Running Shoes

For the past few months of my running journey, I’ve been running on these shoes. I purchased them on Rue La La last year, because a few of the running blogs I read mentioned that they loved their Saucony shoes. If you remember, I tried C25K earlier this year, and I just flat out quit. In the meantime, I wore these shoes as my casual tennis shoes, and then when I got back into C25K this past summer, I ran on them again. I know if runners are reading this, they are shaking their heads at me. I still have a lot to learn.

A few weeks ago, I got my shoes fairly muddy and realized that part of the sole was completely worn down on my running shoes. Crud. :-( Those shoes didn’t even last a year, so I assumed that Saucony shoes were just crappy. The more forums and articles I read, the more that I realized 1. As an obese gal, shoes won’t last as long & 2. I shouldn’t have worn my running shoes for casual every day wear. So, I went back to Rue La La for a flash sale and bought these, because they looked similar and were pretty.

I broke them in a couple of times before I ran my 5K. They were OK, however, I started to notice this terrible pain in my ankles after every run. Just random pain from walking in them, so I got a bit concerned and realized I probably shouldn’t purchase shoes based on how pretty they are anymore. I needed to get properly fitted.

The big push to go to a running store was when my local Fleet Feet posted on Facebook that they were having a one day sale on all sale shoes. $25 for any pair of sale shoes (for the hour that I could go after work). I even told H about it since we’re both looking for better work-out shoes. I mean, seriously…$25 for shoes? What. a. steal!

However, I was SO nervous to go to a running store. Why? Well, at first sight I don’t look like I belong there. I hate being judged and stared at in public, because of my size, and I knew that going to a running store, I would be a misfit.

When I got to the store, I was hoping I’d be invisible. No one would notice me, right? WRONG. Weekdays at a running store, even for a massive shoe sale = dead. Two ladies greeted me when I walked in, and I just wanted to say “I know I’m fat, I know I’m slow, but I’m on my way…please don’t judge me.” But, the cheap person in me was like “sale shoes?”

They pointed me out to one pair that was left in my size. They were crazy bright and awesome. I tried them on, and I was sold. $25 for Adidas? Heck yes!

Running Shoes 2

Then I thought about it, and asked if these were OK for me. Since the store was otherwise dead, two girls were helping me and they asked if I’ve ever been fitted for shoes before? Are you new to running? How many miles/week do you run? What’s your favorite color? Ok, maybe not favorite color, but they genuinely seemed to want to hear my “running story”. So, I explained to them that I’m on my last week of Couch to 5k, and because of mainly running and diet, I’ve lost about 40 lbs. I run 3x/week, approximately 30 minutes each time, but I’m aiming to run longer with time.

I don’t know why, but I still felt nervous about what they were going to say. Were they going to laugh at me? Were they going to tell me I have super messed up feet? They asked me to walk barefoot around the store to observe my stride. Luckily, the only issue they noticed was that my right foot needed extra stability, and one of them asked if I had an injury in my right leg.

They were spot on with that.

You see in high school, I broke my right ankle and ever since, my ankle has a tendency to roll. Luckily, I never rolled my ankle running, but it happens fairly often when I’m just walking around. And also, remember when I mentioned my ankle pain? Well, yeah…those new Saucony shoes didn’t offer the additional stability I needed.

So, I asked if I could try on some shoes, and she said the best shoes for me would be for mild pronation. She brought out three pairs of shoes: New Balance, Brooks and Asics. I was easily able to narrow out one of them, which were the Asics. They were SO comfy, but I didn’t feel the same support like the New Balance and Brooks shoes had. Then I had a dilemma…I had a New Balance on one foot and a Brooks on the other. They pretty much felt the same to me, but in the end after a little bit of walking/jogging in the store, I went with the Brooks. They are the Brooks Ravenna 3 shoes, if you were wondering the exact shoe. :-)

Running Shoes

I tried to keep my cheapness to myself, because I knew I was doing the right thing. I did look over the counter to see the price of these, though. $100. That’s the most I’ve EVER spent on a pair of shoes, y’all. ::gulp:: I also ended up getting the $25 Adidas, because she said they would work fine for regular workouts and plus, they’re such a fun, bright color. :-)

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to try these babies out. I ran last night in my new shoes, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome. It could have been in my head, but I felt like I could put more effort into my run (maybe the good weather helped with that too), and I also didn’t have the ankle soreness OR the terrible tight feeling in my legs afterwards.

