Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dealing with Scale Fail

I know I haven't been the best blogger ever lately and I'm sorry about that. I've been struggling with a few things and just haven't known where to start.

Coming off the very exciting Runner's World thing I am feeling a little conflicted.  I am proud of the accomplishments that I have had and the magazine experience was awesome. It was so cool to see my picture and story in my favorite magazine.  I am proud that I've mostly kept the weight off since 2010 and I'm proud of my journey - but what's making me feel so conflicted is some weight gain. It's been happening it's kind of panicking me.

I am 15 pounds higher than my lowest weight, 10 pounds over my Weight Watcher goal weight and 6 pounds over the weight that I was in the RW article and it really is scaring the crap out of me. Up until a few months ago I had been able to "hold between 147 - 151" and I was OK with that but now I find myself flirting with 160 and it's freaking me out.  Over the last few months I can't seem to hold steady and the scale continues to creep up. I'll have a week where I will "buckle down" and shed a pound or two, only to be away from home on business again or thrown off track the next week and back up again. I know I'm eating a little more, having another drink here and there and not maybe running quite as much as I had been in years past. (A tough winter and being on the road to film the show has definitely made things more challenging. And perhaps being closer to 42 years old rather than 38 or 39 when my weight loss was happening isn't helping either?) 

And I'm not freaking out because of the 160 number per se. I don't mean to insinuate that number means someone is fat or not. When I was 255 I enthusiastically rooted for the day that I'd be 180. Yes, clothing feels tight and I'd rather be 150 but I'm not completely miserable at 160. My fear is that the upward spiral will continue, that this is a runaway train headed back to a place I don't want to visit. 

trying to keep this in mind on days where I'm beating myself up


It is annoying. I thought I had this shit conquered. I vowed not to be a "gain back the weight" statistic. And while it's not 100 pounds back, and it's not too much percentage wise, it's really enough to get me feeling yucky about it. It's a daily, constant unease that I can't shake. 

On top of it because of the magazine, I'm getting emails from people looking for inspiration and I feel completely like a fraud. How can I espouse advice when my running pants waist band digs into my belly and with every pound gained my running pace gets slower? 

Interestingly right after the magazine article came out I went on Twitter and discovered that I had THREE twitter impostors!! Three strangers out there created profiles, using my name, my picture and even my "twitter bio description"! It was weird because I don't have the hugest blog following (though the quality of those of you who do follow is stellar ;) ) and I couldn't understand why I would have people posing accounts as me. 

one of the fake twitter people (even stole my wall paper)
My actual twitter account is: https://twitter.com/FatToFinishLine

For a brief moment it struck me ironic because while these people were trying to pose as me, some weight loss success story, I was struggling with feeling like an impostor myself. 

But I don't want to feel like that anymore and I need to stop the weight gain train so I have to figure it out and get it together. 

I do have some ideas for getting back on track and I'll be employing them - nothing fancy - eating cleaner, drinking less alcohol, exercising more, the usual. I will not give-up without a fight. I guess my bigger issue to tackle (even bigger than the weight) is how horribly I'm letting it mess with my head. I have to admit I'm more worried and preoccupied with it than I should be. I definitely am falling into the trap of letting it get under my skin and that's not good. This is contrary to the advice I would give someone else. 

So here's the advice I would give to someone in my shoes:

1. Leave no mile behind. Whether it's an hour or ten minutes get some kind of daily activity in.
2. Eat as clean and lean as possible and eat smartly so you never get to the point of 'starving.'
3. Drink lots of water. 
4. Add strength training.
5. "Track points" or count calories - not to be obsessive but to have an idea of how much you are eating and where your calories come from and if there's someplace you can cut unnecessary calories.
6. Surround yourself with 'birds of a feather' to keep motivation up and for reliable support when you need it.
7. Set goals that force you to move forward and challenge you.
8. Strive for good health always - nourish your body.
9. Cook it at home! Don't order out or eat out more than once or twice a week. (If possible.) 
10. Limit alcohol and empty snacks. Make your snacks meaningful - fruits, veggies, nuts, foods that nourish.

