Friday, November 30, 2012

I am officially a c25k GRADUATE!

I am BEYOND THRILLED......Graduation day is finally here!!!!!  I am now officially a c25k graduate!  I have done all 24 training sessions. 

me after my last c25k session tonight - note the BIG grin!  

When I was talking at the dinner table the other night about being almost done with c25k, my older daughters (14 & 12) asked me what my treat to myself was going to be for finishing.  I shrugged my shoulders and told them I didn't know.  I didn't think anything.  Honestly, I hadn't really thought about it.  Not sure I really ever thought I would follow through and actually finish so I never really thought about what I would treat myself to.  But after they mentioned it, I realized that I really did need to choose a reward.  I worked hard to meet this goal and I earned something for it!  So here is what I decided to get...
a visual reminder of the goal I achieved.
I will be ordering it this weekend!

C25k was more than just a workout.  I learned so much about myself through this journey.   For starters, I am stronger than I think I am.  I cannot tell you how absolutely proud of myself I am for pushing through the strongest desire to quit I may have ever experienced.  I never thought I would make it past week 1, let alone all the way to the end.  I am still not a fan of running but I love having the goal of completing it, trying to like it, and getting better.  I also realized, even though I really already knew, that sooooo much of this journey is mental.  It is making the decision to do something and finding a way to make it happen.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  It doesn't have to be a world record.  It just needs to be done.  To all of those of you that are just starting or have can do it too! Just keep going!

As a bonus for you all (I know you are dying for it), a pic of my outfit today.  Both my teenage girls told me how cute I looked, so I must have been doing something right!  lol

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Attn Runners, Jedi mind tricks needed!

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday my fellow friends, bloggers, and lifestyle changers!

WARNING/DISCLAIMER:  I am super cheery today (bonus points for those of you that had already guessed that one simply from the opening line).  Perhaps it was the sample of the Advocare Spark I tried this morning (guessing it has to be a placebo effect - no way the euphoria could really last all day, right).  

I personally like to credit the nice little gift I received from the scale fairy today...
That's 212.6 in case you can't read the horrible photo 
(My sincere apologies...I must have been shaking/in shock while trying to take the pic!)

That is another new low!!!!  Hot damn was I excited to see this, and especially the week after Thanksgiving!  Can you say wooooooooo hooooooooooo??!!

I have finally figured out that running is what is making my scale move in the right direction right now.  That is good news and bad news.  Good news because I LOVE seeing lower numbers on the scale!  Bad news because I HATE, HATE, HATE running.  I am learning this more and more each day.  I could walk for days and not be so miserable.  But 5 miliseconds into running and my brain and body are begging, pleading, screaming, crying, and full on tantrum throwing to stop.  I seriously have to mind eff myself the entire time....5 more minutes and you can walk some, I keep telling myself that the entire time.  I use the treadmill, so about the only way I have been getting through these long final c25k sessions is to watch tv (The Biggest Loser Season 11 - holla!) on my ipad.  TV seems to distract me from watching the clock and listening to my brain whine about not wanting to run and constantly watching the clock tick by in slow motion.  I finished season 11 this week, so I decided to try music again today....painful.  I enjoy the beat of the music.  The right song does seem to help my pace/rhythm but I need distraction to drown out the skitzo voices in my head (whiners).  28 minutes has never seemed like such an eternity before!  

Squirrel....On the plus side....only 1 official c25k session left until I am a graduate! 
(But then I just get to start over again to work on increasing my pace)

So.....what I am BEGGING you for help with is to please share your Jedi mind tricks in the comments below on how I can come to love tolerate running.  How on earth do so many of you get to the place where you enjoy (and dare I say even love) running?  Do I need a full frontal lobotomy?   Listen to subliminal messages while sleeping?  Play Ozzy records backwards?  Hypnosis?  Seriously I am about to the point I will try anything!  Help a sista out....PLEASE!!!!

Here is a little bonus pic of me for ya today, basically just because I liked the outfit and had another "I feel thin(ner)" day....LOVE those days!

