I fell…Hard.

So…Yes. Wow. Lots and lots going on since we last met.

I moved to Washington, DC last February and started a new job. I also moved into a new apartment. Fast forward to July. I left the job I moved here for, because I landed my dream job. (more on that another day.) Fast forward to Nov. 1 and I moved into yet another new apartment. Commitment issues? Ha, no. [well maybe] But, both my job and new apt are permanent for a long, long time.

Rewind to last February. I was in the best shape of my life. I [f e l t] amazing. And damn, looking back-I looked amazing. So then I moved. Told myself I had until March 1 to get settled and then kick it back in to my amazingly healthy gear. That happened. Sorta. Fast forward to today [with a few pauses] and here I am…up 20, yes [t w e n t y] lbs and feeling like crap. It’s amazing the toll unhealthy food and lacking exercise has on my body once it’s trained to be accustomed to all the healthy things:

  • Some of my pants still fit, but not comfortably–and seriously some not at all.
  • Many of my shirts are tight in the arms.
  • There was a good amount of time getting dressed in the morning was easy. Everything in my closet fit, felt comfortable, and most importantly made me feel confident—Something I remember telling people was one of my favorite things about losing weight! Now trying to piece together the several items in my closet I’m comfortable in feels like chore.
  • My face has been breaking out like crazy for the last few months (even under the care of a dermatologist!)
  • My workouts feel more difficult in a bad way.
  • I am constantly tired and/or “just don’t feel great.”
  • I [ c r a v e ] sugar. I mean crrrrrrave.

(I’m really not trying to go all Negative Nancy on myself, these are just the facts people.)

Here’s what really shocks me. I’ve sat in those Weight Watchers meetings and listened to countless people talk about how they had lost so much weight and were back because they gained some or all of it back…And each time I remember thinking, “I just don’t understand how that happens. This is my lifestyle…That won’t ever be me.” Whelp folks, I ate those words (and clearly several slices of pizza and all the sweets) because here I am…Riding that struggle bus allllll niiiiigggghhhht loooooong.

I’ve tried to pinpoint if there is one thing that is causing this or if it’s several…I know one thing is the culture in DC is far different than what I was used to in Kansas City. Happy hours weren’t mandatory, brunch didn’t mean bottomless mimosas by the pitcher and as many menu items as I wanted. Weekends weren’t based around bars and booze and my workouts weren’t an “if I have time” option. But that being said…I have to learn to balance. I can’t won’t give up my social outings, but I also [r e f u s e] to let my social life take pertinence over my physical and mental health.

The other [bad news bears] situation tapping on my shoulder: HOLIDAYS. Oh, Lord why is the season ‘o eating upon us?! I absolutely refuse to eat and drink my way through November and December only to wake up January 1 a defeated, bloated, why did I do this mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So in my plea to myself to find my healthy ways…To get back on track…To FEEL overall amazing again…I’m turing to you all. Please help me get back on track and finish 2014 strong!

Today begins my personal 15lbs by 2015 challenge. I’m aiming to lose 15 by 1/1/15. I know I can do it–but think it would be a whole lot more fun you all did it with me =D Your goal doesn’t have to be 15 by 15…or even scale specific!

  1. What will you publicly agree to accomplish by Jan. 1, 2015? 
  2. Have any of you gained weight back that you’ve lost? If so, how did you get yourself back on track?

I find myself feeling disappointed that I allowed it to get to this point–a place I never thought I’d be. This is a challenge I honestly never thought I would be facing…But I’m human first…and unfortunately you all know what that means! I am really struggling to stay positive and man oh man do I want to be. I am sharing this with you all yes, in hopes you can help me! But more importantly because I want you to know this weight loss thing is a mad struggle. It’s emotional. And no matter where you are in your journey, [you're not alone.]

This is the night before I started my 15 lbs by 2015 challenge.

The night before I started my 15 lbs by 2015 challenge.

 

Me…A model? Trying to learn to embrace my new body.

