Month: July 2012

Quitting the Yeah, Buts

Today marks the start of day six in a row of being completely on track. For the past five days, I have worked out every single day (don’t worry – today is a rest day) and have stayed completely on point with eating, sticking just to my daily points. This was after a very indulgent trip to St. Maarten (which I still owe you a recap of, I know), so I have also abstained completely from drinking alcohol since my return and have gotten lots of sleep to top it all off.

So, scale aside, I feel awesome right now.

When I told a friend about how yesterday was day 5 of being on point with eating and working out, he said, “Wow. You must feel great!”

My instinct was to start with the Yeah, Buts.

Yeah, but I was really bad for 6 days in St. Maarten.

Yeah, but a lot of the workouts were pretty short.

Yeah, but I am still nowhere near my goal weight.

Yeah, but I could have eaten a little cleaner.

Yeah, but…

But after typing that into the gchat box and thinking about it for a second, I erased it and instead said, “Yeah, I do feel great!” No buts.

It’s so easy for me to discount the good progress I make because where I am now is not where I want to be or where I was at this time last year. At this time last year, I had just hit my goal weight, become lifetime, and was finding maintenance to be a breeze! One of the times I weighed in during my 6 weeks to Lifetime, I actually had to put my Greek yogurt on the scale with me to make sure I didn’t go below 2 pounds under goal. Imagine that!

Since then, I’ve had a LOT of big changes in my life, most notably transitioning from being in a committed relationship where I lived with the guy, to being single and living on my own. This meant that I’ve had to make a real effort to revamp my social life, and not surprisingly, a lot of that revolves around alcohol. I’ve talked a lot about this struggle before and this is not what I want the topic of the post to be, but learning to be a 20-something single gal has really been tough on my waist line.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned during this journey is I need to focus on where I am NOW and set goals accordingly. It’s too easy to get caught up in where I used to be and to focus on the shortcomings of my journey rather than focusing on the good parts. But, I need to remind myself how far I’ve come and feel good about it.

So, with all buts aside:

  • I’ve made exercise a regular part of my life and have continued to workout 4-5 times a week for the entire month of July, even while traveling.
  • I still weigh significantly less than I used to when I first started this journey.
  • I am a Weight Watchers Leader (and a good one at that!) which had been a long-term goal of mine since stepping through those doors on March 3, 2009.
  • I am doing very well professionally and have managed to find a great career path while also getting my health in line.
  • I have run four half marathons and 22 road races in total, with two more half marathons on the horizon for later this year and early next!
  • I love to cook, which is something I never did before starting Weight Watchers.
  • I bring healthy breakfasts and lunches to work 95% of the time.
  • I have been completely on point the last five days in a row.

One day at a time. Here’s to day 6!

Share one thing you are proud of about your journey TODAY.

Attune Foods: Rethinking Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast never used to be my thing. I remember back when I was really struggling with wanting to lose weight but not yet successful in my efforts, I would always do everything in my power to avoid eating breakfast since I thought I was saving more calories for later in the day. I also tended to eat too much at night, so I would “punish” myself for overdoing it the night before by waiting to eat later in the day.

StuffedFrenchToast

Obviously, that backfired, and led to a terrible cycle of restrict-overdo it-restrict-overdo.

Click over to my post post on the Attune Foods Blog where I talk about how I stopped compartmentalizing meals into what I “should” eat at any given time of day and how that helped me break free from the cycle.

I’d love it if you could leave some love over there in the form of a comment!

Be back soon!

Obsession Versus Dedication

Over the weekend, I read a post on Gena’s blog where she mentioned she will be participating on a panel at BlogHer talking about obsession versus dedication and how to differentiate between the two, which was the inspiration for this post.

There’s a very fine line between being obsessive about losing weight and being dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle. I know the ideal situation is that at some point you make a conscious decision to eat well and make regular exercise a part of your life, and over time, those things become habitual and require less mental effort to execute. In that ideal world, even if you need to remind yourself to get your butt in gear on occasion, it can be looked at as dedication – as a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

And while I am 100% on board with this ideal situation and wish so bad it would happen like that for me, the trouble is, 3.5 years into my healthiness journey, I still feel like I need to use a considerable amount of mental effort to make it happen. To make myself choose the salad over the french fries. To choose working out over happy hour. To choose fish over steak. To not eat the entire pizza or basket of bread. To wake up early to get the workout in. I mean of course, sometimes it’s easier than others, and it is definitely easier now than it was when I first started, but I still feel like it has to be at the forefront.

I’m hesitant to say that I HAVE to be obsessed to not get back to pre-Weight Watchers Beth, but it might border on that in reality.

Yes, I know how good I feel after a workout.

