Month: August 2012

Wednesday Weight Check

It’s frustrating when you feel like you’ve done everything right and the scale doesn’t move. I know I need to focus on the things that I CAN control, like how many times I work out, how much I eat, etc. etc. but man is it annoying when you can’t make the scale do what you want it to! I know it’s a journey (hello blog title) but its tough when you don’t see the results you want and deserve. Ugh!

I know all that said, I do have a lot to be proud of from this past week, including:

    • Working out 6 (!!!!) times
    • Getting back into the kitchen
    • Feeling in control with food all week
    • Getting up before work 2x this week to run
    • Making good choices throughout the week

Here’s to a better week scale-wise next week.

Oh! And let me leave you with this sweaty (blurry) picture from this morning:

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This is after clocking in 3.0 miles outside at an 8:55 (!!!) pace. Take that, scale!

In Her Words: Monica’s Story

I’ve moved around a lot because of my work and ended up in 4 different states in a 9-year period.

Every time I moved, I gained 30 pounds. As you can imagine, this this really added up over time.

Emotional eating to deal with the stress coupled with inactivity due to 60-hour work weeks really took their toll. I tried dieting and exercising many times but couldn’t seem to make the changes last longer than a few weeks. I would think about how much I had to lose (about 100 lbs.) and how long it would take and get discouraged pretty quickly. It took so long to see any results on the scale, I usually gave up before my efforts could be effective. Who wants to be on a miserable diet if it doesn’t even work? Might as well forget about it, or, my favorite, “start on Monday.”

The catalyst for my lifestyle change was a lot of failure and a lot of planning. Also, a particularly unflattering photo pushed me over the edge into the “I’ve got to do something—anything—about this” mindset.

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I thought about making a change for months before I actually did. I read the healthy living blogs and focused on a few ideas that people who were successful with weight loss identified as important to them. For one, the stress I felt thinking about how long it would take to lose weight was overwhelming until I read a blog where someone wrote “the time is going to pass anyway…might as well do some positive things for yourself along the way.” This really hit home with me, since I could easily imagine being obese three years down the line just because it would take too long to lose weight. So I decided that, since the time is going to pass anyway, I might as well make some changes that at least open the door to the possibility of a healthy future.

I started by tracking my food intake without making any changes to my diet.  After I got the tracking down, I started making small changes that I built upon over time. I use fitday.com and have tracked every bite of food I’ve had for the past 2 years. Other than a few days off for vacation and Christmas each year, it all gets tracked, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I try to eat healthfully, but there’s no food I’m not allowed to have. My goal for calories is to take in fewer than I expend, and that’s about it!  Sometimes that’s 1,000 less, sometimes it’s 500 less, sometimes it’s 10 less.  If the balance is in my favor, I call it a win.  I have found that counting my calories and tracking is the most important factor in my weight loss.  I think tracking the bad days is even more important than tracking the good days.  I truly believe that knowing exactly how many calories I take in on a bad off-track day has helped me keep some semblance of control.   There’s something powerful about just being aware.

The second most important thing I did was to start running.  I did the couch-to-5k program and learned to run, albeit very slowly.  I now run for an hour 3 times a week (still slowly), and try to work in some group fitness classes and weight lifting here and there. I built up to it gradually, but always pushed myself as far as I could.  It was fun to watch my fitness improve quickly–much faster than the weight came off–and was a good way to see progress and feel better.

Now, at 80 lbs. lighter, I have so much more energy and I feel so much better physically and mentally that I go out of my way to find ways to move more in my regular life. When you’re so overweight it really is uncomfortable to be active, and embarrassing when you are huffing and puffing next to your thin walking partner. But after getting in shape (which, like I said, occurs MUCH faster than weight loss!) it really truly becomes fun to challenge yourself physically and move more, and those calories add up.

The third most important thing involved working with my thoughts around eating and exercising. I stopped thinking about weight loss, and started thinking about being healthy.  When you have so much to lose, the whole process seems overwhelming. I had been trying to lose the weight for a long time, and I would go on a diet for a few weeks, see no change in my weight, and give up.  The scale seems to register what I did weeks ago, and this can be really frustrating if you’re looking to the scale for motivation.  Instead, I found some good mantras to focus on (No unhealthy decision I make in the future can take away the healthy choices I made today) and focused instead on how much better my body feels when I feed it healthy food and give it some exercise and enough sleep.  And after a while, the weight finally did come off.

