March Goals

I typically don’t set monthly goals, but I’ve felt quite blah about my fitness progress lately (in addition to 1,000 other things), and I have a race coming up at the end of the month, so I thought setting some concrete goals for myself would help me to a) get my ass back into gear and b) be slightly less miserable to be around.

My first step in preparing for this month of getting back on track was to weigh myself. I do this rarely, not only because I don’t like to fixate on day-to-day fluctuations in weight, but because I only own a Wii Fit, not a real scale, so weighing myself is annoying and innacurrate. It is  usually better to just get on it once in awhile to make sure I’m not trending dangerously up or down and base my assessment more on how my clothes fit.

The problem with losing 110 lbs, though, is that because I am almost constantly afraid of gaining my weight back, I imagine that my clothes are becoming tight/ I am becoming fluffier even when that is not the case. I assumed that based on my “terrible” eating over the last 2 months since I last weighed myself, I was going to have to set a weight loss goal (I was guessing I had gained at the very least 10 lbs). Imagine my surprise when I got on the scale to find that my weight my exactly the same as it was in early January (128ish). Now, I’m sure I haven’t exactly maintained my weight to the ounce, but it was a signal to me that I have been overreacting about my “bad” eating, especially with all the activity from my occupation that I do not account for.

I am very glad to find that I don’t have to set a weight loss goal for the month! That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try to fix up my diet a bit, though – I probably have been eating a bit too much pizza and ice cream for the sake of overall health and nutrition, even if my waist line has been spared the consequences thus far. With that being said, here are my goals for March:

  • Work out at least 5 days per week (4 runs and 2 days of strength training, one can be doubled up)
  • Actually stick to my calorie goals  on a weekly basis – perhaps try to figure out how much more I should be eating now that I have a more active job if I want to be able to eat more to reflect that
  • Follow the “80%” rule – the idea I often see touted on the internet that a “diet” should allow for 80% “good” eating and “20%” bad if you want to actually be successful and non-miserable. While I am obviously not going on a diet, I would like to try to pay more attention to how many of my calories are coming from completely non-nutritious snacks, like Cadbury Creme Eggs (side note: their calorie amount just isn’t fair)
  • Don’t eat anything that isn’t “worth it” from the pizza buffet at work. While this is a more subjective goal, what I mean by this is don’t just randomly eat pizza rolls and dessert breadsticks just because they are there; rather, do something like eat a couple slices of pizza and a couple mozzarella sticks because I haven’t eaten lunch yet. Basically, only eat with actual purpose.
  • Only drink 5 alcoholic beverages per week. While I don’t have an alcohol problem, it is basically empty calories, and I usually have at least 1-2 drinks (usually just non-exciting beer like Yuengling, too) per night, which is at least 150 calories of actual nutrition I could get per day. This allowance gives me enough slack to have one after a stressful night at work or when relaxing on an evening off.

March is off to a great start so far! The weather is good (until tomorrow); I’ve set some goals; and I got in a TON of exercise today – a 5K run (under 30 minutes for the first time in months) AND a 5K walk with Kris and Belle.

Not Dreading the Dreadmill & Christmas Gift Lists

No “Food Friday” post today. My most exciting food moments of the week were going out for sushi (I love sushi, but I swear it is the only thing Kris wants to eat lately) and making snickerdoodle blondies, and neither one of those is particularly new or exciting. Sorry that there have not been many of these lately – I guess my eating habits have been quite boring lately!

Instead, I have sort of a double post on two things that really have nothing to do with each other. Enjoy, because I probably won’t be able to post much while visiting my family Saturday-Wednesday.


Less than a year ago, I was absolutely terrified of treadmills. Even when it got cold last winter and I finally moved my running into the gym I stuck to the indoor track for a few weeks. Then I attempted walking on the treadmill. And finally, I sucked it up and did a nice slow 5K to ease myself into it. They still aren’t my favorite thing, but now that I do not have access to one, I realize that I miss them because they allow me to run in bad weather conditions.

