Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Love With My Bike Again

Today, while riding my bicycle, I realized how great it really is to be out on the open road, feeling the wind in my face and through my hair, feeling the bumps in the road under my tires, and just in general soaking up the outdoors.  I love it.  I just completely adore bicycling.

Years ago…about 7 years ago…I used to ride almost every day for about 25 miles each day.  The furthest I ever rode was 33 miles.  It was supposed to have been a 50 mile ride (Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses 50-mile course), but I couldn’t finish because that 33 miles was about 75% uphill.  I was, as they say, blown up.  I literally couldn’t pedal another 100 yards, let along the last 17 miles of the route.  Anyway, I want to work back up to riding 30+ mile rides.  While I will most likely never attempt that 50-mile route again just because it’s location is inconvenient to where I live now, I do want to come up with my own 50-mile route…or even longer!

Anyway, realizing just how much I was enjoying riding my bike today and just how much I really, truly LOVE it, got me to thinking about why on earth did I ever stop riding on an almost daily basis in the first place.  Well, what happened was life.  I moved to a different town that wasn’t as conducive to bike riding.  Sure there was country roads I could ride on, but they had pretty much non-existent shoulders and that is just not safe to ride on.  And then, I had a slightly big bicycling accident where I wasn’t paying attention and ran my bike into a light pole, creating a weakening in the inner tube.  On my way back to my apartment, the weakened area of the tube suddenly blew up and caught on the forks, launching me over the handlebars.  That was pretty much the last time I rode for years to come because I then moved again straight out into the country where it was not safe at all to ride a bike on the back roads that were available to me.

Now that I’ve reintroduced myself to bicycling, I’ve fallen in love.  It’s only been 4 rides so far, but I see many, many more in my future.  I’m on vacation right now, so I can go biking as much as I want to.  So, now that I realized just how much I enjoy it again, I’m sad that I have to go back to work in a little over a week because then I won’t be able to ride every other day like I’ve been doing.  But I think I will start riding my bike every day I’m off work, which equals out to 3 times a week, which is a good amount.  If I do the 22 mile route I did today each of those times, that’s 66 miles a week!  Of course, I will think up new routes to try and challenge myself with.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Giving Up My Dream

There is one thing that I want to do more than I want to do anything else in the world.  What is this wonderful thing?  Why…running, of course!  Last year, I tried to smartly and slowly work my way up to being able to jog a 5K without stopping to walk.  I had been training for a few weeks, never more than a mile.  I started off jogging 200 meters then walking 200 meters, back and forth for the whole mile.  I eventually got it to where I could jog a full ¼ mile at a time.

15½ years ago, when I was going thru boot camp and job training for the Army I ran on a very regular basis, at least 3 times a week for at least 5 miles each go.  I loved it.  The problem came into play when the old shoes that I had brought with me crapped out on me.  I had had the shoes for like 5 years, so they were just old, even if they were still good as far as support.  But because they were old, they really weren’t that great for support because the sole material was all broken down and at least partially dry rotted.  It just could no longer withstand that much running.  They needed to be replaced.  But, because I didn’t know anything about running, I didn’t realize this.  So they never got replaced. 

Boot camp was 9 weeks long, job training was 10.  About week 6 of my job training is when the pain started.  It was in my shins, mostly the right one.  After a couple weeks, the pain gradually increased.  It got so bad that I could barely make it through the post run cool downs they led us through without my legs giving out underneath me.  I didn’t want to admit any kind of defeat.  I’ve never been a complainer.  I’ve always been someone who just sucks it up and drives on. 

So, I finally got up the nerve to approach my Drill Sergeant about the pain.  I came to him with tears in my eyes and told him that I needed to go to sick call and why.  He thought for a moment, taking me in, before he answered.  He told me that while he couldn’t keep me from going to sick call if I really wanted to, he would rather I toughed it out and didn’t go.  He said he didn’t want me sitting behind the CQ desk, stuck at the training facility, until I could get a medical discharge, which could take 6 months or more.  Instead, he suggested I switch to the slow running group and as soon as I got to my permanent duty station after graduation, go immediately to the podiatrist.  Being someone that likes to just suck it up and drive on, I liked his suggestion.

