Month: February 2013

In Her Words: Darlene’s Story

“In Her/His Words” is a series on Beth’s Journey for people who want to share their weight loss story. There are so many different ways to reach success and all of us can use a little inspiration from time to time. Check out the past In Her/His Words Posts:

If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com to get the conversation going!

I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life, but it went out of control after having 2 children. Every time I’d lose a few pounds or more, I’d put it back on and then some. I saw this as going nowhere, and so for many years, I gave up.

The turning point was summer of ’06. I was 44 years old and our family went to Disneyland. On the plane, I asked the attendant for a seat belt extension. Forgetting who asked, she held it up and asked loudly who needed it. I felt like sinking away in humiliation. Southern California was in the gripes of a heat wave, temps were in the high 90’s and more. As a large person, this was torture. There was also the shame of not fitting on some of the rides with my kids and husband. We were in the happiest place on earth but I was miserable. I promised after that vacation I would do something about my weight.

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It took six months for me to keep that promise but on Feb. 24, 2007 I joined Weight Watchers. My doctor had urged me to consider WW over the years. I tried it twice as a young woman. I knew WW would work if I was serious about it. My weight was 313 pounds and I needed to lose over 160 pounds! I never knew anyone personally who had ever lost that much weight or if it was even possible. But with steely determination I was going to defy the odds and make it work, and work I did.

I attended nearly every meeting (I missed only 2). I tracked every morsel I ate, drank plenty of water and started walking. I made sure I stuck to my daily Points target and often used my bonus Points. As I started walking more and incorporating weights and resistance exercise into my routine, I used my Activity Points often. I wasn’t going to let anything derail me, so I did what I needed to make sure I had time for planning, shopping, food prep and exercise.

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At my one year anniversary with WW, I had lost over 100 lbs. By Feb. 21, 2009, I reached my goal weight of 146 lbs. In total, I lost 167 lbs! The day I completed Maintenance was the proudest of my life. I went from a size 28 to a 6. I lost 23 inches off my waist, 24 off my hips and 20 off my bust.

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My challenges along the way were few. I was so focused and determined, not much stood in my way. One challenge I had was doing exercises that would boost metabolism and reshape my body. It took 8 months for me to start a workout routine. I started with the exercises in the WW material. Once I saw the difference, how it pulled in the flab and gave me a sexy body, I was hooked! Another challenge that reared its ugly head was breads and sweets! I learned to limit those in my home and gave away most of the baking I did. Trigger foods that had to be in the house for my family was kept in a cupboard that was off limits to me.

My motivation? Liking what I saw in the mirror, how my body could move, the energy I had, the
increasingly smaller clothes I was fitting into, the pride of my family. The joy I felt every day.

Five keys to my success:

    1. Track EVERYTHING!
    2. Eat the daily PointsPlus Target, always!
    3. Exercise! I didn’t have tummy tucks or lifts; exercise did a damn good job at that
    4. 4. Be POSITIVE! Focus on the CANS not the CAN’TS.
    5. Practice healthy selfishness – setting aside ME time for success.

Whoever you are; you can do it. Pull it out of your inner most self and tell yourself everyday: I
CAN do this! I WILL do this!

Good luck!

Darlene Scott – Lifetime Member, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Make March Your Month

Falling off track with our healthiness goals is so much easier than sticking with them. Case in point, this picture of my office gym when I went last week at 6pm on a Wednesday:

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Not even a month ago, I had to actually wait in line to get on one of the treadmills, and last week there was not a person in sight.

Because I think we can all use a little extra motivation at this time of year, I put the idea out there on my facebook page of starting a Beth’s Journey DietBet for the month of March. There seemed to be a bit of interest, so I went ahead and started a game.

DietBet

The basic concept behind it is that you pay $25 to play, and the goal is to lose 4% of your starting weight in the 4 weeks that the game runs. My game starts one week from today on Monday March 4, and will run through Sunday, March 31. Everyone who hits their goal of losing 4% of their starting weight splits the pot, so you automatically get your money back if you hit that goal.

In case you’re curious, I am not making any money or getting any special privileges for hosting this game – I paid $25 to play just like anyone else who is interested will, and I don’t get a cut or anything for hosting. I just thought it would be a fun way to bring a sense of community here and I’m excited to have another forum for support!