In case you were curious about my current Saucony shoes, I did a little research and apparently they are a generic shoe that isn’t even offered in running stores. :-( I guess they’ll end up as a good casual shoe then, since I don’t want them to go to waste. :-P Lesson learned: No more running shoes from a flash sale site.

When did you get your first fitting for running shoes? Did you find it to be worth it too?

 

Zoo Zoom 5K

Last Saturday was my first 5K. Well, I used to do 5Ks with friends in college, but most of the time, I walked the course. I was never a runner, and I didn’t really care about my place in the race. I cared more about the free jambalaya and drinks afterward. Typical college student, right? MUST.FIND.FOOD. :-P

I have been doing the Couch to 5K training program for weeks now, so I figured it would be cool to test myself and see how I could do. I didn’t have high expectations, because my current pace is very slow, but I was really hoping for a 45 minute time.

Spoiler alert: 45 minutes didn’t happen.

The day before the race, it stormed, which isn’t really a big deal unless you live in a place like this. The day after a nasty storm, it’s usually crazy humid outside. I thought that maybe 8:15am starting time wouldn’t be SO bad, since it was still kind of early, so I woke up, ate most of a Luna bar, some fresh raspberries and chugged down a glass of water. Then, as I was getting ready to leave, I got SO nervous. I kept thinking to myself…what am I doing? Am I really going to do this? Thank God I had my friend doing this with me, because I probably would have chickened out and crawled back into bed.

Then, I thought…hey, it’s just a 5K. In the middle of the summer. How crowded could it be?

So, my friend and I arrived at the zoo, and the parking lot was PACKED. It was a HUGE turnout, and there were so many runners out there who looked like they meant business.

ZooZoom1

I kept telling my friend “We got this…we’re gonna rock this”, but in the back of my head I kept saying “Don’t pass out…don’t fall…don’t come in last”.

Before I knew it, the race started. I put on my Pandora station, and started my jog. I was feeling pretty good, and noticed that I saw a 13:29 pace on my app. To me, that was CRAZY fast. So, I slowed down to avoid the burn-out. My usual pace is a VERY slow 16:30ish, so I tried to stick to 15:00/mile pace as long as I could.

For the first mile, time flew. I wasn’t staring at my phone to check my stats much, and realized that I was doing a pretty good job with my pace after I saw the Mile 1 sign. :-) Then, around 1.5 miles, the usual zoo canopy of trees were gone, replaced with a side part of the track where we had to run through some sort of back parking lot. OH MY GAH. No shade…humid as all get out….and HOT. I was so sad to do this, but I had to walk. I walked for about half a mile until I got back under the trees, and got right back to running.

The second run was just SO difficult to get back into. I was hot, sweaty and felt like I was truly the slowest person there. I never turned around to see if anyone was behind me, but I felt truly alone at that point. There was one point around this time where I was running on the right side of the track, since I knew there would be mile 3 runners running on the same part of the track (yeah, the loops in this race were VERY confusing), and a volunteer shouted at me to move for the REAL runners (despite already being on the right side of the track). :(

That guy was the only volunteer who was like that. I have to admit, the other volunteers were truly wonderful. Even though I was one of the slowest ones there, they kept telling me “great job”, “keep it up”, “you’re awesome”…things like that. I really appreciated that, and every time, I’d try to muster out a “thank you” since they really did inspire me to keep pushing. :-)

When I saw the mile 3 sign, I told myself to SPRINT. I can sprint 0.1 miles, and I figured it was just around the curve that I was running. I got super excited, but the curve kept going on and on and on…seriously. But then, I heard my friend. She was screaming “GO AMY!”, so I kept my sprint going to that finish. I saw my time as I crossed the finish line…51:06.