Yep. I'm not reinventing the wheel here people - mostly simple advice that's not so simple to always follow but I'm going to try! 

By the way, even in the face of the annoying gain I've got things to celebrate - I've signed up for a few Triathlons, joined a tri-club, I'm getting ready for another half marathon in a few weeks (did 8 miles today!) And while I may be a little slower I'm still a runner no matter what size pants I'm in. 



How are you doing? What advice would you give someone in my shoes? 

XO
Jen 

Friday, March 14, 2014

I'm in Runner's World and so much more to tell!

Hey all.

Sorry for the month lapse in blogging. I've been super busy and took a vacation with the family.

First  off, here is some EXCITING NEWS!

My self, along with a few of my Ragnar Relay / Fat To Finish Line teammates are featured in this month's (April) RUNNER'S WORLD magazine!!! I'm still pinching myself!



ohmygod so cool!! 
Of course it talks about how important my blogging journey is to my running and weight loss - annnnnd this would be the time I go for a full month without blogging ;) oops.

So pick up the issue and read the article if you get a chance I'd love to hear your opinion.

Theeeeen there's this - the trailer for Fat To Finish Line the Documentary. We are still editing but just seeing little pieces of it come together is thrilling.  You can check it out on the Fat To Finish Facebook page - it was posted on March 11th so just scroll down a bit on the page. 

------------------------------------------
Next is some running stuff. My running has been like my blogging lately - not doing it as much as I'd like. I have been grabbing a mile or two here and there - but nothing big and suddenly I just realized that my spring half marathon is now only 6 weeks out. Gulp. I'm going to have to figure out how to safely get there because my base miles are just not there. I have run a few 3 or 4 mile runs but that's about it. This week I'm going to add a five miler, and then a six, etc... and hope that's enough.  :/  The race is April 27th.

But, I did get to run an unexpected 5K this past Saturday. I took a 3 day cruise on the Disney Dream with the family and when I got on board discovered they were doing a 5k on their private island of CoCoKay. What's even better than an impromptu 5K in the Bahamas? A FREE 5K! They didn't have a race fee so I signed up on the spot.

It was a pretty race. I ran it in 34 mins or so and even got a Micky medal to show for it.


-----------------------------------------

Lastly I'm still trying to lose weight. I enjoyed the Whole30 program but for now I'm back to watching calories. Angela got me a fit bit as a surprise gift so I've been using that. It's working. I'm going in the right direction. I've stuck to some Whole30 rules like avoiding sugar, MSG, artificial sweeteners and food chemicals, etc. But I've brought brown rice and oatmeal back. Those foods work for me. 

I am sure I'm forgetting a million things.

How have you been?

Do you use a fitbit?

Have you ever done a race on vacation?

Lemme know what you think of the trailer and the article!!

XO
Jen 



Monday, February 10, 2014

New bike for triathlon and other stuff

So while my working out has been woeful of late I'm trying to make up for that by signing up for races and buying shit.

I'm hoping that buying the right stuff and gearing will set my training up for the best Tri and race season ever :)

Exciting Tri stuff/news #1 - I've signed up for another race


It's REV3 Maine the Olympic distance which is 0.9 swim / 25 mile bike and 6.2 run. It will be my first OLY distance and I'm really excited to make Maine the one. I've spectated this event twice in a row - both times I was there filming the From Fat To Finish Line documentary. Finally I'll not be just watching or holding a camera - I will be crossing the finish line! 

At Maine finish line - I'm the one dead center with the camera filming my friend Jen
Next year I'll be on the other side! 

Cool Tri Stuff thing #2 - A shiny new road bike!!

hello my pretty! 
OK, it's not exactly new or shiny but she's a beauty. She's a road bike that belonged to my Mom in Motion coach Dana and she's lent her out no less than 3 or 4 times during the course of the last few years. So new "Tri-ers" before me have ridden her to victory and the baton has been handed to me. She's in need of a tune-up and a fitting for me but I'm excited to be making the move from a hybrid to a road bike this season!

And before you get too excited over those cages...