Due to the snow and ice, I still haven’t run – since Sunday! This is one of the longest breaks I have taken from running in the last year and I am not really enjoying it. All it does is make me feel lazy and introduce weird anxieties into my life like “what if I can’t run three miles anymore” or “what if I’m really slow now.” These thoughts make absolutely no sense (after all, it’s only been 5 days), but this is exactly one of the reasons that I run. I *might* be a ridiculously high stress person normally, and running really helps me to not be like that (instead I’m just a high stress person). I think this is especially telling because I’ve still been working out about 20 minutes a day at home. There is no way that I am getting out of shape or being lazy, but my brain is acting like I haven’t run in 6 months or something! Ugh. It must be obvious that I am feeling this way, too, because yesterday Kris basically okay-ed me joining a gym or getting a treadmill for the house for next winter when I am home full-time! Hopefully I can find some time/place to run when I am visiting my family – their treadmill is broken, and I could use my mom’s stationary bike to get some good cardio in, but it’s not the same.

I *should* be able to go for a run today, though. I’ve been able to tell that even if the park isn’t clean, the sidewalks along the roads mostly are, so I could run there if I absolutely had to. I don’t really like running on sidewalks, though, because I am more likely to trip and I have to contend with traffic at major intersections. It was in the high 30s yesterday, though, and should be in the 40s today, so I am thinking that most of the snow will melt and I will be good to go on my normal route. Either way, I really need to get out there – I am going to Kris’s office Christmas party tonight and I need to preemptively burn off cookies and beer! After I write this post I’m going to finally get dressed and take Belle for a walk so I will see what the state of things are then.


Now on to the second part of the post, which is of course basically a rant. Due to the impending holiday, I have been seeing gift idea lists for people who are into fitness and I must say that in my opinion, some of these are just TERRIBLE ideas. Now, many of these gifts are not inherently bad ideas – they would be good ideas for specific people, but they are not really appropriate for a list of random gift suggestions for a friend/relative who is a bit into fitness. They are the type of thing you should ONLY buy people who have specifically asked for them, not the type of thing you should buy people after Googling “gift ideas for health nut friend.”

First, we have meal/weight loss plan subscriptions. Yes, I have actually seen this suggested. Now, if you know someone who is on a specific plan (i.e. Weight Watchers) and you know they are thinking of discontinuing it for monetary reasons, this might not be a bad idea. But to randomly get it for someone who seems like they like to watch what they eat? No. Just no. First of all, it presumptuous because it implies the person cannot accomplish their goals without supervision/guidance (this is being nice to the gift giver and assuming that the person even has a goal that such a plan would be appropriate for, otherwise such a gift is just plain rude). Second, even if the person had expressed vague interest in such a plan, I imagine that unless the gift giver knows EXACTLY what plan the person wants to follow, this could really backfire. Like, if the person on the receiving end of this gift was thinking of trying Nutrisystem and you paid for Weight Watchers instead, you’ve put them in an awkward position. It’s like if your eldery grandparents with only good intentions went out and bought you a Microsoft Surface when you wanted an Ipad. It seems rude to return it for something that to the gift-giver is functionally the same darn thing, but you would really hate the gift because it wasn’t quite what you wanted, and then you feel like an ass. I hope this makes sense.