I was SO discouraged….like very bummed, but then I gave my friend a huge hug, and she said “You DID IT! You FINISHED a 5K!” My first reaction was WATER. SNACK. CHAIR., so we walked over to the pavilion where the rest of the runners were and I grabbed what I needed. :-)

ZooZoom4

After guzzling down the water and slowly eating some animal crackers, I was so relieved to finally catch my breath. :-)

My friend and I took a picture, and until then, I didn’t really realize how much I was SWEATING!

zoozoom3

By the way, do you recognize this shirt?

After a few minutes, I decided to check the results to see how I did. I was 6th to last place. (yikes) However, on my Runkeeper app, I noticed that my overall pace was completely AWESOME. Way better than any long run I’ve ever done, and this race was almost twice as much as my longest C25K workout! :-D So, that was awesome. And, my results can only get better from here!

My friend and I are already looking for a 5K to do this Fall, in fact! :-)

A weight loss tool that works for me

As y’all know, I’m currently calorie counting to lose this weight/lead a healthier lifestyle. As much as I love MyFitnessPal, I also use the BodyMedia Fit Link armband. This tool has really motivated me to just keep on, keeping on.

I wrote a very basic review about the armband in March, and now that I’ve been using it for a few more months (and 20 lbs. later), I’ve found some other features that have made it even more awesome.

Here’s a typical day for me. This was obviously a rest day for me, as you can see in the physical activity. My goal is to always have a 1000 calorie deficit, at the very least, which (theoretically) results in a 2 lbs. loss/week. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s a goal that I have.

Another cool feature I’ve noticed after using it for a few months is the “personal bests” tab. I haven’t added comments yet, but I do remember that most of the late July personal bests were from my trip to San Diego. I did TONS of walking there, since my hotel was 1.5 miles from where my conference was held!

Another cool feature on the site is that you can customize your daily goals. My goal weight of 175 is a little on the high side, BMI wise, but I would be thrilled at that weight. If I happen to lose more, great…if not, I know 175 is a pretty good number for my height (5’9″-5’10″ish). I also love being able to see when I will ideally reach my goal weight. At my weight loss rate so far, I should be at my goal weight next summer or fall. Crazy to think about! Just CRAZY!

What kind of tools are you using to motivate you in weight loss?

Disclosure: I was sent this product at no cost to me, as well as free membership for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed about this product are my own.

When are you a runner?

I remember those moments as a school kid when the PE teacher would choose team captains. I knew if I wasn’t a captain, I may as well sit down and wait until the very end to be the last kid picked. I was always the last kid picked, even if a best friend was the captain. I was that chubby/slow/awkward/nerdy kid who no one wanted on their team. It stunk.

I also remember every year, we had to do a physical fitness test. Sure, I could do sit-ups and jump rope, but when it came to the run? I would fail. I never got a president’s fitness award or anything like that.  As a nerd, I was always on the honor roll, I was first to finish my times table tests in class, I could spell like it was nobody’s business, but…. I remember feeling like an intense failure when I’d never bring a president’s fitness award to my parents.

The ultimate failure was in 8th grade PE. That day, every student had to run 10 minutes non-stop in the gym for part of the track & field fitness test. And if you stopped, you dropped a letter grade for that test. I remember starting off slow, thinking I can do this…I can…just 10 minutes. I need that A. 5 minutes in, one of the bullies taunted me about being so fat and how ridiculous it was that I was completely out of breath. Between the running and the taunting, I just stopped to walk so I could hold back the tears. My PE teacher screamed my last name and said, “That’s a B. You better run before it’s a C!” So, I got back to it and soon after, my sides started cramping. I had to stop again, but I knew that making a C would be terrible. I didn’t make Cs in school, but every muscle in my body was screaming for me to stop. So, I did. I got yelled at again, and the bullies started with the fat jokes. That PE teacher didn’t care…in those days, bullying was a normal thing. It still hurt like hell, but no teacher really did anything about bullies. Those were the longest 10 minutes of my life, and I ended up with a D grade for that test. My very first D.