Cool Tri Stuff #3 - pedals and shoes 

Link to product in case you're interested

If ya gonna do it, ya gotta do it right so I invested in these shoes and pedals. Both together cost $75 new off Amazon. The reviews were pretty good for such an inexpensive set and it seemed like a decent deal for a beginner clip person like me. The idea of adhering myself to the bike kind of freaks me out but I'll practice on the trainer and some grass until I get comfortable with them.  

Oh. Did I mention trainer?

Cool Tri Stuff #4 - bike trainer


Well, triathlons get pricey but it is what it is. Found this trainer usually priced well over $300 for less than a third of the original cost on Craigslist. The lady said she really only used it once and it looked pretty brand new and immaculate. I recently joined the RTA (Ridgewood Tri Athlete) and they have a few classes a week on bikes and trainers. I'm looking forward to participating in those so felt this was a good investment.

Next on my list of tri stuff to do is to visit the bike shop sometime this week. I need to tune up and fit my bike before I'm ready to roll. 

Yesterday I ran 4 miles and I rode a measly 15 minutes on a bike at the gym the other night. This week I plan on returning to some kind of training. I have a half marathon in April and I might try to find a sprint tri in May or June.

Hope your winter is going well!!

Get any new gear lately?

XO
Jen





Sunday, February 9, 2014

22 tips for doing the Whole30 Program


I was hit with a few interesting moments with my Whole30 journey but overall I'm proud for having made it through the program without giving in to temptation or giving up when the going got tough.

I think most of this advice can be applied to any diet modification program you might want to attempt but this is some stuff I learned along my Whole30 way!

Here are my 22 tips to helping you do the Whole30:

