Thursday, October 20, 2016

Family Ties

Question...have you ever seen a cuter family?
I am literally obsessed with this family selfie I took last week as we hiked Starved Rock. These people are my absolute world. In this picture beside me is my cousin Jessica, cousin David, Uncle Jay, Aunt Tiffany, Aunt Teri, Uncle Larry, Uncle Scott, Audie and Grandma. Some people don't like the time they spend with their family but I would absolutely choose the people in this picture over anyone else. How is this related to the theme of my blog? Well, weight issues are something we all have dealt with in my family.
My cousin Jessica is currently becoming a lover of running. Naturally thin, she is getting into being fit. She is training for a longer run than she's ever done and she's doing an amazing job. I love supporting her and she loves supporting me. My Uncle Scott recently joined a contest at his gym - he is naturally a larger person but not larger in the "fat" way but more in the "built" way. He's a BIG guy! Very intimidating but a giant teddy bear. He has cut out alcohol and refocused his diet to cut what fat he has to build more muscle. He's a solid man! My Uncle Jay and Aunt Tiffany together have lost a lot of weight over the years. They work together as a unit to eat healthy and work out, along with their pups. Aunt Tiffany had also worked for Weight Watchers before I did and she was very successful on the program. My Grandma has been working Weight Watchers for YEARS! I mean back in the day when basically they could only eat liver and onions or something crazy like that. We check in with each other weekly on our weigh-in progress and she has always been concerned about my health and weight. Finally, my Aunt Teri was the initiator of our family becoming healthier. Back almost 20 years ago my aunt embarked on her weight-loss journey where she lost a significant amount of weight through health eating and physical activities and has since kept it off and remained as healthy, along with her husband. Both are extremely active and support everyone in all of their health lifestyle choices.
This past weekend was an example of why I love spending my time with them. We had plans to go apple picking which we do every year as a family. It is something my grandparents did with me as a child and I wanted to continue this tradition as an adult and hopefully will be able to continue with my children. We especially look forward to this weekend each year since my Papa passed away because he always really enjoyed apple picking. We do it in his honor. We decided to try a new U-Pick place this year instead of the place we've gone for the past decade. When I pulled up, two sets of aunts and uncles were already there. We were waiting on the last set, plus the cousins, and Grandma. My aunt greeted me with a cheerful "Want to hear a funny joke?" - well, duh. She proceeds to tell me that there are NO apples to pick! We all drove 2 hours and there are no apples! We are an incredibly positive family and right away I laughed. Of course we'd drive two hours for no apples! What now? Collectively we decided that the day must go on! Until a few years ago, we would have never decided that our back up plan would have been to drive 45 mins to hike. We decided that we were going to go to Starved Rock and hike the trail. It was so beautiful and we were so proud of Grandma for how much she walked with us on the unsteady paths.
We followed our hike with a well-deserved lunch at a brewery in town. Here is a personal celebration for myself: I chose not to drink beer (I love beer. Especially craft beer) and I chose a healthier option for lunch. This all culminated into my weight-in last night where I lost 3.0lbs this week. 8.0 lbs total. It's a good start for my first month and I'm really happy with my progress so far. I've made many better choices from the food I eat to the beer I drink. I am still able to enjoy the things I love and I am able to be social but with modifications.
What followed our fun family day was our 7th Annual Chili Cook-off on Sunday. Another family-filled day with some friends in the mix as well. Between both Saturday and Sunday and I was still able to lose 3 lbs. I'm pretty proud of myself! I earned my first token at Weight Watchers which is a charm holder for the milestones I'll earn.
I don't quite feel any different from the 8 lbs. However, my attitude and self-worth is much higher than it was last week in my resurrection post.
It's a good start for another long journey.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A "Big" Disappointment, Pun-Intended