Second, we have the 80,000 gadgets intended to keep track of your bodily data, such as Fitbits with bodyfat scales that sync up to MyFitnessPal (or whatever). These are bad gifts for the reasons I already mentioned – a bit presumptuous, and what if you wanted the Jawbone thingy instead of the Fitbit thingy? There are two additional problems with such gifts, though. First, they constantly keep track of numbers such as calories, weight, and body fat. It is difficult to know whether a person can handle being constantly updated with that information or not. I am very good at dealing with calories, for example, but try to force myself to weigh once a week or less because otherwise I get very caught up with my weight. If I had some sort of freaking scale that synced up with all of my other data and constantly reminded me to get on it and was aware of every 5 pound fluctuation up and down I’d probably drive myself nuts (and I  mean this literally, there is not a word of humor in this sentence). I just can’t handle that, which is why I don’t own a scale. I weigh myself at gyms and other people’s homes so that I can limit myself. The point is that for many people, one or more of these numbers might be problematic, so don’t buy them this stuff unless they have specifically asked for it. Second, I have a feeling that these are things that are going to get rarely used by even the biggest data and fitness geeks because they just look ugly. Like, who is going to wear a Fitbit to work all day everyday? Maybe this is one of most “just my personal opinion” points here but I think if a numbers-cruncher such as myself thinks that looking silly isn’t worth it for a few numbers, there are not many people who are going to be willing to make that sacrifice.

So, what do I suggest instead? Stick with known quantities or things that aren’t offensive and presumptuous. If you know they are a runner, for example, you could buy them things like clothing/accessories, energy gels, or small things they could use at home like handweights or foam rollers. These types of things are easy to return exchange for inoffensive reasons (i.e. it didn’t fit, that flavor upsets my stomach) or are things that most people use (i.e. handweights don’t really imply that the giver thinks you need to lose weight/get fit to the point of a meal plan!). If you want to go for a more DIY route, make them some healthy holiday treats for a nice break in the sugar-cookie flood that Christmas is or do something like make them a display case for medals/bib numbers. If all else fails, just get them a gift card to a store that you know sells things for their hobby. It is less thoughtful than the other gifts, but it at least shows that you pay attention to their hobby, and is not necessarily NOT thoughtful. For example, my husband loves Warhammer, but everyone just gets him Games Workshop gift cards because we know we’d mess up trying to get him actual miniatures, so it is probably more thoughtful than a) getting him the wrong miniatures or b) just giving him like a Visa gift card and socks (except for runners – runners actually want and love all the running socks).

Have a happy holiday everyone, and hopefully I have a Christmas of running shorts and Clif bars rather than scales that follow me around!

Throwback Thursday – Thanksgiving Edition

In one week it will be Thanksgiving!

Kris and I are still planning to do our Turkey Trot, and I think I’m going to go out tonight and get some supplies to make these turkey hats. I was going to just buy some at Target, but they seem to have run out. The good thing is that I think I can make these with nothing but construction paper and cardboard, and they should fit over our winter hats, which we will need because mother nature hates me and there is supposed to be a high of 43 in Charlotte on Thanksgiving Day. My only concern is getting these into my luggage without smooshing them for my travels!

Lately I’ve been feeling kind of stuck fitness-wise. I’ve been hovering at the upper end of my normal weight range all semester, which I’ve whined about before, but that doesn’t mean it has become less frustrating. If I really think about why I’ve been stuck lately, it is probably because I’ve been pretty much in hardcore training mode all semester and I’ve made a lot of big changes. I’ve run two races, started bike commuting, and went straight from half-marathon training to weight training while maintaining 15-20 miles per week of running. I’m probably stuck because I haven’t had much of a break! Looking back also really helps me to remember that I’m not a complete failure at weight-loss maintenance, though, so I thought that with the holiday coming up, I’d look back at the last few Thanksgivings in order to remind myself of that.

Thanksgiving 2010 – my first year of grad school, and before I started losing weight (actually before I reached my highest weight, I think):

Sorry that pictures that I post of you are almost always unflattering, Kris 😦 I promise he doesn’t normally run around with his eyes closed! To be fair, this is a particularly bad picture of me as well – my hair is super frizzy! I think we had just woken up.

One year later – Thanksgiving 2011, about 6 months after I started losing weight:

See! Much better picture of us both. And an especially good picture of Belle! For a real fun comparison, I am wearing this same sweatshirt in my high weight photo on the progress pics page.