It's past my bedtime so ciao peeps!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Motivational Monday debut/Thanksgiving recap

After a totally slack week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I definitely NEED this motivational post to get myself back on track!  I have seen several other blogger friends doing a Motivational Monday post and think this may be just what the doctor ordered for the mental struggles I have been fighting lately to get my week started off on the right foot.  So I am committing to you to post a motivational message every Monday along with my scale results for the week and a recap of my struggles/successes.  I am counting on you lovelies to keep me accountable!  If you don’t see a post, call me out on it.  I need the help!

So to kick things off, here is the inaugural Weekly motivational pic – I thought this to be soooooo appropriate following the Thanksgiving holiday indulgences I partook in (more details on that in the confessional below).

Weekly results:
Weekly scale +/- (Mon-Sun all weights):  no change 
Workouts last week:  4
Total workout time: 3 hrs 8 min
Total miles last week:  10.67

Weekly progress pic:

Confessional time:
My hubby noticed that I re-set my alarm and skipped the workout to get back in bed this morning.  When he kissed me on the cheek as he was leaving for work he whispered in my ear words of encouragement to keep going with the habit I have built and not give up and slide back into past bad behaviors (even my kids noticed the absence of my workout this morning…ouch!).  And he is 100% right!  I am on w7d3 of c25k and sooooooo close to being a “graduate” I can practically touch it!  It is sooooo mental at this point.  I am not a fan of running/jogging/slogging anyway, so I don’t look forward to those 25-30 min sessions and really have to psych myself into getting started and to keep going (I play the mental game of “5 more min and then you can walk a little bit” with myself the entire time….ugh!)  But I really need to remember how damn proud of myself each time I finish!!!  And I am trying to break my habit of cardio only and switch to strength training exercises on my non c25k days but have been really fighting myself mentally to get started there.

I do soooooooo much better when I am in my normal daily routine!  I even have a love/hate relationship with weekends.  While I love getting to relax, spend more time with my fam, get things done around the house (or more accurately/typically be a total lazy bum), and the flexibility that gives me, but on the other hand I really despise the lack of structure.  It is easier for me to blow off a workout, eat at random times or eat random things, eat out more, etc.  I just don’t have as much willpower on the weekends.

I did ok with Thanksgiving meal on Thurs (oh and got in 25 min slog after putting the turkey in the oven).  I had a small portion of mashed potatoes, ½ a baked sweet potato with a small dab of yogurt butter and small sprinkle of splenda brown sugar blend, generous serving of green beans, stuffing (didn’t add butter when making it but prob larger portion than I should have), small portion of pistachio/pineapple/whip salad.  Only had 1 plate and didn’t go back for seconds.  I was full but not miserable.  I still wasn’t too hungry at dinner time, so I just had a turkey sandwich, carrots & hummus.  I restrained from buying or making a pecan pie (my FAVE!) because I knew I would just dive in face first and eat the whole thing (prob in one day).  So I settled for 1 piece of pumpkin with ff coolwhip.  I did get the hubs, brother in law and 3 year old to go for a walk with me before it got dark to work off some of our lunch.  We were at a rather leisurely pace but got 2.6 miles in.

Friday we were just bums and watched tv in our pj’s all day….heaven!  But no workout.  Sat was Thanksgiving with my side of the fam and had group family pictures.  I was a slacker and didn't get up early to get a workout in first (excuses).  Then we went to their house for lunch.  I did pretty well  - acceptable portion of ham, small helping of scalloped potatoes, small helping of broccoli/rice casserole, 2 med helpings of salad, a slice of pineapple, small wheat roll (no butter), my only second helping was the salad.  I did have 3 glasses of wine though….doh!  Skipped dessert because I wasn't a huge fan of either of the options and could easily live without.

I was doing ok till dinner time.  Still there and we planned for appetizers/leftovers.  I brought hummus and pretzel chips and made a corn/black bean salsa with baked tortilla chips.  Not too bad.  Then my sister-in-law brings out the yummy food….ugh!  Shoot me now!  I have no willpower when it comes to stuff like this.  Seriously horrible!  I have real issues these days with not being able to control the food menu or what is around me (ok I have control issues anyway).  She made a buffalo chicken dip (served with tortilla chips).  Not sure what all was in it but I do know it had cream cheese (my kryptonite) and cheese on top.  I normally wouldn't have even tried it because of the word “buffalo” in it and I HATE spicy things, but she assured me it wasn't too spicy.  So I had a bite to try it, expecting to not like it and I swear it had crack in it and I was hooked.  Then she made these crescent roll/chicken/cream cheese popper things…..OMG there was extra crack in those!  I lost count of how many I crammed in my face, but I do know it was too many.  And dang, I had been doing so well up to that point. 

