Friday, September 28, 2012

I broke it! (and that's a good thing)

I am thrilled to announce that I have finally broken through my most recent plateau!

I squeeked into the 220’s for the first time on 6/27 with 229.6.  I am sure many of you can relate with me here regarding the huge thrill it is to see the next group of lower digits on the scale….what a rush!!!  After flying through the 230’s (only took me a month for that 10!) I was excited to hit the 220’s.  Little did I know that 2 was about to become my least favorite number.

I have realized that I now loathe the number 2….I hated seeing 2x and size 24/22/20 on my clothes (glad those are GONE!).  I am sick of having my weight start with a 2.  And now after I bounced around the 220’s for almost 3 stinkin’ months I was sick of seeing 22something on my dang scale!  Up a pound, down 1.5, back up 2…down…up, repeat.  I think you get the picture.  I would prob be glad to never see another number 2 again in my life!

So looking at 22something on the scale for months, I began to get frustrated.  This was like the carousel from hell and I wanted OFF this ride!  It should not be this hard.  I was doing the right things….eating well, exercising, drinking water.  But as I have said before, there are a lot of pieces to the complex puzzle of losing weight. 

As I was voicing my frustration to my mom, I was surprised when she told me to “not quit”.  I think this was the moment when I got pissed!  Not at her at all or even what she said, but at the situation, the scale, the numbers, my body….all of it.  But I will say that it was a bit disappointing to see that others thought I might quit.  I don’t want people to think of me as a quitter.  I want to be seen as a fighter and a WINNER!!!  There was NO WAY I was going to allow the stupid number 2 the power and satisfaction of seeing me quit.  Honestly the thought never even entered my mind!  I was DETERMINED to get past this.  That determination made me work harder to find a solution. 

And then there was a moment of divine intervention.  I just love it when you hear the message you need at the time you need it.  Those are the things that give me inspiration and hope!  Forgive me for repeating a story if you have already heard this one (I talked briefly in my xxx post but I want to go into more detail here).  When I workout on the treadmill (my exercise of choice) I watch tv shows on my iPad.  This particular morning I was watching an episode of Extreme Makoever Weight LossEdition (yes, I am in LOVE with trainer Chris Powell….in admiration kinda way and yes my hubs is well aware….bucket list alert – I want to meet that man someday!!!) and there was discussion around the intensity of a workout and why weight loss results weren’t happing as planned.  And the lightbulb went off for me. 

As Jillian says in her 30 Day Shred DVD I was “phoning it in at the gym”.  I was consistently getting my workout “time” in but I was choosing the treadmill as my exercise of choice because it was easy.  I didn’t have to think about it.  It wasn’t a challenge to me.  I was challenging myself by trying to push for improvement on my pace, but I was making slow progress.   I had to stop and think, would I be keeping the same speed/pace on the treadmill if I had a trainer like Chris, Jillian or Bob watching me?  Uh pretty sure the answer there is HELL NO (maybe that’s why I have never really wanted to be on one of those shows….scarred of how hard they would make me work!)   If 2, 3 and 400 pound people on TBL and EMWLE (and I have been watching a lot of those shows lately) are running on the treadmill and doing more strenuous workouts and seeing results, I prob should be too if I want to see results.

I realized that workout intensity doesn’t get the attention it should when people discuss the weight loss equation.  They tell you to exercise.  They don’t really tell you how HARD to exercise.  In my head, walking is exercise.  And it is….definitely better than nothing.  When I started on this journey and my “activity” for the day was walking to the car to go get fast food, or picking up the remote to change the channel.  Making my body move, even slowly, for 30 minutes at a time a couple times a week was enough to get my heart rate up…just doing exercise at all WAS my workout.  I wasn’t used to having to work that hard.  So my body initially responded with dropping the pounds.  But what I didn’t realize is just how smart the human body really is (frightening almost….kinda sci-fi movie-ish!).  It will adapt and get used to things and then more effort is required to continue to see results.  So I finally realized that if I wanted to stop seeing the dreaded number 2, it was time to invest more intensity into my workouts.  Here is a great article I found about why you want to get into the higher heart rate zones and the benefits.