One year ago – Thanksgiving 2012. This is also the first year that Kris and I had our own Thanksgiving due to me having to work at Target on Black Friday. Note that I do not really look any different than I do now (which reassures me quite a bit). I also know that I have made huge fitness progress. Today I ran an “easy” 5K in 27 minutes; last November, the only 2 5K runs that I logged on Runkeeper were over 34 minutes each!

Cooking!

We made cornish hens, green beans, and sweet potatoes. And pie, but for some reason that isn’t pictured?

Hens!

 

Our awesome table ready for us to eat!

Things I Learned About Being Overweight by Becoming Thin

Let me just begin by repeating for the 1000th time how much I love fall! I have been eating pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast everyday for like 2 weeks and the weather is now just perfect for biking and running most days. Yesterday it was a little dreary, but at least the temperature was nice! I was very glad to be able to bike to the gym today, especially, so I wouldn’t have to contend with game day traffic on campus (though for some reason there were about 1 million gym bros to contend with at the gym).

This was good, because today started out kind of poorly: I had been planning on making some Christmas presents, but I haven’t actually used my sewing machine in like 6 months. The other day, I was trying to gather up materials to make these presents and discovered that I had left my interfacing, quilt batting, etc back in Harrisburg. Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to mail this to me so that I didn’t have to go spend upwards of $9/yard on this crap again. I decided that today would be a good day to reattempt work on these projects…only to discover that my cutting mat and rotary cutter are still in Harrisburg! WHAT?! I can’t believe that I basically brought none of the things I need to sew with me. After writing this post, I’m probably going to go venture to Hobby Lobby to see if I can get a new mat. *sigh*


Another interesting thing that happened today was the inspiration for this post. I was on Reddit this morning (of course) when I came across an askreddit thread asking overweight people to discuss issues that the overweight face that most people are not aware of. A good question, but, being that this was on Reddit, most of the answers were either people being all like “I don’t understand how overweight people can literally be the worst” or people talking about their weight loss journey/issues with weight loss without really providing a unique answer to the question (many were just pointing out how hard it is to lose weight; I would say the majority of people are aware of this problem, even if they can’t understand it fully). There were two types of responses that struck me, though: overweight people pointing out issues that I never was aware of even as an overweight person (this has happened to me at other points in life, too) and people like me who have lost weight talking about the things they learned by losing weight. This made me reflect – what things have I learned about being overweight by losing weight, either by reading about others’ experiences or by noticing a changed experience myself. I have mentioned several of these before, but I feel like they are worth mentioning again. Warning: the last two “bullet points” are really more like paragraphs, because they are complex points I want to make.