I switched to the slow running group, who came to hate me because they put me as the pace runner and I kept trying to run at the median running group pace.  The Drill Sergeant that led the slow running group kept trying to kick me out and would always question me as to why I had switched groups.  I kept telling her that my platoon’s Drill Sergeant had told me I had to switch.  She wasn’t happy with this, but she went along with it and the other girls in the group continued to hate me.

Finally, the time came for our final PT test in training.  My run time for our first PT test in the job training had been 17:19 minutes (2-mile run).  Drill Sergeant Travis, the Drill Sergeant I had gone crying to about going to sick call, informed me of his intention to chase me around the track.  At about the last 100 meters, he was right on my heels telling me “You better not let me catch you Casey!”  I kicked it into high gear, despite the pain, and stayed ahead of him.  And, get this, managed to shave 10 seconds off my prior run time!  And to think, it was to the point where I could barely walk and I accomplished that!  I felt pretty proud of myself that I had succeeded in that.

Fast forward a little short of 15 years later and I’m trying to train to run again.  After only a few weeks  of my training, which when I told friends of mine that actually run frequently and regularly, they told me it was a very good plan to go by.  It was a nice, gradual plan that should keep me from overdoing it and hurting myself.  Or so I thought.  I started getting the sharp pain in my shins again and was fearful that I had refractured my right shin.  I went to the doctor and he told me that I hadn’t refractured it and that it was just shin splints.  He also told me to stay off the treadmill.  So there went my dream of running again, straight out the window. 

I want to let you know that I have NOT given up hope.  I keep coming back to the same sentiment.  I keep returning to the desire to run.  I really want to run a 5K.  It’s only 3.1 miles.  I should be able to do it.  Eventually.  I’m not hoping that I’ll be able to do it in a month or two, or six, or even this year.  But I do not want to just give this up without a fight of some kind.  I’m going to keep doing my workouts and keep doing things that will strengthen my shin muscles.  I think if I can do that, then I can succeed in my goal to someday run a 5K and to run at least twice a week for fitness and for fun.  I’m going to suck it up and drive on until I reach my goal!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This week’s excuse on Biggest Loser is “I lack self-control.”  Oh boy if this isn’t my exact excuse!  This is what I seem to be telling myself constantly. 
“If I only had a little more self-control.” 
“If only I didn’t have this tendency to binge eat.” 
“I feel so out of control when I get the urge to binge.”
And so on and so forth.  I am my own worst enemy in the words of this week’s excuse.  I hold myself back.  I stand in my own way.  I am my own obstacle. 

I have decided that I can no longer keep sweets, even perfectly portioned “diet” sweets.  I eat one with the pure intention of eating only one and the next thing I know, I’m not eating dinner because I just ate the whole box of sweets!  If I have to just eliminate those items from being in my house, then so be it.  I’m going to do what I need to do in order to see myself succeed.  I almost kept myself from making any progress this past week by bingeing on the box of peanut butter Girl Scout cookies.

I have to come to terms with my personal excuse of having a lack of self-control.  I have to accept it and then shove it aside.  I have to withdraw its hold over me.  I have to stop acting helpless against myself. 

I’ve lost almost 18 pounds in less than 2 months.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.  That’s amazing progress.  Why am I going to let anything, let alone myself, stand in my way of continuing to move forward and continuing to drop the pounds?  Why?  Logic states that I wouldn’t allow that to happen and I am a person of logic.  So, therefore, I want the logical choice.  I want to keep making progress.

I think my acknowledging the excuse of lack of self-control is a step in the right directions.  I think this will go a long way toward helping me toward my goal.  The first step is always acceptance and after that, everything else is supposed to be easy…or at least easier.  Everything should fall into place for me, so long as I can CONTROL myself.  I know I can do this.  This game is still in my court and I’m going to throw it down.

I have 2 weeks off from work.  I’m on vacation.  I want to use this time to my advantage.  I want to redouble my efforts at working out.  I want to stress making the right food choices with myself.  I want to change some things up.  One thing I want to do is air up the tires on my bicycle and go for a few rides.  The weather is supposed to be fairly decent most of the time I’m off, so I don’t see a reason to not go for at least a ride or two. 

