, but also core and full body strength exercises.

Jason and I joined the 60 Day Challenge at Lifetime. This has been great, because, not only does it offer support from a personal trainer, it offers “Try-it Tuesday” classes two times a week (Tuesday and Saturday). Sometimes the classes are group fitness classes, sometimes, they are seminars about nutrition, metabolism, etc. As part of the challenge, I also signed up for Precision Nutrition (PN) online. This is another way to be held accountable, while learning new, healthier habits. Luckily for me, Nichole, the trainer I’ve been working with, is also a PN coach, and is continuing to be my partner in accountability.

When I first met with Nichole, my body fat was at 38%. Yikes! With all the working out, eating better, etc., I have dropped that number down to 34.2%. I still have a long ways to go, but that is progress I can feel good about!

Today, I caught my reflection in the sideview mirror of my husband’s Jeep. I didn’t see my double chin. For a while, I could see two whenever I’d catch my reflection in the mirror or my phone, but not today! 🙂

At the beginning of my journey a couple months ago, I could maybe do 7 push-ups total (with knees down). Nichole wanted me to try to do 3 sets of 8, with a minute of rest in between each set. A month and a half ago, I couldn’t do it. I averaged 7-8, then 5-6, then 3. Just over a week ago, I did my first complete 3 sets of 8 each. I am still keeping my knees down, but now that I’m able to do three sets of eight consistently, I’m going to work to do full push-ups.

I am celebrating the little signs that I am getting stronger every day. I am celebrating each little success, and using it as motivation to keep pushing forward. I am feeling less self-conscious about my weight, and looking forward to continued progress!



Time to Get Healthy: Attempt #42

This past year, I was sick, a lot. As a teacher, I am exposed to germs all the time, but this year, I caught a lot more than usual (maybe my body was preparing for the latest craze by “Catching them all“). I seemed to have some sort of cold, the entire school year. Add to that, I gained about 13 lbs between March and June, and that was starting from a higher weight than I like in the first place. UGH!

I have many friends that are using Plexus or Thrive to help them get more healthy. Of course, they are all asking me to try their products. It’s not that I am opposed, but I have had so many asking, that are using either one or the other (and loving their results, whether it be weight loss, or just generally feeling better), it’s hard to know where to even begin.  Also, I don’t want to rely on a shake or supplement. What I really need to do, is change my lifestyle. I need to build my strength back up, I need to eat better, I need to be healthy.

I am a stress-eater, and this past year has had some stressful moments. Being sick all the time, didn’t help. I was eating, all the time. While I tried to make some healthier choices, I was still snacking more than I should, and eating lots of carbs. Of course, because I was always sick, I was always tired, that meant I was also drinking more pop, or sugar infused coffee drinks than I should as well. In the 80’s the slogan was “Just say no” in regards to drugs, my drug has been Caribou. I have a hard time resisting that one!

A few years ago, some friends and I did an online blog party called Get Hawt. That was helpful, having someone (or a group of people) to help hold me accountable in my goals. What my husband and I have found out, is that neither of us are the right person to be an accountability partner for each other, when it comes to health and weight loss.

My husband has done low-carb diets several times, and had some great results. I had no desire to give up my carbs. I love cookies, pasta, rice, bread, pita chips, and of course, pop (or as most of the rest of the country calls it, “soda”). I have been able to cut down to 1 can or bottle of pop a day pretty consistently. For a man, that might be enough, for a woman, not so much. I need to do more, but I did NOT want to give anything up. Despite his best efforts to get me on board, I pushed back.

About a month ago, I hit 171 lbs. That is about 20 lbs higher than when I first was disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t like that my pants all bulged in the belly, and my shirts were all getting tighter. Flab was constantly sticking out the top of my pants, and out from under my shirts…  It’s summer. I like to wear tank tops, which of course show off my jiggly arms. I decided to start working out more, which meant I needed enough proper attire to wash them in between work outs. I was not happy to have to go up another bra size! All in all, I was getting more and more depressed by my weak, flabby body and decreased health. I wasn’t sleeping well, nor motivated to do things I enjoy.

