Things are getting better

The past few weeks have been tough. I’ve been going through a rough emotional patch. There is a lot in my life that looks different than it did a year ago: different job, home, commute, friends, workout routine, diet, support network-just to name a few.

As I mentioned before, I am in a 12 Step program.  Some of the work requires a detailed look into your past. I’ve done this work before, but this time I am getting to a new level of understanding and need to work on some issues that are currently affecting my life. These issues have been affecting my sleep, sense of emotional security and have been showing up in my relationship with food.

I have been meeting regularly with my sponsor, my therapist, and my running coach so I am definitely working on myself from multiple angles. All three require homework, which is keeping me fairly busy.

I have learned that hard work is worth it, but it is definitely work. I hope to look back on this time in my life, knowing that it was tough but feeling proud of how I handled myself.

Peace and Love,

Amber

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Sore but still running

On Tuesday I ran four miles on the treadmill in new shoes. Today my calves are pretty sore, like, with every step I am reminded that I have calves, sore.  I have a run with my running coach, and I am pretty sure we’re going to do 6 miles, if not more. I always worry about my runs with my coach because I am nervous that I’m not going to be able to do what I set out to accomplish.

I’m at the point where I don’t really enjoy running and I’m starting to lose sight of what originally motivated me to sign up for a half marathon, then add a second half marathon later in the summer. I realize that I am not going to enjoy running everyday, however I feel like I am in a slump where every run feels anxiety producing beforehand. I want to believe that I have six miles in me today

The good news. I can just focus on today. On now. On the next mile, or the next step. If I never want to run another race after September, I don’t have to. If running isn’t fun or doesn’t bring me an ounce of joy I can stop and do something else.

I believe in challenging myself and that it is necessary to push beyond my comfort zone. Things that seem unobtainable usually aren’t. We all must quell the voice in our head that tells us that we aren’t enough, that we can’t, that we shouldn’t try.  We must draw upon other obstacles in our life that we have overcome, knowing that we had doubts then as we do now. We can and we must.

Why I don’t like DietBet

I am an Instagram junkie and follow several women who have documented their weight loss journey via Instagram. Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen DietBets pop up on my feed.  As I have stated many times before, key elements to losing weight and keeping it gone are incorporating changes slowly, not doing anything you can’t do forever, and pacing yourself. DietBet encourages you to lose 4% of your weight in 28 days. That’s typically going to be between 4-10 pounds depending on your weight. Right now I would need to lose 6 pounds in less than a month, which doesn’t seem manageable to me.  My weight loss has slowed dramatically as I have less to lose.

I’m sure DietBet does work for some people. I’d be curious to see how many people lose the weight and keep it off. If a person was contemplating losing weight and used DietBet as a starting point, they may be very successful. In my experience the first two weeks of any diet are usually the most dramatic.

Dietbet also takes a cut of the payout- between 10 and 25% depending how much is in the pot. I understand this is a business and their technology is allowing players to participate. I would much rather spend my money elsewhere.

Am I totally off base here? Have you tried DietBet and loved it?

Weight loss tips

The past few days I have been struggling with my diet.  I am finding myself thinking about food to the point of obsession. There is no easy hack to losing weight, ultimately it is about making a series of healthy choices. Here’s what is working for me:

Eat a big breakfast:  I choose to eat a big breakfast full of a combination of fats, carbs and proteins.  This helps me feel full and gives me enough energy to last until noon. I usually grab a huge cup of coffee at 6 am and then eat breakfast when I get to work at 8 am.  Recently my go-to breakfast has been two bananas with two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Include some flexibility in your diet:  Every week I have a higher calorie day.  I used to refer to this as a cheat meal or cheat day, but I’m not cheating on myself of my diet. By allowing for a higher calorie day, I am still able to eat fun foods that I enjoy.

Don’t do anything now that you won’t do long term: Eating salads everyday or sticking to 1200 calories isn’t sustainable in my world. I need enough energy to run and so that I don’t snap at my colleagues. For the time being, I’m finding that 1600 calories seems like the right amount to allow my body to lose weight and for me to feel like I’m not starving myself. I am still hungry sometimes, but not starving.

Make a plan: Every Sunday I make a plan for my week, including what I am going to eat and when I am going to work out.  By having a plan, I know if I have any upcoming special events that I may need to factor in food choices and I know if there is anything standing in my way of my running schedule.  I can also plan out when to have my higher calorie day.

Chug the water:  I keep a 20 oz water bottle on my desk and refill it several times a day. I probably drink close to 150 oz of water a day, which keeps me feeling full and hydrated.  I absolutely love La Croix water, but I have noticed when I start drinking La Croix I don’t want to switch back to plain ol’ tap water. I have recently made a deal with myself not to start drinking La Croix until after noon and not until after I refilled my water bottle three times. I also love drinking out of a big straw.  Hey, whatever works, right?

Distract yourself: If I can’t stop thinking about food, I will start another project, clean my office, talk to a coworker, make a to-do list, or go for a walk. Sitting and watching TV is a passive activity that can lead to mindless eating.