I know how good it feels to wake up in the morning with no guilt about the things I’ve eaten the day before.

I know how proud I feel when I’ve had a “perfect” day.

But those good feelings in the back of my mind are not enough for me to keep doing it without having to try. When I move away from really focusing on it and making conscious decisions to be healthy, my natural tendency is to majorly overdo it with eating and underdo it with exercise, leading to a place weight-wise where I am not happy when I do eventually snap back into the healthy mindset.

In many areas of my life, I tend to be all or nothing. When I get excited about something, I usually go all in and eat, sleep, breath, and dream it until I move onto the next. I’m happy in a way that I have been able to keep healthy living in the forefront (for the most part) for as long as I have, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that getting very into things (read: obsessive) is a big part of who I am, not just as it relates to food.

In some ways, I think it’s a good thing. I have an enthusiasm and zest for many things that can rub off on others and I genuinely enjoy diving deep into things when I do. I get a lot of joy about many things because I get so excited about them, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a downfall all of the time.

That said, I think if I talked to someone who grew up having a healthy relationship with food and told them about a lot of the mental battles that I go through with it or how much I think about food/exercise, they would probably go with obsessive when classifying me. And, if I step outside myself and really look at how much I think/talk/strategize about being healthy, I would probably have a hard time disagreeing.

But, and this is a BIG but, I think for those of us who have really, truly, struggled with our weight in a big way, a near obsession might almost be necessary to maintain the lifestyle. I don’t know if it will ever become second nature for me, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to execute it correctly without having to border on being obsessed. I’d love if that were the case. Trust me. I’m just being realistic.

I would love, love, love to hear your thoughts about this topic of obsession versus dedication. How do you differentiate between the two? Do you think you fit into one category or the other, or into something else entirely? Do you think it’s inevitable for those of us who have struggled with our weight in a big way to have to accept obsession/near obsession to maintain our weight? Have you found any tips/tricks along the way to make yourself less focused on it, while still maintaining the lifestyle?

One Day at a Time

What a difference one day can make. Even though I’ve been off track (for the most part) for the past several months, recommitting publically yesterday felt like the biggest weight off my chest. I think sometimes I feel this intense pressure as a weight loss blogger and Weight Watchers Leader to show that I have it all figured out, and while I do have the basics down pat, healthiness is something I have to fight for every day, and will have to for the rest of my life.

My sister Wendy said something to me yesterday that really hit me. She said, “It is a journey. Unfortunately you never arrive, although you have to see the good in that. You get bored of any destination after awhile.” And while I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of being at my goal weight, I DEFINETLY get bored of having to make weight loss front and center in my life at all times. It’s easy for priorities to shift sometimes and for weight loss/maintenance not to be the focus, and I think that’s just a natural part of the journey and something I have to accept.

But anyways, back to the point of this post – yesterday was a near-perfect day. I woke up in the morning early, went to a 1 hour Body Pump class for the first time in months, and then did 15 minutes of intervals on the stairmill afterwards. My eating was really on point, too. Here’s what it looked like:

Post Workout: A green smoothie w/1 cup skim milk, 1 banana, a few raspberries, and a handful of spinach (2 pts+)

Breakfast: English Muffin w/Cottage Cheese and a pear plus coffee w/milk (6 pts+)

English Muffin

Lunch: Mixed Greens w/white beans, roasted red peppers, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and balsamic (6 pts+)

Salad

Plus a bag of Weight Watchers BBQ pop chips (2 pts+)

Afternoon snack was a bag of 100 calorie popcorn (3 pts+)

Dinner was soft-boiled eggs on a toasted english muffin (7 pts+)

soft boiled eggs

Plus green beans with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese (1 pt+)

And for dessert, a giant latte bar (2 pts+)

It was a perfect 29 pt+ day, and I felt really satisfied.

I just laid low last night and read a book and watched some TV, and it felt so good to recharge (and not drink) and wake up feeling great today. I also went on a 4.5 mile run this morning before work, which is the farthest I’ve run since my half marathon Memorial Day weekend. It was hard, but it felt great.

So I guess the point is, it’s incredible how much of a difference one day can make. I feel so much better this morning than I did yesterday morning, and I feel in control. If you’ve fallen off the wagon too, don’t wait until tomorrow to get back on it. Start today.

Broken Record

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again I’m sure, but I honestly feel a lot of times like the Weight Watchers meetings are more for me than for the members. This week’s topic is about slip ups and how to learn from them and use them as spring boards for success. Being in a room full of people who "get it" and who share their own tips and strategies for bouncing back after they fall off the wagon is such a refreshing place to be. Yesterday morning’s meeting really struck a cord with me and I left there feeling recharged and ready to recommit, finally.

