One Year of My New Life

Remember this? Here I Go Again

One year ago today, I walked into the Weight Watchers At-Work meeting to weigh-in for the “first time” again. I am happy to report it was my LAST “first time” and I made changes that started that day and stuck with them now for a year.

One year ago on November 1 (tomorrow) I went to my first CrossFit workout. I had surgery six weeks before and had abided by the “no lifting” restrictions. But I was cleared and ready to go. I remember that workout like it was a year ago. 🙂 We did back squats. We did Cleans. And I was oh-so-very sore all weekend long. (I also came down with Strep that weekend, which was not so fun.)

Today, I reread several of my posts over the past year and I link them for you now:

Tomorrow, I will compete in my first CrossFit Competition. I’m nervous. But it’s the good kind of nervous. I am entered in the scaled division and I just hope to do the very best I can and see how it goes.

As I think about this past year the main thing that comes to mind is my focus on maintaining these changes I have made. AS my initial “Here I Go Again” post mentions…I had always been an active person, but the food was my problem. I’m not going to lie, even with the changes I made this year, the food is still my problem. It’s something I cannot ever let myself become mindless to ever again. I will forever need to keep track of the food I eat on a daily basis. I will forever need to regroup after my inevitable falls “off the wagon” and get back to tracking.

Actually, I’ve been “off the wagon” for about four weeks now. It’s just been crazy with our schedule and Craig’s new job. I’m hopeful I can get back on now. Does that mean that I’ve gained 15 pounds? No. But it means that if I don’t get it in check, I might. Does that mean I haven’t worked out? Nope. Still haven’t had more than a 2-day layoff for exercise in a year. But the exercise isn’t the problem.

I recently reviewed the time since November 1 to see about workouts and was pleased to see that it was true that I had not had more than two days in a row with no formal/vigorous exercise since then. Even when we had a 2-day road trip for our vacation, when we arrived at my sister’s, I headed out for a 5K just to get something in on that 2nd day. I try not to obsess, however, my anxiety kicks up if I start thinking I won’t be able to get a workout in if I didn’t get one the day before.

In the last few months, I’ve had some interesting internal struggles with what I’ve done and how it impacts my family. First of all, there’s no question I am healthier and a better mom when I feel good about myself — both my actual health and my appearance. Secondly, I know I’m showing my kids what a healthy life looks like and I’m proud of that. The struggle comes in where the potential for weight-related problems rears its head with my kids. My kids are growing right now and are active and make (for the most part) healthy choices in the kitchen. But it was recently pointed out to me what my transformation in the past year may look like to them — especially my Helen, who wants so much to be like me in all ways. I believe my kids are proud of me for making healthy changes, but I worry that my girls (especially my girls) gain or retain some part of MY insecurity with weight and body image by seeing me work so hard to change my own weight/body to fit something I am happy with. This is a real concern. I want my girls to know they are beautiful no matter what. I worry that because they’ve watched this transformation over the past year, that they may think that I don’t think I am beautiful no matter what. So, that’s probably a post for another day. But it’s something I’ve had on my heart for a few weeks.

For today, I am going to celebrate. I’m going to celebrate the fact that my weight is in a healthy range, that my cholesterol (both the good and the bad) are in optimal ranges, that my resting heart rate is fantastic and that my blood pressure is excellent. Today, I celebrate the fact that I know eating a cookie is not going to derail my health because I know to limit my intake to just one (or two! haha) and not eat the whole box. Today, I celebrate that I understand how processed foods and sugars impact my body and I know how to make healthy and moderate choices on those. I celebrate the fact that I can Back Squat 185 pounds; I can Front Squat 145 pounds; I can Hang Squat Clean 130 pounds; I can do good-form “perfect” push-ups to the tune of 10 at a time; I can do unassisted kipping pull-ups. I could go on, but I won’t. I feel so empowered from all the goals I have reached in the last year and for that, I am grateful and I want to celebrate it.

Many of you have sent me congratulations and celebrated my success over this past year. Thank you for that. I knew that I needed a lot of accountability and  checks to keep me going and I appreciate that you all agreed to help me with that.

