Regaining it: Weight and My Control Over It

You know what is surprising about my life on the road in the Wienermobile? Even though it doesn’t fit through the drive-thru, Abe and I still manage to eat quite a bit of fast food!

After six months of eating out (hey – remember how I said that was one of my goals to avoid – oops) I could feel the impact. It wasn’t that my clothes fit all too differently, or that the numbers on the scale were that much higher, but I could see the direction I was headed. I started the job at my all time healthiest (ok, and skinniest) and that has slowly been slipping away.

Before Hotdoggin' started in June.

Before Hotdoggin’ started in June.

While friends and family have sworn they can’t tell a difference, I can and I think that is what matters most. I don’t feel as confident or happy with myself as I did in May.

So I decided to make a change and regain a sense of control by starting back with Weight Watchers. I could see the 10 lb gain quickly becoming more and I figured I better be proactive.

I’ve talked about the Weight Watchers program before and about what a big advocate I am for it. That’s because it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. And the best part is, if you follow the program it is guaranteed to work. With a little bit of commitment, you will see results, and that will inspire you to keep at it!

Going back to Weight Watchers was two-fold for me. First, I knew it was something I could do and be successful at. It worked once, it will work again. Second, it’s do-able on the road. You can literally eat whatever you want on Weight Watchers, and that’s what I need because frankly there is just no way to make and follow a weekly meal plan.

The Weight Watchers and Points Plus program really does give me a sense of empowerment. I’m a data junkie and appreciate the measurable tools they provide. Tracking does encourage positive food decisions and really helps you stay on track. I like knowing if I do X, Y, and Z (stay within my points, etc.) that I will see results.

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at 6.41.50 PM

I have been to two meetings so far and am down 4 lbs and some change. My goal is to be back to my pre-Hotdoggin’ weight by our mid-year staff meeting in the middle of January. (Yes, I realize that Christmas and New Years fall between now and then, but so does a half marathon and full marathon!)

Having seen success on the program, abandoned it, gained some back, and now restarted I’ve realized that I will probably be on Weight Watchers or tracking food for the rest of my life. And you know what, I’m OK with that. I know it is a system that works for me!

Right now I’m still working on distinguishing skinny and healthy, but that’s another blog post on body image altogether! More on that to come.

Elf 4 Health: 6 Week Fitness Challenge

Thanksgiving break is over! I had an unbelievable and much needed week back home in Kansas City catching up with family and friends. (I’ll fill you in with all the details soon with a Touristy Tuesday post.) Today I head back to Albuquerque to pick up the Wienermobile and then Abe and I are on our way to California.

Starting back at work and starting a fresh week, I am setting a few new goals for myself. I’ll admit it, I pretty much took the entire month of November off of my diet. I think after running a marathon I just needed a month to decompress and mentally I wanted to take it easy. (Yes, these are all cop-out excuses, I know!) I still ran (and actually did pretty well with getting in most of my runs) but let’s just say I kept the carbo-loading going far past the marathon itself!

These next few weeks leading into the Christmas break I’m looking forward to getting back on track with eating healthy. (Not dieting necessarily, just eating clean and consciously.) Since I am a Lifetime Weight Watchers member I am going to try to get back to tracking. I have always found that tracking what I eat helps me stay cognizant of what I’m consuming and encourages me to make smarter decisions.

I also am taking on a new adventure. My friend from college, Annica, is a fitness blogger extraordinaire and recently posted about the Elf 4 Health Challenge. I just signed up! Started by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean and Elle from Nutritionella, It is a six week challenge that will run from the Monday after Thanksgiving through the first week in January.

nutritionella

There are daily tasks, daily winners, prizes, weekly newsletters, and a Facebook group for support. I’m looking forward to the variety this challenge promises (from Meatless Mondays to writing a handwritten note to a friend) as well as branching out in the blogging world! There is such a wide community of health and nutrition conscious individuals out there that I am also hoping to connect with.