That’s something I don’t think I will ever forget. Sure, it was just a 10 minute PE test, but I let myself fail. I let the bullies get to me, and I didn’t get the grade that I wanted. I was so ashamed, and told myself that running was just one of those things I’d never be able to do.

Fast forward 15 years. Now, I’ve been following a good bit of healthy living blogs, watching people run for leisure or because it’s routine. I’ve read about people’s journeys to train for a half or ::gulp::, even a full marathon. It’s been inspiring to read about, but the memories from middle school left a bitter taste in my mouth for running. If I couldn’t run 10 minutes then, what makes me think I could run 10 minutes now?

I wanted to try it, though. I’ve read a few blogs where people have lost 100+ lbs., and their main cardio activity was running.

Hold the phone! Fat people like me CAN run??!

So, I did the first workout of Couch to 5K. One minute running, 90 seconds walking…8 times. I was dead after that. DEAD. I kept thinking…that was just ONE MINUTE. How do these people do it?!

But…I was determined. If they can do it, so can I.

The crazy thing is, I’m doing the Couch to 5K in the middle of summer in Louisiana. Humidity sucks. Heat sucks. I’m a dripping gross mess when I get home, and I’m usually doing my runs at 7:00/7:30pm. Still…it’s hot y’all!

There were many times where I told myself that I should try something else. I’m 265 lbs. I’m too fat for this. But then, during my 20 minute run in week 5, I remembered those bullies.

The ones who told me Shamu doesn’t run…
The ones who told me I was a waste of air…
The ones who told me to get out of their way…

I had a moment where I was about to cry, because I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore. Who was I? I’m not a runner…I will NEVER be a runner….

But when I looked down at my phone, I realized I had already ran for 11 minutes. Non-stop. If I kept going, I could go home knowing that I ran twice the amount of that fitness test in middle school. So I pushed through it. When I was done, I didn’t cry…all I did was smile. I did this. I ran over a mile….without a break.

And then yesterday, I ran for 25 minutes without a break, going 30 seconds faster/mile than the 20 minute run. This week, my runs are nothing but 25 minutes non-stop running. What happened? 6 short weeks ago, I was having my lungs explode over a minute of running. And now??!

COULD I BE A RUNNER?

I mean, first I should ask…AM I a runner yet? If not, when do you call yourself a runner?

10%

Do you ever look at pictures of people losing weight and think their before looks like they were inflated with extra air or something? I’m not trying to insult myself, but when I stare at my nearly 300 lb. self from January squeezing into an XL shirt, I think that. I went out in public like that regularly. I’m really embarrassed thinking back on it, but I always told myself that I was not a size 2XL shirt gal. Clearly, I should have been.

It’s been a little over seven months, three of those being a lull for me (I sort of gave up in the spring…woops!), but I finally reached the 260s this morning! That’s 10%, yall!

I took these pictures tonight, and while I don’t see much of a body shape difference, I definitely see that the XL shirt is a LOT looser. And yes, that’s the exact same shirt and capris I’m wearing in the pic to keep things uniform for progress pics. I also see it in my face…my double chin is slowly going away. :-)

And yeah….I realize that after taking these pics that I was totally wearing a standard bra and in my current pic I was wearing my sports bra. So, things do look a lot different in the ladies department in these pics, but the difference isn’t that drastic. :-P

10% lost before/now

10% is a big step on this weight loss journey for me. While I still have about 85 lbs. to lose, I think this may have been the biggest hurdle for me to cross.

I feel like I’ve found a good balance, food and exercise wise. I’m on my weight loss plan every day. There are no “cheat days” for me, because I do not want to fall off the wagon like I have in the past. I log every single bite, but I still enjoy a weekly treat and/or meal. I just don’t binge anymore. In fact, you may notice I’m still baking like crazy (if you read my food blog). I’m happy that I get to enjoy every dish that I write about but now, I’m no longer eating 3-4 brownies in one sitting or a heaping bowl of homemade ice cream. It’s much smaller servings this time around, and I’m completely fine with that. As long as I have the calories (or since I’m giving Weight Watchers a try for a month right now, points), I don’t feel an ounce of guilt enjoying a treat.