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I’m nervous about reaching my goal weight, because I do think maintenance will be more difficult than weight loss for me.  I have lost and re-gained weight before, and I know the odd aren’t in my favor.  But I’m very hopeful about keeping this healthy lifestyle going.  It’s still one day at a time, and will be something I have to work on for the rest of my life.  I sometimes get a bit too anxious about missing a workout or eating something “bad” and I can be too obsessive, but if I’m worried that I’ll fall back into my old ways if I relax at all. Another thing I’m working on is body acceptance and being grateful for all my body does for me, regardless of weight. But I’ll never stop enjoying good food.

Thanks so much for listening, and for sharing your healthy living adventures online. I have learned a lot from many of you. Never in my life did I imagine that I would have a weight loss success story of my own. It’s unreal!

Best Wishes to All!

Fifth Time’s the Charm?

Since the beginning of July, I have been working out very consistently with at least 4 or 5 solid workouts a week. I’ve also, for the first time in my life, been strength training at least 2x a week, but sometimes 3!! This is seriously unheard of for me, and I feel so good. I can see a lot more definition in my shoulders and arms in particular, and I actually (dare I say) look forward to using my muscles at the gym. It’s a good place to be!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this officially, but I signed up for another half marathon, which will be my fifth. It’s the Philadelphia Half Marathon, and it will take place on November 18, 2012. Even though I’ve already run four half marathons, I still think it’s a very challenging distance and appreciate my body’s ability to carry me through it.

Philadelphia Marathon

Since somehow November 18th is just 12 weeks away, my training plan for the half actually starts today! I tend to get pretty all-or-nothing with many things in my life, and running is no exception. When I train for a race, I find myself ONLY running, which is not good. My body needs strength and cross training, and I know that making an effort to do so will only make me a stronger runner.

I’ve never been in a place exercise-wise like I am in right now – where I’ve been consistently working out, doing a variety of different activities/exercises – and really enjoying it. My hope is that being in this place will help me tremendously with training for the half because I don’t want to give up the strength and cross training. I’ve already noticed so much improvement in my strength and in the amount of weight I can use for various exercises, and I don’t want to take any steps back in that department.

So my goal for this time around is to be very serious about not just running, but cross training as well. I’ve drafted a 12 week training plan (based off of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Plan) which can you can see here, but this basically sums it up:

    1. 1 “easy” run per week, starting with 3 miles and working up to 5.
    2. 1 speed training day per week, rotating between intervals and tempo runs, peaking at a 5 mile interval run. Yikes.
    3. 1 long run per week, starting at 5 miles and working up to 12 miles.
    4. A fourth run with 3 miles and strength throughout the training plan, but I may switch that up with cross training when I feel like it.
    5. Strength training 2x a week.
    6. 1 (or 2) days of cross training a week.
    7. 2 rest days per week.

All in all, I feel like this is a really solid, balanced training plan, and I am really excited to see myself build up my mileage again. I have been doing almost all of my runs inside on a treadmill lately, so I’m also looking forward to going back outside for at least the long runs, but hopefully some of the “easy” runs as well.

The one thing I am most worried about with training for this half marathon is that I tend to maintain and/or gain weight when I’m training for an endurance event. I don’t know that I’ve diligently been trying to LOSE weight while training for one like I am now, but I know when my mileage gets up there, my hunger does too. I know it’s going to be really important to listen to my hunger signals and eat smart and clean to fuel my body. I also am going to cut back on drinking (which is probably a good thing anyway) so that I’m not making dumb choices, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it.

All that said, my goal for this half is to really stick with my training program and approach this race feeling strong and prepared. I have wavered in the past when training and not put my all into it, but this time I am ready to. I’d love to PR and beat my fastest time yet – 2:08:52 – and I know that if I put the time and dedication in, I can do that.

Do you struggle with balancing weight gain when you exercise a lot and/or are training for an endurance event? How do you balance the two? Any tips?