Yesterday I did pretty well during the day, woke up late (so saved calories from missing breakfast), turkey sandwich and hummus for lunch, and made omelettes for dinner (mine was a spinach, mushroom, tomato, onion with swiss cheese like the one I had at ihop last week so should have been pretty calorie friendly).  But then again had some damn pie again (dare I admit that it was not just one but 2 pieces….ugh!).  I will be soooooooo glad to see that gone….only one more piece left.

But even with my roller-coaster success/failure of a weekend from a choices perspective, the scale has remained virtually the same….within 0.2 all weekend (hallelujah!).  I know that the good choices I did make saved my hide from the indulgences that I gave in to!  So I vow to not let these slip-ups turn into a fall.  I am back on the wagon today (and really glad there is a month till Christmas so can hopefully stay on track for a while!)

I seriously LOVE the therapy this blog offers me and I already feel TONS better and ready to tackle this week after writing this!  Thanks so much to you all for taking the time to read and support me in this journey!

In the spirit of group therapy, please share your Thanksgiving confession or success story here! 

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall funk....womp, womp!

Again I am trying to keep it real with you peeps….life in my “journey world” is not all sunshine and rainbows at the moment.  And I am reading from lots of my fellow “journey” bloggers that they are too, so something must be going around.  A contagious fall funk perhaps?  Shall I blame the time change and excessive premature evening darkness?  

I am having an off couple of weeks.  The scale has not been kind to me.  I am not excited about my workouts (or getting up at 5am to do them).  I am not excited about my food, more tempted to make poor choices, and finding myself wanting to eat out of boredom more often again.  I still have some of my discipline (at least when I overeat, its still decent choices…not candy, cookies or fast food) and thankfully don’t have much food around me that are bad choices (I don’t buy it so I am not tempted….I cannot be trusted).  

I am not sure what is causing mine…Perhaps the uncertainty and change at work?  Or feeling “out of balance” between work, myself, and family?  The constant stress of being a working mom/wife and there not being enough hours in the day?  I think the biggest factor is the feeling that this journey is taking me FOREVER!  I have been at it over a year now.  And while I realize that 65 pounds lost is an AMAZING accomplishment, some days it is beginning to feel as though I will never see the finish line.  I have said before and will remind you again, I am not a patient person.  I would love to find the magic combination of foods, calories, exercise, sleep, etc that will keep me consistently losing weight instead of the stupid see-saw it feels like I am on....I am soooo over the same up and down!  

I am a person that is very motivated by my progress.  Seeing the number on the scale drop, clothes get looser, or inches lost make me want to work harder!  I am also the kind of person that likes the comfort of a routine.  I find comfort in knowing what I am doing is netting me results.  So during the week I have a pretty consistent routine.  The weekends seem to be what is throwing me off.  I hear that your body doesn't like routine when it comes to eating and working out through so you would think that would be a good thing, but when the scale is particularly unkind on Monday I get mad at myself for breaking my M-F schedule.  Would my results have been different if I had stuck my old regular routine?  I sure wish my body had a database that I could go back and look at how what I did impacted the result for the good or bad to know what I was doing right and wrong (yup, I am an I/T geek....I LOVE data!).

After meeting Austin & Ken Andrews from The Biggest Loser Season 11, I started finally watching that season.  While I like BL, I wasn't a faithful follower before.  Call me crazy, but I felt terribly guilty watching from the comfort of my sofa with cheeseburger, fries, pop and usually ice cream in hand (and face).  But I have found it very motivating to watch while I am working out on my treadmill.  And I just love getting a dose of "what I need to hear when I need to hear it".  This week was no exception.  So much of this journey is mental...believing that you can do things you have never done before, staying focused and determined, saying I CAN instead of I can't.  While I have been having amazing success with the C25k program and running like I haven't done in years decades, the negative voice in my head still comes out and tells me I can't and that this isn't working.  I think the thought of "failing" scares the crap outa me.  But truth be told, I am not failing.  Even a bad choice or day or week doesn't define my success or failure.  My attitude, my perseverance and my desire to keep trying and most importantly DOING does!  I WILL win this battle and achieve my goal! 