On the Beth’s Journey DietBet page, we can post photos, motivation, struggles, etc., sort of like a message board for extra support during the game. You’re also welcome to invite and friends and/or family you think might be interested in participating in the challenge, which you can do through the site.

It’s hosted through DietBet, so there are rules about how to submit your weigh in to avoid cheating which is something I was really curious about. Here are some links with more info:

As of now, 22 people have already signed up to play, so the pot is at $550! I’m really excited to have motivation to get back into weight loss mode for the whole month of March, and a little healthy competition never hurt anyone! I am especially excited about this because I am traveling to Philadelphia for work this entire week from this morning until Friday night, and I always struggle a lot while traveling for business (or in general). This will be a great way to get my butt back in gear right when I get back from the trip.

Who’s in!?

Double Digits

This past Saturday, I ran 10 miles for the first time in a LONG time. It was my friend Matt’s 30th birthday and he was starting the day with a 10 mile run, so I decided to join him in the spirit of actually sticking with my training plan. Somehow, my sixth half marathon is coming up just three weeks from Saturday, so there’s no more time for excuses! Not that I really had a choice with my minor surgery which sidelined me for two weeks, or getting knocked down by strep for five days, but I haven’t been very consistent this go-round with training.

The day started with a 7:30am wakeup call, and I immediately made coffee and got dressed. I almost always have an english muffin with nut butter of some sort for pre-run fuel, but I haven’t been keeping nut butter in the house lately because I can’t trust myself around it. So, I tried something new-to-me before a run:

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An english muffin with smashed avocado and sea salt. This has been one of my favorite things to eat recently, and it definitely did the trick as a pre-run mini meal.

I drove to Matt’s house and we headed to the trail, and before I knew what I had signed up for, we were off. We ran on an area of the Mount Vernon Trail that I haven’t run on in years, and it was hillier than I was used to. There was a water fountain at the 2.5 mile mark, then the 5.0 mile mark where we turned around for the out-and-back loop, so it worked out well for us to not have to carry water.

The first couple miles went by quick, but I felt like it took a LONG time to get to the turnaround point. Matt has been running way more than me lately, so 10 miles to him was no big deal, but for me it was definitely a stretch. Around the turnaround point, I took a new-to-me Clif Shot that I acquired at my last half marathon.

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Which was fine. Vanilla Bean GU is still my fav, but the price was right on this one so I went with it.

Once we got to the 7ish mile mark, I was really ready to be done. I had to slow down a bit and mentally talk myself away from wanting to stop running. I kept playing mind games with myself and taking it one mile at a time, and soon we were at 8 miles and then 9. When we had less than a mile to go, Matt took off a little ahead of me which was good because I was able to finish the run at my own pace. And then, at long last, I hit the 10.0 mile mark and stopped immediately.

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My body will never cease to amaze me whenever I run a double digit run. It is always a challenge in more ways than one, and I ALWAYS feel like a million bucks when it’s over.

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The one thing I forgot about was chafing! It honestly didn’t occur to me that I often chafe on my collar bones when I run in anything other than a tank top, and once I stopped I realized my neck was super irritated.

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Ouch. It’s already gone down considerably since then, but I can guarantee you I will not forgot body glide on this weekend’s long run!

Even though the run was really hard for me, it definitely helped me feel more confident about the upcoming half marathon. I am going to attempt 10 miles again this coming weekend, and I’m hoping it’ll be a bit easier for me this time around. I know that the challenge was more mental than anything because I wasn’t sore at all after the run or the next day, so I really just need to work on the mental part of things over the next few weeks.

Do you struggle mentally with runs? Any tips for overcoming it?

Taking the Guess Work Out

I never was a planner. Before I really committed myself to Weight Watchers, I always just kind of flew by the seat of my pants when it came to eating. I’d wait until I was extremely hungry and go out and buy something for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost every single day. That hunger led to less than stellar decision making when it came to eating, and just perpetuated the cycle of extreme hunger, followed by extreme fullness.