My journey is still far from over, though. Because I believe the hard part is in the maintenance. Yes, losing weight is hard — I’m not going to deny that. But I’m discovering that maintaining those changes when the weight is gone can be its own kind of incredible struggle. When the focus is not so much on losing and you can widen your lens-of-life and look at more things everyday — taking the time and the part of your lens to continue to focus on your health still takes effort. Some days that effort is easier than others. But no matter what, I must continue to focus on maintaining these healthy changes.

My focus continues to be on these main things:

  1. Tracking my food in a food diary
  2. Exercise most days of the week (this typically means one true rest day per week and sometimes two rest days per week, depending on the schedule…usually NOT two days in a row if I can help it)
  3. Stick to the Paleo philosophy most of the time

So, I’m going to allow myself a “Birthday” Treat — if you will.

My New/Healthy Life is 1-year-old today.


Weight Watchers Wednesday (23) — Thoughts on Before/After

I know, it’s Thursday. But, I wanted to get my monthly weigh-in with Weight Watchers At Work before I posted. Also, this will be a nice little break from Paleo Challenge posts!

I attended the At Work meeting today and weighed in for September at 159.8. That is 0.6 more than last month’s weigh-in, but still under my goal weight of 160.

I have been thinking a lot about this weight loss thing the past week. Mostly, I have been thinking about my mindset before and my mindset now.

You know what? I used to be one of those people who would say, “BMI is crap. That is an unrealistic weight for someone with my build and my height.” Or, I would say, “I just can’t get under 170 pounds. It’s just impossible.”

I would say those things because I hadn’t achieved that BMI in a healthy way in all of my adult life. And honestly, I think my peak fertility must be somewhere under 170, because any time I did actually lose enough weight to be under 170, I got pregnant as soon as we tried.

When I think back to how my mindset, I am sad at how defeated I must have been. I had been overweight for so long, that I had simply convinced myself that God made me this way, and I should just be happy with myself.

In the meeting today, the topic turned toward “What brought you to Weight Watchers?” or what was the main motivation or the catalyst where we decided, “Hey, I’m going to (re)join Weight Watchers and lose this weight!”?

As I reflect on this last time that I rejoined Weight Watchers, I focused on what was going on:

All of those factors gave me this feeling of, “I have to do this and I have to do it now.” With five active children, I desired to be healthy and active so that I could keep up with all of their activities. I wanted to be healthy so I could take care of Craig, and be there for him as we continue to grow older, raising our family. I wanted to regain the fitness I knew I had when I was younger. I know I’ll never be as flexible and strong as I was when I was 18, but I want to be as flexible and fit and strong as I can be at 40 and beyond.

I may have written this before, but my commitment level as I rejoined Weight Watchers on October 31 last year is unlike anything else I had to grab ahold of before that. I had joined Weight Watchers several times in the past 15 years as well as attempted other diets to try and lose weight…but never before last year did I have that desire burning inside.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I could do it. I worried I would fail yet again. For the first time, I followed the WW leader’s advice and set my first goal for just 5 pounds. Then I set it for 10% body weight, then I kept chipping away with manageable goals. Then, I was amazed when I’d hit the healthy range and maintained it for 6 weeks and achieved Lifetime Status.

And now, I’ll be honest with you. I am shocked when I realize I have maintained for four months. Every time I have ever lost weight in the past, I have either gotten pregnant or gained weight within two months of getting to a good weight. Right now, every month, my goal is to get to the next month and still weigh-in at or below my goal weight. I haven’t even contemplated “a year at Lifetime.” Just “one more month.” And every month, I’m happy that I’ve made it one more month.

I share this with you all because I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that the person you see in front of you was the person she used to be. I used to be that woman who thought she was destined for an overweight existence. I used to be that woman who thought she couldn’t face another day of shopping and being disappointed when nothing she liked fit. I used to be that woman who worried that her health would fail her at some point and leave her husband and children to move on in life without her.

And now.

Now, I see that it was possible and always was possible. Now, I still don’t shop much, but it’s not because I’m afraid of the dressing room. Now, I continue to make healthy lifestyle choices and I teach my children. I was so proud of Helen recently when she turned away a second helping and had slowed down her eating and told me, “I don’t want any more. I feel full.” Over the course of these last few months, Helen and I have had several talks about healthy choices, eating slowly and listening to our bodies. If I can say in 20 years that my baby girl (who is my mini-me in so many ways) has ventured on in adulthood at a healthy weight with a healthy body image intact and good healthy habits — oh my gosh — I believe that will be one of the main successes from this endeavor of the past year.