Exercise: Cliche but true, exercise helps me keep on track. Not only can I eat more when I workout, but I generally feel better about myself. Yes, I may hate running while I am running, but afterwards I feel proud and accomplished. For me, diet and exercise go hand in hand; I can’t lose weight without incorporating both into my life.

What tips or tricks work for you? Please let me know.

Peace and Love,

Amber

 

 

Bloggin’ again

I’ve been inspired to blog again.  For the past two months, I have been trying to brainstorm a name for a new blog. It isn’t my intention to revive this blog, but I continue to struggle with a name, so in the meantime I will blog here in order to get my thoughts down.

I’ve been tracking everything and running since early November, with a few hiccups.  In November I had a bad case of the flu when I was at my sister’s in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving, which actually helped me lose weight, but it was completely terrible. More recently, I got a bad cold which turned into a sinus infection. I am finally feeling better, though I feel my entire training plan for the Rock and Roll half marathon in June was derailed. I am determined to get back into things, but definitely feel a psychological hurdle to overcome.

I have also been very careful with my eating plan, averaging about 1500 calories a day, though again recently I feel completely derailed. Yesterday I was doing some emotional work and then found myself eating Maple Bacon Kettle Chips from the bag. I haven’t had issues controlling what I’ve been eating until this weekend, however now I am really struggling.  My hope is that I will continue to track, be honest, and talk about this so I don’t undo all the hard work I have put in recently.

Currently I am weighing in at about 160. Two summers ago, I was down to 155 and I felt great. In the short term, my goal is 155 again and see how I feel when I get there. My body seems to want to hold onto my weight when I get here, but I do believe that if I continue to work I can surpass these next 5 pounds.

Katie from runsforcookies.com has said that she wouldn’t do anything to lose weight that she wouldn’t do long term. I’m trying to keep that mentality, but recently I was eating as low as 1200 calories a day, which I do not think is sustainable. I am trying to think long term, sustainable and healthy, which is not always easy whether losing weight or not.

I will be running again tomorrow, even if I don’t feel like it. I truly believe this is just a little hump to get over, and if I stick to it, things will be back to normal before long.

Peace and Love,

Amber

 

Organizing

Can’t find your keys? Missed a doctor’s appointment? Late for another meeting?

Organization transcends beyond mess and clutter and can seriously mess up your life.

I love helping people become better organized and I am constantly challenging myself to develop better organizational habits.

Currently I am reading Organizing for Dummies by Eileen Roth and with Elizabeth Miles

dummies-book-695-kb

Whatever system you devise, stick to it.  

Here are a few of my favorite tips (many of which I apply to other areas of my life and have talked about here before)

Take it in bite-sized chunks

Don’t tackle your whole home, start with the least-scary option.  Take it one drawer or pile at a time.

Get an account-a-bili-buddy

Tell someone your plans and check in with them on a regular basis. 

Ask Why

What purpose do your items serve?

I strongly believe everything you own should fit into one (or more) of three categories: Does it bring you joy? Does it serve a purpose? Does it make you happy? No to any or all? Get rid of it!

I anticipate writing more on organization and even have some ideas in the works.  Know anyone in the Seattle who needs their home or closet organized? I love to help and I’d love to include some before and after pictures to show off my talents. 

Amber

A little bit of this…a little bit of that

I have truly been implemented the “baby steps” approach in my life this summer.

I set three goals for myself:
Garden

Read

Workout

Because I kept my goals simple, I have been able to accomplish all of three.

Right now my garden is flourishing and I am still planting. I have also been Google researching and consulting my mom for advice. 

I just finished the Book American Gods by Neil Gaiman and am honestly not sure what my final impressions are.  I mostly liked it, but wasn’t completely in love with it.  I also finished the book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, which was extremely sad but very well written.  Next on my list is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

Working out has been a struggle.  I was really finding my stride with running, and then my developed knee pain.  Currently I am attending physical therapy once a week since my knees creak and moan like an old man’s. Since I am supposed to ice my knees, stretch, and complete specific strengthening exercises, I made myself a sticker chart and for every day I complete all three tasks I get a sticker. Once I have 25 stickers I get to buy myself a new MAC lipstick.

I have continued to workout with my personal trainer once a week and have begun to swim and bike, which I find incredibly dull.  I like the way my body feels and looks when I am running and so far I haven’t found the perfect exercise to fill that place. 

So that’s about it.  Consistency, dedication and perseverance

Here’s to a summer of completing your goals!

Amber

Balance

Confession: I am not great with down-time.

I like to fill my time productively. Relaxing does not come naturally to me.

Tonight I have the night off. So far I have tended my garden, made dinner, pinned on Pinterest, read, and cleaned (some parts of) my house. This is the stuff I feel guilty about doing! I feel like I should be making money or contributing my time and talent productively.

Instead I am going to relax doing things for myself. I am pacing myself and learning to say no.

Practice makes perfect.

It Keeps Getting Better

Hello Friends,

I am very happy to report that I am down 46 pounds from when I started this journey a year and a half ago.  

I’m super embarrassed and nowhere near perfect, but in an act of vulnerability and love, I’m posting my before and after pics. 