  1. Read the Whole 30 book "It Starts With Food." You can get by I guess if you just peruse the Whole30 website and forums or if you connect with other people doing Whole30 on social media but truthfully there is power in the book. Not only do you get a good grasp on the program but you begin to understand why we are doing this and why the foods that have been eliminated have been eliminated. It's worth reading. 
  2. Clean out the cabinets. I know, I know. You might have kids or a spouse that will protest so then do your best to designate "Whole30 areas" just for your food and avoid the household areas. I would stress, however, if possible get rid of any and all non-compliant foods that might cause unnecessary temptation. 
  3. Recipes.  Start stock-piling recipes because trust me if you eat the same things every day you will get bored. Look to bloggers like The Clothes Make The Girl and Nom Nom Paleo - I also found tons of ideas and suggestions by searching #Whole30 on Pinterest and by finding Facebook Whole30 groups. The above-mentioned bloggers also have fantastic cookbooks available. 
    Greek Feast night RECIPES
  4. Shop. Go get your stuff. A grocery list of Whole30 items can be found HERE. You might have to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joes or even on line to find items like Ghee, Coconut Amino Acid (tastes like soy sauce for Asian meals), compliant coconut milk and compliant bacon. If you like butter than you'll likely think ghee is awesome. It's worth finding. 
  5. Adjust your attitude.  Do not go into this program feeling like you're going to jail. Instead go into this program excited to change your life. This program can do great things for you like break addictions to sugar and chemicals, help aid weight loss and get you on a healthy path. These are great things. Do not let your addictions talk you into thinking this is painful.
  6. Adjust your attitude PART 2. And stop worrying about what you can't have to eat and start getting excited about what you can! Eggs with sweet potatoes, and prosciutto for breakfast is delicious! Chicken salad with homemade mayo on top of salad greens with pecans, grapes and a drizzle of olive oil tastes decadent and a dinner of a grass-fed steak, whipped butternut squash and braised kale is a wonderful thing. (At least for me - find and focus on the YUM meals for you.) 
  7. Connect. There are several ways to connect with others - such as: you can find a buddy to do the program with, you can connect with a Facebook Whole30 group, you can google Whole30 blogs and find bloggers who are doing the program, you can go here and become a part of the Whole30 community and forum. Doing this program with someone else or having a place to go for support is so helpful for success. 
  8. Read EVERY label. I'm telling you, you'll pick up some organic chicken broth or a can of coconut milk or even a bag of 'natural' cashews only to get them home and then read the back and realize that there is something not Whole30 kosher in it. 
  9. Map out your 30 days and look ahead. There will be unforeseen events that come up but make a plan of action for the foreseeable events. Going to lunch with a friend? Find a restaurant that you can eat at easily. Going to a baby shower and have no control of the menu? Eat before you go and bring food with you. Flying across country? Pack some hardboiled eggs, (compliant) lara bars, cashew nuts, baby carrots, bananas and other portable items to help keep you going.
  10. Skip it. If possible skip and avoid situations that will do nothing but make you miserable. I recently was invited to a wine and chocolate party and decided to skip that because I was craving chocolate and missing wine that particular day. My friends understood and I will see them another time.
  11. Exercise. Keep moving. Always good advice.
  12. Weigh yourself and measure yourself on day 1 to gauge weight loss progress by the end but until then… 
  13. Forget the scale. Remember this is for your health first and weight loss could happen as a result of eating right. The scale didn't move as much as I wanted to but I feel good and glad I went on the journey. (PS: I admit that I weighed myself a few times and if I had to do it again I would try not to.) 
  14. Food on hand. Always have something available to eat. Make hardboiled eggs, slice up some cucumbers, whip up some Whole30 mayo, Make a crockpot of chili or this delicious (huge batch) of Butternut Squash soup - having food to eat can prevent a tailspin into something not on plan. 
  15. Snack if you need to/exercise.  The plan and book encourages 3 meals and not much snacking but if you work out you might need to eat a little something before and/or after. I would have a handful of cashews or a hardboiled egg. 
  16. Don't be afraid of healthy fats. If you are getting too hungry between meals make sure you're having enough protein and healthy fats at your meals. Both make a world of difference in keeping you satisfied. 
  17. Don't use a blip as an excuse to give up. Suspect that the steak your server at the restaurant swore was dry and plain had some questionable seasonings? Had to pop an OTC medicine to help fight a cold? Accidentally and mindlessly licked the spoon to something you were whipping up for your kid? Not good reasons to give up in my opinion. I mean if you want to be hardcore and start from day 1 and think you'll do it, then great but better to keep going forward than letting the blip completely derail you and get you off plan all together.  But...
  18. Don't fool yourself.  The above is not meant to say it's ok for intentional slips or blips. No you can't just have a sip of wine, or a taste of the pizza or just a lick of something. This is an all or nothing plan and doing it half assed will get you half-assed results. You deserve the best so do your best for you. A blip is a tiny thing but if you "accidentally" ate a bowl of something not on plan you're probably best off starting again. 
  19. Be proactive. YOU have the power to make this a priority but others won't if you don't let them know. I had to bring my own dinner to a relative's house party to stay on track. I felt odd for a second until I realized that no one else really cared all that much what I was eating. You don't have to be a victim and throw your hands up in defeat but you have to be proactive and on the offense with this plan. You must take responsibility for yourself. Always assume they might not have something for you and plan accordingly. No one can make you eat something against your will. 
  20. Get over the sticker shock. Organic meat, ghee, coconut milk, organic produce. Yes. These items can be pricey. But let's put it in perspective - (For me anyway) I gave up at least a bottle of wine a week, I didn't buy any typical treats (chips, sweets, etc) or the Amy's organic soups, frozen meals I often bought. I also didn't order food out or dine out as much. At the end of the day I probably didn't spend much more than I usually do overall. And even if I did. I would remind myself that there is nothing more important than my health. My food should be expensive because what we put in our bodies matter. I would rather cut out other expenses like cable than cut out healthy food.  
  21. Make an exit plan. At the end of the Whole30 you will begin to reintroduce foods. Do not just declare the "diet" over and resume eating the way you did. To truly benefit from the plan you'll want to reintroduce one food at a time about every 2 or 3 days. This way you can find out what foods really affect you. Don't blow the hard work by skipping this important step. 
  22. Consider a Whole45 or Whole60 - this plan isn't one size fits all and some might need more time.
If you've done or are doing Whole30 what would be your tips?

XO
Jen

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Biggest Loser Finale: Going too far?