So, yeah. 4 months at Lifetime with Weight Watchers. Here’s to the next monthly goal.

Weight Watchers Wednesday (22) — Vacation Edition

It’s Wednesday and we’re talking Weight stuff. 🙂

the last few weeks have given me the opportunity to test out my new lifestyle changes within the framework of a vacation. I had two weeks off work, we traveled and we had some fun.

Road Trip Food Choices
We went to the grocery store the day before we left for the road trips both times and purchased food to make sandwiches, got some easy-to-take/eat fruit and some other snacks. We spent about $50-60 each time but it was well worth it to have healthy food to eat and not be left with the option of HAVING to eat at McDonald’s or something. My food choices for the way out: Diet coke, Turkey and cheese sandwich, string cheese, grapes, Special K protein granola bar, water.

It is about 16 hours from our house to my sister’s house, so we did the bulk of it in the first day, spending about 12 hours on the road, and then the rest the second day. The first night, we stayed in Knoxville, TN and enjoyed dinner out with the family at Cheddar’s. While I was in the losing weight phase, I avoided this restaurant because their dietary information is not found ANYWHERE and they will not provide it to you when you arrive either, so it’s difficult to gauge the points values of anything I ate. But, I had decided I wasn’t going to track while traveling and just try to make good choices. But…that night at Cheddar’s, I did overeat. And I felt very BLAH afterwards. The hotel where we stayed had hot breakfast the next morning so we did that before we left and got to my sister’s a little later than lunch time.

Obviously, spending 12 hours in the car for one day and staying in a different city, I didn’t do any activity on that first night. I had planned well and ensured I did crossfit the Thursday before I left. Then when we arrived at my sister’s, I changed my clothes and went for a run before I started drinking or eating. Best. Decision. Ever. It was great to shake out the old bones after being in the car for 1.5 days.

We stayed at my sister’s for a full week, so we paid the “drop in” fee for the local Crossfit (Crossfit Lake Wylie) and went EVERY day, Monday through Friday. They had a 7:00 a.m. WOD which fit perfectly with my idea of not-so-darn-early and not-late-enough to blow my entire day.

By Saturday, I was looking at some more days in the car and such. I knew I didn’t want more than two rest days in a row and I hoped to be back in KC on Tuesday early enough to hit crossfit, so that meant Sun-Mon rest days. So, I got up and had a lovely run in a light rain.

Food Choices while staying with family
Thankfully, I was staying with my sibling who has the best penchant for hanging onto money, so we didn’t eat in restaurants or anything. We split the grocery bills when we’d go and get stuff and we ate our meals mostly at home. She has a grocery store in her area that has organic and natural stuff that has a $5 sushi night and we went out there and bought the boys pizza and ate sushi (yum!!). One of the days I stopped by Bojangles after Crossfit for breakfast biscuits (there is not a Bojangles where I live and they really do have the best biscuits). And since QuikTrip is open in SC, too, I still got my diet coke when I wanted it.

On Friday night, Craig and I met Rebecca and The Man for dinner as they were traveling to their vacation destination and passed by close to where we were. But even Pad Thai is a good choice for a restaurant.

The main thing I did that I don’t normally do while staying with my sister was snack. When I am at work all day, I have my lunch and usually a piece of fruit for a snack. But when i was around my sister’s and while we had the little ones — crackers, cheese, chocolate — those types of things were readily available and I didn’t track it and I didn’t tell myself “no.”

We stopped by my mom’s on our way home and that night was pizza night. I ate a little too much of that, too.

Returning Home
When we got home, we had to hit the grocery store. Then, I had Sarah’s 13th birthday celebration where some of her friends joined her at a restaurant/arcade type place. Sarah and I shared a burger, which was good, it was much too large for one of us to eat, and it cut down on the cost, too. Double-win! Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary, so we ate Mexican food. Then on Friday, I took Sarah shopping and we had lunch at Bo Ling’s — Pad Thai again! 🙂 Saturday was the triathlon and it was taco night, too. But then, Sunday, I got “back on the wagon,” so to speak. I started tracking again and set my point goal for the 26 WW allows you when you are losing weight. I’ve continued that pattern through today.