Time for a change!!! OK, so it might not actually be the 42nd time I am attempting to take back control over my body and my eating. I am a bit of a geek, so 42 seemed to be a good number to use (you know, the answer to life, the universe, and everything).

So what am I doing? I am going to the gym a minimum of 3 days a week. I’ve met with Nichole at Lifetime Fitness a couple of times now. I am working on a plan to strengthen my core, and whole body. I am trying to make sure I get at least 10K steps every day

Jason (my husband) and  I are doing the Whole 30 diet. Well, he’s doing the Whole 30 all-out, I’m doing a modified version. I am still eating yogurt almost every day, and allowing myself a string cheese occasionally as a snack. I also told myself that I could still have one Mountain Dew per day, though, I usually choose iced tea with sugar instead of a beverage with high fructose corn syrup. People who are sticklers for the Whole 30 rules will tell me that’s not ok. That it should be all or nothing. That it’s pointless to do it if I’m not going to completely give up added sugar. Here’s the thing, I know what the program has to say, I also know that if I tell myself I have to give so many things up, I will fail. The Whole 30 book says to focus on the things I can have: meat, veggies, fruits, basically real, non-processed foods. I don’t have that much willpower… I am doing a modified version so I can be successful. I will write more about that later. For now, I will leave it at this: I have lost 5 lbs so far, mostly water weight and bloating, but I am slightly less disgusted when I look in the mirror… I am going to keep working, and will update my progress occasionally.

Get Hawt – Week 3 Invitation

This week, your Get Hawt Challenge is simple. In addition to writing about what you’ve been doing to work towards your goal this week, we’d also like to know a bit about the tools you are using.

Tools? What are you talking about? Here’s an example: I have been using Jen’s super awesome weight loss graph she made. It was so nice of her to share. Every day after I weigh myself, I enter the number into the spreadsheet. My progress, or lack thereof, shows up on my graph. While it seems to really jump up and down, it’s nice to see I’m staying inside my “zone.”

Watch twitter for one day, and you will see posts such as “@XYZ just started a run with RunMeter.” There are many apps that post such things, some even read back people’s tweets to cheer you on. We know people are also using watches or other sort of GPS devices, calorie counters, heart monitors, etc. Whatever you are using to help you with your goals to Get Hawt, we want to know about them. Oh, and if you have tried some that you didn’t like, we want to hear about those too!

Maybe you have some tricks up your sleeve in the kitchen, tell us about ’em!

Even if you haven’t been a part of our blog party yet, you can still join. Anyone, any time! This blog party (FAQ here) is open to men, women, chickens, rockstars, spouses, and more. Anyone who wants to eat better, get in better shape, train for a big event, or otherwise improve the way they look and feel, can join us. The idea is to just do it! We, as a group, want to not only encourage each other, but also help hold each other accountable. My awesome partner in this is Jen McCown (@MidnightDBA). She kicks my butt every couple days for being lazy. It helps! Having a partner to keep in touch with daily might be that little difference you need.

Please link back to this post via comments or pingback to be included in the roundup. You can also post it to twitter with #gethawt as part of the posting.

The Downside of Spring

It’s that time of year… birds are chirping, buds are about to burst open with fresh green leaves, we are seeing more of the sun, snow is melting, temperatures are rising, and people everywhere are pulling out their spring/summer gear. That’s where the fun of spring ends… I am guessing that many people had the same experience I did. I was so excited to pull out that first pair of capris for the year only to find, they didn’t fit so well!

Alert: This blog is about to get brutally honest… it may not be appropriate for some audiences!

What went wrong??
I got fat! That’s what went wrong!! OK, by most peoples’ standards, I’m not fat… here’s what I know: when I step on the scale, the number is significantly higher than I would like to see. I try to just not step on a scale at all. That’s how I avoid that problem. As much as I’ve been to the Dr. lately, I’ve had to see that number more times than I care to! If I’m gonna keep getting sick, can’t I at least lose some weight from it? Apparently not!