Coconut Milk Smashed Sweet Potatoes

It’s important to start small with many things in life. When I made my weigh in vlog Wednesday morning, I mentioned one of my goals for this week is to get back in the kitchen. I’ve been super lazy with cooking lately – relying heavily on eggs, sandwiches or going out for quick dinners. I’ve still been keeping pretty healthy, but cooking is something I love and want to get back to.

I had some sweet potatoes on hand and my mind was going to a tofu and sweet potato curry, but that was a little overwhelming for my entry back into the kitchen. I realized I could scrap the stove (and the tofu) all together by doing smashed sweet potatoes – in the microwave – and these turned out amazing.

With just a touch of light coconut milk, fresh ginger, and a little salt, these are absolutely delicious, flavorful, and perhaps best of all, EASY peasy. They come together in less than 10 minutes once you prep the sweet potatoes, and for 8 of those minutes all you are doing is finding something to do with yourself (like a quick post-run shower) while the potatoes cook.

And who cares if you eat them for dinner with eggs on the side? You gotta start somewhere.

Coconut Milk Smashed Sweet Potatoes

    • Prep time: 5 minutes
    • Cook time: 10 minutes
    • Yields 3, generous 1/2 cup servings for 3 PointsPlus/each

Ingredients:

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    • 2 medium sweet potatoes
    • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

To start, peel and chop the sweet potatoes.

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Next, place them in a microwave safe bowl and cover with cold water.

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Microwave on high for 8 minutes, until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Then drain off the water and smash them with a fork.

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If you’re not into lumps in your potatoes, you could also run these through a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender, but I like them with a little texture.

Next, add in the coconut milk, ginger, and salt to taste.

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Stir it up with the fork until well combined.

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Then pop the mixture back into the microwave for one more minute.

Voila.

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This makes 3 generous half cup servings at just 3 PointsPlus each, and is the perfect amount (though I could easily eat all 3 servings). The coconut milk adds just enough creaminess to the already sweet potatoes, and the ginger is the perfect complement to the flavors.

Are you a sweet potato fan? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

Wednesday Weight Check

Happy Wednesday! I mentioned this already on my facebook page, but I’ve decided to start doing a weekly weigh in video on Wednesdays, following my Tuesday weigh in. I think it will be a good opportunity to reflect on the past week, hold myself accountable, AND selfishly, see how my face changes as I work on getting back to goal.

I mention this in the video, but I am on my last straw with Weight Watchers as far as leading meetings and not being back at goal. I have to lose at least 2 lbs a month from now until I’m back to my goal weight or else I will be placed on a 90 day leave of absence, which I really don’t want.

So here we go:

I promise to ramble less in the ones going forward. But yay for a scale victory!

What’s one good thing you’ve done for your health this week?

Restaurant Week at Sushi Taro

I have always steered very clear of Restaurant Week (RW) in DC in the past for many reasons. In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, RW happens twice a year – once in January and once in August – and many restaurants offer 3 course lunches for $20.12 or 3 course dinners for $35.12 for the entire week. A lot of big cities around the country do restaurant week, and it’s supposed to be a good opportunity to try out restaurants you might not be able to afford otherwise, or just ones you’ve wanted to try and haven’t gotten around to.

When I go out to eat, I don’t normally order 3 courses for myself, so that’s a big part of the reason I avoid it. Also, having worked in the restaurant business myself, RW was always so chaotic that the service offered was never up to par with regular standards, and the food was never as good. On top of all that, I never planned for it in advance, so by the time I even contemplated checking somewhere out, all the good places have been taken.

This time around for some reason, as soon as the email went out announcing restaurant week a month or two ago, I made a reservation at several fancy schmancy places I’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten around to. I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it out to any of the places but figured reservations couldn’t hurt in case I did want to go when the time came. After that, I sort of forgot about my inclination to make so many reservations, until I got a reminder from OpenTable of all my reservations coming up.

The one that made the cut was Sushi Taro, an upscale, authentic Japanese restaurant located in the Dupont Circle area.

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I’d heard great things about the restaurant and had been wanting to try it for some time,  but it’s quite expensive so definitely would be more of a special occasion place than a don’t feel like cooking sort of night out. After doing some browsing about DC restaurant week on the web, I read a lot about it being a good value for RW, so at that point I was sold.