If I were you I'd be asking myself why I'm even reading this latest blog post.
Haven't I disappointed you all enough? Coming and going, being inconsistent, seeming like I'm ready to succeed and then failing. What a disappointment.
Well my friends, I've joined Weight Watchers again. Three weeks ago actually and so far I'm down 5 pounds. It's a start. Here's the most depressing part of it all...I weigh more than I ever have. After losing 68 pounds those few years ago, I've put it back on with some extra. Absolutely disgusting, isn't it? What kind of inspiration am I? I've lost myself. I've become distracted with temptations and vices. I am unhealthy, again.
I decided it was time to make changes. Again. It was the quote to the right that made me decide that it was time to begin again. Time to find the old me again. It was time to stop saying "I'm sorry" to both myself and to others but to really make a change in my behaviors.
Things in my life have been going pretty well. I earned tenure at the school I teach at, I finished my Master's Degree this past summer, I've moved into my own apartment, living for the first time alone, and I'm in a relationship for the first time since my divorce. Each of these items are pretty momentous in their own right. The most influential of the events listed are both moving into my own apartment and being in a relationship.
As cliché as it sounds, turning 30 was a milestone for me. I've always been one of those people who has always on the surface seemed to have had it together, but to those who know me intimately, they know that I really don't. I'm terrible with money, I've never lived alone, I rely on close friends and family a lot, and I don't ever want to grow up. Moving out on my own was a big step in the right direction. I love where I've moved - I fell in love with the building the minute I saw it. It is an old historic building that was a hotel doubled with a recording studio where a lot of famous people stayed back in the 1930's and 40's. The historic music vibe and the people in the building were incredibly welcoming and warm. It was the first space that I could make exactly my own with no outside influence. It was liberating! A new place to explore and new people to meet. Two of my favorite things! Naturally, that came along with trying new restaurants in the area and having company over at an alarming rate. This past summer was full of friends and food. All that being said, one of the great things about living on my own and restarting my weight loss journey is I do have my own space. I do not need to share a kitchen with a roommate or cook for anyone else. As I'm getting acclimated to eating differently again I can focus entirely on myself. In the past three weeks this has worked out fantastically. I cook when I want and what I want.
Turning 30 also made me think about the relationship I have. I am getting older and I have always put on the front that I do not want children or that I do not want to get married again. Truth is, I did not want children with my ex-husband. Luckily I was smart enough to realize this and ,after being together for 11 years, avoided having children. That being said, I have found someone that I do want children with some day. Let's be honest, some day means in the next 4 years...I will be in my mid-30's by then and I don't want to be an "old" mom. Finding someone that I want to have children with is a big deal. For years, I've stayed silent about how much I crave to me a stay-at-home mom and take care of my family. Oddly enough, this is not how I was raised. Everyone worked and I was given an amazing childhood, but for whatever reason this is what I want. I have been lucky enough to find a man that loves me both physically and emotionally. We aren't perfect by any means, but we know that regardless, we have each others back.
So what do these two things have to do with losing weight?
I feel that I've finally, in the past month, gained some control back. I have made decisions in the past year or two that have not been appropriate. I have lied to people, abused substances at times, and have been irresponsible. Not consistently, but even inconsistently that is not the person I know I am. When I came across the quote above I decided that when I was in control of my eating I was in control of most other aspects of my life. If you've never struggled with an eating disorder maybe this is hard for you to comprehend. When I am in control of my eating the decision I make overall are influenced. I drink incredibly yes, I have no problem telling people "no" and that being enough, I am more alert and more in tune to others around me. Getting this control back takes a level of selfishness. The first time I went through this journey I lost a lot of friends who did not support me. In fact, I was just going to mention being A Product of Your Environment but I've already written a post about that!
This post has been all over the place, hasn't it? I have a lot thoughts, especially since it's been so long since I've last blogged. Along with my goal of losing weight I'd like to get this blog back up and running like it use to be. My future posts won't be as scatterbrained as this one, but I'm sure you can understand that I have a lot to say. I've been struggling publicly with myself for the past five years and I think it's important to continue to add to this journey that I began back in 2011. I hope that as I continue to write you find things that are relatable to you. I remember a time when this blog was relatable and I let it go. It's time to bring it back.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