I read something today in an article about binge eating on  It said that if you feel the need to binge, go for a walk.  I plan to do just that.  I have a trail that if I go once around the loop and the walk to and from the loop, it’s just over 4 miles.  If I go around the loop twice, it’s 7 miles.  I have my iPod shuffle charging right now with the intention of going for a walk tomorrow morning after I’ve done my workout video and then eaten breakfast.  In addition to that, if I feed the need to heedlessly stuff my face willy-nilly, then I will walk straight out the front door and go for a 4 or 7 mile walk.  It’ll be a nice change of pace for me.  I am sure it will do me some good to change things up a little bit with a bit of walking and a bit of bike riding.

I’m going to make these next 2 weeks count.  I’m going to push myself.  I’m going to make it as active as I can.  I want to have that self-control that I keep whining about not having.  It’s time that I’m just plain done with this lack of self-control excuse and I’m going to prove it to myself over the next 2 weeks.  I want to show a 4 pound loss between this Sunday and the following Sunday, so an average of 2 pounds a week.  I can do this.

Not only will I be stepping it up and mixing it up a little bit with my workouts, but I will be focusing on staying within my daily calorie limit each and every day and not just most days…which is what I’d like to say has been happening the last 2 weeks but truthfully, it’s not.  What has been happening is that I’ve been falling victim to the “I have no self-control” crap I like to feed myself and have been going over my calories each and every day for the last week and about half of the days out of the week prior to that.  Unacceptable!  I can’t do this anymore. 

I absolutely LOVE what I’ve accomplished so far with my weight loss.  I have made tremendous strides with my efforts.  I don’t want to fail myself.  I don’t want to *feed* myself anymore excuses or crap that just holds me back and keeps me from feeling anything short of fully confident and self-assured.  I can do this!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Right Mindset

One of the things I’m most happy about with my weight loss so far is the fact that my acid reflux has all but completely disappeared!  It’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned.  I thought I was stuck with it.  I thought I would never get rid of it and that I would have to start taking a prescription medication to tolerate it.  I was already chugging apple cider vinegar and popping the max amount of antacids in a 24 hour period.  There was really nowhere for me to go except to the doctor for a prescription.

So far, I’ve lost just shy of 18 pounds (almost at the halfway mark!!!).  Back in December I noticed something.  I wear a uniform to work (I work in law enforcement) and part of my uniform is a duty belt.  It’s not as adjustable as a regular belt is and can be a little stiff around the waist.  I took a 2 week vacation where I didn’t wear my duty belt.  While I still had problems with my acid reflux, I wasn’t having a *constant* problem with it.  When I noticed the difference was when I went back to work after my vacation and had to put on my duty belt again.  It pushed on my abdomen just below my stomach when I was sitting down (which is quite often).  This caused increased pressure in my stomach, which then pushed the stomach acid up and out of my stomach and into my esophagus, causing the acid reflux.

Now, my duty belt is actually a little loose on me.  My work clothes are also no longer as tight on me.  They don’t restrict my movements or cause any undue pressure on my body.  I’m generally more comfortable in my own skin than I was at the start of this journey 7 weeks ago.  I’ve made an amazing amount of progress and I really couldn’t be any more proud of myself than I am.  I’m losing the weight at a decent rate, even if it is about 30-40% faster than I had meant it to be.  I’m still doing things the right way and the healthy way.  I’m making better choices and opting for the healthier things in life.  I do my best to always enjoy my exercise.  And I make my meals as tasty as I can while also sticking to my calorie limits.

My acid reflux was a somewhat severe bane on my existence.  I’ve had it almost constantly at some intensity for the past 2+ years…ever since I got up to around 240 pounds…my heaviest weight in my entire life.  Gaining that much weight changed so much about my body.  It gave me new stretch marks, which were part of the catalyst to me finally deciding that something had to be done.  I had to do something to stop gaining weight.  I had to do something to regain control over myself and my body again.  I had to lose weight. 