People always ask me what the biggest change for me has been since really changing my life around, and I would hands down say that it’s putting more thought into planning my meals. I never had snacks on hand, and certainly never planned ahead enough to bring breakfast and lunch to work every day like I do now. When I have a plan in place, I go to the grocery store to pick up what I need, and it takes the question out of what to eat. Besides that, I feel a little guilty when I don’t eat the food that I’ve purchased, so that helps me stick with my plan even more.

The same thing goes for exercise. Not that I approached exercise without a plan before because in reality I just didn’t approach exercise at all, but I’ve found that when I have a plan in place and actually schedule it in, it makes it so much easier to stick with. This is a large part of why I continually sign up for races – having them on my calendar sort of forces me to stick with my plan so that I am not in bad shape come race day.

So for me, I think the bottom line is that planning really helps take the guess work out of being healthy and helps me keep it together during the week.

Without further ado, here is what’s in store for my week food wise:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Monday english muffin w/cottage cheese fajita chicken with peppers and onions whole wheat egg noodles w/goat cheese, pistachios, & craisins (YUM!) Greek yogurt, frozen grapes, chocolate chip cookie
Tuesday oatmeal w/pumpkin + cottage Cheese Out for Peruvian Lunch tofu w/soba noodles + veggies greek yogurt + banana
Wednesday Savory Oats w/spinach + cheese tofu w/soba noodles + veggies + ginger sauce Fajita Chicken Salad cottage cheese w/frozen cherries
Thursday Egg sandwich w/avocado + cheese tofu w/soba noodles + veggies + ginger sauce farro salad w/chickpeas, roasted red peppers, feta apple w/string cheese
Friday Egg white veggie omelet w/toast farro salad w/chickpeas, roasted red peppers, feta soft boiled eggs w/english muffin cottage cheese w/grapefruit

 

To help make this easier, I grilled chicken breasts and cooked the fajita veggies on Sunday, and then Monday went grocery shopping and made a batch of plain oatmeal to carry me through some breakfasts this week. I also pressed the tofu yesterday (with this thing which I LOVE) so that tonight’s dinner (and the next two lunches) are easy peasy. Spreading out the work over the weekend also helps it not feel that overwhelming.

Exercise-wise, here’s what my plan is for the week:

    • Sunday: Rest (not hard)
    • Monday: 4 miles + weights (afternoon)
    • Tuesday: Rest
    • Wednesday: 45 min tempo run (before work)
    • Thursday: 3 mile run + weights (before work)
    • Friday: rest
    • Saturday: 10 miles

Are you good about planning ahead? Do you find it easier to plan meals or exercise?

My Week Turned Around

So this week started out pretty crappy for me. On Monday, I went to the dentist for the first time in far too long and had to get some work done. I ended up shedding almost $500 out of pocket which I wasn’t expecting, plus I just hate the dentist in general. Once the day came and went I got home, and realized my car was not where I left it. I started panicking that it had been stolen because I grabbed an umbrella out of it that morning and thought maybe I’d left it unlocked. After a few phone calls I realized what had actually happened was that I had an outstanding parking ticket as well as an outstanding photo enforcement ticket, and they had booted and towed my car that day. $400 later, and over an hour of time getting to where they’d relocated my car later, I got my car back. An expensive day, to say the least.

Thankfully, things have been looking up ever since. Here are the top five things that turned my week around:

1.) Tuesday morning’s weight watcher meeting

I’ve been leading Weight Watchers meetings for just over a year, and I cannot tell you how much I love it. I feel like I’m 100% at my prime when I’m leading meetings and it feels so good to be doing something that draws on my passions. I always leave the meeting feeling inspired, recommitted, and so happy.

2.) Dinner at Zaytinya

So remember how I said I was going to Zaytinya on last week’s menu plan? Weeeell I made the reservation for Wednesday instead of Thursday, so all my friends were thrilled when they found out I made us miss it. Luckily, the restaurant extended restaurant week into this week too, so I was able to get a new reservation for Wednesday night. Since there were four of us who went, we literally got to order the entire menu because there were 4 options for each course on the RW menu. It.was.amazing. The highlights for me were fried brussels sprouts with garlic yogurt, the falafel with tahini sauce, and seared scallops with yogurt dill sauce. Just thinking about that meal makes me hungry.