Recently, one of my very dear friends asked me to do something. Something I wouldn’t in a billion years dream of doing. Or of being asked to do. More on that later.

So this friend…She’s very good at pushing me. She pushes me in workouts and in reminding me of how strong mentally and physically I am. When I am doubting anything, she’s quick to tell me to suck it up and start believing all of the things in myself that everyone around me knows to be true. Great friend, right? Right. So when this friend said she needed a favor, my brain told me it doesn’t matter what it is..I’M DOING IT!

So that favor…To model for her and a group of people she networks with. She’s an incredibly talented hair dresser and was going to be doing a shoot in collaboration with a make up artist, local boutique, and photographer…Oh and yours truly! I was honestly flattered to be asked, but also FREAKING OUT INSIDE. To be continued…

So, when you lose as much weight as I have it’s easy to be hard on yourself. At least for me. While I know how far I’ve come and celebrate my good health and that I FEEL so much better…I find myself struggling to fully accept my new body and see the person other people do when they look at me. My extra skin plays a huge role in this. I often think back to former 290 lb Grace and laugh to myself thinking about how that version of me would feel knowing I wasn’t fully happy with my body as it is now. But for me, it’s reality.

I find myself thinking about other people and how their thighs don’t have so much extra skin…Or how their arms don’t jiggle when they move…Or that their abs (Yup I’ve got pretty rockin’ ones) aren’t hidden by excess skin. I feel SO SILLY comparing myself to others and it’s not something that controls my life by any means…But I dream about the day when the skin is gone and I can finally wear tank tops and shorts and SEE the me other people do. I want to see my muscles and not just be able to feel them.

So back to this photo shoot. We had a message thread between everyone involved, including the other models. We were supposed to give our sizes (something that used to TERRIFY me!!)…”Oh you need to know my shirt size?? Well I really wear a 2X, but I will squeeze myself into a large so I don’t have to actually order a 2X”…This time I was like ok, ok I can do this…I’m an 8-10 usually in pants and really a S-M-L in shirts, just depends. Well everyone started sending in their sizes…2-4 in pants and S in shirts. Oh great. Back to being the biggest one in the room…again. But I laughed it off and remind myself who I am doing this for…bucked up and sent in my sizes.

So day of…We are all there (most of the models I met for the first time that day) and they are all BEAUTIFUL. And look so natural and comfortable in front of the camera. I felt my insecurities oozing out of me like a bad infection. Everyone was being SO supportive of me and reminding me to just have fun…And I tried. I really did. I just felt so…uncomfortable.

That being said, I am so happy I did it. I think one of the most important things you can do for yourself in life is to leave your comfort zone. Mentally and physically. It teaches you so much about yourself and allows you to grow in ways nothing else can. I am so lucky and thankful to have people (even strangers!) be so supportive of me. It’s not something everyone is lucky enough to experience and I never take for granted how blessed I am.

To my friend who pushed me to do this…You have no idea how much you continue to help me grow. The universe knew I needed a pusher like you in my life and I’m just lucky enough that it chose you =D

Clothes: Southern Blu Style

Hair: Karen Tabuchi – Fusion Studio at Sola Salons

Make up: Ashley Nelson Studios

Photographer: Lux et Amor

Yes I’m clean eating on Weight Watchers

So…As we all know the glorious thing about Weight Watchers is…WE CAN EAT WHATEVER WE WANT!!!  Now, while that is oh so true…And if/when I want candy or pizza or whatever I will have it…But…I’ve been feeling like a big fatty slug lately. Did anyone else struggle in June??! It’s been a common situation I’ve come to find out!  I also have a very important [THREE YEAR] anniversary coming up in August (yes with Weight Watchers!) and I’m still not at goal.  And I want to be. I’m ready to be. And mostly, I just want to FEEL my best.

My very dear friend has listened to me bitch and moan about feeling like dog doo and has encouraged me to “eat clean” before.  So recently when I came to her feeling overwhelmed and stuck she said “Let’s do a 31 day clean eating challenge in July!”  I couldn’t text YES I’M IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! quickly enough! This is just what I needed.

