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.


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.



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!


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


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.


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.


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.



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:


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.



Down the rabbit hole

This morning was strange. Where do I start? …Let’s roll back a couple days. I recently got some leggings in the mail (Blackmilk!!) that I had ordered. I was very excited about them, and posted this picture to my Instagram:


My husband and I were talking about how they looked, he complimented my legs and after thanking him I relayed a strange story about my childhood. When I was in middle school we had career days where professionals of various types would come and talk to the students about their jobs. One particularly messed up one was a model talent scout. I remember one thing from her talk to us 12 and 13 year old girls: she was the first person to ever tell me that you are worthless without a thigh gap (which I disagree with, for the record). She said she would immediately disqualify any hopeful model who didn’t have the “perfect triangle” in the upper part of her thighs. Needless to say, this messed me up for awhile and gave me weird body issues. What a fucked up thing to dump on prepubescent little girls! Regardless, when looking at this photo with him I pointed out that it was kind of neat that I had one and done so with exercise and eating healthy.

That brings me to this morning. I should start by saying sometimes I am kind of oblivious. I don’t like thinking about how there are thousands of people who struggle with eating disorders. I feel so removed from that kind of thinking that I just don’t think about it much. I guess that’s a good thing? Or just ignorance, and for that I feel bad. I tried to put the hashtag “#thighgap” into Instagram to see what other (in my head) success stories and fit folks I might find who have one. Woops.

First of all, Instagram tells me that there are no tags that match ‘thighgap.’  Weird, I think to myself. So I search for #thigh. Suddenly, I see #thighgaps, #thighgapp, #thighgab and so on. Confused, I click on #thighgaps. And here is where my morning spiraled downward. First, I get a warning that I may see graphic pictures, and Instagram tells me to click on a link to learn more about eating disorders… uh oh. I prepare myself and click to show posts. All I find is picture upon picture of girls that are skin and bones. Pictures with words on them; saying for each like they will fast for 2 hours, or ‘skip dinner get thinner.’ Pictures of girls who have their feet together and yet NO part of their legs are touching, like dainty little twigs. It broke my heart. I didn’t even realize I had started to cry until I felt my cheeks were getting wet with tears. I am not interested in any form of body shaming so I will not post any example pictures here.

Please please please understand that while I am a control freak and keep close watch on what I eat, how many calories I consume, and how much I exercise, it’s ALL within totally healthy boundaries for a woman of my age/height/etc. If you happened upon this blog and you are eating less than 1200 calories a day, or you fast/skip meals, or simply identify as anorexic or bulimic… honey there are other options. They hurt much less. I know nothing I write here will fix anyone who is going through it, but I just feel like I have to put this out there. Healthy doesn’t hurt. Thin shouldn’t be torture. Love your body and treat it well, it’s the only one you get.


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!)




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.