Then, there’s the issue of the mirror… when I look at myself in it, I don’t like what I see… yes, I had two children. I know the “Mom Pooch” is normal – doesn’t mean I like to see it. I really don’t like to see it growing!! I had to buy bigger jeans mid-winter just because I couldn’t stand to see how much fat was hanging over the sides of my regular ones! I saw a picture of me from the side, dancing at Jason’s company party. I was wearing this fabulous form-fitting dress… I truly couldn’t believe what I saw. That same dress that looked amazing a year before, now made me look about 5 months pregnant!!!

The final way I know I’ve gotten “fat”?? When I wave to someone, and my arms go flapping behind… ICK!! One of my co-workers touched my arm and commented on how soft I was… I told her I hoped she was talking about my skin, not the muscle tone! haha – that was supposed to be funny! Along this same line is when I was trying on wedding dresses; I had bunches of skin in places I shouldn’t have!

I don’t understand!!
The summer I was going through my divorce, I WAS skinny! I was proud to wear a bikini! I ate TERRIBLE (mostly cookies, chocolate, and caffeine, mixed with a lot of fast food). I was probably 25 lbs lighter than I am right now. I was so skinny that my massage therapist would jokingly ask if she could offer me a sandwich! I was super thin, and had absolutely no right to be!

Forward to this past year. Most of the fall/winter, I was sick with various GI symptoms. You’d think that would have helped me (in kind of a twisted way). I am now eating better (kind of, this past week not included), drinking more water, walking 2.5- 5 miles 4 times a week, taking multivitamins and probiotics… I am noticing my waist getting smaller, and my face thinning out. Yet, for some reason, my capris still didn’t quite fit me. The number on the scale is not going down. My energy level is not increasing… It’s very discouraging!!

An interesting trend:
I am noticing women all around me are going on diets (or non-diets). Most of these women are not women you would typically look at and think they needed to go on one. In fact, I would guess these women are hearing some of the same things I am.

People mean well, in fact, they mean it to be a compliment when they say, “But you’re so thin.” I hear all the time how little I am, how great I look… I know people don’t have anything but the best intentions in mind when they say such things. I can’t help but think (and sometimes say out loud), “Yeah, but you don’t have to look at me in the mirror with no clothes on. I have cottage cheese thighs, fat that hangs out too far…” YUCK! Sometimes I say “Thanks, clothes hide the fat well.” It’s hard to take the compliments people intend when all they see is how well I’ve hidden it all!

What’s interesting to me, is that even though I know how hard it is to accept that other people see me as “little”, I sometimes think the same thing about other people! I’ve seen on twitter, facebook, and heard in conversations with friends, etc, LOTS of people who are suddenly on diets. I often think, “You don’t need a diet.” Then, I remind myself, I don’t have to see them naked every day… I’m guessing these people are going through the same pain of trying to fit into last year’s capris, and NOT succeeding as I am!

What are you going to do about it???
The other day, my neighbor posted the following comment on my facebook page:

I loved the walking, cutting out pop, drinking more water, and eating 5 small meals a day. My Mom has been doing the small meals thing, and had quite a bit of success losing weight! I HAVE been walking a ton as part of my training for the 3-Day Walk. My Mom was kind enough to give me some resistance bands that attach to a door, so I can work on my upper body. Walking is melting some of the fat around my middle, but does nothing for the arms… I’ve been trying to drink less pop, and drink more water. I go through spurts with my success in this area. I am also trying to make better choices with what I eat. Again, some days, I’m more successful than others. I blame my insane schedule lately, but really, the fault is my own…

If you are trying, and NOT succeeding at fitting into your summer clothes from last year, don’t go on a crash diet. Do what you can when you can. For most people, chocolate and cookies will not make you lose weight. Make better choices on food selection and portion sizes. Drink more water. Get some exercise. The days have been gorgeous! Get outside, go for a walk! Your kids, your dog, and most importantly, your body, will thank you!

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