Enough! I’m ready for fall! Living in the Arizona desert is rough. Every summer is torture. You wake up and look out at what appears to be a beautiful sunny day only to feel the burn akin to opening an oven when you step outside.
Now that we are about halfway through September the extreme heat is winding down some. That’s good news since my absolute favorite way to exercise is to get outside and explore with running, hiking, and biking. My rad husband Matt took some very flattering photos of me last weekend on a hike (Fat Man’s Pass, South Mountain, AZ):
I’m going to level with you: I’m sharing these purely for vanity reasons. I’m feeling really good about how fit my body is and I love these photos! I’m not ashamed to admit it, I work hard and I know this is the best shape my body has ever been in. I’m proud of myself.
I’ve decided after a lot of careful consideration that when my gym membership expires this month I won’t be renewing it. I get bored at the gym. If need be I can always join again, but I want to focus on outdoor activities now even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat. I’ve been lucky enough to befriend active folks and be invited with various groups to go running; plus there is my eternal partner in crime Matt who is always down to hike and bike. Big decision for me and my routine, but it makes sense. My work also just put in a gym at their new building too, so I figure I can always use that if there is a crap weather day.
Plan in place. Less indoors… adventure it is.
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.
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.
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 Milk – The Dress 2.0):
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!
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:
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:
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.
I just bought size extra small gym shorts.
I am in a state of shock. I had some Adidas gym shorts in a large. Actually, I can be seen wearing the large size in the “before picture” in my original post. I knew the large were too large, that didn’t surprise me. I decided to pick up a couple new pairs of gym shorts, expecting to buy a small, worse case scenario a medium.
I picked up the size small and was about to try them on when my husband, Matt, pointed out that the smalls looked like they would be too big on me. I didn’t really believe him, but I figured what the hell. I’ll bring a couple XS in the changing room and just double check.
The size small was big and baggy. The extra small — of the exact same type of shorts I used to wear a large in — now fit me.
This is an extremely surprising victory post. It was beyond unexpected. It actually gave me anxiety, I started having a little panic moment standing there in Dick’s Sporting Goods with my hands full of too-big smalls and just-right extra smalls. WHO AM I? WHERE DID I GO? WHAT IF I WAKE UP AND THIS ISN’T REAL ANYMORE, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T FEEL REAL.
But it is real. And it’s awesome, and I don’t need to worry. I’m doing this the right way, I’m not starving myself or taking diet pills or anything bonkers. I’m just eating healthy, being active, and thinking about my body like it’s a machine to keep in good working order. Once the habit is made, it’s really not that hard – you just need a strong sense of personal accountability. Nobody else can do this for me, it’s on my shoulders.