Weight loss for me isn’t happening quickly. I’m not losing 5 lbs./week. I’m averaging about 2 lbs./week lately, and I’m completely stoked about that. In fact, I haven’t gained any weight the past 7 weeks that I’ve been back in the weight loss groove. :-D So, while it’s slow, I know I’m still losing, and to me, that’s all that matters. At this rate, if I keep losing 2 lbs./week, I’ll be at my goal by spring of next year! That’s a really exciting thought, y’all!

Here’s some NSVs (non scale victories) that I’ve noticed since starting my weight loss journey:

  • Pants size before: 26 —– Pants size now: 22 or 24 depending on the jeans
  • Work shirt size before: 22/24 or 3x —– Work shirt size now: 18/20 or 2x (although I tried on a 1x shirt at Macy’s last week and that fit perfectly!)
  • I have to hook my bra on one notch in instead of pulling hoping that it hooks on the last notches.
  • I had terrible lower back pain this past winter. That’s not an issue anymore.
  • I ran for 5 minutes in a row TWICE this week (Thank you Couch to 5k!).
  • My BodyMedia Fit armband is no longer squeezing on my arm. It fits, but it doesn’t leave a red mark where the band was when I take it off.
  • My wedding rings are starting to feel loose again.

I know this post may come across as braggy, but I can’t help it. I’m VERY proud of myself for reaching this step. Look at what losing 10% can do! I even get a little reward for losing 10%. :-) Just all sorts of great things, y’all!

So, here we go to the next milestone! 50 lbs., here I come!

Keepin’ On

I can’t believe that it’s been 7 months since I started my weight loss journey. I hate to admit this, but every year I’ve told myself my resolution was to lose weight, only to fail within the month. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to keep this up for 7 months. I can’t say that this is all because of me, because it really isn’t. My husband has been unbelievably supportive of me, as well as my family and friends.

I also can’t forget y’all. All of your wonderful comments, tweets, and emails have definitely been amazing. If it wasn’t for the support I’ve gotten, I don’t think I would be where I’m at right now. Thank you so much.

If you’re wondering about progress, as of this morning, I’m 2 lbs. away from 10%. I’ve never gotten this far before. Even for the wedding, I lost 24 lbs., and now that I’ve surpassed that number, I’m driven even more than ever to reach my goal weight. :-) Once I hit 10%, I’ll do another progress picture post.

As far as work-outs go, I just finished week 2 of C25K. I didn’t think I’d be able to run outside in this crazy hot weather, but so far, my body is surprising me and I’m doing pretty well. It’s so exciting to feel my body getting stronger every day. The biggest deal to me will be the end of week 5. A 20 minute run. I’ve NEVER been able to run 20 minutes in a row. How crazy will that be??! I’m also doing the 30 Day Shred on some in-between days. I will admit that Day 1 was terrible. TERRIBLE. I could barely do 3 girly push-ups, jumping jacks were a joke and the weight exercises that involved my shoulders just weren’t happening. Just like with running, it’s amazing to see how much my body can do now vs. day 1. Your body changes fast, y’all!

Diet wise, I’m still calorie counting. I found that at 1600 calories (2 lbs. lost/week according to MyFitnessPal), my body wasn’t responding well (I had a plateau for quite a while), so I upped my calories to about 1800 (1.5 lbs. lost/week according to MyFitnessPal). Once I did that, the scale started moving again…slowly, but surely. Eep! :-)

Thanks again to y’all for your amazing support! This is such a big change for me, and your support is definitely motivating me to keep on keepin’ on. :-)

BTW, if any of y’all on MyFitnessPal, I’m “niftyfoodie” on there if you’d like a friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shredding things up..

It’s been almost a month since I started calorie counting again, and I’m finding that I absolutely love this healthier lifestyle, especially the exercise part. Lately, I’ve been working out about 3-4 days/week for 30 minutes. It’s not much, but for me, it has been a drastic change.

