I don’t normally post on my blog when I jump on a band-wagon or make a new “rule” for myself. I don’t do it because I have a really hard time following through. I’m an excellent starter, just not much of a finisher.
Last year, I made a commitment to myself to be healthier and more active and for the first time in my life, I followed through. Sort of. After Sophie was born (and the initial weight fell off), I weighed a gloriously large (for me) 147 pounds. Ouch. On my 5 foot, 5 inch frame it was much (more than necessary) to behold. My doctor cautioned me that it would be much harder to lose the weight the second time around and that I shouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t reach the pre-pregnancy weight (ppw) of 141. That ppw wasn’t much to be excited about anyway. Fertility drugs have a habit of making my starting weight pretty stinking terrible.
In February of last year, I started going to the gym at work. I didn’t go every day, some weeks not at all, but I was pretty consistent through the end of August. Between three and five days a week I was on the elliptical, sweating it out, even though I didn’t want to be. If I felt really bad about things, I might jump on it at home or do Jillian’s 20 minute workout to make me feel better about myself. By my annual visit in November, I was down to 139 and so proud of myself for getting back below that ppw. So proud, in fact, that I rarely exercised between then and the first of the year and by February I was back up to 141. At the time I thought I was doing great, but in hindsight 8 pounds in 8 months isn’t so special.
Then, out of the blue, my best friend called me to see if I was interested in being crazy with her. She invited me to run a 5k with her on March 31st to support colon cancer. I wholeheartedly agreed, even though it’s been years since I ran anywhere and months since I last broke a sweat. Lucky for me, we were both newbies and decided to train together. I recognized pretty early on that just winging it wasn’t going to work for me. Not to mention, I wasn’t exactly “fit” to start with and my eating habits needed a major overhaul. I simultaneously downloaded My Fitness Pal and Couch to 5k and told Josh I was really going to do it. He smiled, but I’m still not convinced he believed me.
Fast forward seven weeks and I’m hanging in there. It is amazing what your body is capable of when you push it… when you are determined to accomplish something. Unlike goals in the past (swimsuit season, my next pregnancy, high-school reunion, what-have-you), this one was concrete. If I bailed, someone besides myself would be disappointed. I would be accountable for the $35 registration fee, the two pairs of $100 shoes (I did manage to sell one pair on eBay) and the countless on-sale running shorts I’ve managed to accumulate in the last two months. I would be accountable to my best friend, my husband and my check-book.
MFP has been a huge help in monitoring what I’m eating. It is so easy to rack up 2000 calories+ when you aren’t paying attention. Especially when every large, fountain DP from Jack’s is a measly 400 calories a piece. I cut myself down to 1320 calories a day as a starting point. Most days I stay well within that range, although I almost always have a cheat meal at least once a week and some days I’m closer to 1500 calories. Either way, I’m at least 700 cals under my starting point. One month ago tomorrow I gave up Dr. Pepper. Did y’all hear that? I GAVE UP DR. PEPPER. It is hard. Real hard. I even smelled one that Josh was drinking last week and it was awesome. I might have one again one day, but if I took just one little sip right now I would fall off of the wagon. Heck, it might even run me over in the process. I’m guessing I’ll save that little delicacy until I reach my goal. Whenever that is.
I’ve also almost completely abandoned fast food. For someone who found herself in the drive-through 3-5 times a week, this is insane! In February, I had McDonald’s once (it was awful and I regretted it immediately) and Chick-fil-a once (after rescuing Josh from scary NYC). In March, I’ve had Burger King once and a salad at Zaxby’s (which clearly doesn’t count). I’m not counting places like Chipotle and Jason’s Deli where I grab dinner before Bible Study, because I can see all of their fresh ingredients and the calorie intake is MUCH lower. I’m not getting anything deep-fried there and I’m ordering water with my salads. The hidden benefit to my diet overhaul is the effect it is having on my family. There are more fresh foods in the refrigerator, I’m subbing low fat / no fat ingredients in our recipes and we’re eating dinner at home almost every night. It’s much easier to tell Ella “no happy meals” when I’m not willing to eat their food either. It’s all or nothing.
So, about that exercise. I am currently on week seven / day two of Couch to 5k and I love it. I never thought I would say that, but running is actually fun. I am actually enjoying myself. I have managed to complete each workout without stopping and I haven’t had to repeat any days. The program only gives you three workouts per week, so I usually just run on my own in between. I try to run on the ground 5 days a week and then on the treadmill at work 3-4 days a week depending on my schedule. It would be so much easier for me to walk, but I know that the effects just aren’t the same for me. Someone mentioned this week that they were burning 150 calories in 40 minutes of walking. Running, I’m burning 300+ in 30 minutes. As a busy working mom, I need to make the most of my time!
I’m not an expert and I haven’t even reached my goal yet (3 miles without stopping), but I’m getting there. I have run 2 miles on the ground and 2.5 on the TM pretty comfortably. I am figuring out what works for me. What to wear. What to eat before and after (low fat chocolate milk!!). How to recover and how often to run. I’m reading a few new-to-me fitness / running blogs which are a huge source of inspiration. The almost 7 pounds lost in 7 weeks doesn’t hurt either (I am officially down to 134.8 as of Friday). I have right at two and a half weeks to go before the big day and I am determined to be running all three miles. It isn’t easy. There are days when I’m tired and cranky and just want to be lazy. There are times when I want to trade it all in for an Angus burger and a bathtub full of DP. The thing is… I’ve come to realize that when I give in to those desires the only one hurting is me. When I sabotage myself, I’m just adding more days of feeling icky in my clothes and hiding in the fitting room. I want to be a confident woman that my girls can look up to. I don’t ever want them to remember me before I learned to love exercise. I want them to see me as a fit and healthy person and have a desire to be that way, too. I want them to make healthy choices from a young age and never have the urge to eat fast food five days a week.
I used to laugh at those moms who banned soft drinks in their home. Now, I want to be just like them.