I can’t even go back in time to pinpoint exactly WHEN I fell off the wagon, but here I am struggling to climb back on it. I am a champion at coming up with a million excuses as to why I had stopped caring – taking a new job, lots of traveling, my birthday weekend, weddings, focusing on dating/my social life and not necessarily weight loss – but I’ll spare you from getting too into it. They are just that – excuses. I am not at all alone in having a ton of things going on in my life, and it’s up to me to make weight loss and being healthy a priority.

Over the last several months, I’ve been sort of in a haze with Weight Watchers. I’ve still led my weekly meeting, but I basically stopped exercising, cooking, and eating healthy. I dubbed the start of my new job the time to recommit to being healthy, but that first week, I ate out every single meal. While breakfasts/lunches were healthy, dinners were not and involved way too many drinks. I also didn’t work out even once, which wasn’t that unusual because my exercise routine had been spotty at best for the last several months. Several weeks of no working out, 1 or 2 workouts max, and just very inconsistent activity levels. Couple that with unhealthy eating and too much drinking and going out, and guess what you get?

Weight gain!

Shocking, I know.

I’ve been trying to avoid it and pretend it hasn’t happened, but it has. I can feel it in my clothes and see it in my face and I don’t like it. I wish it was easier to do what I know I need to to get back to where I want to be, but it’s not. I have to be mindful of what I eat and drink, and make exercising a priority. It sounds so simple, but it’s much harder to execute than it is to talk about it, as we all know.

Last week, I wrote a post at the beginning of the week setting some weekly goals and sharing my menu plan. It helped me to ease back into a healthy lifestyle, and I’m proud to say that I ended up working out 4 days last week. I also ate several meals at home and brought my lunch to work every day except for Friday. I tried hard to be healthy throughout the week, but then with birthday celebrations over the weekend including happy hour turned into night out on Friday, all day tubing on Saturday followed by a night out, and then a boozy brunch on Sunday, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I undid all the progress I had made weight-wise.

This week, I have less going on this weekend and no birthdays to celebrate, so I’m hopeful that I can make good decisions throughout the week and weekend and make some progress. I leave a week from tomorrow for St. Maarten for one of my best friend’s weddings, and I really want to look and feel my best, since there will be a lot of photos. Not to mention the fact that I will be in a bathing suit in front of a lot of people. So there’s that.

So far, I did a 30 minute interval run on Monday, and woke up early to go to Body Pump this morning, followed by 15 minutes of intervals on the stairmaster. I’d like to workout tomorrow and/or Friday as well, and really focus on sticking within my daily PointsPlus for the rest of the week. I also want to try to limit drinking, though I do have a couple things going on later this week so I’ll try to stick to 2 glasses of wine (7 pts+!) so I don’t blow the bank points wise, or get to the point where I care less about making bad food choices.

I honestly feel sort of like a broken record because I know I’ve committed many, many times to recommitting, and here I am doing it again. But this just goes to show that leading a healthy life requires constant attention and good decision making. It’s all about making one good decision, and then another, and then another, rather than big picture thinking “I’m going to be healthy!”.

And could this fortune I got my first week at the new job be any more fitting?

photo (1)

Tell me.. what is your favorite inspirational quote?

Year 27 Highlights and Year 28 Hopes

27 was a great year for me. I went through a lot of big life changes, but despite all the ups and downs, I truly think I am in a better place now on so many levels. Last year on my birthday I posted some hopes for my 27th year, and here’s how I did with them.

Run a FULL marathon – Scheduled for October 30, 2011!

This one did NOT happen. I announced my decision to drop out of the marathon pretty far into training (I already had 16 miles under my belt), but I am very confident that I made the right decision, even now. Though it wasn’t a goal, I did go on to run two more half marathons while I was 27, and PRed in one of them, with a time of 2:08:52.

HalfMarathonFinish

Select a triathlon for 2012.

This also did not happen… I am sensing a trend here with fitness goals! Maybe this year.

Become a Leader for WW.

This is one I am proud to say I accomplished with flying colors! I went to Basic Leader Skills training in Chicago this past October, and started leading meetings in early 2012. Though I was really bad at it at the beginning, I’ve truly hit my stride and am loving it. When I first took over my Tuesday morning meeting, it had 15 members. As of this past Tuesday, I had 41 members, almost TRIPLING the number I started with. Yay!

Maintain my weight (or lose a few lbs!) throughout my 27th year.

This one is something I’ve really been struggling with lately. I came clean about it a few times on the blog, but have sort of backburned weight loss with all the big life changes going on. That said, I really want to move it front and center for year 28.