About two weeks ago, I dusted off Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. The last time I started the Shred was before our wedding, which was 3 years ago. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I could barely do 5 girly push-ups and jumping jacks? Yeah, those definitely weren’t happening. I felt a bit defeated after the workout, and thought that I just really messed up my body. Can’t do a jumping jack? What was WRONG with me? :(

The next day, I was surprised to feel sore. I thought that I didn’t do much, but apparently, I did enough to make my (lack of) muscles scream at me. It was also a pretty darn terrible day for my allergies, so every sneeze went like this…”AH-CHOO!! ow..”…and yeah, I’d really say ow. It hurt. I wasn’t looking forward to day two at all that evening, but I pushed through it. It was still just as hard as day 1, with the wonderful addition of soreness. I didn’t want to have to do that again, so I decided after day 2 to take a rest day and see if that would help with the soreness.

I will say that on day 3 of the workout (after the rest day), I noticed a much bigger difference in how much I could workout. The strength components still were difficult, as well as some of the cardio (jumping jacks and just regular jumping), but I was noticing that my body was able to do the workouts a little longer than before without stopping. I decided that a rest day between Shred workouts was just what I needed, so I kept going with that idea.

Day 4, 5 and 6 were MUCH easier. Day 6 was last night, and OMG y’all, I was able to do ALL of the jumping jacks. Most of y’all are probably like, I can do jumping jacks while cooking dinner, but for me? Doing those jumping jacks just showed me that my body is definitely changing….way more quickly than I thought, too! It’s motivating me to keep this up. In fact, I’m thinking about buying another Jillian DVD just to mix things up a bit, since we really don’t have good gym choices out where I live.

Do y’all have any recommendations for a second video of hers to get? Or heck, I’m open to ANY workout video ideas. Just keep in mind, I’m a beginner and not super fit, so P90X probably isn’t the best choice for me at this time.

Back to Weight Loss

Well, I’m back to calorie counting again. I didn’t gain much since I stopped in March, which I’m appreciative of. Now that it’s the summer, I find myself a bit bummed that C25K is going to be ridiculously difficult to do in this heat/humidity. I’ll probably have to workout at 7:30 at night or something so I don’t pass out, but I’m determined to get back to it. I’d love to be able to get into running a 5k (or two) come Fall, so I have the whole summer (man, I’ll need it, I’m sure) ahead of me to get through the C25K. :-)

This blogger’s post called Hey, Fat Girl totally struck a chord with me. As a fat gal who wogs (my word for the weird walk/jog combination that I do), this post was so refreshing to read. I always wonder what people think when they see me jogging. I know I’m not a legit runner at all. I do know that when most people see me run in the neighborhood, they probably hear me breathing heavily and struggling to make those last 10 seconds happen during the running parts of the C25K program. :- It’s not pretty, folks.

Now, as much as I’m dreading the summer for my work-outs, I can’t help but LOVE the summer, food-wise. Creole tomatoes are my favorite variety of tomatoes, and my plants are flowering like crazy. These tomatoes are so flavorful…all you need is a little salt and pepper. It’s also the season for berries, watermelon, corn (OMG grilled corn), cucumbers and peppers. All of those things will definitely help me make better decisions, calorie-wise.

Are any of y’all calorie counting, too? If you’d like to friend me on MyFitnessPal, here’s my profile. I love having friends on there to keep me accountable. :-)

 

Since when is 20 lbs. not a big deal?

I try not to think of the big picture. 120 lbs. gone  is the big picture. It’s a huge number, and when I think about it, I get extremely overwhelmed.

I start to question myself..

  • maybe if I liked regular milk instead of chocolate milk as a kid…
  • maybe if I didn’t have that Burger King habit when I worked at the grocery store…
  • maybe if I didn’t sneak an ice cream snack every day after school…
  • maybe if I ate better in the all you can eat cafeteria when I was in college…
  • maybe if I didn’t randomly grab fast food at 3am because I had the munchies…
  • maybe if I chose a career that wasn’t a desk job…
  • maybe if I kept going after the wedding with my weight loss instead of gaining 58 lbs…

In January 2012, I was staring at a weight that was dangerously close to 300 lbs. 300 lbs. Football players are supposed to be 300 lbs….not a gal like me.