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My date for the night was my good friend Elena, and we had gone back and forth pouring over the menu all week leading up to our reservation since we found it on their facebook page.

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The deal for restaurant week there is that you get four courses for the $35.12. The tasting menu that you get normally costs $80, and doesn’t include the dessert, so it was certainly a good deal. We also ended up both getting the pairings, which brought the cost up to $50 per person, but was totally worth it in my opinion.

The first course was a box tasting plate that had three items that you didn’t get to choose.

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It came with a 5 oz. pour of Kirin Ichiban beer, which was a nice accompaniment.

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Starting from the right, there was a soba noodle dish with tempura pieces, nori, and fried scallion in a light soy dressing. This had such a nice blend of textures and flavors and really tasted wonderful. My only complaint is that there wasn’t a little more!

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The middle had four small pieces of sashimi – two salmon and two yellowfin tuna. The fish was as fresh as could be and literally melted in my mouth – absolutely delicious.

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The left side had the weirdest thing of the evening.

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Jelly coated crab in a creamy corn sauce, garnished with a slice of okra.

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Now I normally consider myself a VERY adventurous eater, but I just could not get down with this. I tried it, but the jelly coating was flavorless gelatin and just didn’t do it for me at all. The other two parts of this tasting box were so awesome though that it made up for this part of the dish for sure.

The second course was the only hot course and one where we had a choice. In addition to what we both ordered, there was a 10 hour braised black pork belly with sweetened soy sauce or a tempura fried softshell crab with vegetables. We were both trying to be healthy, but after seeing the softshell crab come out for other tables, I would definitely give that one a try if you need a little tempura in your life.

The dish we both went with was a black cod marinated in a sweet soy sauce, which was also awesome.

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It came with a piece of eggplant and a sweet pepper, and was very buttery and delicious. It was cooked with the skin on so the fish was very flavorful, yet mild, and was just the right size.

This warm course came with two small pours of sake, one filtered and one unfiltered.

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The sake on the left that was filtered was dry and very refreshing. The one on the right that looks a little milky was the unfiltered one, and it was a little on the sweet side but also delicious.

The third course was a sushi sampling with three choices. With my little research on the dinner there, I found out that the 7 piece course was also known as the amateur, so I went with the 5 piece option, though there was also a 4 piece option known as the sushi foodie. The sushi also came with your choice of half a california or spicy tuna roll, but we both opted for the spicy tuna.

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The fish was as fresh as could be and a really nice assortment as far as sushi options go. From the left, there was tuna, snapper, mackerel, octopus, and raw sweet shrimp. The only one that was new-to-me was the raw shrimp, and it was a little weird to be eating raw shrimp, though I’m sure that was 98.5% mental. When I go out to sushi, I normally order SO MUCH more than what is pictured above, but just having that amount really made me savor every bite. I loved it.

This course came with one final glass of sake, another filtered, dry sake that was perfect with the sushi.

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The last course was a very small scoop of ice cream – your choice of mango or green tea. We both got the green tea ice cream – which is hands down my favorite kind of ice cream in the world.

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It was about half a scoop, which was the perfect size to end the meal with.

This meal overall was out of this world. I was really impressed with the attentive and friendly service, descriptions given on each item put down before us, and the quality of the food. Our server did not seem at all rushed and made sure to check in on us frequently throughout the meal. I also was happy because I left the restaurant feeling great – like I had a good, solid meal, but not at all overly stuffed like can happen with 3-4 courses. I would hands down recommend Sushi Taro for restaurant week and plan to make a reservation there each time the week comes around!

Do you have restaurant week where you live? What’s your approach – try new-to-you restaurants, fancy places you don’t frequent, or avoid it all together?

Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

I have been REALLY digging lentils lately. I literally made a lentil and feta salad with parsley, red onion, and red pepper FOUR times over the course of two weeks. Four times! So when I saw this Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew pop up on WeightWatchers.com as the recipe of the day, I couldn’t look the other way.

Now you may be thinking – slow cooker (the one I have) in the summer? Is that really a good idea? And the truth is, it really is! I set this baby up to cook before heading out to hike this past Sunday, and when I got back to my apartment, not only was it not burnt to the ground (which is still a concern of mine every time I use the slow cooker), it wasn’t even hot like if I had cooked something over the stove or in the oven.