One thing I kept in mind as this vacation was coming up was that I didn’t want things to get out of hand. My history tells me that if I go completely unchecked, I can start down a road that will require a lot of hard work to get back to where I am now. So, I knew I would exercise throughout my vacation (and I did). I knew there would be an end to my “vacation-eating” and there was. I knew I wanted to keep the goal to step on the scale for my first weigh-in of August and be at goal (or within 2 pounds) so that I will not have to pay and can continue to get my Lifetime Member E-tools. All three of those things helped me to enjoy my vacation without slipping up enough to cause an all-out failure.

The Good News
I stepped on the scale this morning (it had been 4 weeks since I weighed) and I was 161, which is one pound over goal. I still have until the first August weigh-in to continue to get things back in check, but I am very pleased with that still.

I found this image while searching Pinterest and I really like it, so I’ll share:


I’ll be back after my August weigh-in! 🙂

Weight Watchers Wednesday (21)

Happy Wednesday! I thought it would be good to do a Weight Watchers Wednesday the day before my first weigh-in as a full-fledged Lifetime member. Tomorrow, I weigh in one month after attaining Lifetime status with Weight Watchers. 

For the record, the rule is that if I weigh even one-tenth over 2 pounds higher than the goal weight I list, I will have to pay for the week and continue to pay until I get back to goal. This means I cannot step on the scale and have it read more than 162.0.

How has the month gone? Well, let me tell you. Sticking to the plan was hard. I ran into the same temptations I had when I was trying to lose weight. And I guess that’s kind of how it is. Our lives are what they are and we make choices based on what we hope to achieve. When losing weight, we are conscious of how the choice to eat that extra slice of pizza or those three cookies will feel if it sabotages our weigh-in the following week. 

As a Lifetime member, only the first weigh-in of the month counts. What that means is, the first time I attend a meeting of any given month, I have to weigh and that is the weight that counts for tracking my progress as a Lifetime member. I attended meetings throughout June, but only weighed in on June 5. I think I had the intention to weigh every week, but as the week passed and I wanted to partake in a treat on Tuesday or Wednesday (something I would NEVER do while I was on the weight loss program) I decided, “Well, I don’t have to weigh-in every week. So…I won’t.” 

Not going to lie, but as this week edged closer and closer, I started to get concerned, so I put on my determined hat middle of last week and decided no more treats and make all the workouts between then and tomorrow and make sure I hit the goal. So, this past week has been fabulous. I even had some cake on Sunday for Vincent’s birthday, but I was right back on the wagon Monday and Tuesday.

I might step on the scale tomorrow morning at home so I can be sure I’m prepared for whatever the WW scale says. I think I’m going to do fine. But it’s been interesting this first month. It’s almost as though I need to set a goal on a month-to-month basis of maintaining and hitting goal so that I focus.

By the way, I was out shopping with the girls and saw that some exercise shorts were on sale, so I picked them up to buy and got the size marked L for Large. I didn’t think I needed to try them on, so I bought them and took them home. I put them on before working out on Sunday and realized they were too big. The elastic gapped on my waist! That is crazy that I would need the size marked M for Medium in shorts, but — holy cow, I do!! So I took them back on Monday night. I had gotten a 20% off coupon in my e-mail so I did some extra shopping and thought maybe I would get a couple of exercise tanks to go with the shorts. But I was smart this time…I took both the M and the L to the dressing room to try on. And, what do you know? I need the sized marked M for Medium in shirts, too! That just made me happy so I thought I would share.

Also, I’m still crossfitting and on Sunday, I actually did one of the girl-named WOD’s at the Rx weight. I didn’t do it fast enough to get my name on the board, but I did do it in pretty good fashion. It was “Grace” and it was 30 Clean & Jerks at 95 pounds for time. I did it in 5:15, about a minute off where I’d need to be to get my name on the board at my the box. So, yay me! 🙂

Okay, I’m on this string of posts where no one comments, so break that for me, okay? How are you all doing with your plans? I know a few of you are doing weight loss plans of your own. Share with me! How’s it going?