So, I started doing something about it. Could I have done better the past 4 months? Of course. If I pushed myself, I could have probably lost double. But I was proud of the 20 lbs. that are gone. I’ll never see those pounds again.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, an email from someone who reads this blog basically said that 20 lbs. was nothing in the grand scheme of things, and this made me question those 20 lbs. I know…don’t let one random person get you down, but darnit, this one hit me hard. The email made me think about those other 100 lbs. that are left along my weight loss journey. I was staring at my before/now pictures and thinking negatively about the belly I still have, the double chin, the back fat….ugh. All I could see was the fat in my current pictures.

20 pounds down

(Left–before, right–4/16/2012)

After a few great, encouraging comments from y’all, I thought about it again….My XL shirts are looser. I can pull my jeans down (when they’re still buttoned), and if I forget to wear a belt (which BTW is on its last notch), it’s a battle all day to keep them up.

(Yeah, never forgetting my belt again…)

So, while 20 lbs. is a small fraction of my total weight loss goal, it’s still something. Something I’m very proud of. I still have 100 lbs. to go, but thinking about it, I only have 5 more rounds of 20 lbs. to lose. I can do this 5 more times. :-)

 

Guest Post: Weight Loss in College

I usually don’t have guest posts on my blog, but my little sister has inspired the something out of me. My youngest sister, Rachel, is a freshman at LSU. You know how the freshman 15 is usually a given? Well, she hasn’t gained a pound. In fact, she’s LOST nearly 30 pounds. She’s made a complete lifestyle change, and I asked her if she’d mind taking some time out of her busy college schedule to write a guest post on here. She has a ton of great tips for college students, as well as pretty much any person.

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Hello Everyone! I am Amy’s sister, Rachel, and she has asked me to do a guest post for her blog! I couldn’t be more excited to share some weight loss tips with you all! But first, I thought I’d share some of my background story.

I was always a chubby kid. I got bullied and made fun of a lot because of it. I remember one time in particular when we had to share our weight to the entire class for some math activity, and it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life seeing the other kids just stare at me. I also remember not being able to fit into the cute clothes at Limited Too (now called Justice). I was also a shy kid. It was a bad combination in school because I couldn’t stand up to the bullies until I was older. But, thanks to getting into musical theatre (as well as my loving family), I got a lot more confidence. I felt better about myself, but my weight was always a nagging thing in my life.

Once I got to high school, the bullying pretty much stopped, but I was gradually gaining more and more weight. At my highest weight (which you’ll see a picture of below), I weighed about 220 lbs., maybe a little higher. This was around the time I was auditioning for college musical theatre programs. One audition in particular was a huge wake up call for me. I was auditioning for Penn State’s program, and after I sang and did my monologue, they sat me down. They basically told me that I couldn’t succeed in musical theatre being so overweight. Not only were they extremely rude about it, they also proceeded to tell me that it would be different had I been black (um, excuse me, but did they look at my resume? I have done a lot of lead roles before, so obviously my weight hasn’t gotten in my way so far!). So, in the end I didn’t get into any of the musical theatre programs I applied to mainly because of my weight. I decided to go to LSU for vocal performance and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have no regrets.

Fast forward to January of this year. I had already done little things to lose a little bit of weight the previous semester, but I’m pretty sure I gained all that weight back during the holidays. So once I got back to school, I decided to make a lifestyle change, not go on a diet, and lost 25 lbs.!! I dropped a full dress size (maybe a little more) and lost almost 15% of my body weight! This was also very gradual (took about 2 months) so no one really noticed until I either told them or showed them the two pictures below.

The first is of me at my first LSU football game last semester and the second is of me right before doing a 5k a couple of weeks ago. Isn’t the difference crazy? It’s made such a huge difference in how I dance and exercise (it’s so much easier!) and I just feel ten times better about myself. Now who said you can’t LOSE weight while in college?