  • Apparently people go around judging the food purchase of the overweight. Now that I hear this, I’m not surprised – people tend to be quite judgey – but it never occurred to me that this might be happening to me when I was overweight. Also, now that I am aware of this, I notice it all the time, and I am certain it happened to me, but that I was just oblivious.
  • My clothes and shoes wore out faster when I was overweight, because they never quite fit right. My feet were too wide and made my shoes loose; the arms on my sweaters would stretch out from pushing them up; my beltloops would tear from trying to yank on my pants; my jeans would tear from my thighs rubbing. I never realized this would stop happening when I lost weight!
  • Chairs. I was aware that some overweight people have trouble fitting in certain chairs/break them sometimes, but I thought these concerns did not apply to me because I had never had those problems. Well, I might have “broken” one chair. My office chair did this weird thing where the adjuster broke and it would just wobble around, and I assumed I broke it due to being over the weight limit, but I checked and at my highest weight I was at least 10 lbs under the weight limit so it could have just been a fluke. After losing weight, though, I realized how much better my chair experience really is now. I fit in airplanes and buses better; I can sit comfortably on almost any random chair (though (though I need more padding, now!); I can fit into tiny cars  more easily; and I sometimes even have room to set things beside me on chairs!
  • Overweight people are often invisible to/ignored by society. In a way this was good, because not all attention is good attention (I will say though that the amount of street harassment was fairly equal because now instead of being outside as a “fatty” I am outside as a runner and both are apparently displeasing to rude men). Strangers are way more likely to hold doors for me, talk to me (and hit on me, ugh), and just in general be nice to me than they were before. And I don’t just mean random strangers – this is especially true at clothing stores, where I receive SO MUCH more help now. I never noticed this one because it is difficult to notice lack of attention, I think.
  • On a similarly related note, people that you know treat you way differently (not necessarily nicer, just differently). I mean, I guess I was somewhat aware of this, but I understand it a lot more now that not everyone I know knows that I was once overweight. When you are overweight, everyone just kind of assumes you really dislike yourself and that you are really sensitive about it. And I’m sure everyone is to varying degrees, but most other people tend to think it is like the number one thing on your mind. Like, if you make factual statements like “I can’t find anything in this store because they do not carry my size” they freak out. The worst is when you mention briefly being fat and they continue to reassure you that you are not fat. There are two reasons that I think people do this: they are either afraid of indirectly insulting you by not disagreeing (like, they think you will say you are fat, they will just sort of nod or something, and then you will exclaim “HAH!” Got you! You said I am fat you meanie!”); or they are possibly quite unaware of how large you actually are (I am guilty of doing this to people myself). As I said, I was aware of this as an overweight person, but now I really understand how weird it is because of how comfortable people feel asking me about my body, now. They think nothing of asking me what I weight, what size I wear, etc., and they accept most comments I have to say about myself because they don’t feel like they need to reassure me. The last holdout seems to be my legs. Every time I factually mention that they are big and I have trouble finding pants, people still freak out trying to tell me that it’s ok. Newsflash everyone: I am aware it is ok.
  • An extra bullet point for lessons I probably still have to learn

Trial and Error

Today I went back to working out for the “first” time since my half marathon (I bike commuted yesterday, but quite weakly). Last time, I tried to “loosen up” by running for 20 minutes the day after. That sucked, so this time I instead tried to do it 2 days later, which worked much better (I did take a leisurely 1 mile walk the day after). My workout today was so random. I just messed around on some weight machines in our apartment complex gym (mostly to see what they were like) then did 20 minutes at an easy pace on the treadmill. I never like this period right after a race where I don’t really have a workout plan – I have no idea what I want to do for my workout that day so it makes me procrastinate and then I never know what to eat (because I don’t know how many calories I will be burning/when I will be working out). I need to come up with a workout plan so that I am not in the weird limbo I am in this week – I am apparently a person that needs structure. Here are a few of the options I am entertaining:

  • Re-attempting NROLFW. I tried it before, but kind of half-assed it and decided I didn’t like it. With it being cold and rainy outside everyday, though, this might be a good option.
  • Biking: I know I can bike on the stationary bike trainers on campus regardless of weather. Also, Kris and I are planning to take some major rides (50+ miles) next summer so it would be nice to catch up to his ability level before that. I would need to find a somewhat structured plan, though, because I don’t really like stationary bikes and I’d probably slack off if I was just doing it whenever I felt like it. Maybe I can read the Game of Thrones books while I ride?
  • Running: I will definitely run during the winter so I don’t completely lose my base. I’m pretty hardcore about running in the winter actually – I went out and bought tons of gear last year and only stayed indoors if it was raining, blizzarding, or under 10 degrees (F). Though, speaking of cold weather gear, why do they not make more athletic tights for guys? I tried looking at cheap places where I usually find my stuff (i.e. Old Navy, JCP, Target) for Kris to wear on his bike and all I can find is sweatpants, which are a no-go for biking. I can check the Under Armour outlet when I’m back home in PA, but I’m a cheapskate, so I’d prefer somewhere else.