So I have been paying more attention to what intensity I am putting in to my workouts.  First I purchased a Garmin heart rate monitor that integrates with my Body Media armband and records my heart rate during workouts.  Yes I feel a little like I am getting a cardiac stress test at the dr’s office or some sort of medical research case with all the gizmos I have strapped to myself during a workout, but I can see if I am getting into higher the heart rate zones (that burn more calories and have other benefits). 

What I found when I used it for the first time for just my usual walk on the treadmill was that I was only getting my heart rate into the 130’s.  That wasn’t enough to get the fat-burning results I want.  So I realized that I need to keep frequently doing activities that will get my HR up higher.  So I am doing Couch to 5k (for those that don’t know this program eases even a couch potato like me into running) and Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred along with my treadmill walking.  Both are interval training programs designed to combine higher intensity workout with rest periods between circuits.

I am committed to completing 30ds in October (hmmmm… that probably means I have to actually get past level 1, huh?)   YIKES!  I just said that out loud to all of you….guess that means I need to be accountable now??  And I am also committed to keeping with my c25k schedule too (that will put me finishing on 11/15 right before my mini vacay with the hubs to celebrate our 5 year anniversary).  I will tell you now I am already scared to move past level one on both of them.  Like REALLY scared.  But I know with the help of my awesome and amazing support system cheering me on, I can do it!

I just wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to have this “ah-ha” moment!  What I have already found is that upping my intensity has given me more time in those upper zones and I truly believe that is what has helped me finally break this dang plateau!!!!! 

So I was thrilled, stoked, elated, ecstatic (insert adjective here) when I stepped on the scale this week and saw a 21something for the first time!!!!  This was a huge mental breakthrough for me.  I have a sense of accomplishment and pride in myself. 

That number represented several goals met….
     Finally out of the 220’s
     Lost 60+ pounds since I started
     Lost 15% of my body weight since I started

So next I will be moving on to 65 pounds lost….then 70, 75 as I get closer to that 100 pound mark and ultimately to my final goal (that number yet to be decided).  But for now it just feels good to be moving (and have the scale move down) again.  I have never been so glad to “break” something in my life!  

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Some days are easier than others

Today was one of those days I just kinda ran out of gas.  My alarm went off at 5am but instead of getting out of bed for my morning workout on the treadmill, I opted to reset my alarm clock and get another hour of sleep.  I think this is the first day I have done this since I started working out in the mornings.  

I usually get to catch up on my sleep a little bit on the weekends so Monday mornings it is easier to get up when that obnoxious alarm goes off.  And I have been doing pretty well on the other days too.  But I can tell by Friday that it wears on me. 

So am typing this note before I head down to get my treadmill time in for the day.  Can't be a slacker you know!

I am excited to be walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure tomorrow morning with my mom.  It will be my 3rd 5k this year!  I will be sure to share pictures after.  

This pic seemed fitting for today...

Have a great weekend all!

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Monday, September 24, 2012


I know I already posted once today, but I have to share the great news that I have FINALLY busted my plateau and have gotten the scale to move....I hit 60 pounds lost point today......can I get a WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO people?!?!?!?!!

Looking back on my numbers, I first hit the 220's on 6/27.  I was beginning to think that I was NEVER going to get the scale to inch lower than 221.8.  In fact while recently talking to my mom and venting some of my frustration with the lack of recent progress, she reminded me that I have come too far and to not give up. "Oh NOOOOOOOOOOO! " I quickly told her.  "I am NOT giving up.  This just makes me want to work harder to find the way to get the results."

And that's exactly what I did....literally.  I worked harder.  I had an epiphany while watching my favorite trainer Chris Powell on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition while working out last week.  I was working out at the same pace I had been for a while.  Doing the same ole thing (walking) at about the same ole pace.  What I realized was that my body used to consider just moving a huge workout because of how in insanely out of shape I had let myself get.  I would get my heart rate up without much trying.  But now that I have been at this a while, I am finally getting to be less of a couch potato and so my heart needs more of a challenge to get the rate into the fat burning zone.