So here are some amazing tips that helped me lose the weight and can help you too!

  1. Drink water. This is pretty basic, but this also means to completely cut sodas out of your life. It was actually a lot easier than I thought. I used to hate drinking plain old water, but now I crave it. I try to drink about 4-6 glasses a day, and it has helped so much! If you get tired of water, I suggest drinking crystal light or some tea! I also drink a glass of milk every once in a while for some much needed calcium.
  2. Simple carbs are the enemy. Basically, I just try my best to avoid simple carbs, such as white bread, rice, pasta, corn, and potatoes (sweet potatoes are great though!). Sometimes it’s unavoidable in the dining hall at school, but otherwise it’s very do-able. Simple carbs basically turn into sugar once inside of the body, and you want to avoid sugar as much as possible if you want to effectively lose weight. I learned all about this in the book The Dorm Room Diet by Daphne Oz, a wonderful source for those of us in college. It’s also very do-able to avoid these when going out to eat. Just substitute the potatoes or rice in a dish for more veggies!
  3. Veggies and fruits, please! These will be your best friends when trying to lose weight. They are very nutritious and can surprisingly fill you up when paired with a source of protein, such as chicken or steak. I used to only like certain veggies, like broccoli, but you will eventually get used to eating veggies for every meal, so I promise you’ll love them as much as I do. I’ve always loved fruits, so this was never a challenge for me. What was a challenge was substituting delicious ice cream and cakes for dessert in the dining halls for fruit. But now that I’ve pretty much overcome that, it’s really easy.
  4. Have a Support System. I started going to LSU’s gym more and more since I got back to school from winter break. What really helped me out was that I had a couple of close friends who loved exercising and would be willing to go to the workout classes with me, and it made it ten times more fun to go to the gym every day! Also, one of my friends eats really healthy like I try to do, so when in doubt, I always copy what she’s eating. Having the support system will really motivate you to keep going.
  5. Get moving, and make sure it’s FUN! I can’t say enough how important it is to work out at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Thanks to the LSU UREC, I work out 5 times a week taking many different classes including Zumba, yoga, and cycling. These classes are an hour and I’m always sweating so much by the end of them, so I know I’m really doing something good for my body every time I leave the gym. I know this isn’t everyone’s situation, but this is where your support system can come in. Try to get a small group of friends together to go running or even join a gym, and your body will love you for it. Make sure it’s fun, so you’ll want to keep doing it. That’s why I love Zumba so much, it just feels like a dance party! Even if you don’t have much time to get moving, remember that diet alone is 80% of losing weight, so no worries!
  6. It’s OK to splurge sometimes! Always remember that if you do go off of your “diet” one day, it’s really no big deal. Maybe one day you decide to get a frappuccino or a small scoop of ice cream. It’s OK. We would all go crazy if we didn’t splurge sometimes. Just remember to splurge in moderation, and you’re good. Just don’t make splurging a habit!
  7. Rewarding yourself is essential. I love that my sister has goals and once she meets those goals, she will reward herself in some way. This is yet another way to keep yourself motivated. My reward was usually a frappuccino one week or some ice cream another week. But a really satisfying reward is clothes shopping once you’ve lost a good amount of weight. I can’t tell you how good I felt about myself when I went shopping this past weekend. Before I lost the weight, I was a size 16, sometimes 18 or 16W. Now I’m a solid 14 and it feels great. I no longer fit into Lane Bryant clothes, which is wonderful! I know I still have some weight to lose, but fitting into everything I tried on was just great motivation to keep going. I ended up getting a lot of cute things, and I couldn’t be more excited!!

Sorry for making this post so long, but I had so much to say! Some people may think these guidelines are a little strict, but they really do help. I hope at least some of you got something from this. Thank you Amy for letting me write this post! If you want to read more from me, feel free to follow my Happiness Project blog as well as my life blog!

http://rachelshappinessproject.blogspot.com/

http://rachelslifeasofnow.blogspot.com/

XOXO
Rachel :)