Image

 

                          My heaviest, at 208                                                    Currently at 162

What’s the magic formula? Hard work.  It really is just about showing up consistently.  It’s not fancy.  It’s not that complicated.  It’s just difficult.

I started working out with a Trainer via Groupon.  Because I am a hustler and because I don’t work at Amazon or Google, this will be a very short stint.  However, I will take what I learn from my trainer and apply it to the gym. 

The best part of this journey hasn’t been my weight loss, it’s what has come about it.  I have newfound confidence in myself.  I feel healthier.  My back hurts less.  I believe there is untapped potential that I still have yet to see and that will only come with time, dedication, and patience.  

I want to acknowledge that this isn’t the first time I have lost weight.  Also, there are no guarantees that I won’t give up and gain all that weight back. Lord knows that I love to eat and bake.  I know for me that it took a lot of work to get here and I changed the way I did things this time so it was all on my own-which feels pretty damn good.

All I can say is that if I can do this, I truly believe anyone can. I can’t eat anything I want and never workout.  I had to work for my progress, and the work made my accomplishments meaningful to me.

Thanks for reading,

Amber

What works for me.

What works for me

 

Ok, as requested twice in one day J

I started on this journey to lose weight and improve my fitness about six weeks ago. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, it’s time consuming and sometimes I want to give up, but it is consistent and for me, it really works.

 

Track everything.  Everything? Yes everything.  I use MyFitnessPal.  I started off with 1200 calories a day for the first 3 weeks. It worked for me because I was a lot less active, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to anyone else.  No one likes to be hungry.  I now eat about 1400 calories a day and am usually happy.

 

Use Technology.  I use several apps everyday to track my fitness and weight loss including as previously mentioned MyFitnessPal for tracking food, Pact to make sure I do actually go to the gym and track everything I eat AND get paid for it, RunKeeper and MapMyRun for workouts, and Spotify Premium for music, which I could not exercise without.

 

Weigh and Measure your Food.  Do you know how much salad dressing you put on your salad? I do, because I measured those two tablespoons.  Do you know how much chicken you ate for dinner? I ate 4.8 ounces because I weighed it. 

 

Drink Water. I drink about 150 ounces a water every day.  As soon as I get up I drink two 14 oz. glasses of water and keep going from there.

 

Work Out.  When I started working out it sucked. I hated it. I did 20 minutes and then was like, “20 minutes is better than 0 minutes”. From there I pushed myself to 22 minutes..then 25.  Now I do about 30-45 minutes of some kind of exercise every day. Starting sucks.  No really, it fucking sucks. But once you keep at it for a couple of weeks it becomes a lot easier.  I used to drive across campus (yes, I was that lazy) and now I look for ways to make my commute longer because I hate sitting dormant at my desk.

 

Try Something New. Everyday I try something new I surprise myself. Everytime I run a minute longer than the last time I almost squeal in delight. I often think to myself, OMG, you just did that! I started lifting free weights and do online Pilates (Blogilates) and have pretty much no idea what I am doing, but I am trying. Yes, I may look like an idiot, but I look like a fit idiot. And I will learn.  And I will improve.

 

Take “Before” Pictures.  I actually took before pictures back when I was living in Arizona when I weighed 208 pounds.  They were cringe worthy, but 40 pounds lighter I am so glad I have them now so I can see my progress. I usually take a full body (front and side, mugshot style) pic every month so I can have something to compare myself to.  Taking before pictures says yes, this is how I look now, but I am NOT going to look like this forever.  I know there is a stronger, sexier, more confident me under there and I am going to work to bring them out.  I am worth it.

 

Find a Community. My boyfriend convinces me to try new things all the time and one of those things is Reddit.  I love /r/Loseit, /r/nutrition, and /r/xxfitness.  I also found a online support group of Women (shoutout to the Blazing Tornado’s Fitness Club) and my accountabilibuddy Ryan on Reddit. I text my buddies everyday and post in our Google Hangout on a Daily basis.

 

Say No. Doughnuts at a staff meeting? Not today. Staff member gives you candy? Pass that shit on to someone else. You know how I can say no? Because I know I live in a world where there is ALWAYS going to be candy.  There will literally always be macaroni and cheese* so I can say no for now.

 

Plan Maintenance Days.  No, not a cheat day where you literally eat everything you want to, a maintenance day is a day where I eat anything I want under 2200 calories.  I can still eat a Chipotle burrito and fit it into 2200 calories. When I know I have a maintenance day coming up in a few days, it is easier to say no to doughnuts. 

 

Let It go.  About 2 weeks ago I started to plateau and realized that I was taking everything way to seriously.  I was weighing myself everyday and really restricting my calories.  A couple of days later I almost threw in the towel completely.  I realized that this is a life long journey and I need to look at this completely differently. I don’t want fast short term results- I want life long change. Once I started adding in a couple hundred more calories, the weight started to come off again.

 

Again, this is just what worked for me.  I am not a doctor, a nutritionist or a personal trainer.  I learn from doing and I learn from failing. I hope these suggestions help.  I know it’s not easy, but you are worth it. 

Love, Amber

*apocolypse pending.