 I will NOT quit!

One thing I have realized that I need to keep the positive thoughts and motivation front and center in front of me right now to get past the middle of this journey and on to the home stretch.  So be warned, you may start seeing more "quote" and pep-talk posts from me for a while.  
posted by BL-s11's Hannah today...I needed this one!

I need to keep reminding myself how far I have come, how much I have changed, and how I am inspiring others so that the finish line doesn't seem to e still so far away.  So you may start seeing more before and after pics too!  This blog is my therapy session!

I have to give big props to my oldest daughter.  As a parent, I think often times we struggle for validation that what we say and the lessons we try to teach are sinking in.  She is a freshman in high school (yeah, I still can't wrap my head around that one!) and is taking photojurnalism this semester...she gets her love of the camera from me!  They were asked to do a portrait assignment and write about the person they selected.  Yup, she picked me!  I was very honored but especially proud to read the words she wrote about me.  These are powerful words from a teenager!  This is proof that I am a role model to my family.  They do see my hard work and success.  I am making a difference in their lives and I need to use things like this to keep me moving forward!

I have also realized that I have been getting away from the basics:
  • Drinking as much water (much easier to do in the summer when its warm)
  • Wearing my body media fit armband
  • Logging food with MFP
  • Measuring food portions
  • Pre-planning meals & snacks
  • Not "grazing" a bite of food here and there
  • Eating more fruits/veggies and less processed foods

So those are the things I am going to be working on to get past this "fall funk".  I will keep you posted on my progress.  

And let's make this a group therapy session!  I would love to hear from the readers and followers....what fall funk are you battling right now?  What are you doing to fight it?  Let's be there to support each other. There is power in numbers!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Many people may disagree with me but by my own self proclamation, I am not a runner (yet).  I am not a jogger (yet).  Right now I am a slogger.  You might wonder what a slogger is.  It's a Jen-ism.  It, by my definition, is painfully slow jogging (pretty much fast walking if you want to get technical) hence the mash-up creation of "slog".  But I have to come to you today and sing the praises of the C25k program.  It is honestly INCREDIBLE!  It has made me into the slogger I am today.  I know I am lapping everyone on the couch, so I am making improvements.  And I will hopefully get to where I am proud to say I am a runner someday.  But I have to say I am not a fan of running.  I have never liked it.  I am pretty sure I faked asthma (and other illnesses and ailments) in middle school to get out of running laps in gym class.  But c25k has amazed me time and time again and I am high on the thrill of proving myself (and that annoying voice in my head that tells me I can't) wrong (ok I love proving anyone wrong....even if it has to be myself)!  I had in my head that I just couldn't do it.  But I have been proven time and time again that I actually can.  I am left shocked, stunned, thrilled, stoked and just plain PROUD!!!  And I owe it all to c25k!

So now that I have explained slogging to you, you may be wondering what c25k is.  It stands for couch to 5k.  Basically, it is a training program to get couch slugs like the former me to be able to jog/run a 5k (aka 3.1 miles).  There are three 30 minute workouts a week consisting of a 5 minute warm-up walk, a variety of run/walk combinations that increase the amount of jogging time each week until you are running (in theory) a 5k, and a 5 minute cool down walk.  Now at my slogging pace, I will not actually be to the point of doing a 5k in 30 minutes, but that's OK!

