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Progress – Summer 2015

Back in December I decided to stop tracking my calories and just see what happens. For a long time I stayed in my weight range. I moved to TX, my entire routine changed… and I slowly gained a few pounds. It is not a massive amount so I’m not overly stressed, but I have been hovering around 133-135 for a few months. I feel fine and I know I’m healthy but I made the decision to try inputting my calories into MyFitnessPal again to try to drop back to the mid 120s. I’ll see how that goes! I told myself when I stopped counting calories that if I felt like I was backsliding I could always come back to the app and do what I know worked before. I am doing it for myself, first and foremost. A secondary and very cool reason I am using it again is because Matt asked me to help him start using the app as well. He is doing P90X 3 (yay Matt! So proud of that dedication!) and he wanted to make sure he was mindful of what he is eating. Since I had been thinking about using MFP again anyway, when he asked for help/accountability with inputting his calories I decided this was a good time for me too.

Everyone has a soft spot, something they are sensitive about. Here is one of my honest self-loathing picky things, and one main reason I want to drop a few pounds. I have mentioned it before, but I get fat faced very easily. I feel like my face is looking chunkier with these few extra pounds and my jaw line is less defined. And, quite frankly: I hate that. It’s my least favorite thing about my body. When I was down in the 120s my jawline is fine, my face looks normal. When I crawl up over 130+ my double chin starts to slowly appear. Ick. Time to lose that shit!

It’s rough right now too, we’ve had a pretty tame summer but recently it finally started getting really hot and humid. Humidity can make it tough to run. This article from Runner’s World explains it better than I can, but it boils down to not being able to cool down and feeling like you’re breathing through a straw. Humidity can feel nice when it’s cooler and breezy out because the air on your wet skin instantly cools you down but right now it’s just trapping the heat in. The last few weeks I’ve been spending more time in the gym and less time outdoors to make it through, but I get bored running long distances in the gym. Still getting out at least once a week to run outdoors but for no more than 3 or 4 miles. But that’s ok, I figure by the time it cools off I’ll be primed and ready to run longer!

Went kayaking this past weekend – I loved it! Man, what a fucking workout. My upper body felt like noodles when I finished. I am absolutely going to get out there again soon. It was so cool floating and rowing through downtown, surrounded by green growing things and turtles as well drifting under bridges with skyscrapers on the horizon. What a cool way to spend the morning.

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

I’m also super excited about my new running shoes! I am WAY overdue on getting some new kicks to run in. My sister and her husband have been running in Asics for awhile and love them, I finally went and tried some on, and dude. So comfortable. And they look rad!

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 9

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 9

Going to start to break them on today’s run! Stoked.

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Progress – December 2014 to January 2015

I have been in my weight range (120-125 lbs.) for most of the last two months. I jumped up a couple extra pounds during X-mas and New Years (no huge shock). I quickly dropped back down below 125, but the last couple of days I am up again to 126/127 pounds. The last week or so I have been eating more carbs for my calorie intake to prep for the half marathon on Sunday – TOMORROW!! Based on what I have read I knew I could expect to add a few extra pounds on with a heavier carb based diet even if I am eating the same general amount of calories overall. Once I get back into normal eating mode after the marathon I’m sure I’ll drop back into my normal maintenance weight range.

Maintenance mode still feels like a success, especially since I know why I’m temporarily a little heavier on the scale. I’m feeling really positive about this because I’ve done it without using MyFitnessPal as I mentioned in a post a little while back. I was worried there would be a major backslide, but other than the normal holiday enjoyment I think I’m doing really well!

My very supportive and awesome husband Matt surprised me with a gift after I signed up for the half marathon. He got me a massage roller. Holy cow, amazing. My muscles were a little sore from last weekend, I ran nearly 9.5 miles on the trail. I used it on my tired muscles and it felt great. I know I will need it after the 13+ miles tomorrow! I also made sure to have a box of Epsom salt ready to bathe in after the run. I’ve been pretty lucky so far to not have major joint issues, just muscle soreness. These items really help to alleviate that.

Last thing – I’ve been to plenty of marathons and cheered from the sidelines. I loved when people had names written on their shirts so the crowds could cheer for them as they ran. I decided to make my own shirt in the hopes that I hear a cheer along the way. Never know, that could come at just the right moment when I need it the most!