I've watched the Biggest Loser since season one. I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions on it - and many have been critical. I haven't really been a critic. Personally I've always found a way to be inspired and entertained by show. I think there are some good messages in there even if rapid, large weight loss is unrealistic for most. Plus I love Dolvett :)

I thought this season was OK. It took me a little while to really warm up to the players but by the end I was really rooting for Rachel. She is a bright, beautiful young woman. She has the heart of an athlete that was trapped in a body that didn't match her spirit.  She killed the sprint triathlon and week after week she worked harder than anyone else and week after week she proved her toughness, perseverance and strength on the scale.

Rachel before

But now it seems that same amazing drive and focused personality could be backfiring.

I'm not a doctor and perhaps her nearly 60% of her body weight drop is OK for her. Perhaps carrying a mere 105 pounds on her frame is OK. I'm not an expert but I have to say she didn't look healthy and I was alarmed and I wasn't the only one.

Twitter lit up with worry and criticism. Hell, even Jillian and Bob couldn't hide concern when Rachel appeared and check out the contestant in red behind Jillian.



But Rachel was unaware of the shock she sent. She stood there, beaming with pride. Her hard work apparent for the world to see! She did it. She took on the challenge she was given and worked hard, stuck to her diet and literally worked her ass off. She was proud and then she was rewarded by nailing better than any of the other contestants the goal of the entire show: Biggest Loser!

Oh boy.

My fear as someone who struggles with weight and balance is that she could potentially be developing a disorder. She's felt "punished" and felt her relationship dramatically change with her Dad when she put on the weight and now she's been encouraged and celebrated week after week for taking her weight loss to new heights.



Has it all gone too far?

Maybe this is a healthy weight for her. I know plenty of very naturally slim people who would be offended by the idea that they were unhealthy just because they are uncommonly slim. Many of them can't gain weight if they try. But my gut says that for Rachel, it might have crossed over to a not so healthy place and it really isn't her fault. I can't blame her. When you live in the mind and body of a fat person it takes a long time for you to realize that you're thin. When I lost my weight I thought I went from a size 18/20 to a 12 and I was thrilled. My stylist friend thought 12 was too big for me but you couldn't tell me that. I believed that was my size - until she made me try on what I thought was a ten and it fit! Wow a ten! Only it wasn't a ten - it was a six. I was a size six / eight but my brain, despite the weight on the scale didn't register that. I am sure Rachel is not registering her size. Even the scale is deceptive for her. She is potentially living in varying states of "I can't believe I'm doing this!" Constant pats on the backs and an intense fear of letting it all slip to shit and eventually putting the weight back on. Even if someone says to her, "you're looking a little thin" she's not going to take it as concern - she's going to take it as a compliment - surely (fat her) couldn't be too thin. Especially with how fast the weight came off - her brain hasn't caught up to the body yet.  It could be dicey.

My hope is that she just got this thin for the show, to win the big prize and that her weight will normalize to what is healthy/happy for her and she'll comfortably maintain that.

My fear is that we've created a real issue. Someone who will obsessively count calories, fret over any ounce gained... Did we hand this girl an eating disorder?

By the way, Rachel wasn't the only one that flirted on the maybe too thin side. Runner-up Bobby looked like he had perhaps lost a wee too much too.

Only time will tell.

Did you see the show?

Thoughts?

XO
Jen


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Post Whole30: The stats

A bit strip my not-so-Whole30 twin sis posted...  I like how she gave herself the nicer hair ;) 

I know you guys are curious so here are some stats from my Whole30 experiment:

  • Number of pounds lost: 3.5 - I think. I weighed myself on Jan. 2 and the scale said 159.6 -- I am thinking this was grossly fluctuated high because just a day or two earlier I was 156 or 157 (don't remember) and NYE and New Year's Day I had a lot of salt and booze... so I'm figuring starting weight is more accurately around 157. Last day of Whole30 weight was 153.5
  • Inches lost: 3 - I lost an inch off my waist and hips plus a half off each thigh. My arms about stayed the same.
  • Number of miles ran: 25 - not many - with two weeks on the road and barely any workout time I didn't get in as many miles as I would've liked but did what I could when I could.
  • Jars of Ghee consumed: 2.5 -- that stuff is delish.
  • Eggs eaten: 60+ 2 every morning for breakfast plus a few hard-boiled here and there.
Weight wise I'm OK even though I had grand illusions of finishing this thing out at around 148 or 147 pounds. Oh well. Honestly I didn't get to work out as much as I would've liked to and there were other small issues like probably not drinking enough water and maybe one too many cashews on days where I felt "snacky"