When Life Gets in the Way

August 2013 was the last time I blogged. You can imagine that I haven't blogged because I haven't been taking that great of care of myself. Isn't that what this blog is all about after all? I had excuses. Legitimate ones. Well, don't we all think our excuses are legitimate? In 2013, I unexpectedly lost my Papa. If you know me, you know how close I was to him and how unexpected his death was. One day fine, the next gone. At that time I decided to stop working for Weight Watchers. If you remember, I was a Weight Watcher leader for a couple of years, leading two meetings during the week on top of my regular teaching gig. I had lost my spunk, my sparkle. Keeping tabs on my health was not a priority to me anymore. I was sad. And like a lot of people I would drown my sorrows in food and drink, straying from the strict path of tracking my foods that I was previously following. I had attempted to get back to Weight Watchers but did not stick with it. Excuse number one. Excuse number two happened in 2014. Without getting into detail, my husband of six years asked me for a divorce. Another unexpected devastation in my life. I had felt as though I lost everything. My world as I knew it was coming to an end. I was less sad this time but rather more angry. With everything. My mental health has really taken a beating the past two years. I moved in with a great friend of mine in July. We work together and have the same schedule, so we had the rest of the summer off together. We had an amazing time, meeting new people and taking advantage of every opportunity to have fun. That all came at the expense of my weight. However, I had not realized it because my priority was surrounding myself with positive and happy people who could keep me smiliing and laughing during the most difficult times. Where do things like that typically happen but at bars and restaurants. I made a decision that in 2015 I have no excuses except my own laziness. I'm making this year about me. I know, I know, some of you who know me are staying to yourselves, "when isn't it about KC?" Touche. But back to when I took care of myself, consistently. Remember when I was running daily? 3-5 miles?! Where did that girl go? I was cooking new and exciting healthy meals and loved every minute of it. I did squats during commercial breaks when I would watch TV because I felt guily being idle! Luckily, I have not gained all the weight back from my original beginning of weight loss, but I have a good 40 pounds that I would like to lose. I did it once, hell, I lost 68 pounds - what's 40 this time? I still enjoyed myself and participated in all the social events I could get invited to, nothing is different this time. If you followed my journey before, I hope you are ready to jump back on board with me. If you weren't aware of my journey before, I hope you look at my past posts and see where this all started. The engine is started and I'm ready roll...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taking Back Control


It is no doubt I have lost it these past five months. I believe my last post was even about how I was getting back on track, however, I hadn't. I am not going to apologize that I am not one of those people who can come across clothing I wore a year ago and say they still fit. I am not going to apologize that I really don't like working out or always eating healthy. I will apologize, however, that I have not been the best motivator or “inspiration” to those people who had looked so closely to me for weight loss support and followed my journey the past three years.

School is back in which means routine is back too. I am a person that heavily relies on routine. When routine wavers, so do I. I suppose that is something I need to work on.

Today I joined a Biggest Loser contest at school that runs for 12 weeks. There are 35 of us involved in this contest and it's a really decent prize at the end of the 12 weeks. Good motivation, besides fitting back into my smaller jeans. I'm doing a lot of the same when I was doing Weight Watchers; packing my lunch for the week, heavy on veggie and protein, beginning a workout regime, every day after school, watching alcohol intake, etc. One major difference I've decided to do this time around is not seeing my actual weight.

How weird, right?

I do not want to know what my actual weight is. I want to focus on how I feel. When I was an active Weight Watcher member, I became very obsessive over the number on the scale. When I was doing all the right things, like exercising well and eating perfectly and wouldn’t see a difference in number I did not care that my pants fit better or that I could run farther or faster than the week before. It was all about the number. For me, that was not good. When I finally hit my goal weight at 125lbs, I was happy to hit the number but I was way too thin and did not look attractive to myself. I should not wear a size 0 like I did at 125lbs. I had no hips, a small chest, was just not “womanly.” I’m prideful of my curves and quite honestly, so is my husband. So, this time around I am not looking at the number. My co-worker will weigh me in each week and keep track for me. I’d like to know what I lost in pounds each week but don’t want to focus on hitting a certain weight. I know how my pants should fit and once I’m back into my 4/5’s I don’t care what the number is on the scale only that my pants fit well again.

This is a new approach for me, so I’m anxious to see how it goes. It will be nice having my co-workers doing this with me and some looking at me for support or advice because I have done this before and have still managed to keep a lot of the weight off.

It is time to take control of my body again.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ready or Not

It's been three months since I last posted and a lot has happened in those three months, which hindered my blogging. But I feel I am ready to post and write about it.

Many of you know that my grandparents did a majority of raising me. Not taking anything away from my mother, whom I love so much, but she had me at such a young age that she took support from her parents. I lived with my Grandma and Papa until I got married at 22, with the exception of living with my mom for a few year when she was married to my sister's dad. Although I would typically go back to my grandparent's house on the weekends. Needless to say, I am extremely close with my maternal grandparents.

On March 6th, during 2nd period, I received a text message from my Aunt Teri, asking for me to call her when I get a chance. Luckily, I was on my plan time so I called right away. She informed me that they think Papa had a stroke and not to worry just yet because they were unsure of exactly what had happened at this point. Naturally, I instantly lost it at work. One of my co-workers pulled me into her office to cry and call my husband to tell him that he has to come pick me up and we need to get to the hospital.

Upon arrival to the hospital, my grandma and aunt were the only ones there yet and told us that it was not a stoke but a brain aneurysm. The doctor gave us little hope of survival, saying that only 50% of people make it this far and it only gets worse from here. Unless a miracle was to happen, I was going to lose my Papa. My God how I prayed then that it was just the stroke that I had been told they thought it was first.