Homemade marathon shirt

Homemade marathon shirt

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Progress – September to November 2014

I haven’t done an official “progress” post in months. Not much to report, other than I’m really dialed in with maintaining. Still hitting right in the 120-125 range I aim for.

Finally, cool weather! Hitting up my normal weekly runs, as well as mixing in some hiking and biking as well.

IMG_0333

South Mountain, gloomy day

Running South Mountain

Running South Mountain

Screen grab by Matt of me running South Mountain

Screen grab by Matt of me running South Mountain

I’ve been running at my work’s gym during the week a lot but now that the temperature dropped I think I will be able to just go running outdoors after work. Finally! I mean, it’s November already for Christ’s sake. It’s about damn time I can go running in the afternoon without roasting alive.

Hiked/ran a mountain new to me today. North Mountain.

North Mountain, view of Phoenix

North Mountain, view of Phoenix

It was cool, pretty steep but a little less intense than Camelback. Hiked up and ran down, nice little workout!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was able to model for a local photographer, as she was looking for tattooed people to shoot. I got the photos back, and I really love them!

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Thrilled. (If you are local to AZ and want a great portrait photographer, check out Araya Photography.) I don’t know how to say this without sounding a little lame: I feel pretty. It’s really fun to see photos of myself that look so nice! When I saw the first one, my mind was blown. I didn’t actually recognize myself at first. I recognized the tattoos before my own face. Weird, right?

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Progress – August 2014

My weight is still in my desired range – I’m usually 123 when I weigh myself lately. I traveled a lot this summer and after one vacation I came back and I was back up to 127 but within 3 days of being back in my routine (and kitchen) I was back to my 120-125 range.

I did something really out of the ordinary for myself – I volunteered to “model” for a professional photographer who was looking to expand her portfolio (she was looking for tattooed folks). For many years I hid from the camera. I am no longer that girl, and I actually really enjoy getting my photo taken these days. So when a coworker alerted me to the photographer’s search I quickly responded. (As soon as I get the digital copies I plan to include them in a post with a link to her site! Stay tuned!)

It’s an especially strange choice when I think back to how I used to feel about being the subject of a photograph. There is a giant span of time where barely any photos exist of me. I was good at dodging cameras when I was at my heaviest. When a photo was being taken I tried to move quick to make sure I was behind someone or that the best angle was used to hide how big I was. Also, any time a bad photo was posted by someone else I would ask them to delete it.

The other day a friend posted a few photos from their wedding 4 years ago. One photo that went up was a big group photo and I was horrified to see myself and my husband, Matt, at our very fattest. At first my instinct was to feel awful and want to get it deleted. Then a wonderful old friend forwarded it to me with a very lovely message:

You’ve been my friend for so long and I hardly ever tell you how much I love you and look up to you. I’m so proud of you with how far you have come with your weight loss…it’s truly inspiring. Love you Jillybean!

It was a relief to hear something so positive come when I was feeling so self conscious, and now I am embracing this old shot and comparing it for this (kind of incredible) before and after.

beforeafteromg

WOW. Right???

Not only did I clearly lose a ton of weight, but holy shit… check out Matt! What a stud. I’m really proud of us. I don’t know if I would have been half as successful without him there cheering me on and being an understanding partner through all the cravings, struggles, and setbacks. He is amazing and I am truly lucky to be loved by him.

 

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Progress – June to July 2014

Still maintaining my weight! My goal was to keep myself between 120-125 and I’ve got it on lock.

This is especially impressive because I have been a traveling fool all summer. I’ve already been to three different states and I will be traveling to two more before summer wraps. This has been the summer of wedding trips and babies being born. I’m especially excited to go meet my baby niece in Texas! That will be my next trip, which will then be followed with the final wedding trip to New Jersey for one of my cousins. I’ve already been to Texas once this summer for my sis’s baby shower, then Georgia for one cousin’s wedding, and finally Milwaukee for a best friend’s wedding – I was the officiant!! That was a surreal and touching experience, I really loved it.

I think the fact that I’ve maintained is impressive, because I’ve been eating delicious (naughty) food. The most recent trip was to Milwaukee – SO MANY CHEESE CURDS EVERYWHERE. Oh lord. I mean, I am a little lactose intolerant so I typically avoid cheese but I just couldn’t help myself here. It was everywhere, and it was amazing. But I made sure to walk everywhere and my husband Matt and I went running nearly every morning. I did so well I had even dropped a pound within my range when I got back and weighed myself.