Get fully out of debt and have a hefty emergency fund of 6 months of living expenses saved before turning 28!

I am proud to say that I am completely debt free and have even made significant progress on saving money, too. Right now, I have about 2 months of an emergency fund saved up, and my hope is to have the full six months saved by the end of this year. This one was a HUGE accomplishment for me because I had been swimming in debt since college!

Plan an international trip for 2012 – I haven’t been out of the country since I was a kid!

I did go to St. Maarten in April with my sister and her family, and technically that is half French, half Dutch, and I am going again in less than two weeks for a friends wedding.

SXM

That said, I really want to have something on the books abroad abroad (aka not the Caribbean) by the end of the year.

Redesign Beth’s Journey and move to a self hosted domain.

Check! I have been self hosted/redesigned for almost a year now, and it’s so much better than it was before!

So though I only accomplished about half of those that I hoped to, I did a lot of great things this past year and am feeling good about where I am.

Year 28 Hopes

Now that I am officially 28, I feel like I’m actually an adult. Even though technically I may have been one for a while and I still sometimes don’t act like it, I really want to focus on my career this year and achieving balance and moderation as best I can. Outside of my career, I also want to focus on getting back to my goal weight in a healthy way, and trying my best to live in the moment and not let life get away from me too quickly.

Here’s what I want to do this year:

    1. Get back to my goal weight and maintain it. Duh.
    2. Workout 3-4 times a week, including strength training, through this year.
    3. Run at least one half marathon (I’m signed up for the DC Rock ‘n Roll Half again in 2013) and a few other races.
    4. Limit drinking to 2ish times a week, which means doing things with friends more that don’t revolve around alcohol.
    5. Try my best to be present and enjoy where I am, not constantly looking forward to the next thing, which is my tendency.
    6. Really focus on my new job, because I feel like position is truly the start of my career. They are very into work/life balance, so I have plenty of time outside of work to focus on other things.

28 is going to be a great year. I can feel it!

New Job, New Routine

As you can probably tell from my last post, on a professional and personal level, my life is going great. Today marks the start of week two at my new job, and it honestly feels almost too good to be true because it’s going so well. I’m sure part of that has to do with the honeymoon phase of it being new, but being in the education field feels so good, and the organization truly values work/life balance and its very evident.

That said, I’ve been in a really rough place healthy-living wise. I thrive on routine and do best when I have a plan of action in place, and for the last few weeks I haven’t had that at all. Between leaving my last job, taking a little over a week off, traveling a bunch, and starting a new job, everything has just felt up in the air. I’ve been slacking majorly on the exercise front and have been eating like crap, too.

When I was thinking about how hectic things have been lately, I realized that last week I ate every single meal out, with the exception of breakfast on Monday morning. I normally eat 2-3 meals out a week at most, so that is really out of the ordinary for me. That said, I did try to focus on eating healthy breakfast and lunches most days, but dinners were all over the place and usually involved (too much) booze. I also didn’t focus on eating fruits and veggies enough since I wasn’t bringing food with me, and it’s time for that to change.

With the new job, I do have a gym in the lobby with showers and locker rooms, which is something I’ve never had before so will take a little getting used to. I get an hour for lunch most days, so if I have too much going on before or after work, I should be able to workout over lunch. I’m actually thinking about getting a second pair of sneakers that I can leave at my office, so I have less to bring with me if I’m going to use that gym.

Along with establishing a workout routine, I have to get back into menu planning and stocking up my desk with healthy options. Since my birthday is Friday, my office sent me a fruit basket!

Birthday Basket

It has pears and oranges, so that’s a good start. Minus the chocolate. And the cheese. Winking smile

I went grocery shopping yesterday to stock up my kitchen, and here’s what I came up with for a meal plan this week:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Greek Yogurt w/Berries + Uncle Sam’s Cereal Salad w/leftover chicken + super simple tzatziki Soft boiled eggs w/toasted English muffin
Tuesday English Muffin w/Cottage Cheese, Banana Salad w/leftover chicken + tzatziki Chickpea Burgers w/Watermelon + Feta Salad
Wednesday Greek Yogurt w/fruit + granola Leftover Chickpea burgers and watermelon salad Soba Noodles + Peanut Sauce w/Tofu
Thursday Oatmeal w/pb + banana Leftover Soba Noodles + Peanut Sauce w/Tofu Out
Friday English Muffin w/cottage cheese + berries Leftover Chickpea burgers and watermelon salad Birthday happy hour!

 

It feels so good to have a plan in place!

This week I vow to:

  • Bring my breakfast and lunch to work every single day.
  • Workout at least 3 times Monday – Friday.
  • Drink at least 64 oz. of water during the work day.

What’s one goal you have for this week?