So what am I eating?  I didn’t give up my dessert. If this is going to be sustainable, I need my Skinnycow dessert.  But, as a general rule “If it’s made from a plant, eat it.  If it’s made in a plant don’t.” So yes, all of those brightly colored, delicious tasting snacks those tricky marketers make us crave…aren’t on the menu.  Now people…while this might sound impossible and terrible to you…What those do to our bodies is INSANE.  Please see exhibit 1:

No lie people. The left was actually taken last Sunday night (I started this journey on Monday!) and the right is from Wednesday night. Pretty crazy, right?  I’ve shared my dinner menu:

And will share some of the recipes…But it’s very important if you want to try clean eating to do some research and put meals on your menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that you will enjoy and that won’t make you feel like you’re depriving yourself.  If you want to eat a starch here and there such as a baked potato do it.  Just don’t do it EVERYDAY. Some examples of things I’m eating for other meals/snacks are:

  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg whites with veggies
  • Fruit with slivered almonds/honey
  • Hummus and celery
  • Salads

Another thing I’m doing…only eating my 26 daily points.  No extras, no activities (for now.) I will go back to at least eating my activity points because when I am doing longer distance runs (8+ miles) and I don’t refuel my body I tend to plateau.  But for now while I’m getting into the groove of things I’m sticking to 26.  (A little thing I try to remind myself of when I feel “hungry” at night…Food is used for energy…and I don’t need energy to sleep!) Now, if you’re STARVING…have a headache, can’t sleep, etc…by all means EAT! Just reach for the power food options versus the bad stuff.

Ok so who’s ready to give clean eating a shot?!?!

 

Are doctors being too nice?

Today my BFF came to a workout with me!  It was a lot of fun and misery all in 1 hour. (talk to me tmrw about my arms, legs and general geriatric style of walking)

But we started chatting about me in years past and if any of my doctors ever said to me “you need to lose weight” or “you’re unhealthy” or “you’re on a very dangerous path.”  There was that one time my pediatrician spoke to my mom about the need for me to lose weight when I was a child, but never as someone who went to the doctor without a parent, did a doctor ever confront me about my weight.

On the one side, I get it…It’s a very sensitive subject and it’s not easy to hurt someone’s feelings…But on the other side, you know what else is a sensitive subject…a young, outgoing and vibrant woman whose life was cut much too short because she died from complications from obesity.

Ok that’s a bit extreme, but for real!

I technically paid my doctor to keep me healthy and give his/her educated opinions about how to do so… and not one in my adult life ever talked to me about the need for me to drop lbs. Now, I’m not sure if this would have helped or hurt…But I just think healthcare providers are doing a huge injustice to so many of us that deal with being overweight by acting like the weight issue doesn’t exist.

[talk to us. tell us the hard truth.]  Explain to us that ” if you don’t get healthy, your body will give up on you.”  Be a little scary, it’s ok.

Ok so what I want to know from all of you  is:

Have any of you experienced a doctor telling you about the need to lose weight? How did you feel?  Or if there are any doctor’s out there do you discuss this with patients? Why or why not?

Guess who’s back…Back again…

Oh my gosh, you guys.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since the last time I sat down here to blog!  Life. Is. Crazy.

I’m still working on getting to goal weight.  I struggle.  I succeed.  I struggle.  But I focus on how far I’ve come rather than focusing on this last 10-15 lbs.  My body continues to change as I exchange fat for muscle…I’m stronger.  I’m faster.  I’m happier.  So that’s what I focus on!  This picture is something I’ve look at daily for months.  And here’s why:

My life the past few months has been utter chaos.  Starting last December I had a round of surgeries for what turned out to be a benign tumor.  (So many of you sent me well wishes via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and I am so, so thankful for that!!)