If you are interested, you can still sign up for sounds 2 and 3 here!

I wanted to leave you with one quote, perhaps my favorite, that I re-read whenever I know I need to let something go.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Bolder Boulder 10k

This weekend I participated in the largest 10k in the nation – the Bolder Boulder.

This was an especially important race for me because I was doing it with my Aunt Karla, and we were celebrating losing more than 110lbs between the two of us!

Over the last year, my aunt has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me. At 50 years old, my aunt lost 60+ lbs, completed a triathlon, and completely revamped her life. All 22 years I’ve known her, she was overweight. To see her transform herself and embrace a healthier lifestyle inspired me. If my aunt could do it at 50, certainly I could do it in my twenties!

Karla ‘before’ at my high school graduation in 2008

Karla ‘after’ – 60+lbs lost later at the Bolder Boulder 10k!

Karla also did Weight Watchers and having her to talk to about the program and the weight loss process has been invaluable. If I’m ever struggling, I can always count on her to remind me that tomorrow is a new day and to forgive myself.

So the two of us formally-fat-turned-fit ladies took to the streets of Boulder for each of our first 10ks! My friend Tarah from back at the University of Missouri (who did the Chicago Monster Dash with me) also did the race with us, but she was running it while we planned to take it easy and just walk it.

Getting to the start was a breeze. I was wondering what the logistics would be like with 50,000+ participants, but they clearly have a method to the madness. There were military-precise waves for the start, beginning at 7:00 a.m. and going ever three minutes until almost 10:00. Because of that, the crowds were nicely staggered. We took a shuttle bus into Boulder which worked great!

Tarah planned on racing it and her wave was at 7:20 a.m. That meant an early morning wake up to make the drive from Estes Park, but the sunrise coming through the canyon was gorgeous. We waited in a line for the gear check that felt like a 10k itself, and then sent Tarah on her way.

Because Karla and I planned to just walk the course, we weren’t scheduled to start until 9:20. Tarah would already be done by then! (Shout out to her for reaching her goal of sub 60:00!) Karla and I got some breakfast and then headed to the roof of a nearby parking garage to watch the action.

I’m really glad we signed up for a late heat, because the ‘run/walk’ division was filled with many more costumes and nonsensical outfits that weren’t present with the serious runners. See if you can spot all the Waldos! 

The course itself was a blast. With all the participants and entertainers it was impossible to be bored! I was a little worried because walking six miles seems like it could be a little dull, but between the Marshmallow Mile, Elvis impersonators, and the mountains there was plenty to keep you excited!

If you hadn’t noticed, Elvis race pictures are kind of my thing!

Being Boulder, there was at least one keg stand per mile. Part of me wished I wasn’t with my aunt so I could get in on the action – even though I knew she wouldn’t have cared and maybe even would have joined me! 

The race ends in the University of Colorado stadium, which was incredible to run into. I know a lot of races in college towns do this, but this was my first experience. Another reason I liked being in a later wave was that the stadium was packed when we finished, making it a fun climax to the race! 

This was my second year in a row out to Colorado for Memorial Day weekend. My Grandma’s birthday falls perfectly at this time, and I think it just might become a tradition for me to head out there. Karla and I definitely plan on doing the Bolder Boulder again and next time I think we’re going to run it! It was a great experience to share together and I am so proud of the both of us! 

My Journey to a Skinnier Me

One year and 55lbs later – my ‘after’ photo at the finish line of my first full marathon!

May 2011 I moved back to Kansas City after spending the spring interning at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California. I returned a more “well-rounded” individual – what I had gained in great experience, I had matched in pounds. That day I weighed in at 194 lbs, the highest my 5’9″ frame had ever been. That is where my weight loss story begins.

But first, let me give you some background about me. During high school I sat comfortably in the low 150’s. In my teens I always wanted to be skinnier, but didn’t recognize or appreciate how healthy I actually was. Then when I moved to college I went beyond just the Freshman 15, and I gained what my school playfully (albeit quite accurately) dubbs the Mizzou 22. With all-you-can-eat dining halls and ice cream served at every meal, I figured I might as well get my monies worth.