Before I started really trying to lose weight, I went bowling with some friends for my birthday a little over a year ago.  I saw a picture of me from that event.  I was absolutely horrified at how I actually looked.  I had managed to put a sugar coat on my reflection in the mirror and didn’t see myself how I actually was.  That picture changed all of that for me.  It violently ripped the sugar coating off and showed me how it really was for me.  It showed me how disgusting I had let myself become.  I just had to do something.  I knew I was no longer healthy.  I could no longer lie to myself about it.  I couldn’t do much because this was before I had the surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator in my lower back for my severe back pain due to bulging discs in L4 and L5.  Because of this, I was pretty limited as to what I could actually do.  I changed what I ate and tried to make healthier choices.  I went on walks for hours at a time about 2-3 times a week…up to 10 miles in 3 hours!  Then, I had the surgery and recovered from that.  I got a gym membership (we all know how that ended, tho).  I managed to struggle myself through losing about 35 pounds last year.  So far this year, with determined effort and inspired motivation, I have lost half that amount of weight in 1/6th the amount of time!!! 

Just imagine what I’ll be able to accomplish this year now that I’m in the right mindset!  I believe that I can do what I set out to do.  And I have set out to lose 39 pounds and I’m already almost halfway to that goal.  Once I’ve reached that goal, my new goal will be to effectively maintain the loss and stay active and healthy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Approaching a Milestone

Each day is proving to be at least a little bit of a struggle for me.  The newness of my diet and exercise plan has worn off.  It’s no longer a shiny new toy for me.  Basically, the honeymoon period is over.  Even though I know that once I start working out and definitely when I’ve finished my workout that I will not regret my decision to do my daily workout, I still find myself trying to tell myself that it might be okay to take today off and just rest.  I allowed myself to do that this past Sunday.  And that’s fine.  It had been 2 weeks since I had taken a day of rest. 

I call it a success when I do make the decision to do my daily workout each day.  And it is a success.  Just like it’s a success when I stick to my calorie limit for the day, which, I haven’t done all this week.  Yesterday, I got very close.  I was only about 100 calories over my limit for the day.  So I’ll consider that a success too.  I have to double down if I want to continue to succeed on my weekly weigh-ins and my overall weight loss.  Frankly, when I weigh in this Sunday, I’m not expecting a loss, but I am at least hoping that I didn’t gain anything.  I shouldn’t.  I didn’t go THAT overboard with eating over my calorie limits. 

I have great expectations for myself.  I don’t think they’re unrealistic in the slightest.  I’m not trying to be a supermodel or a Miss America contestant.  I don’t think it’s possible for me, personally, to lose that much weight anyway.  I’d have to get down to about 130 pounds and I haven’t weighed that little since I was in junior high school.  No, instead, I’m shooting for no more than 170, which I see as a perfectly attainable goal and I know I’ll be happy with my body at that weight.  I know that if I stick to my daily goals of working out and staying within my calories that I will reach that goal…and sooner than the July 1st “deadline” I have set for myself.  

At my job, I work a 12 hour shift.  Well, I work three 12 hour shifts and a 6 hour shift each week.  After my lunch breaks, that comes out to 40 hours a week.  When I was making my decision to start exercising and eating healthier, I was worried that I would only be able to work out on my days off and was especially worried because I work in 3 day blocks and would have to go 3 days without working out.  I didn’t want to do that.  But I figured out how to do it.  As soon as I get home from work at about 7pm, I jump right on working out for 25-40 minutes, then hop in the shower, eat and go to bed by 9pm.  My other worry was that it would be next to impossible to eat anywhere near as healthy as I was wanting to eat with being away from home for up to 14 hours on my work days.  Well, I figured out how to do that as well.  I was making it more complicated than it needed to be.  I thought about it long enough and BAM! I came up with the solution pretty easily. 

Well, now that I’ve set that all up, I must say that they are switching us to 8 hour shifts starting June 3rd.  I will have to change up my exercise.  My eating will be fine.  I’ll just be taking a snack and my dinner with me, instead of lunch and 2 snacks.  I will be working the evening shift from 2pm to 10pm (most likely).  I won’t have as many days off during the work week, so less days that I can do 2 workouts a day.  So, I will make up for that by upping my minimum workout time from 25 minutes up to 40 minutes a day on work days.  I will still do double workouts on my 2 days off a week.  I’m thinking that I will be able to control my eating a little better on the 8 hour shifts.  I won’t be eating so close to bed time anymore either, which I’m sure will be good for me. 