I also tried my new shoes out today (full disclosure, that is a referral link). They were…interesting. I could feel the arch support in them like I have never felt before. I seriously can feel the shoe pushing my foot back when my ankle tries to collapse in. Super weird feeling. This was interesting to me because the other shoes I have used in the past (Brooks Adrenaline; Mizuno Wave Inspire) seem like highly recommended shoes for over-pronators (people with flat feet) so I expected them to have the best support out there. I would say these shoes have about the cushioning and weight of the Brooks shoes – I had liked that the Mizuno’s had less, but they just aren’t going to be warm enough for winter (I needed to get rid of them anyway – they are completely worn through in several places and I can visibly see the degradation of the cushioning). At first the shoes felt really really weird because of the additional cushioning, but I got used to it during my run. I was also thinking that they made my right shin feel a little funny but then I realized it was just the way I was running on the weird treadmill we have in this gym, and correcting my gait on the treadmill helped (some other dude was on the good treadmill).

One final new thing I tried today. I am currently working on reducing meat in my diet (not going full vegetarian, just trying to not eat meat every single day) and today I managed an entire day without meat! Well, technically the day isn’t over, but I only plan on having some pumpkin ice cream with a pumpkin muffin, and those don’t have meat. I am fairly proud of this accomplishment, especially considering past me – one of the meals I ate was penne with marinara sauce (I put a ton of veggies in it) and I remember literally getting into fights with Kris because pasta “requires” meat or I won’t eat it (I used to be this way with pizza, too, and my favorite pizzas are now often 4 cheese or veggies). It’s an even more impressive feat if you know that as a child, I ate no vegetables except white mushrooms or baby carrots. MAYBE iceberg lettuce. Look forward to at least one meatless recipe for Food Friday 🙂


One final thing – and I have separated this because it has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but I don’t really want to see it as an afterthought – remember that there are several things about your body that fitness cannot change. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, here, but after seeing two posts on Reddit yesterday from super skinny ladies about hip dip (I feel ok with declaring them super skinny because their hips were as small as mine), I realize that not everyone knows this yet: THERE ARE NUMEROUS THINGS ABOUT YOUR BODY YOU JUST CAN NEVER CHANGE. These include:

  • Thigh gap (the idea that your thighs should at no point touch)
  • Hip dip (aka violin hips; the dip between where your hip bones are and where your femur points out)
  • Cellulite
  • I’m sure there are more things the internet will invent that I haven’t thought of yet. Fat ears, perhaps?

Technically, there are things you can do to slightly alter each of these.

You could reduce fat or muscle mass and see if that allows you to have a thigh gap. This probably won’t work unless your thighs are really muscular or you are very overweight, though – my thigh gap appears when I am a size 12. It depends almost entirely on your bone structure, and trying to lower your body fat enough to obtain it can be dangerous, mostly because for many people, their body fat will NEVER be low enough for it to appear, or it would have appeared already when they were at a healthy/slightly overweight weight.

Hip dip is sort of the opposite – you can only really see it if you are thin, because otherwise your hipbone and femur won’t be jutting out of your skin. So thin girls: if you want to rid yourself of hip dip, gain weight. I thought mine looked weird at first, but then I realized everyone had one, so I decided I was ok. Then I learned that there is some craze to try to lose weight and rid yourself of it, when that will only make it worse.

Cellulite is less of a modern internet problem – ladies have been worrying about this for decades. Remember, ladies: 90% of you have cellulite. It is just the way that women’s bodies (or bodies with low testosterone in general, if I remember correctly) store fat. Unless you have an extremely low body fat percentage (like, figure competition level – and even they don’t stay in that kind of shape for long), it’s probably going to show up. The “treatments” for it have limited effectiveness – sure, super cream X may work randomly for one person, but there is not really any evidence that any of them work (if you have a ton of money, I think that I heard that certain surgeries work – that’s it). It’s probably best to just remember that everyone has it. Go Kaleo has a great post where she shows a picture of Scarlett Johansson’s, and actually talks about all the sciencey stuff  behind all this with sources unlike me, because I’m lazy and just sending a reminder, not reinventing a wheel. I know that doesn’t make you feel better in your skin tight outfit, but hey, that is why Spanx exist*. They are cheaper than 80,000 creams and less effort than massaging your skin for hours. Note: I’m a super-weirdo and I’m fine with my cellulite showing in say, shorts, but I just HATE when it breaks up the line of a skin tight dress so I wear them sometimes. Remember: I wear size 2, and I have cellulite (and also loose skin, which is the primary reason for the Spanx). WE ALL HAVE IT.

