Friday, April 26, 2013

Are You Eating Enough?

This is a question that seems CRAZY to even ask when most of us out there are either trying to lose weight and/or get healthy. The reality though is that it plays probably the most important role in what we're trying to accomplish. I know I have talked about 80% of this journey as being nutrition, and that my friends is so true. We can work out all day long, but if we're not fueling our bodies accordingly we will just be running in our tracks.

I remember first starting out and trying to cut back portions and eat healthy and only eating at meal times with an occasional snack. I would try not to eat unless I was hungry. I figured things were better that way since for so long I had done just the opposite, and ate all the wrong kinds of foods no less. 

It didn't take long for my body to plateau after losing the first 20 pounds or so. It was like I was at a stand still. I hadn't changed. I'd hit a wall, and a hard one no less. (I honestly think I lost those 20 pounds because my body was learning a new behavior and suddenly didn't like it.) I was starving myself.  I wasn't eating nearly enough. The thought of consuming small amounts of food all day long seemed unreal.  Like I would almost be setting myself up to add a few pounds to this already large body of mine. I remember being very nervous and had a feeling of being deflated. Eat more? This seemed SO weird! Funny thing is, it totally worked! The more I ate, the more I lost. (I know, sounds crazy.) I remember eating at my meal times hungry or not. I may have thought I didn't need it but my body new differently.

I always eat a small bite of something first thing in the morning. (Just to get my metabolism going.) I'm not a breakfast eater so this was a stretch. Within an hour or two after that I eat something like oatmeal or a protein shake. A snack is on the menu mid-morning, then lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and a small snack before bed. That is a LOT of food! Especially when all I've ever known was that food was the enemy. Not anymore. We've become quite good friends actually. I have to tell myself that if I don't eat often, my motor starts to slow down and we all know we don't want that.

It's not always easy to remember to eat all day long as I am working and busy. Lately it seems to be even more of a struggle for me. (Maybe that's why I'm sharing this.) The good news is, I'm pressing forward, one foot in front of the other. Believing I can do anything I put my mind to. Just like you!

Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

There seem to be so many different directions you could take with this topic, but I'm going to share what it was like for me as far as forgiving myself. Forgiving myself for the person I had become. Forgiving myself for treating my body as toxic waste. Forgiving myself for being negative and halting my progress over the years. All these and many more can and will contribute to no success and no change if you allow them to.
We can decide to make the change and eat right and do better, but if we can't dig a little deeper and bring to the surface what the brain has been telling us all these years, none of our new ideas and efforts to be better will last. They will only be a temporary fix. Promise. I know it because I lived it.
One of the things that was hard and took many attempts to latch by brain around, was the idea that regardless of where I wanted to put the blame, I was in the end the one who was responsible for my choices and my actions. I'm the only one who physically could have gotten myself to 278 pounds. Sure, often times there can be things that factor in - depression, children, a death, finances, marriage, or anything else life throws at you every once in a while. But in the end, we are the ones responsible.
For many years, I just knew I was fat. Larger than most people around me. I was used to it. Sure, I wanted to be skinny and fit but never thought that was something that was even possible or in my genetic make-up since all I'd ever known was big. I remember in my early adulthood and up until just a few years ago, I would occasionally try a diet of sorts or at least try to take some weight off. Most of the time I was successful in small ways and weight did come off, but it really didn't take much to put it back on and then some. Again, I learned to accept this behavior as it was all I ever knew. It became a negative cycle.
It wasn't until I started hiking that I think my mind and body started to cleanse itself of my years of thinking. I remember at first, just the thought of hiking made me tired. I knew in order to hike for any length of time it would take hard work and commitment (especially being so overweight) just like it takes to lose weight. I knew I was stubborn and determined but knew if I played my cards right, I could hike, but it was just going to be work.The first few times of hiking I felt very out of shape. Almost like I didn't belong on the trail. (Sorta like you do when you decide to eat healthy after years and it seems awkward to be eating healthy.) I remember having to make several stops along the way but was very determined to get to where I was going. The more I found myself playing in the woods and spending time on the trails, the more time I spent with God, really digging deep and dealing with the things that had held me back for so long. The more I learned to enjoy life and forgive myself of so many things from my past, the more hiking became a hobby, a love, something I craved.
It may not be hiking for you, and that is fine. I do think though that everybody needs a healthy outlet. A place that will allow you to feel forgiveness. If you don't have it, find it! Everyone needs a place to reflect, forgive, make progress, and move forward. I know this to be true and I can honestly say, I am a far better person today because of my own personal outlet.  Hiking brings peace, forgiveness, and so many joyful moments into my life. I love hiking. I crave it and I know it will continue to be a blessing in my life if I allow it. I am far from perfect and I still have some bumps on my journey that I am working through. Having hiking as my outlet will provide me with just what I am needing to stay connected, be healthy, continue to move forward, and most importantly forgive myself for those things/thoughts I still struggle with.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