I made this recipe exactly as prescribed, so I can’t call it my own – but I can offer one suggestion. Use less salt. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon, and it was just way too much. I  would recommend going with half that, or even less honestly. There are so many spices going on in this recipe that I’m not sure you really even need the salt. I have step by step instructions below, along with a trick for peeling ginger that works like a charm. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

    • Prep Time: 20 mins
    • Cook Time: 6 hours on low (or 8.5 if you hit traffic on the way home from hiking)
    • Servings: 6
    • PointsPlus: 6 per serving
    • Source: WeightWatchers.com

So first up, the ingredients:

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A lot of them! For simplicity’s sake, here’s what I put together the night before in the slow cooker:

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  • 2 cup(s) dry red lentils
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

The recipe says if you’re missing a spice or two, it’s no big deal, but I happened to have them all on hand except the mustard seed, so I picked some up at Whole Foods in anticipation of making this.

With all the spices and lentils premixed, this left just the following to deal with in the morning:

    • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
    • 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    • 4 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or vegetable broth
    • 1 small uncooked onion, minced
    • 1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

Since nothing had to be done with the tomatoes, spinach, or broth, it meant the only prep I had to do in the morning was deal with the onion, garlic, and ginger.

First up, the onion and garlic – no problem.

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Want to know a cool trick about peeling ginger? The secret lies in the following tool that you probably already have you in your kitchen:

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A spoon! The spoon peels only the skin off the garlic if you use it like so:

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Sort of scraping the skin off. It works so much better than a pairing knife or anything else. Thanks to my sister Heather for teaching me this trick because you don’t waste any of the ginger itself!

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After everything is prepped, toss it into the crockpot with the lentils, spices, tomatoes, and spinach.

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Mix it all together.

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Then pour in your broth.

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And you are ready to go. When you come back to it 6 (or 8.5) hours later, the liquid will have absorbed and you’ll be left with a thick lentil stew.

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Mix it up and then add your two final ingredients:

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, minced

And you are ready to eat!

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This stew was absolutely DELICIOUS. It’s full of flavors, textures and is so, so satisfying. Since it was 6 servings, I ate one on the spot and then put the other 5 in containers for lunch during the week.

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I ended up freezing two of them for later, but let me tell you – it’s even better the next day as leftovers since the flavors have even more time to mesh together.

If you want to print the recipe, click over to the WeightWatchers.com version, but don’t forget to cut the salt at least in half!

Do you ever use your slow cooker in warmer weather? Share a favorite crockpot recipe in the comments if you have one!

Ode to a Perfect Weekend

I looooove the weekends. That makes me unique, right?

This past one, I had the PERFECT weekend in my book.

Friday night started out with a healthy date with my friend Kelly. I stopped by my old office to say hello at the end of the day (where she still works) and we headed over to the gym for a quick workout. I ended up doing 20 minutes of intervals on the stairmill and then a quick strength training circuit and felt great. Afterwards, we grabbed some salads at Chop’t (the new seasonal Tabago Jerk Cobb has only 6 pts+ by the way and is DELICIOUS) and then headed to E Street Cinema to see Celeste and Jesse Forever.

celeste and jesse forever

Source.

Though the movie doesn’t have the best ratings for some reason, I LOVED it. It was hysterical laugh-out-loud at some points, and touching to the point of tears in my eyes at others. A little depressing overall but really, really well done in my opinion.

Saturday I woke up bright and early and headed to Whole Foods to do a little shopping. I wanted to make this South Indian Lentil Stew I found on WeightWatchers.com and knew I would be out all day Sunday, so wanted to pick up what I needed first thing. After coming back from WF, I met my friend Jess at the gym and did 45 minutes of intervals on the stairmaster and led her through a strength training routine, which was fun! Afterwards, we did a little shopping, and then headed to meet up for our friend’s birthday in the late afternoon.