Did a little sassy hotel modeling (wearing Black MilkThe Dress 2.0):

litte black dress

little black dress

I love finally being secure enough with my body to wear a little black dress.

I guess the point I’m trying to make about food and progress this time can be narrowed down to this: Please eat delicious food. Just take care of yourself; as long as you are active and exercise you can TOTALLY splurge on cheese for four days straight. Seriously, I wouldn’t have changed a thing, nothing was damaged when it comes to my progress because I earned all that cheese!

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Progress – April to May 2014

Current status: Still floating between 121 and 125 lbs.

These days I’ve been running much more. Not as much trail running but a lot more street and path. I can tell I’m starting to add more muscle and replace fat on my body. The arm jiggle is essentially gone. Although I typically float closer to 125 on the scale, my clothes are still fitting better and better. Doesn’t surprise me, as muscle weighs more than fat. I’m not aiming for big muscles on my body, but tone and definition. I can see it most clearly in my legs.

legs

They aren’t huge, but they are a “normal” thickness now. My whole life I’ve had chicken legs. Even when I was heavier I had scrawny long legs. Not so much now. I really like that my legs are thicker.

For the first time really in my life, I’m getting pretty sad about aging. I turned 34 this week. I am usually met with surprise when someone finds out my age – and I’m grateful I still look pretty young. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m in my mid thirties. I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much. I am usually pretty excited to celebrate birthdays. I had a wonderful day but I am kind of relieved it’s over.

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Progress – March 2014

Still hanging around in maintenance mode. My weight fluctuates as low as 121 and as high as 124 when I weigh myself. The 121 was a surprise when I started seeing that in the mix – that is my lowest weight yet. But I am not really trying to lose anymore. I would say my goal is to hang out between 120-125 pounds. Having that room takes the pressure off a little. I am not overly concerned if I’m up or down a few pounds. A 5 pound range is easy to deal with, mentally.

This last week my husband and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. We celebrated a lot – eating out and drinking a few times, even staying the night at a hotel. It was really fun. The week is wrapped up now, and as good as it was, there is a big part of me that is fed up with eating out. Ready to get back to normal mode! I also want to step back and lower the amount of alcohol I drink even more. I HATE that bloated alcohol feeling the next day, even if I only have a few drinks. All those empty calories are really such a waste. I’ve also read a few articles that say your body doesn’t know how to process fat and carbs when alcohol is introduced so your body just stores it. Gross. I’m not cutting out alcohol entirely, just cutting back. Seems dumb to work so hard on exercise and healthy eating only to undo it in a few glasses.

Here is a quick progress picture from when I first hit 121 on the scale:

121

And pics from this month, just because.

march

I seem to be REALLY into the exact same pose this month. Hand on hip, slight turn to camera. BOOM (ridiculous).

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Progress – February 2014

Current status: Maintenance mode successful! Still 123 lbs, same as January.

My focus has shifted towards building endurance and physical strength for longer running. I am still really in love with trail running. All new, shiny, and exciting to me. I want to have to take less walking steps when I go trail running. I’ve gotten really good at it – my speed is still pretty slow (12 minute miles avg) but I am walking less each time. One issue was the last two runs I got searing stitches in my side during a stretch of the run. I ran through them for the most part, but for each I had to stop for a couple minutes and breathe very deeply to work them out. I read a few things and it seems that my problem is most likely that I’m not breathing deeply enough. I was told by another person I have gone trail running with that I should keep uneven breaths in and out so I don’t always exhale on the same foot, like counting 4 in, 3 out. It hadn’t really dawned on me that breathing a certain way could be so important, beyond just you know… remembering to breathe. There is a very steep mountain on the trail I typically run, and I have been working on trying to run up more of it. I can run up a few of the switchbacks now, and I also take more opportunities to run for short distances up a few of the less steep portions. Progress! I’m sure someday my goal will be to aim for lower run time but for now, just doing it has me feeling proud and accomplished!