3.) Unofficial 5k PR

If you are on my facebook page, you might have already seen this, but I was SO excited when I took a lunchtime run yesterday, and looked down to see this:

5kPR

3.12 miles in 26:17, or an 8:26 pace. I don’t normally run that fast but since it was a shorter run, I decided to push it and was so happy! The fastest official 5k I’ve run is 26:49, so over 30 seconds faster. Woohoo!

4.) Overall exercise this week

I have been struggling with getting into a groove with exercise lately because of my minor surgery and then getting knocked down with strep. This week was the first consistent week I’ve had in a while, and here’s what it looked like:

    • Sunday: 4 mile run
    • Monday: 3 mile run + 1 hour pilates class
    • Tuesday: rest
    • Wednesday: 4.5 miles of intervals
    • Thursday: 5k run
    • Friday: Rest
    • Saturday: 10 miles on the docket…. eek!

I’m really happy with this week’s exercise, though I do wish I got in some strength training. Next time!

5.) Mumford & Sons Concert

Last night, I went to the best concert of my life, hands down. It was Mumford & Sons, one of my favorite bands ever. The tickets for the show sold out in about two seconds, but I lucked out and got really awesome seats in the second row of the arena and it was unreal. I went with my friend Stacy that I am traveling to Peru with, and we had the BEST time.

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The acoustics were amazing and the visuals were pretty awesome too.

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They also did an acapella encore on a different stage that happened to be RIGHT in front of our seats. Just incredible. Made getting home at 2am on a weeknight worth it for sure.

What’s a highlight from your week?

Valentine’s Day in a Different Way

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ll tell ya – I traditionally hate this “holiday”, regardless of whether I am in a relationship or single because it’s always overhyped and undelivered.

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So this year, I’ve decided to think about it in a different way.

It’s so easy to focus on all the things we hate about ourselves. For years, that is ALL I thought about and my life was filled with negative self talk. I’d pick myself apart from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed, always vowing to change the next day. And you know what? Shockingly (not) that negative energy did not help me change a thing.

So today, I want to focus on what I love about myself, and I want you to, too.

If I had to pick the thing I love most about myself, I think it would be my determination. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I’ve proven it time and time again over the last several years. I’ve changed myself from an obese and fragile young woman, to a fit, healthy, and confident person. I’ve gone from not being able to run except if being chased to having almost 30 races under my belt, including five half marathons. I’ve gone from recruiter, to associate, to director in my professional life in under 6 years. I’ve gone from prudent Weight Watchers member to enthusiast leader. I’ve gone from annoying little sister, to friend, confidant and awesome aunt. And, I’m really proud of myself for all that.

Tell me – what’s one thing you love about you?

In Her Words: Rebecca’s Story

“In Her/His Words” is a series on Beth’s Journey for people who want to share their weight loss story. There are so many different ways to reach success and all of us can use a little inspiration from time to time. Check out the past In Her/His Words Posts:

If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com to get the conversation going!

I’ve always been thin-average size, never skinny, never overweight. When I had my son in 2005, I weighed the most I’d ever weighed in my life–186 pounds. I gained 65+ pounds during my pregnancy, apparently I thought the weight would just melt off after my son was born. It didn’t melt off, didn’t even come close to melting off, and over the next several years, my weight kept creeping up. I’d go through spurts of “starting a diet” only to give up two days in and eat everything I’d restricted myself from “ever eating again.” It was a vicious cycle that lasted until I decided to join Weight Watchers with my mom at the end of 2011.

When I first started the program I ate a lot of Smart Ones (the WW frozen dinners), Fiber One brownies, string cheese, and baked popped chips. All of those things have the points values listed right on the box so it was easy to calculate the points and write them down in my tracker. I also ate a lot of salads–McDonald’s and Chick fil A both have a really yummy southwest salad that I ate all the time. Fruit is considered “free” on WW so I ate lots of apples, blueberries, and watermelon. I didn’t exercise at all, I just tracked what I ate and wrote EVERYTHING down in my WW journal.