Skinny me before my high school prom. That’s my mom!

Although my eating habits went downhill with college, I remained fairly active. In high school I was on the swim team and at Mizzou I joined the club crew team and rowed for two years.

Fast forward back to May 16, 2011 – 194 lbs. I had been doing too much home cooking out in California – lasagna, casseroles, cornbread, you name it. I even found myself making our family’s famous Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe quite often. It must be healthy – it has sweet potatoes, right?! And, you know, sticks of butter, brown sugar, and walnuts sprinkled on top! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the $5 Hot-n-Ready’s from the Little Ceasar’s right across the street.

Kielbasa sausage and beans, cornbread, and rice?!?! What was I thinking?! Ooh – did manage to get a few pieces of pineapple on the table though.

After eating like that all spring I knew that I had ballooned up. There were extra chins, lines where there shouldn’t be, and I found myself wearing workout pants more than anyone knows they should! 

So on my 2,000+ mile road trip back to the Midwest I had plenty of time to think about the changes I wanted to make. I had seen the enormous success my aunt had with Weight Watchers, along with several other women in my life (which you can read about here). I had also seen the success of another program – Couch-to-5k (C25k) that transforms couch potatoes into runners in just 9 weeks. (You can read about that inspiration here.) I’m a see-it-to-believe-it kind of gal, and since I knew those programs I decided to jump right in.

Being a Type-A individual, I committed myself fully to my weight loss. I absolutely adored the Weight Watchers system. For me, following Points+ was simple and systematic. I used their E-Tools feature and tracked everything online. I looked up nutrition and if I had to eat out I was prepared. What I loved about W.W. is how flexible it was – I literally could eat whatever I wanted, I just needed to plan! That being said, it was also incredibly informative. For the first time in my life I was starting to think about the actual nutrition of what I was eating. I literally had never done that before.

Because fruits and veggies are “free” (zero Points+) I began eating a lot more and realized they tasted pretty good! Because I was still living with my folks, dinner was mainly out of my control, but by practicing portion control and skipping the sour cream on tacos I managed to do OK. Slowly but surely I was changing not just what I was eating, but how much I was eating as well!

Not once did I feel deprived. Every night I had my W.W. fudge bar that was 1 Points+ and that satisfied my aforementioned ice cream cravings.

By the time I headed back to school in August I had reached my goal of losing 30lbs! What I really wanted was to lose the Mizzou 22 x 2, for a total of 44lbs and putting me at 150. Except, I kept losing! All through the fall I saw continued success, especially once I started cooking on my own!

In addition to changing my eating habits I also started changing my lifestyle. Aside from team activities, I had never taken fitness upon myself, and I certainly never ran. While I don’t think I was ever bad enough to utter that obnoxious phrase “I don’t run unless someone is chasing me,” I  always claimed running was just something I couldn’t do.

Starting right in May I jumped into the C25k program and stuck to it, adding in walking on my off days. July 9th I ran my first 5k! From there I just kept going, with the Bridge-to-10k program. By then I was back at school and convinced a friend to sign up for my first half marathon – the Chicago Monster Dash on Halloween weekend. You can see where this is going, and I was hooked!

By January 2012 I had officially changed my life around. At this point I had lost 55lbs, reaching my weight loss goal at Weight Watchers. I had run two half marathons and was registered to run my first full marathon in May 2012, a year since my journey began.

Tulsa Route-66 Half Marathon

So where am I now? Still at it! I’m constantly trying to learn more about nutrition and keep active. I do have some challenges and goals that I’m facing. For the next year I will be living out of a suitcase, touring America with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Spending every night in a hotel room, I am committed to keeping that healthy lifestyle! With this challenge also comes an opportunity, which is to work toward my current goal of completing a race in all 50 states by my 25th birthday! Keep reading and I’ll do my best to keep you posted on how those two things are going!