And I leave you with this bit of motivation:

Link Here

Weight Watchers Wednesday (20) – What I Left Behind

Today I want to discuss the weight loss programs I left behind. You know, I started (and quit) Weight Watchers many many times before this last time. months after babies were born, I’d shamefully make my way in for my first weigh-in, just horrified at how much weight I’d put on during pregnancy. I would then lose 10% of my body weight and I’d think I could keep doing it on my own. I couldn’t.

Today, I want to tell you about all the times I started another weight loss plan that was not Weight Watchers. Because as many times as I started Weight Watchers, there were other times I started another plan. One of those quick weight loss plans. Yes, one of those plans that advertises that you can lose 3-5 pounds per week without exercising!! One time, the quick weight loss plan worked for me. It cost me a boat-load of money, but I stuck to it and I lost 60 pounds in 3 months. I mean, I ate maybe 900 calories a day and I didn’t exercise (other than playing volleyball a couple times a week) until I hit the goal weight. I gained about 15 of it back in short order, but managed to maintain the other 45 pound loss until the next pregnancy. Because that program worked so well — even though it was buckoo expensive!! — I went back after I had that next baby and was successful again. I didn’t get all the way down to my goal, but I got back to where I was pre-pregnancy, took up my running activity again, and maintained until the next pregnancy.

When I had my third baby (my sweet Helen), I was actually successful breastfeeding her for awhile, so I couldn’t take all the pills and supplements required with that program. That was one of the times I went to Weight Watchers. Once I weaned Helen, I went back on the quick weight loss diet, trying to figure out how I could purchase the products online to avoid the hassle of checking in three times a week at a weight loss center. I found a website here and there that carried the same products under a different name. I’d lose 15 pounds, gain 10, lose 10, gain 5, up and down up and down over and over.

After each of my pregnancies with the boys, I went back and tried this program again (in between attempts at Weight Watchers). I shelled out money for products. As you can see from this picture…they sure were put to good use (not).

This is a picture of all the products that sat in my cupboard the whole time I’ve been doing the Weight Watchers program this last round. I kept all this stuff because a) it is expensive and b) it was my fall-back — if I was struggling with Weight Watchers I planned to use the pills to “jump-start” things if necessary.

Well, I never needed any of this. 

Vitamins, Pills, protein supplements

Closer view of all the pills…

When I had failed so many times with Weight Watchers, and then had one time been so successful with this expensive quick weight loss program, I thought that my body just couldn’t lose weight without the help of pills and supplements. What really happened was I didn’t follow the plan. Or I would for a little bit, but then I would relapse into my old ways. I loved eating pasta and cake and I didn’t like to limit my portions. My schedule was hectic, working outside the home full-time and opposite my husband, there was no time for a regular exercise schedule. So, I would go and give these quick weight loss people a lot of money and take their pills and supplements and see some short term success…which would hold me over until the next time.

I was about 5 pounds away from goal when I started thinking about all that stuff in the cupboard. What would I do with it? Most of it is expired anyway, since I bought it in the months after I had Vincent (most of it expires in 2 years). And then I thought, “Wow. I’ve lost all this weight this time and not put one pill in my mouth.” (I won’t lie, the bars and drinks actually taste good sometimes and the drinks are 2 points plus on Weight Watchers and the bars vary from 3-5 points plus — so on occasion, when I didn’t have another healthy option for a snack, I have had them.) But I didn’t have to take “metabolizers” — I just increased my activity and my metabolism increased on its own. I didn’t have to take “neuroslim” because I learned how to pay attention to my body and feed myself on queue with healthy options. I didn’t need to take “essential fatty acids” in pill form because I ate a regular and healthy dose of olive oil and real butter to get my fat intake. I stopped taking multivitamins in pill form when my doctor showed me an article about how it’s more effective to eat a balanced, healthy diet because our bodies don’t absorb the vitamins in pill form all that well anyway.

Two weeks after I lost Gregory, I weighed 208 pounds. I last officially weighed in at 157 pounds. I lost 50 pounds without resorting to pills and supplements. I worked out, learned about tracking my food, and made healthy lifestyle changes.