I’m nearing a milestone in my weight loss.  As of my weigh-in this past Sunday put me at 3.8 pounds left to lose before I hit the 10% loss mark.  21 is the magic number here.  It is also a little over the halfway mark to my goal of 39 pounds lost.  I’m excited to reach this point.  Like I said before, I’m not really expecting a loss, or much of a loss, when I weigh-in this coming Sunday, so I’m not expecting to reach that milestone this week, but I am hoping I’ll reach it the following week.  Wish me luck!

I love it when I rest my chin on my hands and can feel how angular my jawline has become opposed to how soft it was 6½ weeks ago.  I love to run my fingers along my jawline and under my chin where there used to be a somewhat pronounced double chin.  I also love to clasp my hands together, weaving my fingers into each other.  Why?  Because I can feel how slimmer my finger has become.  Also, a ring on my finger that fit snugly at the beginning of the year I am now able to slide it up and over my knuckle fairly easily.  When I’m doing my rounds at work, I love how my duty belt sits on my hips and feels slightly too big around my waist.  I love how the heaviness of the radio tugs it down on the left side ever so slightly. 

I love how, when I look at my legs while wearing the leggings I wear for working out, that my thighs are visibly thinner to me.  My calves are definitely slimmer than they used to be.  The boots I wear for work used to zip up tight around my calves, now, there’s a lot of free space between my calves and the tops of the boots.  They’re no longer tight!  Even though my upper arms measured in at the exact same 14 inches they measured at when I started this journey, they’re not as flabby and loose as they used to be.  They’ve firmed up a little and, even though they’re the same circumference, my uniform sleeves feel looser.  And I love it that my uniform shirts are loose around my torso now where they used to be rather tight and uncomfortable.

I look forward to every weigh-in and every remeasure I do.  I love watching myself progress along this journey.  I love seeing even so little as a ½ pound loss register from my weigh in the week before.  I can get excited over just a one inch loss from my thigh.  Hell, for just one month, that was pretty good.  But the number I was really proud of, inches wise, was what came off of my waist: 2½ inches!  In just one month!  That’s amazing!

So, as I am approaching this milestone of 10% of my starting weight lost, I am hopeful that I can continue my progress.  I am positive that I will continue to do what is best for me and what makes me feel good not only in the short run, but in the long run as well.  Regular exercise is definitely a great replacement for shoveling junk food into my body.  I am no longer abusing myself by being unhealthy.  I am respecting my body and my happiness by being healthy.  Thanks to the regular daily exercise, I’m sleeping so much better.  Before, I was having so many problems falling asleep and then, when I did fall asleep, I was waking up 2-5 times a night.  Now, I wake up not at all or only once. 

I love being healthier.  It’s such an amazing and all around wonderful feeling!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Success Stories

I love reading weight loss success stories.  They’re so inspirational and motivational.  The dilemma I find myself in as a result of these stories is that in just one or two pages you go from super obese/morbidly obese/obese to a more reasonable weight.  This makes the stories seem instantaneous as a result.  Sure, common sense says that perspective is ridiculous and even a little silly.  But that’s not how my emotional core processes the information. 

I *KNOW* that it took this lady 5 months to lose 68 pounds and so she was losing weight at an average of 13.5 pounds per month…which is a really good rate of loss, and, frankly, only 1.5 pounds more per month than I pulled off in my first month of weight loss.  I may *know* these things but they don’t neatly compute with my instant gratification complex, with my emotional cortex, you might call it.  I see starting point A at 243 pounds at the top of the page and then on the bottom of the same page I see her at 177 pounds. 

Sure they tell a few things that she swore by to achieve her weight loss, but without making it into a 300 page memoir, there’s really no way to briefly detail what all she had to do in order to achieve her amazing results.  They include one day’s worth of meals, and one typical workout that she does.