I Believe in YOU!

I was thinking about this the other day while I was at the gym on the bike and I looked over and saw a very overweight gal on the treadmill who had easily over 100 pounds to lose. First off, I was so proud to see her there in the first place. A lot of times I think larger people are scared away from the gym because of all the supposed "skinny", "healthy" people they might find there. (The fact of the matter is, there are people of ALL shapes and sizes at the gym. I was once the one with 100+ pounds to lose and I was there.) As I watched her walk on her machine at a rather slow pace, I could tell that she was tired, out of breath, and not altogether very comfortable. From where I was sitting, it didn't even look like she had water. I had no idea how long she had been on her machine as I didn't notice her until about 10-15 minutes into my own workout. I can just remember seeing her and thinking, "Bless her for being here. She can do this! I know she can!" I kinda got absorbed in my own workout after that and lost track of her, but in some ways I wish I would have gotten off my bike and told her I believed in her. Now if you know me, that would have been a little (okay, a lot) out of my comfort zone. I couldn't help but think of her again as I was driving home. How much it would have meant to me when I was starting out, if someone (a total stranger) would have come over and told me they believed in me and they new I could do what I thought at the time was nearly impossible. I struggled so much with believing in myself along the way, that maybe something like that would have been just what I had needed from the start.
Why am I sharing this with you?  Because I believe in you too! When you've lived life a certain way for so long and discover a way to overcome it, you want to share it with others. It becomes contagious. It's amazing to think that I care and believe in my readers as much as I care and believe in the people that I actually know who are working on making healthy lifestyle choices. I've gotten to know many of you through either email or comments on my blog, and I just want you to know that I sincerely care about your struggles and the journey you're on to a better you. I get excited when I get an email that tells me about your first 5K. I get excited to know you've gone a week without a Coke. It's exciting to follow your blog and see the change in you. I know it's not easy as I've been there myself, but it sure makes my heart happy to see you changing. It makes me want to say, "YES! I love it!" Occasionally, I even get a little teary when I read about these things. Why? Because I believe in YOU!  
And even though I'm in training for a run and only at the gym for minimal amounts of time for the next 12 weeks, I'm hoping I run into my treadmill friend again. Only this time, I'm going to make sure she knows I believe in her!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

My Boston Friends

I was sitting at my desk at work today when the school nurse came through the door and told me about the 2 explosions that had just taken place at the Boston Marathon. We quickly pulled up the news. My heart stopped. My heart sank. I felt like I needed to do something to help in that very moment, but the only thing I could do was pray. Pray for comfort. Pray for victims and families. Pray for understanding. Pray for forgiveness. Pray for peace. 

Running is such a personal undertaking and embarking on a race of any kind can be a huge thing for many. It often times makes us stretch ourselves to do things we never thought were possible. It is supposed to be a time of joy, accomplishment, celebrating health, and celebrating the bodies that God has created for us. It is also about discovering who we are, not being afraid to try new things, and reaching out to others. Together with all these things we become a community of runners. Boston or wherever, we are family.