It was like night and day when it came to what I ate before starting WW. I used to get fast food ALL the time. I always “biggie sized” my meals and I ate french fries almost every single day. I was tired all the time because of the crap I was putting into my body. After my first 3 months on WW, I felt so much better and had lost 33 pounds!

I kept with it and by July 4th, I hit 50 lbs lost. That was such a proud moment when I stepped onto the scale at WW and saw a number staring back at me that I hadn’t seen in SO long! I couldn’t believe that I’d lost 50 lbs in just 6 months…it seemed like such an impossible thing to do when I walked into WW just 6 months before.

My whole attitude on life changed after losing 50 lbs. I’m so confident now and I find myself doing things I never would’ve done 50 lbs ago. I’m a better wife, mom, and employee. I have lots of energy, I’ve started working out, and I love being active. I lay out my workout clothes every night so that I have no excuses when it comes to whether or not I’m going to workout.

If I can’t make it to the gym I don’t let that stop me from working out. There are TONS and tons of great workouts all over the internet. I loved this dorm room workout, it was a lot harder than it seems!

The most important thing to remember is that relying on exercise to give you the body you want isn’t going to work. Yes, it’s important and it’s good for your heart but you’re going to drop the pounds when you change your diet. I cook healthy for myself and my family by either lightening up recipes I already make or finding recipes with WW points values already calculated. There are some of my favorites from my blog.

Healthy Turkey Chili

Turkey, Cream Cheese, and Sausage Stuffed Shells

Remember to set realistic goals–everyday is not going to be an ideal day to workout and eat “perfectly.” There are many, many days where I eat everything in sight and feel like a bottomless pit. Just start with your next meal and make it a good one. Losing weight is not about getting to the finish line. You have to change your entire lifestyle and turn a not so good one into a healthy one. It’s about finding your best self and enjoying the journey!

Thanks Beth for letting my share my weight loss story with your readers!

On Growing Up Heavy

The first time someone ever referenced my weight in a negative way was when I was in the third grade and just 8 years old. I remember sitting at the table in class with some of my peers, when one girl was looking at me a little weird. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “You’re fat.” Even typing this now over 20 years later, I can still feel the sting of her words and vividly remember the red sweater I wore that day.

Things never really got any easier for me all throughout school. I was constantly harassed for my weight and often went home in tears from being teased. It caused me to develop a really hard shell over the years and pretend like the taunting wasn’t getting to me. Sometimes I’d even laugh along with them. That was, until I got home and could really let myself feel the affects of their words in the form of tears and self loathing.

I remember when my sisters both got married in 2004, how instead of feeling joy and happiness for them, I was overcome with fear because of the bridesmaid dresses I’d have to wear. Nothing in regular stores ever fit me, so how on Earth would I fit into a dress that the other normal sized bridesmaids could wear? For my sister Wendy’s wedding, I had to order a size 14 (the biggest size it came in) with a yard of extra fabric to make it large enough to fit around me, and for my sister Heather’s wedding I had to order a size 20 dress. I remember telling myself that bridesmaid dresses ran small and that was the reason. And I actually believed it. But even now, I have a hard time looking at the pictures from both of their weddings without a terrible feeling coming over me because of how far I let my weight get out of control.

I finally got a boyfriend in college, and I remember the first six months being bliss. I was so excited to be in a relationship with someone who actually liked me despite my weight, that I turned a blind eye to how he actually treated me. He was never physically abusive, but would often do things that left me in tears and that no one should ever put up with. I felt like I should just take what I could get at that point because honestly, how many options did I have?

I remember one time, my sister Wendy told me about a job that was mine if I wanted it, working for one of Justin’s, her now-husband, clients. My ex was with me when she was filling me in on the details, and of course I wanted the job – it sounded perfect for a summer gig. The next week, Justin was at his clients and was following up to make sure the job would work out for me, when the client pulled up an email and said, “Is this her?” Justin looked at the email with sheer confusion when he realized the email the client was referring to was sent not from me, but from my ex. Apparently, after Wendy had filled me in on the job details, my ex went behind my back to look up the employer, and then sent in an email pitching himself as the perfect fit for the job and trying to steal the job out from under me. Even after a stunt like that, I stayed with him for several years.