Things get taken out of proportion for me in this kind of situation.  I would really much rather read a weight loss memoir where they detail their meal plans and exercise habits.  A memoir where they list off the pitfalls they encountered, the month where they gained back 5 hard lost pounds.  A memoir where they let you into their emotional ups and downs that they experienced throughout their journey.  I want to know that it wasn’t easy for them.  I want to know that they sometimes struggled like I am.  I want to know that each time, before they stepped on the scale, that they were a ball of raw nerves.

After it’s all said and done, I don’t plan to stop reading these weight loss success stories.  Although they can be emotionally confusing to me, they still serve their purpose in inspiring and motivating me.  They give me something positive to focus on, even if it comes out a little warped in translation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Can

This week on Biggest Loser the excuse of the week is “I can’t do it on my own.”  I’m at that point where, even though I’ve registered a 16 pound loss in 5 weeks, I’m starting to think that my body isn’t changing even though it most certainly is.  I have to keep reminding myself that in those 5 weeks I lost 2.5 inches off my waist alone and that’s incredible in and of itself! 

I find myself trying to discourage myself and the little nagging thoughts that want me to believe that I really can’t do this on my own, that there is no way I’m going to get the results I want to get by just counting calories and rotating through 10 different workout DVDs.  Luckily, before I can seriously listen to this little internal critic, I shut it down.  I shut it down because I have proof.  I have the proof that I am losing weight and I am losing inches and I am making progress and I am succeeding.

My little inner critic looked at the progress pictures I took on Sunday when I put them side by side against my start pictures.  Visually, there’s not a whole lot of difference.  I still fluff out over the top of my leggings.  My hips are still lumpy.  My boobs are still floppy.  It would be extremely easy to let myself get down and discouraged.  But I can’t do that.  I have to prosper.  I have to push through.  I have to keep on trucking and finish this drive toward my ultimate goal.

My little inner critic makes me want to push harder.  I just borrowed the P90X workout program from a friend.  I plan to burn copies of all the discs for my own use.  I want to do the entire program.  I’m going to need a pull up bar.  I like this because I’ve been wanting to work on doing pull-ups and getting to where I *can* do pull-ups.  Just doing one pull-up will be a great success for me.

I can’t let my little inner critic control me.  I can’t let it sabotage me and my progress that I’ve made so far.  I can’t quit before I’ve barely started on this journey.  My goal is to lose 39 pounds, but really, I want to lose as much as I possibly can.  If I can continue to lose after I’ve reached the 39 pound mark, then great!  I’m gonna keep going as long and as far as I can on this journey.

I won’t let my little inner critic decide what I will and will not do.  It’s starting to work its way into my eating as well.  It’s telling me that I ate twice my allotted daily calories on Saturday and still managed to pull an almost 3 pound loss for the week when I weighed in on Sunday.  It’s telling me that what’s an extra 100 or 200 calories to my daily total.  It’s telling me what difference will it make.  I *know* what difference it will make and I have to resist the temptation that the little inner critic is dangling in front of me, taunting me to slip up and fall off the wagon.  I won’t do it.  I won’t let that happen.

I’m on the fence about getting another gym membership.  Right now, I know it’s not the right thing for me to do.  I am doing so well with my DVD rotation and workout games that I don’t *need* the gym right now.  I do need to get some 8 lb hand weights as the 5 lb ones are getting a little light.  But for the most part, I’m getting a good amount of strength training thanks to my DVDs.  When my friend Jessica comes to visit me in May and we get 7-day passes to a gym so we can both workout while she’s here, at that point I think is when I’ll decide if getting another gym membership is the right move for me. 

I know a gym membership will do me good no matter what, but it’s just not the right fit for my needs at the moment.  I want to make sure that when I do get another gym membership that I actually use it and enjoy it. See, the last time I had a gym membership, I used it but I did *not* enjoy it.  I dreaded it every day.  I had to force myself to the gym every day.  Right now, I’m happier doing between 25 minutes and an hour and a half of a workout DVD.  I feel great and energized after working out.  I feel more positive than I have in YEARS.  I feel like I can do this, like I can succeed, like I’m not the failure I’ve been telling myself that I am all these years.  I can start something and I can finish it.

So, I’m taking this week’s excuse of “I can’t do it on my own” and turning it into “I can do this.”

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