I know the two races I've done there's been a sense of unity when you arrive at the starting line the morning of the race. Thousands of total strangers talking with one another, loaning sweatshirts to people like me who are cold, running together, talking or being encouraging as we're running and much more, creating an instant family. With that being said, I couldn't imagine having something happen like what unfolded this morning. Something so tragic that it did nothing but create a sense of darkness, hurt, fear, and everything that God is not. 

I will not give whoever is responsible the satisfaction of thinking that doing something like this will put a damper on the running community. In fact, it makes me want to run all that much more. Today was a 4-miler and most of the time for me was spent in prayer on behalf of Boston and my running friends there. God is good. He will bring peace to our hearts, healing to our souls, and a desire to continue on. He is just good like that. 

Bless you all.....


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Training Update:

A few posts back I mentioned I'd started training for my 3rd half marathon. (Click here) Well, I just finished week 2 of 12 and the good news is:

1. I haven't yet once dreaded a run.
2. I've never thought once I couldn't do it.
3. I'm not thinking about it all day, working myself into a panic before the next run.
4.Some days I've actually looked forward to the run.
5. It feels easy.
6. It's even been relaxing at times.

Wow! Did I just say those things? Me, Paige?! I most certainly did. Now, I should probably tell you another little something that has been a bit different about this training than the others I have embarked on. My husband is also into fitness and encouraged us to look into maybe trying to train with a heart rate monitor this time around. He has done it and found it very successful. The idea of training with a heart rate monitor is that you are building your aerobic base, never exercising above what your heart rate should be. In order to do that you have to slow things down. Like, WAY down. Like, almost to the idea of looking comical. (Actually, I know we look comical. I saw our shadows turning the corner last week. It was bad.) The good news is that as the weeks go on, you build your aerobic base and as your runs get faster your heart rate stays where it ideally should be. Running then is much easier and relaxing because you are running the pace you hopefully are wanting to go, yet your heart is doing what it needs to in pumping the blood flow efficiently through your body, not putting it under any stress or excursion. So far we are seeing small improvements but then again, we are only on week two. 

I'll be honest.  It hasn't been easy as far as feeling like I'm married to the beeper on my watch. Often times, in fact just yesterday on our long run, I wanted to take off in a sprint so many times but had to hold myself back. The urges come and go but then I remind myself of what this is doing for me, and in the end I will hopefully be a much more efficient runner. Patience Paige, patience.

The other good part in all of this is that maybe this is just what my body and mind were needing in order to help me truly fall in love with running? I don't know yet on that 100%, but I do know that so far this training season I'm happy, calm, at ease, and look forward to running each day. That is a first! 

I will keep you posted as the weeks go on but for now I will press forward with one goal in mind - finding joy in the journey of running!

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

What are the People Around You Doing?

I think that one of the BIG things that helped me stay focused and dialed in to having the attitude of "I'm not stopping until I get to where I want to be" is the fact that I didn't once compare myself to what others were doing or how they were losing weight. I never questioned or wondered if their way was working faster or more efficiently. Or if they had discovered a way to lose weight without a lot of exercise, or maybe if I tried it their way for a short time, I would get to where I wanted to be faster. Nope, I never even had these types of things cross my mind. Why? Yes, my way may have been a bit slower, but for the the first time in all my attempts to lose the weight, I was not only successful, but it was starting to "stick" in my brain and become a way of life for me. Little by little, the change came and that is what kept me going. I didn't need anything else. I was happy just the way things were.

We all know people who are currently losing weight, working towards a better body, or just trying to get healthy. I think it's important to focus on YOU and let no one or anything distract you and deviate you from your course. That is what is going to get you to your goal. Focus....focus...focus!

In all reality, it's much like dealing with Satan/the Enemy when we let the distractions join in and outweigh our thinking. These distractions are nothing but trouble. Ever find your brain telling yourself you can't do it? To give up? To maybe do something easier that won't take as much effort? (But in the end you probably will have to start all over because that way didn't work, or it only brought you temporary joy.)  Satan's job is to tempt us, distract us, and make us question the things we are doing. What happens when we listen to him? Very simple...We aren't happy. Quite frankly we may even discover we are miserable because we chose to take an alternate route. We need to remember it's the Enemy's job is to make our lives miserable. To make you question what you are doing. To make you stop believing in yourself. Don't give him that satisfaction! Just keep going, doing what you know you should be doing and the weight WILL come off. I know I always say this but it's because my heart believes it so deeply. Slow and steady wins the race! The slower the better. I promise! I know I've mentioned it before,  but your brain and body need that time to make the adjustment and make it a change that will last forever.