C25k tools
Now you may be wondering how does this program work?  How do you know when to run, when to walk, and for how long?  There are 3 ways to participate in this training program.
  • Manually - you can get the c25k training program details (how long to walk/run for each day of the training) from their website - or other sources online.  Then use a stopwatch or the timer on your treadmill to manually figure out when to walk/run.  Pretty much a pain, but better than nothing!
  • Podcast - there are several people that have created Mp3 podcasts you can download to your mp3 player, computer, phone or any other techo device that would work to listen to while you run.  They typically have a set playlist of music and a recorded voice will talk over the music and cue you when it is time to run/walk.  Just google "c25k podcast" or something similar and you should get lots of results to check out and find something that will suit your musical tastes.  Downside here is you are stuck with the music they pick.
  • iPod/phone app - there are apps you can download from the istore or andriod marketplace that will work with your music.  Some have a small fee, but there are also several free ones.  You just play the music of your choice (more info on what I do below) and start the app.  The app will show you a timer (don't feel obligated to watch the timer though!  In fact, I encourage you NOT to!) and will cue you over your music when it is time to run/walk.  The best part about this is you have control over the music you listen to!
    • Personally, I use the free Zen Labs app.  Its been reliable, easy to use.  I can post an update to facebook and twitter if i want after I complete my training for the day.
I told you my slogging is slow.  How slow?  Like 4.0 mph (4.3 max so far) slow.  So that is like a 47 minute 5k.  For those of you that keep up with the blog, yes that was about the exact speed that I finished my last 5k a couple  of weeks ago in which I slogged a mere 8 minutes (but alas, 8 minutes more than I ever had before!!).  I am only 5'4" and I don't think I have a very long stride.  So it has been a lot of work to speed up my short, stubbly little legs.  Basically my slog is the same speed as my brisk walk, I think I just bounce more or something.  When I alternate between the run/walk sections of the training I only bring the speed down 2 or 3 tenths at the most.  Some days I have been able to walk at the same speed.  That's depressing.  But I have heard from others and have found this to be true from my personal experience....I am focusing on getting through the daily training, not how fast I am while doing it!  If I run at a faster pace but have to give up and stop partway through, that defeats the purpose and is quite frankly demoralizing!  So instead I focus on making sure I am at a manageable pace and can make it through the session.  When I have completed the program, I will start over and work on improving my pace, so I at some point I could conceivably actually be doing a 5k in 30 min..

Indoor or outdoor?
Personally, I prefer indoor on my treadmill, but MANY people will tell you outdoor is the way to go and that it is actually easier.  For me, I have realized that I like to look at the outdoors, but I don't necessarily like to be in it, especially for something like slogging!  I don't do temperatures when doing physical activity so if it isn't a perfect 65-75 degree day, I struggle.  I have trouble with my lungs and sinus burning in the cold and I get heat exhaustion pretty easily so have to watch the heat.  I did struggle with the treadmill at first.  We had a couple of nice days, so I did 2 training sessions outside (in KS, we have few days where it's not too hot, too cold, or too windy in my book).  In my outdoor runs I learned to self regulate my pace and to not watch the timer.  Again, I am thinking that once I get through the training program successfully, I will work on challenging myself in other ways and one would be to do it outdoors.

Some people create their own playlist of fave music.  I haven't gone this route yet.  I am cheap and am not a big fan of buying songs. I have a zune membership for unlimited downloads monthly, but I can't do the app and the music on that device (oh don't get me started on my love/hate relationship with Zune).  I personally have been using Pandora.  If you search for "workout" in the stations you can find one for about any kind of music you like.  I like that I can tell it if I like the song or not and it will adjust my playlist to what I like.  The downside is that if you want variety, it is harder to get.  If you do want to go the route of creating a playlist, you can google and again come up with tons of results!  I have also been experimenting with watching tv  while slogging.  I like the beat of the music, but I like the distraction of tv too....I can't hear my brain complain as much.  So sometimes I have put the tv on mute just to have something to watch and then listen to the music for the beat.  My personal experience here is that I need my FAVE songs and a good beat is a MUST if I am going to do music.  So I think I will be working on a playlist before my next 5k.

GET GOOD SHOES!!!!  I have heard from sooooo many people this is a must and I wholeheartedly agree!  I tried to start c25k before I got good shoes and I was miserable and think I ended up with plantar faciatus.  OUCH!  Part of getting good shoes is getting fitted for them (not just picking them by how they look or the color like I used to do).  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND going to a running store and having them fit you.  They will check out your feet, and watch you walk to determine the type of shoe that will best suit you (I have super flat feet).  They will have you try on several pair before making a decision.  I have even heard some stores even have a treadmill so you can "try before you buy" to make sure they are comfy.  I have also heard that if you buy them and hate them when you run the first time, some stores will let you exchange.  Also, it is recommended that you replace your shoes after 300-500 miles (instead of when they start falling apart like I used to!).  The cushioning will begin to break down over time and can actually lead to injury if you run on old shoes.