Didn't exercise but froze my ass off and shot a show - my partner had the cool hat

While my Weight Watcher goal was 150 and my personal "happy" weight is between 145 - 148 - I'm feeling good. I've been beating myself up over my weight but I don't think anyone else thinks I look heavy and I'm healthy and feel good. So I'm continuing to work on getting over the numbers on the scale.

So far, two days post whole30, I'm still mostly eating whole30'ish. I have had a martini (OK 2) and  one or two other things 'off-plan' but I'm liking what I'm eating and how I'm feeling so I'm carrying on. 

XO
Jen

Friday, January 31, 2014

Whole30 - DAY 30!! VICTORY The Pros and Cons of Whole30


We are on the other side of this thing!!

Today is day 30 of the Whole30 program and it's been a good overall experience.  I would do this program again and my plan is to pretty much continue to base most of my meals on this way of eating but also reincorporate some gluten free grains like oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa as well as beans and the occasional glass of wine or martini.

The pros:

  • getting back in touch with clean eating
  • cleaning up sloppy habits like eating junk food, drinking too much alcohol, and grabbing stuff on the go
  • getting back to making foods from scratch with simple ingredients
  • getting more creative in the kitchen 
  • making meals and food a priority
  • enjoying what I eat and never feeling hungry
  • having more energy
  • sleeping better
  • enjoying a healthy lifestyle and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're doing your body good
  • some weight loss* (I lost just a little but came to realize that weight isn't the most important thing here)
  • That feeling of pride you get from setting a goal, sticking with it and accomplishing it
couldn't resist! :) 

The cons:
  • Being challenged when on the road a bit - planning is a must
  • Extra trips to the supermarket (but this could probably be fixed with some better planning)
  • Trips to "special" supermarkets (like Whole Foods or Trader Joes) for stuff like ghee, coconut aminos, organic meats and raw cashews.
  • No wine time!
  • Eating out can be tricky and no matter how careful you are you risk "f'ing" up the whole program by one sneaky ingredient and that can make you crazy.
  • If you aren't food creative (like my husband) you can get easily bored of the food and fall into the trap of eating the same thing everyday for lack of time/creativity/cooking skills. 
  • Having to figure out (or even cancel/postpone) outings with friends because of fear of temptation
  • For some, the discomfort of withdrawal from some of the stuff like sugar, diet soda, or gluten. I didn't really experience the foggy/early withdrawal symptoms that some do so it wasn't an issue for me.
  • Expense (though, truthfully, I cut out booze, eating out, ordering in and buying processed foods and snacks so I would think that the expense wasn't as great as I think with all things considered.) 
Now the cons are just my thoughts on what could be tricky for some or might have been tricky for me. None of the cons were a big enough issue or obstacle to make me throw it away, nor would they be a deterrent for a second round.  Most of them are fixable.

I also will say that it may have been a wee bit easier for me because I gave up gluten (most dairy), all artificial sweeteners, and diet coke a long time ago. I have been eating relatively clean for the most part and my processed foods were things like Amy organics, Udi's gluten free bread, brown rice pasta, some Lays potato chips and that sort of thing. 

With one more day to go I have to say I feel almost a little out of sorts. On a very small scale, maybe like the guy who's about to get out of jail but has gotten so comfortable with his routine that the outside world seems scary. I think I learned that I like rules and guidelines and having structure helps me feel 'in control' - now what? Will I go nuts and face fall into chips again? Will I drink the whole bottle of wine? Will I spin out of control?

Very unlikely. 

More likely and what I plan is to do what the program is programmed to do. I will strive to eat whole, clean foods most of the time, treat myself with other stuff occasionally and jump back on for a few days if I stray too far off.

XO
Jen