So today my friends, press on. Focus only on YOU! Don't let anyone or anything tell you what they are doing is better and will work faster. Don't compare yourself with anyone at the gym or think you need to become someone you're not. If things are out of balance, fix them. If you haven't yet started, take that step. The most important thing to remember is that until you commit to doing this the right way, you will remain a prisoner in your own body. There a many healthy right ways to lose weight. Pick what works for you and be patient. Usually the right way takes more time, and that's okay. I promise you'll be much happier and a better YOU in the end. 

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Monday, April 8, 2013

In Training....

I just finished week one of training for my 3rd half marathon coming up the end of June. My best friend and I have embarked on this adventure every spring since I hit my goal weight 2.5 years ago. It was that new goal I had set for myself after losing all the weight. Something else that I knew was hard and what seemed like impossible at the time. It was a stretch for me to even consider such a task but then again, so was losing 133 pounds.  I somehow seemed to conquer that one but was wanting something  to keep me focused and help me maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Now, you probably should know up front that just because I've run soon-to-be 3 half marathons does not mean I am a year-round runner. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I only have run each year consistently for the 3 months leading up to the race. Being a runner was never even in my thought process, let alone adopting the idea of being a full-time runner, so that's not the way I've chosen to go. You see, I've had such a love/hate relationship with running. Why? I'm not really sure to be honest. That is something I'm currently digging deep to find out. I love the way it makes me feel, I don't dislike every run, and often times in fact I look forward to the Saturday long runs. Also, when I see people running while I'm driving down the road, I long to be on a run. But then there are the moments when I get very worked up before a run. Not believing I can do it, dealing then with a wave of emotions that sends me into a spiral of thoughts. The agony over the idea of having to run that day torments me all day long. I have no idea why my brain plays these tricks on me because the fact of the matter is, I know I can do it.  I've done it twice before! 

Last week when Jacob, my trainer, and I were talking to the group of ladies that had just finished the Biggest Loser Challenge (click here), Jacob mentioned something that I didn't realize affected both him and me. He said, "To see these two half marathon shirts and 2 medals sitting here on this table is remarkable to me. The girl who worked hard, pressed on, and earned these medals, is the same girls that for weeks on end when asked to run to the stop sign at the end of the parking lot, would argue with me and tell me she couldn't. That is determination!" 

So, since last Saturday and hearing him say that, I've been  on a mission to figure out why the running thing has been so back and forth for me. And because I seem to like running more than not, I'm determined to win! I don't run for time. I don't run to beat a PR. I don't run to be the best in my age group. (Nope, I'm for sure not there.) For now I'm focusing on falling in love with something that has intrigued me for a long time. Something I never even dreamed would be a part of my lifestyle. Something that makes me feel like I am in control. Something that makes me feel like I'm on top of the world!

I love to run in the rain, so yesterday was the perfect ending to week one of training.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Enjoying Your Food!

One of the things I really worked on when I was on my journey to losing the weight is something I still try to implement.  I enjoy the food I'm eating. Sure, when you change your entire life around and start to eat to live and not live to eat, you might be eating some things that are new to you and or in some ways not all that enjoyable. (Considering most foods out there that make us fat are not the altogether taste good sweet treats.) The important thing for me when I took the step to becoming a better me was to eat and do nothing else. Okay, that sounds bad. No don't just eat, eat, eat, all day. But when it's time for a snack or a meal, I focused on my food. I would even process in my brain about the food I was eating and how it was going to help my body become stronger, more resilient, and healthy. I tried to avoid eating in front of the TV, computer, or anything else that would distract me. Otherwise I mentally wasn't processing that I was eating, so the need to feel like I should eat again sooner than later would arise. Often times, I would even try to justify my eating when I did it that way. Not good.