So after seeing that my heart rate went up by engaging in activities like jogging and doing Jillian, I dusted off the couch to 5k yesterday.  The commentary from my 14 & 12 year old daughters was that I didn't "yell at the lady as much as I did the last time (I) tried it."  Ha, ha.  I guess it was easier this time being a bit more in shape.  I was shocked to see that I got 18 minutes of vigorous activity in!  I also decided it was time to order a heart rate monitor to add to my arsenal of weapons (electronic gadgets, oops I mean data points).   My order is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and needless to say I am THRILLED!  

And the best part was seeing the scale finally move in the right direction.  I have some big goals coming up soon...getting out of the 220's and into the "teens", the 15% mark at 219.2 and of course the next 10 pounds....please let it not take as long as this 10 did!

This seemed fitting...

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Leading by I contagious?

I have been on this journey to being healthier for a year now.  I have been shopping better, cooking better, eating better, and being more active than I ever have been before.  As the matriarch for my family I have been striving to lead by example.  I have not been forcing them to do all the things I have been doing (well except for the shopping and eating part).  My hope instead is that they would see my progress and be inspired to join in.

They have been troopers and have eaten what I cook.  They haven't whined (too much) about the foods we don't eat or have in the house anymore.  They have indulged my trial of new recipes (mostly successful) and increased time working out (which means less time for other things and sometimes with them).

I have recently started to see more interest in activity from them.  My husband has done Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout video with me a few times now (no easy feat, let me tell you!).  We had a "family fit night" a couple of weeks ago where we ALL did some physical activity (yes, I did have to bribe them with frozen yogurt, but hey whatever works!).

But I have to say my proudest moment was last weekend.  We did our 1st 5k race as a family!!!!  
(back row) Austin Andrews, Ken Andrews, my hubby
(front row) oldest daughter, middle daughter, me, youngest daughter

My youngest walked/ran almost the entire first mile of the race (you gotta love independent 3 year olds!).  She also fell near the end of mile 2 and bonked her head resulting in me carrying her for the last mile of the race (a reminder of what 35 pounds ago was like!!)  My 2 older daughters placed 2nd and 3rd in their age division of the race and got medals....what a GREAT way to start their 5k career!  And I was soooooo proud of my hubby for joining in and completing his first 5k!

It happened quite by accident, really!  We heard  last minute that 2 former Biggest Loser contestants, Ken and Austin Andrews (season 11), were in town for speaking engagements.  We decided on a whim to attend one of the speaking events they had planned while in town.  After we heard them speak for the first time, we knew we wanted to attend as much as we could with them. One of the events we were invited to was a 5k race.  We didn't have plans the morning of so I quickly talked the family into doing it together.  They were excited (until they realized it meant getting up early on a Sat and leaving the house by 6:30!).

Fortunately for us, the attendance at all of the events was fairly small (people, you sooooo missed out!!!  But our gain!!!) so we got the opportunity to visit with them and get to know them a bit.  It was what I call a "God moment"....someone or something put in your path for a bigger reason.  I know they were put in our path for a reason.  

I have been feeling strong in my dedication to this journey to a healthier me.  I feel that I have a fantastic support system (my family, my friends, my blog followers, my fb groups).  But I haven't been able to get to get my hubby bit by the same enthusiasm bug that got me yet.  He is supportive and encouraging of me but he just isn't there mentally to take his journey to the next level yet.  I understand that.  I remember what it's like to WANT to lose weight but not have your head and your heart ready to really start the hard work.  And I have struggled to figure out what I could do to help get him to the bug.  Should I go all "Jillian" on him and wake him up at 5am with a bullhorn and push him through workouts?  Somehow I can't bring myself to take that approach with the quiet teddy bear like guy I love.  So my approach has been lead by example and begin inviting them to participate.  And while it has taken a while, I am thrilled to start to see the fruits of my labor!