Compression pants
Compression pants/capris are a gift from heaven and a must have as far as I am concerned.  They keep my jello from being too wiggly and giggly.  I actually don't feel completely self-conscious in them and almost feel "skinny".  That is saying a lot.  And I think it is easier to do a workout when you are not competing with the resistance layers of fat or extra skin.  I wear them for jogging and doing Jillian videos...the more high impact stuff.  I got my pants at Old Navy and LOVE them!!!  Only about $22 they are affordable and awesome!

Sports Bra
When you are as well endowed as I am, you definitely need a GOOD sports bra that can hold the girls in place through a strenuous workout.  Since I never used to workout, I never had to worry about it.  And even when I started working out, I was just walking so I just used my ill-fitting and completely unsupportive uni-boob sports bras I got while nursing my youngest.  So when I started doing jumping jacks during Jillian's 30 day shred and eventually jogging, a new bra was a quick must!  I wasn't really sure what to buy, but didn't want to have to order something online (although that's usually how I have to get my bras....could never get my size in stores before) so I just checked out the local Target to see if the girls have shrunk enough for semi-normal sizes yet....and I was shocked to find one I loved!  A Champion Racerback and was under $20!  This thing securely holds the girls in place so there is no pain or discomfort (or black eyes).

Compression socks
I don't have any compression socks yet, but have heard of several people that swear by them.  I am considering putting them on my Christmas list.  Some of the reported benefits of compression socks include:

  • improved oxygen delivery to muscles
  • accelerated lactic acid removal
  • stabilization of the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency
  • enhanced venous return to the heart through a more efficient calf muscle pump, leading to increased endurance capacity
  • cramp prevention
  • minimized muscle fatigue as a result of more compact muscles, which enhances balance and proprioception and reduces muscle fatigue

I also use a couple other tools when slogging.  Yes I feel like the bionic woman with all the gadgets and gizmos I have attached to me and it takes me 5 minutes to actually start my slogging adventure because of how long it takes me to turn everything on (I kid....a slight exaggeration here) but what can I say....I love data!

  • Body Media Link armband - I use this to track my daily calorie burn.  It has really helped me understand what my body is burning.  I have found that the machine and other estimates are just not very accurate and this helps me to determine what my caloric intake needs to be.  I also find that I am challenged by trying to beat my own personal records for steps taken, calories burned, intensity, etc.  I love this!!!

  • Garmin FR70 - a watch to time my slogging, it has GPS to track my courses, I can log laps to get my split times, and it's a heart rate monitor.  My favorite thing about it is that it is compatible with my body media armband.  I got mine on Amazon.

  • Runkeeper - another phone app I use to log my slogging.  I use this one because it will play over my music and tell me my time, distance and pace.  That was especially helpful during my last 5k.  It was nice to know how I was doing without trying to look at my gadgets all the time!  My favorite part about this one though is that it links to my wellness tracking for work so I don't have to log my workouts to get my incentive points.  
I have always been slow.  I have never liked it.  I hope that someday I might tolerate it, or even come to like it, dare I even dream to oneday ever love it?  But for now I like it because it is making the #$&%! scale move in the right direction.  I started c25k at the end of September.  Since then I am down about 7 pounds.  I truly credit this change in my workout for finally breaking through my plateau (I only lost 2.2 pounds for the entire month of Aug).  I have started seeing consistent losses on the scale for the first time in a long time!  It feels like the most recent 5 pounds gone has taken a lot less time (and frustration) to come off!  So I can now officially say that I am down 65 pounds from where I started in Aug 2011.  
(pardon the crappy, blurry cell phone pic...I was obviously shaking with excitement!)

I am excited with the changes in my body, but most importantly in the changes in myself and my ability to conquer something that has been a challenge to me most of my life.  So I suck it up and slog on.  Here's to one day being a true runner in my own heart.

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