I am not going to go into all of the emotional details of that day and the days that follow, but I reminded of how blessed I am to be surrounded by supportive in-laws, friends and even co-workers. I still cannot believe the support I recieved from the school I've only worked at for not even one full school year. I cannot say that I am surprised as to how strong our family is, because I already know that. I don't have a typical family setting, as my brothers and sisters are my aunts and uncles. We choose to spend a lot of our free time together, sharing a meal and/or playing games. We are luckily a big picture taking family. We figured that out when we made the photo boards for Papa's wake. We could have filled 50 boards and still had pictures left over. The running joke was if there was any picture without me and Papa and me sitting on his lap, even at the age of 27. I was Papa's girl and everyone knew it. Hey, my license plate even says it. They say parent's don't play favorites but we all know he was my favorite and I was his.

Changes followed after this. I dropped both of my Weight Watcher meetings that I was leading. I was not the spunky, lively leader at the front of the room and I wasn't sure when I'd get that back. It isn't fair for me to guide people when I myself needed some guiding. I'm not much of a talker or a crier and being around people isn't really what I wanted. So I dropped them both. And to be frank, in the weeks to follow, I cared less about my eating habits and my exercise habits. I could probably stand to lose 10-15 pounds which is what I gained since the beginning of the school year, the most of it since March 7th. I weighed in at 148 this past Monday.

Good changes follow also. I have been thinking about extending our family. I've never much cared to be called "mom" but with the loss my family has had, maybe it's soon time for a gain. That's all I'll say for now.

I've started getting back on track this week. I haven't started tracking my food just yet, but I've begun running again and working out with co-workers after school since we have access to an entire gym. I've been more conscience of what I eat and how much I eat. And drink.

We know that I am not one of those that naturally gets high from exercise and heathly eating. I have poor eating habits when I don't think about them and like most people, exercising blows. I do it because I have to, not because I want to, generally. This is why I relate to most people who struggle with their weight. I'm not even close to perfect. I have to work hard to keep motivated and I'm easily distracted. When stress hits or routine is changed or a huge piece of life is taken away too soon, sometimes relapse follows.

I'm ready to get back on track and live post-Papa. I will still struggle and I will still fall off track once in a while. But with the support around me, I will continue to succeed and I have before.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

To cleanse, or not to cleanse?

I have never done a cleanse before, and quite frankly, at this exact moment, I'm not a huge fan. That's probably because I'm starving and can't do anything about it.

Why I am I doing a cleanse? It's post-holiday season and I ate a lot of foods that I only get once a year. My first holiday season when I began to lose weight, I was very strict and lost weight over the holidays. However, I focused so much on losing weight that I didn't truly enjoy myself while visiting with friends and family. All I thought about was what I can and can't have if I want to lose weight. For the last two holidays, I've been at goal (or around goal) and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. I didn't worry about what I consumed because I knew once the holidays were over, I'd get right back on track with my normal healthy eating. For some reason, I thought doing a cleanse this post-holiday would be something new to jump start me back on my normal path of eating. All I feel like doing right now is consuming a family size pizza in bed while watching a Lifetime movie. And it's only day one.

I found this cleanse on Pinterest and it seemed like a good one because there is actual food involved, it's not just a juice cleanse. Here are the details:

Breakfast:
1 cup skim milk
1 cup berries
1 tsp peanut butter

Snack:
1 cup cucumbers
1 cup green tea

Lunch:
4 oz chicken breast
steamed spinach
2 tsp. EVOO

Snack:
10 asparagus spears
1 cup green tea

Dinner:
Same as lunch

I've only had 5 WW PointsPlus today out of my normal 26. This is giving me a great new appreciation for my typical WW plan and how much food I actually get to eat in a regular day. Today, I feel like I'm dieting, which I've never done before. I really don't know if I can handle 48 hours of this. I'm irritable and losing concentration quite easily. I cannot work out because I have no energy.

I spoke with a good friend of mine about cleanses and she's a pretty clean eater regularly plus has a rare digestive issue that causes her to really have to limit the fruits and vegetables that she consumes. She suggested a Detox Bath that she takes frequently. Instead of the lavender oil shown in the link, she uses ground ginger. I haven't taken this bath yet, but I do plan on it tonight.