I think because of the years of being told I was fat and the accompanying harassment, I adopted being heavy as part of my self identity. This probably contributed to my lack of success at losing weight until I was an adult because I let what others think of me be such a large part of who I was. Even though all through middle school, high school, and college, I wanted nothing more than to be skinny, I think I was fearful of shedding the weight and having to deal with what was underneath it all.

It was not until I was out of college and living and working in the “real world” that I was finally able to realize that I had so much more to me than just the size of my clothes or the number on the scale. I was mature enough to realize that the names that other people called me or the reasons that they judged me were not what defined me. The ball was in my court in terms of growing (or shrinking) into the person I wanted to be, and no one could stand in my way if I wouldn’t let them. And while I have found myself many times wishing that I had started to make the change in my life sooner, I also think being heavy was something I needed to go through to be who I am today. And honestly, I like the person I’ve become, so I’m OK with it. Finally.

Trends in my Menu Plan

As you may or may not know, with my current job, I am able to work from home on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s pretty glorious because I love being in the office a couple days and then home for two – it really is a great balance. This also means that Thursdays and Fridays I don’t have to pack breakfast/lunch/snacks, and can actually cook my meals at home. Because of this, I’ve been having eggs in some form almost every Thursday and Friday for breakfast, and then sticking with oats for most of the days that I’m eating at work since those are easier to transport.

This weekend, I made a big batch of tempeh fajitas with green peppers, red onion, corn, and lots of spices. It was enough for one big serving on Sunday with two servings for the week to use for fajita salads. I made dressing for the salads is greek yogurt mixed with salsa – which tastes wayyyy better than it looks in pictures.

Tempeh Fajita Mix

I also made a big batch of oats to carry me through the first couple days of the week, and then this meal plan was born:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Monday Pumpkin Cottage cheese Oats Tempeh Taco Salad 2 TJ’s Smoked Chardonnay Chicken Apple Sausages w/veggies Greek yogurt w/Very Cherry Blend
Tuesday Savory Oats w/spinach Chicken Apple Sausage w/veggies over greens Breakfast Burrito w/eggs, refried beans, avocado Cottage cheese w/pineapple
Wednesday Pumpkin cottage cheese oats Tempeh Taco Salad Chicken Apple Sausage w/Eggs Apple w/string cheese
Thursday Soft boiled eggs w/english muffin + fruit Chicken Apple Sausage w/veggies over greens Zaytinya for Restaurant Week!! Green smoothie
Friday Egg and Cheese Sandwich, fruit Sweet potato with black beans and salsa TBD Greek yogurt w/very cherry blend

 

In looking through my menu for the week, there are a couple trends that I notice:

    • I eat a lot of eggs. Pretty much every day because I even put an egg white in my oats.
    • I tend to have meat once a day at the most.
    • I don’t mind repeating things a few times a week, but not within the same day.
    • My snacks are always protein (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, cheese, milk, etc) paired with fruit. And boring. But that’s OK.
    • I go through phases with food, and a toasted English muffin with smashed avocado and a touch of sea salt has been high on my list lately. Even though you see it on this menu plan only once, that’s because I had about 5 of them over the weekend. Yum. Before this newest phase, it was refried beans and cheese. I could not get enough!
    • I like easy things during the week nights. Aka, cooks in less than 15 minutes. Those chicken apple sausages come in a pack of 4 and sometimes if I’m feeling super lazy, I just microwave them in a paper towel for one minute and they’re still so good.
    • I probably need to eat more veggies. I am really good about eating a ton of fruit, but I should focus on having veggies as part of my snacks.

Do you go through food phases? Anything that you’ve been loving lately?

February Goals

Last week was a tough one. As I mentioned previously, work has been totally crazy lately because we have a conference coming up at the end of this month, and I’ve been working my butt off every day since being back from the holidays. I”ve also been going pretty hard outside of work and not sleeping enough on the weekends, and I think it finally caught up with me.

This past Wednesday, my throat started feeling a bit sore, and then Thursday I woke up with the most severe pain I’ve had in a long time. (Definitely worse than the minor surgery I had!) My throat was so sore that I couldn’t speak, swallow, or eat and I was on the verge of tears from pain, so I went to Urgent Care and literally cried when they did a throat swab. Cried! Me! It was nuts. Urgent Care was… how do I put this lightly… useless? They told me my throat wasn’t red or irritated, sent me home and told me to drink tea.