After the first surgery we weren’t sure I would need a second…As luck would have it…I did! Wooo (not.) My second surgery was a little more invasive.  The tumor was removed and the cause was discovered and fixed.

The recovery wasn’t [isn't] ideal.  To back up for a minute, they discovered what caused the tumor, but not what caused the thing that caused the tumor (ya following?) The area where the tumor was removed from is having issues healing properly (yes we’re going on 4+ months here) so I get to do a lot of waiting…see a doctor…not sure of answer…wait…see a doctor…looks better but still not quite right…wait…referred to another doctor…wait. I’ve now had 3 very trained doctors tell me either 1) I’ve never seen something quite like this or 2) I really don’t have an answer for this…Two things you never really want to hear a doctor tell you!!

But, the good news is it is much better than it was…and I’m allowed to run again (oh yeah, I was benched from all activity for SEVERAL weeks.) That was really fun…As someone who relies on running and being active to EAT the foods I LOVE…Yeah, go ahead and do the math on that one!  But, like I said…I am better than I was before and it could have been so much worse, so for that I am hopeful, grateful, and thankful to a wonderful team of doctors who is determined to help me get 100% back to normal!

Adding that to lots of family/close friends dealing with things…Missing people I wish I could see everyday…and at times being generally overwhelmed…Life has been kicking my ass a bit.  But I’m a firm believer in the Universe/God (whatever you prefer here!) not giving you things you can’t handle…So someone thinks I’m one tough, bad ass lady…Which duh, I am.  But I’m confident that things will all workout, because they always do…and I just know [something beautiful is going to happen.]

Shifting a bit:

I’m trying to focus more on “clean eating.”  I went all out for a couple of weeks and saw HUGE results…-8 lbs in 1 week!  It’s not easy though.

[Our society makes it very, very hard.]

When I’m not able to be fully in control of making my food (when traveling or even just eating out with a friend) I can’t guarantee I’m processed foods free.  And better yet, I don’t always want to be! I love cookies and candy and things that taste good (haha!) So I try to keep an 80-20 balance.  80% of the food I eat in a week is safe and “clean” while 20% is the good on the tongue bad on the body stuff we all crave.

I’m normal.  I’m human and I love sweets, damn it!

But I’m also sick of wearing 10-20 lbs so I’m hoping I can get out of the 160′s and look down at the scale at that magic 1-5-0! It will happen, that I do know.

Ok, so now I’ve said this before, but really really really I am going to get back on here regularly.  I will set aside time each week devoted to it! I hope you’re all doing well and haven’t forgotten about me, lol!

 

Slow Cook Beef Ribs and Bulgur Salad

These are SO SO good. And EASY! I’m not sure where the recipe came from, but I got it from a friend. 3 oz. is 5 Points Plus. It was served with bulgur salad.

For the Ribs:

1 LB beef ribs (boneless)
1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
2 tbs dijon mustard (I prefer using honey dijon- but it’s all preference here)
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt/pepper to taste

Place ribs on a lined sheet pan and broil on each side for 3-4 minutes just to barely brown them (lock in the moisture) then place in slow cooker.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then pour over meat in slow cooker

Cook on low for 6-8 hours (check after 6, if they start to fall apart they are done). Once they are done, trim excess fat.

For the Salad:

Cook bulgur according to package, let cool in fridge.

Mix in halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2c fat free feta balsamic vinegar and lemon juice

Serves 4 at 6PP each

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers (SkinnyTaste)

This is a SkinnyTaste recipe and is 4 PointsPlus per serving! Find the original recipe here: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/09/santa-fe-turkey-stuffed-peppers.html

What you need:

For the filling:

1/2 lb 99% lean ground turkey

3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cups frozen corn

1 hot pickled serrano pepper, chopped (or jalepeño) more to taste

1 large diced tomato

1 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp chopped onion

2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

1 tsp cumin

kosher salt to taste
For the peppers:

3 red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise

1/3 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth

9 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Sargento Monterey Jack cheese

1 tbsp chopped scallions, for garnish