The hubs has wanted to be on that show since long before I knew him.  I was thrilled to see he and the BL guys hit it off so well.  This was the "God moment".  I know they were brought together for a reason.  You know how sometimes you have to hear the same information over and over, sometimes in different ways (often from someone other than the person trying to teach you) before it finally sinks in?  That sometimes you have to find a person that you can relate to their situation or journey to walk the mile with?  I am hopeful that is what will come of this situation.  The hubs seemed to really identify with lots of what Austin and Ken had to say that weekend.  They took genuine interest in him and his struggles and have reached out to him.  I am hoping that their perspective and insight (and maybe just being able to bond on a guy level) will help him find his way.  

But what I have taken away from this is that I am proud of my family no matter what.  I am proud of each bit of effort they put forth, no matter how large or small (and that I need to tell them that more often!).  I have realized that the most powerful way to lead is by example, so I will carry on solo for as long as I need to.  I will try not to get too frustrated along the way if it doesn't happen for them as quickly as I want it to.  I will have faith that one day it will happen for them too, that they have their "ah ha" moment where the switch flips and they will be ready.  I will remind myself that I must do this for me, just as they must chose to do it for themselves.  I will continue to build myself and become stronger each day so that I may be able to help others when the time is right.  I will take strength from the comments that are starting to come in from others that tell me I have inspired them in some way.  I will continue to hope that perhaps this bug is contagious and others will catch it from being around me.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PB2...the new winner

I am sad to say that the first winner of the PB2 giveaway never contacted me :-(  

So I have randomly drawn another winner...hopefully this will get a better response.

Marcia - if this is you, contact me at jenowens715 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get you hooked up!!!  This prize is too good to not be claimed.  I don't want to have to pick again!!!!!

There’s no place like home….comfort in routine

Yes, I am from KS….hence the cheesy reference to the Wizard of Oz (as a PC PSA - it’s ok when we do it to ourselves, and an insult when others say it to us).  But after my last 2 weeks it seems quite fitting.

I work for a large corporation with our global headquarters in another state.  I actually report to the Global office in another state (my boss is located there) but I am fortunate enough to remain in my home state of KS and work out of one of our local offices.  I travel to the headquarters on a semi-regular basis, usually about quarterly or semi-annually.   We currently are working on a large project and I am the only team member remote so was requested to travel for 2 weeks of training/planning.  So that put me living in a hotel for 10 days (8 nights but I did get to come home for the weekend in between….yay!)

I am a creature of habit so this travel has really put my recently new healthier habits to the test!  But I can certainly see that I have made GREAT improvements and come a long way from where I used to be.

Being away from the comfort and familiarity of home adds a variety of complexity for me when it comes to food.  I haven’t been staying in hotels that have a mini-fridge, microwave, kitchen supplies, etc. so that limits being able to make things for yourself.  You are then at the mercy of restaurants and eating out.  For a person with willpower issues this feels like I am asking for problems! I was scared!  If you haven't figured this out about me yet, I like routine. I get used to my own recipes and a couple times a month going out to eat at restaurants.  I eat a lot of the same things (don't venture out of my comfort zone much) when at home so I have a good idea what to eat to stay within my daily calorie goal. But being gone was like starting all over figuring out what I could eat!

My theory for eating while traveling used to be to try to eat at more "local" or new places instead of the usual chains that I can eat at home. I mean how fun is it to eat at places you have at home...the same ole same ole??  It’s ok (espec when it’s not your dime paying for it!) but it's much more fun to try new places and foods!  What I quickly found on this trip was that the “chains” seemed more diet friendly for me. Why you may ask? It was much easier to find nutritional Information for the chains. The local places were a crapshoot to try to find calorie counts for. Even if I was estimating by finding something close, I often found that what I thought was a good healthy choice was really much worse that I thought it would be. Can you tell yet that I have control issues???!