Here’s my morning playground

somo

Gorgeous. That’s South Mountain in Phoenix. It’s cool seeing the sun rise while I’m out there running over rocks. Just an exhilarating way to begin a day. My schedule will be changing again, so I sadly won’t be able to do this before work soon. I plan to still work it into my week on one of my days off, it just means less opportunities to hit it.

The never-ending cycle of dri-fit (or similar) clothes to be washed and hung dry.

dri-fit

I’m sick at the moment. It drives me crazy, I want to get out and do something outside because the weather here is amazing. But I’m stuck here in my home, constructing a tissue mountain. Lame.

My husband got me another pair of BlackMilk leggings for Valentines. He’s the best. I am obsessed with these leggings, and how my get-away-sticks look in them.

mermaidlegs

Went to Renaissance Festival. I love it, I get totally nerdy with my husband and we even dress up. Whatever, it’s my guilty pleasure and my husband looks HOT in a kilt. I have a before/after photo of me dressed up. The left was 2012. The right was last weekend. At least 40 lb difference there.

refestcompare

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Progress – January 2014

Current status: 123 pounds, 19.3 BMI. (I am 5′ 7″ for anyone wondering)

Feeling good about my progress. I’m not really trying to lose weight anymore, but I still have a mini goal in my back pocket to reach 120 pounds at some point. It’s nice to have a little weight goal, I suppose, but I’m not pushing hard for it.

One of the big reasons I started this was to better fit into my clothes. For example: I used to never, ever tuck in a shirt. Because I overcame that fear over the past few months, I’ve decided to use my outfit from a few days ago as my progress picture:

navytanktop

No muffin top! No love handles! Smooth sides. That is one of those things I never valued when I was young and effortlessly had slim sides. Now that I have earned that back, I’m proud.

I am going to be able to do some more trail running soon, with a temporary change happening with my work schedule. Since I love it, and even just hiking in general, I decided it was time to upgrade my shoes. All I had was a pair of running shoes that I’d been wearing out for well over a year. I know I waited too long to replace my sneakers – I used the same pair for every gym trip, every run, and even for hiking. They were good shoes, but I definitely went beyond than the recommended replacement length in them. I decided to upgrade by getting new running shoes and also new trail running shoes! I love them both. Haven’t snapped a picture of my running shoes yet, but here are my trail shoes taken during yesterday’s hike:

newtrailshoes

I have a couple of new goals. I am focused on my upcoming 5k, which is just barely over 3 miles. I can currently run it in just a little over 30 minutes. Last time I tried I did it in about 33 minutes. My goal is to slice a tiny bit of time off and hit the 5k in 30 minutes or less. My other goal is to not hurt anymore though. I hurt my knee when I did the first trail run. I also hurt the same knee doing my last 5k practice. It was all my fault too, I didn’t stretch! What a dummy. Ultimately the goal is to not only get better at the 5k, but to take care of myself while doing so! I want to be able to keep on doing this for a long time, I need to take care of these joints and muscles. I mean, I’m already 33 – no more youthful and near immediate bouncing back after injuries. This was my painful reminder to ALWAYS stretch before running.

 

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Progress – December 2013

I managed to make it through Christmas with my weight fluctuating in the same 2-3 pound area as before the vacation and holiday madness got underway. That is a big victory, as I am focused on maintaining rather than losing at this point. It was a true test, especially as I am a sucker for savory naughty holiday food. I have admittedly had a little less gym time, but my husband and I have made sure to take advantage of the beautiful desert winter and have spent a lot of time outside walking and hiking to keep active.

I made a bit of a fitness resolution for the new year. I’d actually prefer to call it a goal, since resolutions seem like they’re made to be broken. I’ve decided that since I know I can run a 5k, that I would actually sign up and participate in at least one this year. I’m aiming for one in the spring if any come across my radar that I’m interested in. I am also going to work on increasing my ability to run longer distances this year, and my ultimate goal is to train for a half marathon. I don’t know if I will run one this year, I’m leaning more towards training during 2014 to ultimately run in one by early 2015. I am going to try! Exciting to think about… and a little scary.

Finally I love adding pictures to these progress posts, and since there isn’t really much change in my body size I’m resorting to before and after shots. Those are more fun anyway.

Here is a comparison of me at my company holiday party… the left is 3 years ago, the right was just a couple weeks ago. (yes!)

partybeforeafter