So Friday I made an appointment with my PCP because I barely slept that night from being in so much pain and it was just as bad if not worse than the day before. When I saw my doctor, she couldn’t believe how swollen my neck/lymph nodes were and took one look at my throat and said it was extremely red and irritated and that I definitely had strep. So, long story short, I went on antibiotics and steroids to help with the swelling, and woke up feeling a bit better Saturday, and even better yesterday. Today I woke up and could swallow without pain for the first time in days! It’s crazy because I’ve never thought of sore throats as being that bad, but strep throat SUCKS.

I think that might have been my body’s way of telling me to slow down, because I feel like I was go-go-going for all of January and not taking much time to relax and take a step back. The reason I’m telling you all this is because that’s feeding heavily into the goals for this month, so here we go.

February Goals

1.) Work up to running 10 miles.

I feel like I can’t get a break when it comes to training for this half coming up in March! First, I had that surgery that put me out of commission for 10 days, then I got two good runs in (3 and 4 miles) and was hit with strep. The longest I’ve run so far in this training cycle is 8 miles, but that’s now been over 2 weeks ago, so I want to ease back into long distance. I’d like to do 8, 9, and 10 miles for long runs this month to see how my body handles it.

2.) Go on a cash-only spending policy.

One of my big goals for 2013 is to get my spending under control, and I feel like swiping plastic is not helping me with that at all. For the whole month of February, my goal is to withdraw cash each Friday to get me through groceries, gas, and all my spending money (dinners, drinks, going out, etc) and stick to just that. When it’s out, it’s out.

3.) Limit meals out to twice a week maximum.

This will help with my cut down on spending goal and getting my eating under control because I do so much better when I’m prepping meals at home. I haven’t gone off the deep end with this or anything, I just feel like I’ve been eating out/ordering in more than I’d like to.

4.) Weigh in at least three Tuesdays this month.

I have been slacking off about weighing in and haven’t weighed in since the first week in January. My Weight Watchers meetings have been a lot bigger this month so that has been part of it, but in reality I can weigh in before anyone else gets there so I just have to get back into the routine. Because I’m on steroids right now, my weight should be up a few pounds tomorrow so I’m not going to officially weigh in, but I imagine it’ll go right back down when I’m done with them because I’ve been tracking religiously while being sick.

5.) Keep up with studying Spanish.

Since I am going to Peru in June/July of this year (!!!) I really want to learn some Spanish so I don’t look like too much of an idiot. I was originally thinking of enrolling in a class, but I missed the deadlines for the one that works best with my schedule, so I did the next best thing and downloaded an app for my iPad. The app has words and phrases in flashcard form that you do each day, and it’s pretty awesome. I’ve been doing it for a little over a week and have learned a lot already, but it’s something I want to commit to doing daily (with an exception here or there). I know repetition is key for getting my head around the language, and if I complete the program I have they say I’ll be able to get around the country no problem. Also, it really feels great to be learning something just for me and not work related at all!

6.) Read at least two books.

In January I read Room, which I hiiiiiighly recommend if you haven’t read it yet. For February I ended up reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets cover to cover this weekend while I was sick between naps, because I’ve decided to re-read the Harry Potter series and watch all the movies this year. Since that one is already checked off, getting through at least one more this month should be no problem. Always taking recommendations on this one!

7.) Keep the TV of at least two nights during the week.

I’ve gotten into the habit of watching a lot of shows that I like (hello Top Chef, Biggest Loser, Homeland, Californication, Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy), but sometimes it keeps me up later than I should be and it also means I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to. So, at least two days during the week, my goal is to just read and not put the TV on at all.

So I think 7 goals is plenty for one month! Of course I also want to keep up with healthy eating/tracking, documenting my workouts and meals, and kicking butt at my job (especially seeing as the conference is at the end of the month!), but these are the big things I want to focus on outside of all that. I’m excited to share my progress!

What is your biggest focus (or two) for the month of February?

And, what is your favorite TV show on right now?