To add another layer of complexity, there is also the social aspect of business traveling. Eating around others can be dangerous if they are care free eaters and order the sinful( aka yummy) dishes on the menu. It can be easy to slip into old habits and order my own comfort foods in this kind of situation.  Fortunately on this trip, I was mostly on my own (which I honestly didn't mind...I don't often get peace and quiet when at home so it was a refreshing change of pace!).  So for me that made food choices easier.

 But twice I ate at a local restaurant with a friend and got a new dish that I had never tried before....bang bang chicken.  Omg super yummo!!! It seemed like a pretty healthy choice, had veggies and a bit of rice but after Researching I am not sure how great it was...scary to see some of the cal counts out there for that dish! I loved it so much I am researching recipes now and hoping to make a low-cal version at home that I like and will share with you all.

A great thing about where I work is that they are very big on and promote living a healthy lifestyle. The cafeteria has lots of choices and is generally very healthy. The calories are posted so while it was something different I was able to make educated choices. I pretty much stuck to a southwest chicken wrap (was soooooooo yum), a grilled chicken sandwich, or a chicken Caesar wrap and got hummus and pretzels for snack.
the fresh water bar at Corp Office...flavored with nearly every kind of fruit you can imagine!  Love this!

But i have to say my after-work-go-to meal was a Wendy's berry almond chicken salad. I am obsessed with at one, of course just in time for them to discontinue it since summer is over.....grrrrrrrr!!!! At less than 400 calories this was a great choice and since I love it so much it seemed like a treat! I am also working on a make at home version of this one so stay tuned for that also!

Another revelation I had while on this trip was that my scale is my security blanket. While most days (especially lately when the numbers haven't been moving down like I would like them to) I HATE that $@&!"! hunk of metal, i still like to have it around and feel lost without it. I like being able to make sure I am staying on track.   While it is often frustrating, I also find it strangely motivating. It's also like playing a slot machine, each time i step on it I keep hoping I am going to hit the jackpot.  Yes, I am usually an eternal optimist.  Guess that can come in handy sometimes! 

So while the eating was a big success for me on this trip, an even bigger win for me was working out. This was the first time I actually worked out while traveling (I have taken clothes and shoes before it never actually used them lol).  For me that is a HUGE positive step. I worked out in the little hotel gym all 8 nights I stayed there. They had 2 treadmills and an elliptical and some weights. It was great because each time i was the only one in thwre so i didn't feel self conscious or nervous.  I did the elliptical a few times but I have to say the treadmill is my favorite. I even used the incline and intervals to push myself even more. I take my iPad and watch my fave tv shows on Netflix or Hulu.  I am looking forward to working out even more these days because it seems to be about the only time I get to watch tv. With working out each day for at least an hour I am now almost not a whole season behind in some of my shows! I may actually be caught up for premieres...crossing my fingers!

So in honor of my great choices on this trip, I treated myself to getting my nails done.  I love having them done....I feel pampered, classy and glam. But as a practical mom, I usually don't justify spending the time or money. But I decided it was time to do a little something for myself as a regular reward for all the hard work I am putting in. I can swing $17 and 30 min every 2 weeks to reward myself for continuing to move forward.  It is continued motivation to continue working out...I would feel very guilty continuing to go if I slacked off on the reason for the reward!

My reward!!!  :o)

So this post is dedicated to truly making a lifestyle change, not just being on a diet!   It’s to getting to the point where you have learned enough to not let old bad habits take over your progress and derail you when the routine changes.  It’s to getting to the point where making better choices than you did before is second nature instead of feeling like a punishment.  And it’s to acknowledging just how far you have come and celebrating/rewarding (in a non-food kinda way) the successes.  May all of you come to this point in your journey’s also.  Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.  Just get started.  Take it one day at a time.  And don’t stop!

So I can’t be the only one….leave a comment and share your travel or other success!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

PB2 winner!

I am THRILLED to announce that the winner for the first ever Losing It blog giveaway for the fantastic PB2 set is.....

Beachbride0507, email me at jenowens715 (at) mail (dot) com and I'll get you hooked up.


Thanks to all that entered!  I am super excited to have so many new followers of the blog!!!!  

By the way, I am working on other giveaways, so stay tuned....more to come!