*I know I should be like “completely embrace your body” instead of advocating shapewear, but I’m realistic, and trying to take baby steps here, ok?

Throwback Thursday

Before I get into the meet of the post, I have to say…I HATE rest days before races! I think the problem is that I’ve been working out SO MUCH that I feel relatively lazy. Think about it: for the last month, I’ve been running 30 miles per week (ok, so “only” like 29 3/4 some weeks) and bike commuting 3-4 times per week (except the week my bike was immobilized). This week, I’ve run 6 miles and bike commuted twice. I was going to bike commute today, but it is rainy, so I can’t. If it clears up I’ll take the dog for a long walk or something. I also plan to get in about 30 minutes of light, non-running activity tomorrow to keep my legs from being stiff for the half marathon.


I don’t think I’ve ever officially done a “Throwback Thursday” before but I was looking through some old pictures yesterday and I came across two that I just could not keep myself from talking about.

Picture #1: June 1, 2011

Now, I’ve shown before pictures before, so what is important is not necessarily what I look like in this picture – it is the context of this picture. If you go look at my “progress pics” page, you will not see this one on there. This is because I had not found it before and had to scrounge around to try to find full body lifestyle type pictures to include with my official “before” photo, and I hadn’t really done very well at it. That is, until I came across this picture, which is basically like the perfect before picture once you know the story behind it.

In this picture, I am standing in my parents’ garage wearing my old girl scout badges – my mom just took it because I was being silly. We were in the process of going through a bunch of my old things. Over the last few years, I had been operating under the assumption that because I was “barely” plus-sized (I am wearing one of Kris’s mens XL shirts and size 20 shorts in this photo) I could get back into straight sizes “in a few weeks if I tried,” and at this point in time I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be plus-sized for the rest of my life. This day was a major turning point on that front, as I “got rid of” most of my “skinny clothes” (about size 10-12) since I was “never going to be that skinny again.” I say “got rid of” because they somehow magically reappeared whenever I got near those sizes again. Thanks, mom (I still don’t want them, because they are from my weird emo phase).

A few days after this picture was taken, though, I went to the doctor. This was where I had my official 240 pound weigh in. That didn’t bother me as much as the other things the doctor said, though. This was the third appointment in a row where the doctor pointed out my high blood pressure, and she called a day or two afterwards to tell me that I had high cholesterol as well. I wasn’t worried so much about being heavy as being healthy, so I started researching on the internet to see what I could do to help with my high blood pressure and cholesterol. A mere two weeks after this photo was taken, I joined MyFitnessPal as a way to keep track of my diet and exercise. By the end of the summer,I was back into a size 14 or 16, letting me safely shop at most clothing stores again. Oh, and if you are wondering, my blood pressure and cholesterol are totally fine, now. My new doctor was actually confused when I wanted him to check my cholesterol and fasting glucose levels!

Picture #2: October 16, 2012

Now, this picture seems to be an entirely unexceptional mirror-selfie taken with a potato at first glance. But in reality, it is MUCH more exciting than that. You see, this picture was taken right before I wore size 4 pants out in public for the first time. Additionally, if you look at the date, this picture means that this week marks the milestone of me maintaining at least my size for entire year, as there has never been a point during this year at which I could not wear these pants (and I am, in fact, wearing them today)!! During this last year, my weight has gone up and down a bit -from as low as 121 to as “high” as 132, but I have been able to get through the year without going back to some of the slightly larger clothes I have kept around (I have at least 5-6 pairs of size 6 and 8 pants laying around, mostly because they were so new I didn’t want to get rid of them).