I haven't decided if I'm going to finish this up or not. This is just my first go at a cleanse, maybe it's just not the one for me...? I'm not sure. Do all cleanses leave you feeling so deprived? Maybe just getting back into my normal eating routine is what I need to do, and not mess around with calorie-depriving myself. I'm not looking to lose weight, I'm just looking to get healthier foods back in my body. Certainly I don't need a cleanse to do that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Schaumburg Half Marathon



The day finally came and went. I started a training program 11 weeks ago for the goal I had myself at New Years. I've started this last year, instead of a New Years resolution, I made a New Years goal in which I have all year to accomplish. For 2012, it was the half marathon.

I did really well on the training program for about 7 weeks. I was making all my runs and cross-train days, but I started assistant coaching freshman basketball and that really took over my time after school. My training started to slack because I typically don't get home until after 7:00 pm, by which time we have dinner and it's too dark for me to go running outside. As yesterday approached, I wasn't too concerned. I knew I could finish and I was up to 8.5 miles of non-stop running in my training. Yesterday I made it up to about 9.5 before I took my first walk for about 30 seconds. Overall, I walked less than 1/2 mile throughout the entire 13.1 miles. I was pretty impressed with myself.

I was pumped and ready to go. I was a little nervous on Friday, but Saturday I felt great. Friday night I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought a brand new running outfit. I've wanted compression pants for a long time but didn't want to drop the money on them. I was lucky to find both Nike compression pants and a Nike compression top for only $70 with all the Black Friday sales/coupons. For $70, I had to get both and I'm glad I did. They were the keep warm kind also, which was perfect since it was only 25 degrees during the race. At 9:15 am, off I went. Well, really it was 9:25 am by the time I crossed the starting line. I had set a light goal for myself. I say light goal, because realistically, my goal was to finish a half marathon this year. However, throughout training I was keeping a good pace on long runs at 11:00 min/miles and was hoping to be consistent with that during the race. It's amazing how different it is from short runs. At first I was down on myself for training at such a slow pace for myself when I can run a 5k with a 9-9:30 min/mile. Obviously, keeping pace for 13 miles is much different than 3 miles and I eventually got over it. So, at 11:00 min/miles for 13.1 miles it should have taken 144.1 minutes which is 2 hours and 24 minutes. My official race time was 2 hours and 29 minutes (17 seconds), so about a 11:24 min/mile. I placed 1424 out of 1647 runners, and 115th out of 150 in my age group (Female 25-29). I was a bit on the slower side but I'm okay with that! I did my absolute best and I am sure feeling that today.

Up until around mile 9 I was doing great and felt great. Towards the end, my hip flexors really began to hurt. My aunt had suggested it was because I was taking the same sort of step, or running the same way for so long, so we quickly walked using a long stride and sort of swinging my hips in a different motion to open them up and move them differently. That was the only thing that had bothered me throughout the entire race, but boy was it painful! That was during mile 11 that I finally stretched them out because I wanted to finish strong, which I did. I picked up my pace and sprinted (or at least what felt like sprinting after 2 1/2 hours of running) through the finish line to pick up my finishers medal.

Kristian felt really bad that he couldn't be there to support me, however, in my absentmindedness, I registered for the race during his annual family trip up to deer camp. I was totally okay with it though, he felt worse than he needed too. It worked out well, I took the dogs and stayed at my uncle's house which is a bit closer to the race than where I live. I drove to my co-workers house, which is like 2 miles from the starting line and she and her boyfriend dropped me off and picked me up. It was great! Didn't have to fight parking or anything. I really appreciated that.

What really helped me through was having my Aunt Teri there to help pace me throughout the race. She met me some time between mile 3 and 4 and jumped in to run with me. It was nice to chat with someone while running, it really made the time fly when she left me around mile 6. Then I was on my own again until she met up with me around mile 10. This time, my Uncle Larry was with her too, taking photos. He ran with us a bit, snapping photos but not for very long. He's a bike rider, not a runner. My aunt ran with me just until the finish line where she hopped out and let me finish in all my glory. I'm really glad she was there. Once I started hurting, if I was alone chances are I would have walked more and gotten down on myself, but I didn't. So a big "THANK YOU" to my aunt for being there and running with me.

Photo: Great job on the 1/2 KC!I'm pretty sore today. My hips are okay, but my back, my thighs and the front of my feet hurt. Almost the ankle, but more towards the front, like the tendon that goes to your big toe. It's weird but that's where it hurts.
As I mentioned yesterday to those I was with, I have absolute no desire to run a full marathon. As I was closing in on the finish line yesterday, I told my aunt that there is no way I'd do 26.2 miles. She reminded me that I'd only be half way done. No way! I am proud of my 13.1 miles. If you ever hear me mentioning that I want to run a full marathon, please direct me to this blog post so I can remember the half marathon.