I really enjoy trying to savor the flavors of my food these days. I remember in the past, there were many times where I felt like I was inhaling my food. In so doing, I gained weight, not even caring about what was entering my mouth. It think that it's fair to say that can be a common thing with obese people. (As scary as it sounds, yes I was obese.) I try to have a large glass of water with me anytime I put food in my mouth. It helps. Again, I try to focus on eating slowly, drinking often during the snack/meal and like I said, tell myself about the good foods that are going into my body and what they will do for me. Now, don't get me wrong....I still eat naughty things and when I eat those things I have learned (I believe a lot of that learning has come from feeding my body and brain with good foods) that they are there for my enjoyment, not as a medication of sorts. I remind myself that I am bigger than the treat, and I am in charge of my body, not the food. I have told my brain that treats and I have become friends. In a good way. You see, I never deprived myself of them on my journey. Yep, I lost 133 pounds eating treats. Not every day, no. But I wanted to enjoy them occasionally and learn how to enjoy them in the proper way, mixed in with the good whole foods I was eating at other times during the day. Learning the balance is the trick. Our brains are trained to perk up when sweets, treats, grease, naughty foods are present. Why? Because that is society and that is what the majority of us have been exposed to. It's what's out there. It's whats most convenient. 

I'm a firm believer though, that if we focus on the good foods we are putting into our mouths and remind our brains often of what a difference they are making, we will naturally fall in love with eating healthy. I know it may sound odd to some, but it's worked for me. In fact I love to eat healthy now. I even order healthy on the menu when I easily could order something naughty for an evening. It comes natural to me. Almost like the roles have been reversed. (Always looking for healthy instead of always ordering what sounds good whether it's good for me or not.) I promise, the more you focus on your mealtime, slowing down, savoring the flavors in your food, and not being distracted, the more food will become your friend instead of your enemy. No, it's not easy, but I promise it's worth it!

One of my favorites! (Pulled Pork Salad)

Yep, and an occasional naughtiness

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Sharing My Story 101

Saturday morning I had the chance to speak to a group of ladies who are just finishing up there own version of a "Biggest Loser" challenge. Believe it or not, it was the first time I really have spoke in that kind of setting. The crazy thing is, I don't know what made me say "Yes" when I was asked to do this as I am so not a public speaker and REALLY don't care to speak in front of groups of people. But guess what? I tried it. It's not so bad. Not only that, it blessed me to be able to do it.  I seem to share my story or at least bits and pieces of it to people all the time but to actually tell it how it was for me from start to finish turned out to be very special. (Yes, I only teared up a couple different times but I just couldn't help it.)  

In some ways there were some ladies in that room that I knew had to have felt the way I had in the beginning months of my journey. I could just tell. My heart hurt for them. This challenge had only been going on for a few months, and when you have a large amount of weight to lose, as did I, it's hard for others to tell you're even making progress in those first few months other than feeling better about how you are eating and physically feeling. Almost always, others haven't quite noticed the weight loss has started. 

One of the best parts about my morning was not only did I get to speak to these great women, but I got to bring my trainer Jacob with me! The one who inspired me, pushed me, and believed in me far before I ever even believed in myself. Love him!  It was great to hear him talk to these ladies about how they can accomplish just what I had done, even if that means following a different path to get there. "Just do it!" he says. 

I so badly when it was all over wanted to pull those few aside that I knew were struggling and are where I was to tell them they can SO DO THIS. In fact my heart wanted to do it for them but God reminded me I can't. This is one of those things they will have to overcome on their own and I get to help Him be the cheerleader. One day at a time. Each day getting closer to that goal. Yes!  

I'm grateful for my sunny Saturday morning yesterday. It was a chance for me to reflect on again, what I had been through and how far I've come. Not only that,  I could remind myself how much happier life is for me now compared to then. That in and of itself is worth helping  others want to make the change and get healthy. We can do anything as long as we believe we can.

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