It brought me right back to college, party bus and all. We were supposed to go to Annapolis for a crab feast, but when we got there 32 people deep, they couldn’t make room for us. Next thing we knew, we got asked to leave for being too rowdy and ended up at Red, Hot and Blue, a barbeque place. It’s funny because there’s actually one in Arlington, which is just a quick trip on the metro from where we started, but we ended up traveling via bus to eat there. Whatever the case, we had a great time and it seriously brought me back to feeling like I was 21.

Sunday morning I had some exciting plans – my very first hike! Lauren had emailed me to see if I wanted to come up to Frederick for a hike and said that Ashley would join us. I jumped at the chance! My friend Tegan came with me for the hour drive up to Frederick, and before I knew it, we were at the start of the trail.

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We ended up doing a 5.5 mile loop which took about 2 hours, and I LOVED it. The views from the top were breathtaking!

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It was seriously the most perfect day. Since the ground was so rocky and uneven, I had to pay attention just enough to really be in the moment, but I felt SO relaxed. Plus, we were talking the ENTIRE time, so it went by so quickly and did not feel like even close to 2 hours.

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I can’t believe I waited so long to go for a hike!

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Perfection.

Is there anything you waited a long time to do for no good reason?

In Her Words: Natalie’s Story

“In Her/His Words” is a new series I am starting for people who want to share their story and don’t have a blog or other platform to do so. There are so many different ways to reach success and all of us can use a little inspiration! If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com to get the conversation going!

I remember sitting on a balcony overlooking a gorgeous mountain view, waiting for my husband. He had been out all day mountain biking while I read a book and ate the snack food we packed. I planned my day around food and he planned his day around the trails. A week later, I walked into Weight Watchers with my mom.

2010 Natalie

I was not thinking I would be with him one day, I was only thinking that I needed to be a better person, wife, daughter, co-worker, friend, and self. Life’s limitations were being set by me because of my weight. I had a great family, terrific friends, a job that was very stressful but work I enjoyed, and thankfully no major health problems. However, problems were creeping up with me in regards to my health. Heart palpitations, pre-diabetic symptoms, daily acid reflux, and getting winded walking anywhere with my niece and nephews. My mom had been a WW Lifetime member since I was a child and encouraged me to return with her. I knew the program worked but I was hesitate to think it would change my life.

I had 117lbs to lose.

I could not even think that far ahead. I decided to be happy with each 5lbs I lost. I still crave those 5lbs stickers!

It took about a week for my husband to understand the program and what it would mean for our life. He ate what he wanted but he worked it off by biking. I never saw food as fuel before. Food was celebrations, comfort, medicine, experiments, connecting, careers, and a delight. Food is now tracked, understood, craved only when needed, indulged when earned, and a bond with others. I started with small steps, focusing on my food intake at first. Meetings are my classroom. From my leader encouraging me at every step, to classmates that have gone further than I ever imagined, I always learn something. No matter where you are on the journey, you can learn from your classmates and leaders. The support has been the foundation for me to succeed.

As the food started to be understood, I started walking around my neighborhood. I started doing research and found the Couch to 5K program. I decided to run a 5K. Running was nothing I had done before. I played basketball and softball in high school but never ran unless it was drills. I found myself enjoying it. I ran my first 5K with my husband in April 2011, 8 months after I started WW. I ran three more 5ks in 2011 and continued on my path. October 2011, I hit the 100lb weight loss. Along the way, I was promoted within my work, went on vacations (one that includes a week long trip where our friends are chefs and bartenders!), and started to learn that this was a healthy lifestyle, not a diet.

Believing in yourself is the hardest part of this journey. Reaching for food is easier than controlling my mind to walk away. It sounds scary to change your life but staying where I was could have been frightening. Finding support whether from friends, family, meetings, on-line world, and co-workers are vital.

My life has changed drastically over the past 24 months. I have lost 118.8lbs and hit lifetime one week shy of my two year mark, August 4, 2012.

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And those earlier health problems? None of them currently exist. I have inspired my family to run and be healthy, completed a sprint triathlon with my sister-in-laws, and take time for myself to be reminded that my health is the most important gift I can give myself. As I venture into maintenance, I need to remind myself: This is not my finish line but rather my starting point.

And that view from the balcony……. I experienced my own view from a mountain bike with my husband for the first time this last fall. To go from the balcony to the mountains, that is my success.

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