This Happened

BTW — ^^that picture? ^^that dress? Well, I took that picture Saturday. I wore that dress Saturday. The last time I wore that dress was to my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary in 2004. Actually, when I bought that dress, i was a size 16. I had it altered one of the times I lost all my weight down to a size 6/7. It was snug, but not too snug that I couldn’t wear it. And I was ecstatic.

I wrote this because I know there are lots of people out there who have tried weight watchers a gazillion times and have done the quick weight loss programs on and off. I know I’m not the only one.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finally figured out that healthy lifestyle choices are the way to go. But if there’s one thing I hope this post can do, I hope I can convince someone who is about to shell out $2000 for a quick weight loss program (including products) that they really can do it without taking pills. I thought I couldn’t. But I could.

Maybe you think you can’t.

But you can.

Weight Watchers Wednesday (19)

Today I write to you as a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers!

The gold key = Lifetime charm

My plan last week to adjust my goal weight to the top of the range was a great idea. I weighed in three pounds under that and because I’d maintained within 2 pounds of that weight for the past two months, they were able to retroactively set my status at Lifetime as of Thursday, June 5!

Needless to say, I was very excited. My leader called me Monday to let me know she had all the paperwork so I could submit it and they might refund me the last month’s charges I incurred since I hit it before a week had passed into June. so, we’ll see. I don’t particularly care about a refund, just that I don’t have to pay any further charges! 🙂

So, now I move into the maintenance phase. In many ways this could prove to be a bigger challenge than the losing part. My understanding is that now only my first weigh-in of each month counts and as long as I am within 2 pounds of the weight, I maintain my status as Lifetime member. I can weigh in more than once a month, but whatever the first weigh-in is each month — that is the one I have to use.

My plan is to continue to attend weekly meetings. I may or may not weigh in each meeting, but for sure will have to on the first weigh-in of each month. I think I’ll continue to post these Weight Watchers Wednesday posts to share ideas and tips they share in each meeting and how it is going with maintenance.

So here were my pictures at the beginning of this journey:

Size 14 jeans; XL shirt

And here I am now! 32.2 pounds gone!

Size 8 skirt — this is in the Wellness Area at my workplace
where we have the Weight Watchers At-Work Meetings
This is me on Sunday — at my niece/goddaughter’s bday party
I couldn’t even wear that shirt when I started this!


Weight Watchers Wednesday (18)

It’s late in the day, but I’ll post anyway.

The week has been good, but not great. I’ve made the decision that I will go in tomorrow and weigh and as long as I am below the weight at the top of my “healthy range” i will say I have hit goal and start my 6 weeks of maintaining so I can hit Lifetime with Weight Watchers.

I’m just sick of paying for it and I’ve pretty much maintained under that top weight for at least a month. So I could be 2/3 of the way to Lifetime by now if I hadn’t been so stubborn about a silly number. I might still lose enough weight to be 5 pounds below the top of the range. Or I will just maintain a weight within 2 pounds of whatever I am tomorrow (as long as it’s below that top of the range). Either way, I think I am ready to move on to the maintenance stage of this process.

And just for kicks, I decided to take my measurements the other day. I still had in my phone my record of measurements I was doing last year. It had been about 11 months since my last measurements. Here they are:

That there is a total of -13.5 inches in 11 months!
You can also see my weight a year ago —
my weight now about 20 pounds less than that

This is me trying to decide if I liked or didn’t like a pair of shorts I picked up at a consignment shop.

Too short? I couldn’t decide…
I don’t really want the old-lady-wearing-teen-style thing…

I don’t have a lot of shorts that fit. I really need some new workout clothes as well as just summer clothes in general. I put on the pair of shorts I wore last summer and they were gapping all over the place. BUT — I don’t have the opportunity to wear shorts all that often, so sometimes I figure…what the heck?

So, there you go. Tomorrow will be, I certainly hope, the last time I weigh in as a “lose-weight” member of Weight Watchers and I hope to move into the “hoping to gain Lifetime status” portion of this journey.

For those of you doing Weight Watchers or other ways of getting in shape/losing weight — how is it going anyway? Let me know in the comments. 🙂