I’ve felt really down on myself for my maintenance progress lately, as I’ve been hovering in the upper end of my acceptable weight range, even though I know it is an artifact of actually eating enough while I train for this half marathon. Last time I trained for a half, I got down to my aforementioned low weight (keep in mind that at 5’5″, 117 lbs is considered underweight, and I was nearly there) and lost my period for months on end; I should be rejoicing that I was able to manage my health better this time. Instead, all I see is days of eating like a teenage boy (because I am typically biking 6-8 miles and running 3-6 every day, so that makes sense). So today is a great reminder of how far I have come and what I have accomplished – a whole year of staying the same size is really quite the achievement in the weight loss maintenance world, where we know there is something like a 90% chance of us regaining all the weight and more. I accept that I won’t stay a 120-something pound size 4 forever, ESPECIALLY after I have children, but every year that I maintain that I am fighting the statistic. Side note: as a person who in practice does statistics for a living (even if I am technically a political scientist) I would REALLY like to get a hold of that data….

Some Links to Get You Through the Mid Week Slump

Usually, if I see something interesting on the internet, I just randomly add it on to a post. This week, I thought I’d amass a bunch together for your reading pleasure. Some of them might be slightly old news, but hopefully at least some of you readers will come across something new and interesting you had not seen on the interweb yet! Note, some are fitness related, and some are not; some are funny, some are not.

6 by 21. An article about 6 women riding the Tour de France (ahead of the race). I think this one might be a little old, but I just saw it for the first time yesterday. You *might* have to be a member of theclymb.com in order to read it, I’m not sure.

9 Signs You’ve Become That Person About Getting Healthy. I was relieved to find that I do not yet do ALL of these.

30 Signs You’re a Fitness Chick. Gifs make me giggle.

Man Says One Day of P90X Sent him to the Emergency Room. I actually know someone who this happened to in real life – don’t do workouts your body isn’t ready for! Start with small changes!

ESPN’s Body Issue. This came out like a week ago, but I’d never even heard of this before (I live under a pop culture rock). While imperfect (it could be more inclusive) I find it a nice contrast to typical portrayals of fit female bodies – yes, some are sexualized, but I’d argue that they equally sexualize men, and most of it is in an artsy way, and they are at least trying to do non-sexy pics of both genders.

Access to Panera’s Hidden Menu. I don’t know if this actually works, but it looks amazing (like yummy good for you food instead of “health food”). Someone should try this out and tell me if it works before I embarrass myself at Panera :p

How Pregnancy Changes a Runner’s Body. Interesting article in the NY Times. I saw someone arguing that all of the information is “duh” and that it seems to suggest women shouldn’t run during pregnancy, but I didn’t catch the latter vibe. And to be fair, much of science is providing evidence in support of the obvious.

Face It. An article about body image and parenting.

8 Hydration Myths Busted. Some of the evidence for and against claims about hydrating during exercise (specifically running).

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons why I Run Long Distances. I’m sure everyone has seen this comic from the Oatmeal by now, but parts of it really resonated with me (i.e. I will always be running from the fat person within). I was a little uncomfortable with his discussion of weightlifters, but to be fair it is true to his typical style of comedy through insulting exaggerations and I suspect some of it might come from his own insecurities (i.e. he had vain reasons to start running but that didn’t work out for him, so he dislikes people who work out for vain reasons now), so I might forgive him.

A few non-fitness ones:

I Understood Gender Discrimination Once I Added “Mr.” to my Resume and Landed a Job. A story about a guy named Kim who couldn’t get a job, obviously because he was a lady.

27 Life Hacks Every Girl Should Know. Some of these EVERYONE should know. It’s a little repetitive if you have Pinterest, but some of these were new to me.

Finally…DOGGIES!!! Nearly all of these apply to Belle. Or any dog. Gab: I can see River doing the upside down cereal thing.